Pictured, left to right, are participants in the MSU/USDA Graduate Summer Research Experience Program: Rito Medina, Mirhossein Karimi, Luke Fuhrer, Xiaoying Li, Chintan Maniyar, Emma Schultz, Ajaya Dahal, Dhiraj Srivastava, Eric Fiah, and Sabyasachi Biswas. Photo by David Ammon
A cohort of graduate scholars from around the country have converged at Mississippi State for several weeks to gain high-performance computing skills through a summer research experience program.
MSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture created the MSU/USDA Graduate Summer Research Experience Program for scholars to apply high-performance computing resources to a variety of research projects across multiple agricultural disciplines. The program is sponsored by the university's Geosystems Research Institute and College of Veterinary Medicine.
Students receive a stipend for the summer, along with mentorship and a customized curriculum based on their personal interests.
Associate Professor Garrett Street in MSU's Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture is SRE program mentor and co-investigator for the Advancing Agricultural Research through High-Performance Computing (AAR-HPC) project.
"We recruited impressive master's and doctoral students to conduct research in interest areas, while exposing them to new training sessions and ideas," Street said. "The mentors provide specific training activities, and the mentees get to work with each other and interact with many researchers from a broad range of fields, interests, experiences and perspectives throughout the program."
He said students learn skills that aid them when they return to their own universities.
"My hope is that the skills we teach students here will carry them into their future careers, and they can translate what they learned to other students in their labs," Street said. "We are so fortunate that MSU has this cooperation with the USDA Agricultural Research Service. I hope we can continue to provide training and research to make students more competitive in the job market."
Rito Medina, a plant science master's student from California State University, Fresno, commended the dedication of advisors and program personnel.
"This experience has exceeded my expectations. My advisor has been supportive and patient while assisting me, the professors have been welcoming and excited to invest in us, and the program coordinator, Dixie [Cartwright], made it special for all of us," Medina said. "We were introduced to a program where people invest beyond our educational and research interests and provide opportunities to network and create relationships with peers, which has helped the non-MSU students feel welcomed."
Just like Medina, all the graduate students have been impressed by the comprehensive learning they have received since arriving at MSU and appreciated that the program has offered in-depth training for their future careers.
Luke Fuhrer, a doctoral student from the University of Georgia, said the SRE program points to the future of agricultural research.
"This program pushes the boundaries of the kinds of problems we can solve by bringing people with varied backgrounds and expertise together. We can identify problems we didn't know existed, understanding it takes a team to solve them," Fuhrer said. "For instance, the only way we will solve big problems, like feeding nine billion by 2050, will be through diverse teams with different approaches and styles collaborating well together."
The program, which concludes this week, includes the following graduate students:
California State University, Fresno:
Sabyasachi Biswas, Bangladesh, electrical and computer engineering doctoral student.
University of Georgia:
Chintan Maniya, India, remote sensing and artificial intelligence doctoral student.
Luke Fuhrer, South Carolina, crop and soil science doctoral student.
Dhiraj Srivastava, India, agriculture science and computer science master's student.
Xiaoying Li, China, plant breeding and genetics doctoral student.
In addition to Street, MSU faculty mentors include Dana Morin in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture; Joby Czarnecki, Sathish Samiappan and Alessandro Matese, all with the Geosystems Research Institute; John Ball and Ali Gurbuz in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Brian Smith, Leslie Strawderman and Reuben Burch in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; Mahalingam Ramkumar in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering; and Bindu Nanduri in Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine.