U.S. Department of Energy

05/03/2019 | News release | Archived content

NNSA initiative is building a diverse STEM workforce for the future

'We have a tremendous opportunity to further the important causes that are central to MSIPP - reaching out to underserved segments of society to level the playing field and promote diversity in our broad STEM environment,' said Frank Lowery, NNSA's Associate Administrator for Management and Budget.

MSIPP is comprised of consortium-based teams that investigate emerging fields like advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity. Participating consortia shared their successes, lessons learned and identified strategies for collaborating across the broader group. Additionally, students presented research projects that showed how NNSA has supported their budding careers and also learned about exciting internship and fellowship opportunities available within the agency.

One attendee with lots to share was Dr. Deidra J. Morrison Wells of Claflin University in central South Carolina. An assistant professor of computer science, Wells and her colleagues work to engage local K-12 rural student populations. Their mission: To excite them about STEM careers and promote the Consortium Enabling Cybersecurity Opportunities and Research at Claflin. The program organizes annual Fall Code Days and Spring Hackathons to introduce students to programming, web, and cybersecurity challenges.

'We've established several programs to investigate methods that will increase the interest in computing and cybersecurity academic programs and careers among minority elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as increase preparedness for academic programs and training opportunities,' Wells said. 'It's incredibly rewarding to see that spark in a student's eye when they're excited about what they're learning.'