Deborah Keszenman Pereyra, a biologist associate in the Biosciences Department and beamline scientist in the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory, speaks with local high school students at the Brookhaven Women in Science High School Career Day.
On April 16, more than 40 young women from local high schools attended the Brookhaven Women in Science (BWIS) High School Career Day at Brookhaven National Laboratory, an annual event funded by Brookhaven Science Associates and BWIS member fees and contributions. Visiting from William Floyd, Center Moriches, Greenport, and Mattituck-Cutchogue High Schools, these science-inclined students spent the day learning about different career opportunities and speaking to researchers who have found scientific inspiration and professional success at the Lab.
To kick off the day, students browsed a mini career expo featuring booths hosted by BWIS, Brookhaven's Media & Communications Office, the NASA Space Radiation Lab, Brookhaven's Office of Environmental Management, Brookhaven's Center for Computational Sciences, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Brookhaven's Office of Educational Programs (OEP).
"Coordinating the BWIS High School Career Day each year is a pleasure, not only because the students and their teachers appreciate the visit and learn so much about Brookhaven, but also because all the volunteers from the Lab do such a wonderful job in representing their work and this amazing institution," said Kahille Dorsinvil, a science educator with OEP. In partnership with the Lab's Community Relations Office, Dorsinvil has been organizing High School Career Day for the past six years. "The career table hosts, presenters, speakers, and tour leaders make high-level research science interesting, relevant, and meaningful for these local students," she said.
Following the expo, several Brookhaven researchers spoke about why they chose to pursue careers in science, and how different decisions brought them to Brookhaven. These scientists included Vinita Ghosh of the Nonproliferation and National Security Department, Anna Goldberg of the Collider-Accelerator Department, Stefanie LaSota of the Environmental Sciences Department, and Cecilia Sanchez-Hanke of the Photon Sciences Directorate. All of the speakers conveyed the excitement a career in science brings to their day-to-day lives, and how curiosity about the world around us drives them toward new discoveries.
The group of visiting high school students then visited two of Brookhaven's state-of-the-art experimental facilities. The National Synchrotron Light Source tour was led by Sanchez-Hanke, and the Collider-Accelerator Department tour was led by Karen Chen-Weigart. Afterward, Rosa E. Diaz spoke about her cutting-edge research in the Electron Microscopy Group, located in the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, where scientists work with materials measuring as small as a few billionths of a meter to understand their molecular structure and properties. This information may help Brookhaven scientists develop new technologies to meet sustainable energy needs.
Finally, the group visited the Science Learning Center, where Dorsinvil showed off Brookhaven's accessible and fun interactive exhibits and hands-on activities. More than 20,000 elementary school students visit the Learning Center each year for an introduction to the basic principles of science.
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