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Computational Scientist
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Suzanne Parete-Koon is a computational Astrophysicist who works in User Assistance and Outreach at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility. She developed an interest in programming by making sprites of butterflies and unicorns with her father and animating them with Basic on a Commodore64 in the 1980s. However, this took a backseat to gymnastics and cheerleading in the 1990s. By the first day of undergrad at Bluffton College, she was way behind students who had spent their high school years programming. She became very frustrated with computer programming courses, but was able to push through with support from good teachers, family, and friends. She used multi-core computers and FORTRAN to do her PhD thesis about the web of nuclear reactions that power stars and stellar explosions. The University of Tennessee granted her doctorate in 2008. She has taught college and high-school physics courses and a number of high performance computing crash courses for ORNL.