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Workforce Development Plan

Strategy 1. Middle and high school students will be exposed to computational and experimental materials science projects through campus open house events held once per year at all participating institutions. High school students, nominated by their teachers, will be selected to participate in weeklong summer research workshops to be held in New Orleans (jointly by Tulane, UNO, and Xavier), Baton Rouge (jointly by LSU and SU), and Ruston (jointly by LA Tech and Grambling). These workshops will be held in parallel with the research experiences for teachers (RET) discussed in Strategy 2. Milestones: 100 open house attendees in Y1, increasing in Y2 and beyond; 40 students in summer workshops in Y1, increasing in Y2 and beyond.

Strategy 2. Grades 6-12 and two-year college teachers will be offered summer RET programs held annually in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Ruston, as in Strategy 1. The RET program will focus on discovery-based modules designed for classroom use. Additional workshops will address specific techniques for including content in discovery-based courses. In the first year, a pilot program at Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) will develop computational materials science modules for use in BRCC's developing engineering program (see letter of commitment). In subsequent years, this program will be expanded to other disciplines and two-year colleges. Milestones: 20 RET participants (as budgeted) each year; use of modules in classroom (tracked through follow-up visits to classrooms); expansion of pilot program in Y2 and beyond.

Strategy 3. Multiple programs will serve two-year college students. Modeling the collaboration between Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Tulane and the Process Technology program at Nunez Community College, we will develop short courses to train two-year and technical college students to use sophisticated materials research instrumentation, such as NMR, XRD, SEM, and AFM. In the first year of the grant, LA Tech will offer a pilot course in materials characterization using X-ray diffraction to regional community college students. In the following years, course offerings will be expanded to other instrumental techniques. The Beowulf Boot Camp for high school students and teachers, conducted annually by Thomas Sterling (the father of the beowulf supercomputer architecture) at LSU, will be expanded to include the application of HPC methods to materials science and taught to BRCC students in a pilot program during the first year. In subsequent years, the two pilot programs will be expanded to the other participating institutions. Students who become interested in furthering their education as a result of these initiatives will be recruited into undergraduate programs in four-year institutions. Milestones: Initiation of short-course pilot programs in Y1 and expansion in Y2 and beyond; five two-year college participants each year in Beowulf Boot Camp; expansion of 2+2 programs to other LA-SiGMA institutions by Y3.

Strategy 4. Undergraduates at four- and two-year institutions will participate in summer research experiences for undergraduates (REU) programs focused on computational and experimental materials science at all LA-SiGMA institutions. Students will be supervised by a computational researcher and co-advised by an experimentalist and attend weekly lectures with topics such as project planning, literature review, scientific writing, research presentation, and ethical conduct. Also, training in HPC and CyberTools will be scheduled regularly. Milestones: 30 REU participants (as budgeted) each year; 50% of participants will pursue higher education.

Strategy 5. Graduate students will join a transformative educational experience in materials science. A core set of graduate level courses (three in the first year, six more in subsequent years) in computational science, multiscale modeling methods, advanced experimental techniques, and other topics will be developed and broadcast throughout the State using synchronous HD video. The letters of commitment demonstrate the dedication of each participating institution to this educational effort. These courses will be integrated into existing and new graduate curricula on each campus. LA-SiGMA will also cover the costs for graduate students to attend the "Supercomputing Education Program," which is part of Oklahoma's EPSCoR RII program. Milestones: Enrollments in new courses (at least 40 statewide); incorporation into graduate curricula on two campuses by Y2, others by Y3.

Strategy 6. Postdocs and graduate students will also participate in a unique program that trains postdocs in the use of best practice teaching methods based on Michigan State's Faculty Institutes for Reforming Science Teaching (FIRST) project. Undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs will take part in national labs and industrial internships (see letters of commitment) at Los Alamos, Sandia, and Pacific Northwest National Labs, and at Renewable Fuels, Carbon Capture Energy Technologies, and Radiance Technologies. Milestones: Participation in effective teaching workshops; five internships and extended visits each year.