S.Rowe,(516) 282-2345 or
Diane Greenberg, (516) 282-2347
Upton, NY -- The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory offered a new educational opportunity for Suffolk Community College (SCC) student-faculty teams this summer. SCC engineering students honed their skills working on technical tasks involving the Laboratory's newest particle accelerator project, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). Due to be completed by the end of the decade, RHIC will be a world-class facility for physics research.
Funded by DOE, the SCC-BNL Student-Faculty Summer Project included four engineering students and two physics instructors who worked under the supervision of Brookhaven's technical specialists. The faculty provided support to the students and also participated in a project at the Laboratory's National Synchrotron Light Source, the world's largest facility for scientific research using x-rays, ultraviolet and infrared radiation.
"Enrollment at community colleges has been increasing in recent years, and, in fact, the National Science Foundation recently reported that half of all college students taking science courses are enrolled in community colleges," said SCC Professor Robert Warasila, who, along with his colleague, Professor Thomas Breeden, participated in the new program. "The innovative project offered by Brookhaven exposed these students to life and work at a large-scale scientific institution, and it has reinforced their commitment to engineering as a profession."
Karl Swyler, manager of Brookhaven's Office of Educational Programs, who initiated the new program, commented, "It is important to nurture community college students, whose technical skills are useful in many of our science and engineering projects. Many of these students decide to go to four-year colleges. This new program was very worthwhile, benefiting the students, faculty and Laboratory. If we can secure funds, we will continue it next year."
Other BNL educational programs offered for community college students include the Community College Honors Program, a 10-week summer program that provides science research and technical experience for diverse students from six community colleges. The students for this program are chosen from Brookhaven's College Mini-Semester Program, a one-week program offered in January in which students from selected colleges participate in hands-on research, attend lectures and are taken on guided tours of Laboratory facilities.
In addition, Brookhaven's Diversity Office provides on-the-job experience for two-year and four-year college students in the Science and Engineering Opportunities Program for Minorities and Women. Students whose majors include applied mathematics, physical and life sciences, engineering and scientific journalism are employed in related fields at the Laboratory for 10 weeks during the summer.
The Diversity Office also participates in the SCC Women's Studies Professional Intern Program. Brookhaven provides mentors for student interns who work at the Laboratory for one semester, for six to 25 hours per week.
Brookhaven National Laboratory carries out basic and applied research in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences and in selected energy technologies. Brookhaven is operated by Associated Universities, Inc., a nonprofit research management organization, under contract with the Department of Energy.