November 21, 2017
Professor Sucheta Soundarajan has been named a Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Science Policy Fellow based on her interest in expanding participation in computer science among youth in rural areas.
The SIAM Science Policy Fellowship Program helps early career researchers become advocates for federal investments in applied mathematics and computational science. Fellows gain in-depth knowledge of the policy processes that determine science funding and policy decisions while pursuing their research and teaching. No more than five fellowship recipients are selected each year. In her two-year term, Soundarajan will attend SIAM science policy meetings in Washington, DC, interface with federal officials, and participate in an advocacy day on Capitol Hill.
Soundarajan hopes to develop an outreach program to send faculty members to local youth clubs, such as 4H or the Future Farmers of America, to present on computer science topics, including big data in farm management and the use of drones for agriculture. In addition to promoting potential computer science job opportunities in rural areas, it would help build ties between the University and a population that has not traditionally attended college.
Soundarajan said, “Currently, a huge portion of the population, along with their potential insights and contributions, are being excluded from the field. The computational sciences have developed incredibly powerful tools that have and will continue to reshape the world, and it is critically important that these tools are used in a way that benefits all members of society. I want to work at the interface between science and society, and this fellowship will be the first step.”