Saturday, May 15, 2010

Summer Student Spectacular

I am going to have a veritable entourage of students working for me this summer.  The graduate student who worked for me last summer is coming back again.  I acquired an undergraduate by being the only person who had an idea for a project for him.  And if I can get all the paperwork done, I'm also going to have a 16-year-old high school student.

The grad and the undergrad are going to work on performance modeling for my big project.  The high schooler is going to work on some visualizations of nuclei.  I'm going to supervise all three of them while doing my regular job.

The way I got the high school student is kind of a long story.  I wanted to bring the graduate student in through a different program than the one she came in under last year.  The only program I could find that would pay her what I felt she deserved to be paid was in a somewhat unrelated engineering field.  All the other programs would have paid her something like $400 less per month than what she made last summer.  Luckily, one of the codes that we are analyzing for my big project is in that engineering field, so I asked the PI of that code if he would be willing to be her official mentor on paper and let me supervise her in practice.  He said of course he would be willing to help like that, so this is how we got her in and at a fair pay rate.

But while we were talking, he told me about a girl who he had coached in soccer, and how she was really interested in science and asked me if I'd be willing to be her mentor.  I said sure, with the caveat that I had to find some funding.  I didn't really think too much about it though, until last week when the girl emailed me to express her interest.  Then I had to find something for her to do.  So I talked with another of my collaborators and found a project and some funding.

Now I just have to go through a whole lot of extra paperwork because she is a minor.  I have to have a special inspection of the workplace, develop an individual, restricted work plan just for her, and also verify that this is not a case of nepotism (fortunately, it is not).  But, if I can successfully jump through all these hoops in a timely manner, I think this will be a really good experience for her, and we'll have some fantastic nuclear visualizations!

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