Three undergraduate students help support CARC systems and users

By Mariah Rosales

The Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC) team welcomed three new undergraduate student employees in the summer and fall of 2023. Maisy Dunlavy, Sumaya Houssini, and Ryan Scherbarth help in a variety of areas, addressing help tickets, building high performance computing (HPC) systems, assisting with student workshops, and much more.

article-image-w-caption-updated.pngDunlavy, a junior dual linguistics and computer science major, is most interested in machine learning and natural language processing. She helps address help tickets, assists with office hours and running workshops for students, and works on tutorials for various programs and software for CARC users. Dunlavy says, “Working at CARC has given me a much better understanding of how computers actually work when we’re programming.” She continues, “I feel like the knowledge I’ve gained at CARC has helped me fill in gaps in the computer science program in terms of how programs are interacting with hardware and how large machines are structured.” Dunlavy is excited to be a part of the team at CARC and plans to attend graduate school once she earns her bachelor’s degree.

Houssini, a junior computer science major focusing on software engineering, hopes to gain and grow experience in the field of HPC while learning the ins-and-outs of Linux, an open-source operating system. Houssini assists the CARC Research Facilitators with various tasks around UNM campus, including software installations, writing scripts, and creating documentation. While describing her interests, goals and future plans in computing, Houssini notes that she has learned a lot about the Linux command line and the various ways it is used in HPC and is looking forward to expanding her knowledge in HPC. “My goal is to become a software engineer,” says Houssini.

Scherbarth, a junior computer science major, helps find solutions to issues that are submitted through help tickets, assists with workshops and office hours, and updates CARC help documentation like QuickBytes tutorials. “I’ve actually been interested in working in the cybersecurity space,” Scherbarth says, “but after managing the Winter Classic Invitational Student Cluster Competition last February, I began to really enjoy high performance computing.” Over the summer, Scherbarth worked closely with his supervisor at CARC while preparing for the SC23 Student Cluster Competition. Scherbarth pursued student employment at CARC after discovering he really enjoyed the work he was doing with HPC. On top of juggling a full course load each semester and his role at CARC, Scherbarth also works at Sandia Labs where he designs secure web applications. He is undecided on what career path he wants to take but plans on attending graduate school after he earns his bachelor’s degree.

University of New Mexico Research Assistant Professor Matthew Fricke supervises Dunlavy and Scherbarth. CARC IT Services Manager Hussein Al Azzawi supervises Houssini. Al Azzawi states, “Our student employees this semester are undergraduates which will give them a couple of years to learn all of the ins-and-outs of HPC and research computing support.”

Whether the students go on to graduate school or straight into the workforce after they graduate from UNM, they’ll have a head start with the experience they’ve received working at CARC. Houssini notes, “I’m hoping that my experience working at CARC will help me gain a wide range of skills to use once I graduate from UNM and start off my career.”