One Step, Two Step, CSTEP

Collegiate Science, Technology, and Engineering Students Visit the Lab

Once again, Brookhaven scientists captured imaginations and sparked enthusiasm for New York State college students by sharing research and technology during the annual Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) mini-course.


Participants in CSTEP with Lab mentors and Assistant Laboratory Director for Community, Education, Government and Public Affairs Marge Lynch (front row, fourth from right) and DOE Deputy Site Manager Maria Dikeakos (front row, third from right).

Underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students from 14 New York State colleges and universities spent the week of January 10-14 viewing “science in action” and gaining hands-on experience with Brookhaven scientists. The program, led by Educational Programs Administrator Catherine Osiecki, is a stepping stone toward applying for Department of Energy (DOE) summer research programs.

Students, college counselors, and BNL mentors were welcomed by Assistant Laboratory Director for Community, Education, Government and Public Affairs Marge Lynch, and DOE Deputy Site Manager Maria Dikeakos. “It’s wonderful to feel the enthusiasm in this room,” said Lynch. “We hope that your stay here will contribute to your passion for science and we hope to see you back at Brookhaven as interns.” Dikeakos added, “This is where scientists from around the world gather and collaborate. We look forward to working with young scientists like you to help you transform your great ideas into reality.”

Fordham University CSTEP counselor Danielle Torres is fairly new to the program and said she recognizes that programs like CSTEP are a valuable resource. “The Lab provides a unique opportunity to help our underrepresented students get on the road to success,” she said.

While at the Laboratory, students visited the National Synchrotron Light Source, Laser Electron Accelerator Facility, STAR Detector, The Center for Functional Nanomaterials, and the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory. They participated in hands-on workshops and listened to lectures on many topics, including x-ray crystallography, alternative energy, and the development of gamma-ray imaging.

Michelle Llanos, a freshman in the civil engineering program at Hofstra University, said she was the only girl in her high school physics class and that she wishes more women would consider science and engineering careers. “I know women would consider it if they visited Brookhaven Lab. This week was awesome,” said Llanos.

A winter snow storm canceled the students’ visit to biology labs and the magnet factory. But the storm didn’t seem to impact their enthusiasm. Aaron Conway, a biology/pre-med student from Onondaga Community College said, “The amount of knowledge here is amazing. In high school I would have welcomed a snow day, but here I feel like we missed out on seeing some great science. I especially enjoyed learning about the research done using beamlines at the light source. I’m ready to fill out my application for the summer research program!”

Norman Sewell, an electronic engineering student at the State University of New York at Farmingdale said he first got interested in wiring circuits and motor controls while attending Transit Technology High School in New York City. “My professor mentioned this program to me about an hour before the informational meeting was planned at my college and I got accepted at the last minute. I believe it was meant for me to come here and see what my future career may look like,” said Sewell.

Kenneth White, manager of the Lab’s Office of Educational Programs said: “This program fosters the relationship between BNL and New York State Colleges and Universities to promote science, technology, and mathematics. Of great importance is the participation of the BNL mentors. Their willingness to teach, share knowledge, and motivate students toward a career in science or engineering is the core reason for the continued success of educational programs at the Laboratory.”

Tags: education

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