Summer Internships in Parallel Computational Sciences (SIParCS)

By: Negin Sobhani and AJ Lauer, NCAR, USA

The Summer Internships in Parallel Computational Sciences (SIParCS) program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has a goal of encouraging women and students from other underrepresented groups to pursue careers and academic studies in areas related to high performance and scientific computing. This is Negin Sobhani’s story of how her internship impacted her academic and career trajectories.

Negin’s story

During summer 2015, I had the great opportunity to work as a SIParCS intern at NCAR and learn from some of the greatest atmospheric scientists and programmers.

As a SIParCS intern at NCAR, I worked on performance analysis, profiling, and optimization of weather and climate forecasting models under the supervision of Dr. Davide Del Vento. Working and studying at NCAR and collaborating with the pioneers in the area of atmospheric modeling gave me invaluable insight into different aspects of HPC programming, big data analysis, and visualization tools. During the summer, we also had the opportunity to participate in various educational and enrichment activities such as a technical writing workshops , high performance computing (HPC) training classes, and a field trip to the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) to see the Yellowstone supercomputer.

At the end of the summer program, all of the interns presented their research results. This experience prepared us for presenting our research results at scientific conferences. I presented our project at the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium (RMACC) Symposium in August 2015 and won the first award in the student poster competition. The RMACC award included travel funding to participate at the SuperComputing Conference (SC15) and present as a student representative in the RMACC and NCAR booths at SC15.  I also presented my research results at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) 2016 conference and won the best oral presentation award.

Working at NCAR was truly a rewarding and insightful experience and a turning point in my graduate studies and perhaps in my life. Not only did SIParCS help me choose my career pathway and grow my professional network, but it also made me believe in the power of diversity and mentoring. Similar to many other minority women in STEM fields, I have always felt under-represented in both academia and research laboratories. SIParCS was an empowering experience that helped me recognize my abilities and believe in the strength of hard work. That summer also inspired me to start mentoring some minority female graduate students in STEM to help them achieve success in the university setting. I continue working as a graduate student visitor at NCAR since SIParCS 2015.

I would like to encourage all students with backgrounds in computational geoscience, atmospheric research, data analysis, and visualization to apply for this unique internship.

About the SIParCS program

The goal of the SIParCS (Summer Internships in Parallel Computational Sciences) program is to make a long-term, positive impact on the quality and diversity of the people who will use and operate 21st century supercomputers. SIParCS students serve as paid summer interns in the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Computational & Information Systems Lab, which provides supercomputing and data services for scientists studying the Sun-Earth system.

Prior SIParCS interns have gone on to win prestigious scholarships, present their research at the White House Frontiers Conference, and even be featured in Wired magazine. Every year several interns have the opportunity to attend the SuperComputing conference where they serve as volunteers, attend technical sessions, and present their research in the NCAR-CISL vendor booth.

SIParCS offers positions to both undergraduate and graduate students who are eligible to work in the United States. The 2017 SIParCS program is offering applicants the opportunity to work on eleven different projects ranging in topic from emerging process architectures, to statistical analysis, to Fortran modernization. Students interested in applying should review our project statements of work.

We very much encourage applications from students from diverse backgrounds of all kinds; whatever your gender, race/ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, body size and shape, veteran status, and/or disability, you are very welcome at NCAR and in the SIParCS program.

The deadline to apply to the program is February 1, 2017.

Additionally students who would like to receive updates from our internship program in the future are encouraged to sign up for the SIParCS email list.

If you have any questions about the program or the application process, you can reach us at or 303-497-1288.


  • Negin Sobhani is a PhD candidate at the University of Iowa, as well as a graduate student visitor at National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Computational and Information Systems Lab (CISL). At NCAR, she works on optimization and performance tuning of numerical weather and climate forecasting models. She has a scientific background in high performance computing, atmospheric science, climate change, and air quality modeling. She loves the mountains and the outdoors, and is a true gourmet and coffee enthusiast!

  • AJ Lauer works as the Diversity, Education, and Outreach Specialist and Outreach Services Group Lead in the Computational & Information Systems Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). She has over ten years of experience working with college students at various types of universities including Hispanic Serving Institutions, a Big 10, and a STEM school. As DEO Specialist she manages the SIParCS program and contributes to NCAR and UCAR’s diversity and inclusion efforts. As Outreach Services Group Lead, she supervises science writers and public relations specialists who communicate the importance of high performance computing in scientific research. AJ holds a Masters degree in Higher Education Administration from Florida International University and is currently engaged in doctoral work through Creighton University’s Interdisciplinary Leadership program.

One Comment

  1. Thanks to Negin for sharing her experience!
    What a small world, we had her visiting our Purdue Campus not along. We hope she will join our team soon.

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