Virtual Onboarding and Mentoring

Series: Strategies for Working Remotely

As we head into the summer months, student internship programs are underway, albeit virtually as many of us are now working remotely in response to COVID-19 social distancing practices. Several laboratories have already onboarded interns and new team members to work remotely with geographically dispersed teams. What are some lessons learned and best practices about onboarding new hires that we can take away from this experience? In the fourth installment of this IDEAS-ECP panel discussion series, we bring together several staff members of DOE laboratories, who will speak about their experiences in onboarding and mentoring new hires virtually. Topics include challenges, lessons learned, unforeseen benefits, and opportunities to look for from this experience.



Panelist Bios

Helen Cademartori is the Deputy of Operations for the Computing Sciences Area, and the Computational Research Division. She has held similar positions in Biosciences and the IT Division during her 13 year tenure at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Labs). In her current role she oversees all business and operational aspects of operations including Human Resources, finance, travel, conferences and procurement, proposal development, space management and environmental health and safety. She is also responsible for strategic planning for new initiatives and infrastructure upgrades.

Marcey Kelley is the Computing Workforce and Scholar Program Manager at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). She hires approximately 200 students each year and worked with an LLNL team to develop a remote scholar program for 2020. This program was developed in just 6 weeks and will onboard 500 students from across the U.S.

Jay Lofstead is is a Principal Member of Technical Staff in the Scalable System Software department of the Center for Computing Research in Albuquerque, NM. His work focuses on infrastructure to support all varieties of simulation, scientific, and engineering workflows with a strong emphasis on IO, middleware, storage, transactions, operating system features to support workflows, containers, software engineering and reproducibility. He is co-founder of the IO-500 storage list. He also works extensively to support various student mentoring and diversity programs at several venues each year including outreach to both high school and college students. Jay graduated with a BS, MS, and PhD in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology and was a recipient of a 2013 R&D 100 award for his work on the ADIOS IO library.

Bethany (Beth) Mccormick is currently the director of strategic workforce development for the Engineering Directorate at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Since joining LLNL in 2006, Beth has become known as a leader in STEM education and career development throughout the Bay Area and the country. Beth is responsible for Engineering’s student programs, university relationships, employee engagement and diversity and inclusion programs. Beth recently helped lead the transition of LLNL’s summer internship program to a virtual program which included teaching mentors how to manage remotely.

Raj Sankaran is a member of the technical staff at Argonne National Laboratory. Through his research pursuits through Argonne and Northwestern University, Raj collaborates closely with Environmental, Urban, High-Performance Computing and Weather/Climate researchers. Raj co-leads the Waggle Edge-Computing research platform and over the past 9 years, he has supervised/co-supervised over 50 graduate, undergraduate and high-school students through summer internships and graduate study programs. This year, the Waggle team has over half a dozen graduate, undergraduate, and high-school students across various programs (Research Aide, REU, SULI, and Student Visitor) participating in remote internships on both software based research projects and also projects involving physical hardware and sensors.

Moderator Bios

Ashley Barker is the Group Leader for the User Assistance and Outreach (UAO) team at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) located at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL). UAO is responsible for facilitating access to OLCF resources, providing training, documentation, and technical support to users, collecting and reporting on user facility data, and acquainting the public with the work conducted at the OLCF through scientific highlights. The OLCF supports more than 1,200 users and 250 projects annually from a wide spectrum of science domains. Ashley served as the National Climate Research Center (NCRC) Project Director from 2014-2016. The NCRC project represents a partnership between NOAA and DOE and through this partnership, the NCRC team has delivered multiple computer systems to NOAA, allowing the agency to advance its climate modeling and improve our understanding of climate variability and change. Ashley is also currently involved in the Exascale Computing Project (ECP) as the Control Account Manager (CAM) for training and productivity.

Rebecca Hartman-Baker leads the User Engagement Group at NERSC, where she is responsible for engagement with the NERSC user community to increase user productivity via advocacy, support, training, and the provisioning of usable computing environments. As part of this effort, she produces a podcast, ‘NERSC User News’, covering topics of interest to NERSC users, which is syndicated on iTunes, Google Play, and more. She worked as a postdoc and then as a scientific computing liaison in the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, and a senior supercomputing applications specialist at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre before joining NERSC in 2015. Rebecca has hired several dozen people, including students, postdocs, and staff, but until recently had never onboarded anyone remotely. This summer she is welcoming two new staff members and four student interns into her group.

Elaine Raybourn is a social scientist in the Statistics and Human Systems Group (Applied Cognitive Science) at Sandia National Laboratories. Her research focuses on virtual teams, software developer productivity, and transmedia learning. She has worked remotely for a combined total of 14 years while at Sandia National Laboratories: from the UK as a guest researcher at British Telecom; Germany (Fraunhofer FIT) and France (INRIA) as a Fellow of the European Research Consortium in Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM), and most recently from Orlando, Florida as Sandia’s Institutional PI for the IDEAS-ECP productivity project. She leads the panel series Strategies for Working Remotely.