by: Damian Hopkins, TACC
This May at TACC, the mood was familial and festive as Code@TACC alumni gathered with their families to celebrate the inaugural class of Susan Fratkin Scholarship recipients. A total of 23 students received scholarships in the amount of $500 to be used for higher education purposes.
“I loved celebrating with Code@TACC alumni who will be graduating high school, meeting their families, and seeing their excitement,” said Rosalia Gomez, director of Education & Outreach (E&O) at TACC. “As a first-generation college student, scholarships helped me to focus on academics and not worry as much about financial needs. I hope our Code@TACC students will feel the same way.”
Susan Fratkin — the scholarship’s namesake — is a renowned ambassador for high performance computing (HPC) workforce development. From 1989 to 2015, Fratkin served as founding executive director of the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC), an organization that advocates for the use of advanced computing technologies to accelerate scientific discovery for national competitiveness, supporting economic and workforce development. Susan Fratkin smiles during TACC’s inaugural Fratkin Scholarship banquet. The $500 scholarship can be used for higher education purposes.
Fratkin, who began her career working for Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) in the 1960’s, was able to focus more on broadening participation when she retired from CASC.
“Seeing the diversity of the Fratkin scholars is an exciting aspect of this event,” said Fratkin, who was honored by Gomez for her lifetime of efforts in high performance computing and workforce development. “Students from every walk of life should be given an opportunity to succeed, and this scholarship provides a chance for high schoolers to create a wonderful future for themselves.” “Students from every walk of life should be given an opportunity to succeed, and this scholarship provides a chance for high schoolers to create a wonderful future for themselves.”
Susan Fratkin, Founding Executive Director of the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation
Funding for these scholarships was made possible by CASC, which serves as a sustaining partner of the scholarship fund. Having already donated $10,000, CASC has committed to an annual donation of $2,000 per year for the next five years. Founded in 1989, CASC is an educational nonprofit organization with nearly 100 member institutions representing many of the nation’s most forward-thinking universities and computing centers.
“To increase the number of diverse professionals entering research computing and data fields, we must support students from underrepresented populations,” said CASC executive director Kathryn Kelley. “As a sustaining partner of the fund, we are excited that Fratkin Scholarship awardees are preparing for their first year of college.” Code@TACC alumna Jayla House models the hoodie presented to each scholarship recipient.
Niti Yada of Coppell High School in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex plans to attend UT Dallas to study neuroscience and AI development. Yada attended Code@TACC Connected in 2021 and Cybersecurity in 2022 and credits the experience with inspiring her to pursue STEM studies.
“I’m honored to be a Fratkin Scholarship recipient,” Yada said. “My time at Code@TACC camps was the experience of a lifetime, and I’m never going to forget the friends I made and the family atmosphere I felt at the camps.” “I’m honored to be a Fratkin Scholarship recipient. My time at Code@TACC camps was the experience of a lifetime, and I’m never going to forget the friends I made and the family atmosphere I felt at the camps.”
Lennie Von Quintus of Akins Early College High School in Austin plans to attend Austin Community College for two years, then transfer to UT Austin or Texas State. Von Quintus says he will study meteorology or electrical engineering and credits Code@TACC camps for piquing his interest in STEM.
“I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude and appreciation to be a Fratkin Scholarship recipient,” said Von Quintus, who attended Code@TACC Connected and Robotics camps in 2021. “I love technology, graphics, computing, and programming, and with support from TACC, I hope to have a bright future.”
Since its inception in 2015, TACC’s signature Code@TACC camps have served more than 500 students with the majority from African American/Black and Hispanic/Latinx backgrounds. Hundreds of these campers have gone on to pursue postsecondary education in STEM fields. The summer camps are available at TACC are: Code@TACC Robotics, Code@TACC Connected, GenCyber@TACC, and GenCyber@TACC Level UP. TACC Senior Systems Administrator Je’aime Powell served as emcee for the Fratkin Scholarship banquet.
“I’m grateful for our funders and TACC staff’s continued support over the years,” Gomez said. “Our leadership team trusts and values the work that E&O is doing to broaden participation in computing and to create opportunities for students from all backgrounds.”
“Students who have never considered a career in computing should try something new and check out our Code@TACC camps,” Gomez continued. “We show students different pathways after high school and have fun while teaching them about the multitude of career opportunities across STEM.”
Full List of Recipients
Abdon Morales — IDEA Montopolis College Prep
Abdul Lodro — Navarro Early College High School
Akshay Gaitonde — Westwood High School
Braylon Hill — Cedar Ridge High School
Catherine Davey — Westwood High School
Charles Isaacs — Akins High School
Derrick Thomas Jr. — KIPP Oak Cliff Academy
Halli Hewett — Westwood High School
Iman Suleman — Belaire High School
Javarion Fincher — KIPP Oak Cliff Academy
Jay Rawal — Jersey Village High School
Jaya Taylor — Akins High School
Jimmy Liang — Allen High School
Lennie Von Quintus — Akins High School
Manika Aggarwal — Westwood High School
Neha Palsikar — Leander High School
Niti Yadav — Coppell High School
Omoniyi Barbee — Akins High School
Praveena Arni — Rick Reedy High School
Rafaela Rohdis — Cedars International Next Generation High School
Sabina Sokol — Foothill High School
Shamiya Lin — Obra D. Tompkins High School
Smriti Jasti — Round Rock High School
Learn more! Visit the Susan Fratkin Scholarship webpage to support scholarships for Code@TACC alumni.