Initial impact of Evaluation in Blue Waters Community Engagement Program

The external evaluation activities in the first three years of the Blue Waters Community Engagement program for graduate fellows and undergraduate interns are described in this study. Evaluators conducted formative and summative evaluations to acquire data from the participants at various stages during this period. Details regarding the evaluation methodology, implementation, results, information feedback process, and the overall program impact based on these evaluation findings are outlined here. Participants in both groups were selected from a variety of different scientific backgrounds and their high performance computing expertise also varied at the outset of the program. Implementation challenges stemming from these issues were identified through the evaluation, and accommodations were made in the initial phases of the program. As a result, both the graduate fellowship and undergraduate internship programs were able to successfully overcome many of the identified problems by the end of the third year. The evaluation results also show the significant impact the program was able to make on the future careers of the participants.