RENCI People Interview with Jackie Kern

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Watch entire video or click on any question below:

Q: You are Director of Technical Services for the computer science department at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. What career path brought you to where you are today?

Q: Do you have mentors or people who have helped you along the way?

Q: In 2007, you ran SCinet the network that is set up each year to support the annual supercomputing (SC) conference. What was it like to be in charge of the world’s fastest network?

Q: What was your biggest challenge running SCinet?

Q: What are some of the other roles you’ve held on the SC planning committee?

Q: You are a successful woman in a field dominated by men. Has that been a challenge?

Q: Do you have advice for young people, especially young women, who are just starting out in a computing or technology career?

Q: Besides your career, you participate in Triathlons. What motivates you to be a triathlete?


Jackie Kern is director of infrastructure for the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She manages the development, maintenance and acquisition of all the college’s IT infrastructure and services, including storage and file sharing services, backup, web hosting infrastructure, servers, data center facilities, networking and compute clusters. She also oversees the development of standards, procedures and policies related to the college’s IT infrastructure, identifies IT resources needed for current and future projects and represents the college with other campus IT organizations.

Previously, she worked as director of technology services for the UIUC Computer Science department and spent 12 years at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) as director of internal infrastructure, systems administrator and local area network specialist. She has been a member of the planning committee for the world’s largest supercomputing conference (SCXY) since 2003. In 2007 she chaired the SCinet committee and managed a group of about 120 volunteers who were tasked with building a multi-gigabit network in a conference center with no outside fiber connectivity. In 2008 she co-chaired the SC Infrastructure Committee and in 2009 the Exhibits Committee. In her spare time, Kern competes in triathlons and teaches group exercise classes.