Students studying outside the library

Wofford continues to build international reputation in undergraduate computational science

shifletab November 15, 2006

SPARTANBURG, SC - This fall, the Krell Institute selected Dr. Angela Shiflet, chair and Dr. Larry Hearn McCalla professor of computer science and mathematics at Wofford, as a winner of their Undergraduate Computational Engineering and Sciences (UCES) 2006 award. She and two other recipients were recognized at a UCES Awards luncheon on Nov. 13, in Tampa, FL, during the association’s 2006 conference.

Shiflet received the award for publication of Introduction to Computational Science: Modeling and Simulation for the Sciences, co-authored by Dr. George Shiflet, chair and Dr. and Mrs. Larry Hearn McCalla professor of biology at Wofford. The Krell Institute recognized the book as an effective communicator of the power of computation science using a variety of computational tools applied to several scientific disciplines.

“Our program is getting an international reputation,” says Shiflet. “We have one of the few undergraduate programs in computational science in the country and the first textbook that is an introduction to computational science. This wouldn’t have been possible without George and our interdisciplinary relationship.” Dr. George Shiflet, Angela Shiflet’s husband and colleague at Wofford, will also be attending the conference.

The award also recognized Shiflet’s role in the development of Wofford’s Emphasis in Computational Science (ECS), her work in creating teaching modules for the Keck Undergraduate Computational Science Educational Consortium Web site, and her expertise and experience in advising undergraduates and placing them in appropriate internships. With a background in advising students about internships, Shiflet wrote the Undergraduate CSE “Internship Guide” for the Krell Institute’s Web site.

According to Shiflet, in addition to coursework, Wofford ECS students must complete a summer internship involving computation in the sciences. Shiflet has helped students obtain meaningful internships at institutions such as Los Alamos National Laboratory, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, The Scripps Research Institute and various research universities.

One of Shiflet’s students, Jessice McGarity, a senior from Ellenboro, NC, also will be traveling to the UCES conference. McGarity, who completed an internship with Oak Ridge National Laboratory during the summer, was asked to present the computational biology research that she conducted during the internship. Her research shows the Shewanella metabolism under various environmental conditions in an effort to assist in the design of bioremediation programs.

“Jessica is a biology major who is getting an emphasis in computational science,” says Shiflet. “Four weeks into her internship, Oak Ridge offered her a full time job following graduation and agreed to pay for her to attend graduate school.”

Although Jessica has not committed to the full-time position, she continues to do research for Oak Ridge from Wofford’s campus (on a computer provided by Oak Ridge) and will be back with the laboratory during the coming summer.

Besides advising, teaching and writing, Shiflet has presented more than 30 talks, posters and workshops on computational science at conferences. She also serves on the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Education Committee and is a member of a four-person subcommittee who just completed a report on undergraduate computational science education.

The UCES 2006 award that Shiflet will receive consists of a $500 cash prize, a certificate, and a travel allowance to attend the award luncheon, where Shiflet will make a presentation on internships in undergraduate computational science education.

Created to promote and enhance undergraduate education in computational engineering and science, the UCES award program encourages further development of innovative educational resources and programs; recognizes the achievements of CES educations; and disseminates educational material and ideas to the broad scientific and engineering undergraduate community.

Also receiving 2006 awards were: Dr. Rubin Landau, Oregon State University, for publication of A First Course in Scientific Computing: Symbolic, Graphic, and Numeric Modeling Using Maple, Java, Mathematica, and Fortran90, and Dr. Robert Panoff, Shodor Education Foundation, Inc., for implementation of the National Computational Science Institute whose multi-year efforts to encourage and equip undergraduate faculty to teach computational engineering and science have had a major impact on the development of this interdisciplinary field.

Since its inception in 1997, the Krell Institute has been providing superior technical resources, knowledge and experience in managing technology-based education and information programs. Krell successfully manages two outstanding fellowship programs through the Department of Energy, educational outreach programs, and information management and exchange programs.