When Justyna Widera moved to the United States from Poland nine years ago, she hoped to teach chemistry. Four years ago, she landed her dream job as an assistant professor at Adelphi University on Long Island. “My expectations have been exceeded,” said Widera. “I am teaching chemistry at the university and doing hands-on science research at Brookhaven Lab. My career is on the right track and I couldn’t be happier.”
Widera obtained her Ph.D in Chemistry from Warsaw University, and is particularly interested in studying nanostructures relating to solar cell applications. She was searching the web for a summer research program and came across the BNL site. She contacted Noel Blackburn of the Lab’s educational program office, who arranged for her to work with BNL scientist and group leader Charles Black in the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN).
“Dr. Widera’s interest in materials for solar energy conversion overlap strongly with our CFN research program in nanostructured photovoltaic devices,” said Black. “We’re pleased to host her group in the CFN this summer and have been enjoying the scientific interactions so far.”
Joining Widera for the summer research program are two of her Adelphi students, Scott Gordon and Jason Lane. Both students are working toward degrees in chemistry. Widera said that Gordon and Lane seem to be comfortable in the research setting, are enthusiastic and work diligently.
Jason Lane (left) and Scott Gordon
Gordon admitted, “We spend a lot of time scratching our heads trying to figure things out, but inevitably we learn something new at the end of every day. This is the best on-the-job experience I could hope for.”
Lane agreed and added, “It’s been a great experience working in a state-of-the-art science lab. The instruments here carry a high degree of precision and the expertise of the scientists around us is unparalleled.”
Widera said that Black is a great mentor to her and the students. “We are all very grateful for the direction and knowledge that Dr. Black is sharing with us. The research is so stimulating that the students and I are totally captivated in exploring all the different research possibilities. It is my hope that Adelphi University will become a regular user of the Center for Functional Nanomaterials. It’s a fantastic facility and I look forward to a long-term partnership with BNL.”