Brookhaven Women In Science's High School Career Day

Young women from around Long Island participated in day of activities at Brookhaven Lab

On March 29, Brookhaven Women In Science (BWIS) hosted 35 young women for its annual High School Career Day at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory. High school students from the Long Beach, Patchogue-Medford, William Floyd, and Comsewogue school districts spent a day exploring the Lab, meeting Lab professionals, and learning about career possibilities in or related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

“High School Career Day is a valuable way to show young women that there is a place for them if they should choose to pursue work in the STEM fields,” said Kahille Dorsinvil of the Lab’s Stakeholder & Community Relations Office, who coordinated the event for BWIS, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the advancement of women in scientific and technical careers and encourages students to consider futures in STEM. “For these young women, who are exploring options and making decisions about their next educational steps, this event is relevant and timely.”

After a presentation by Brookhaven physicist Elke Aschenauer on her own career path in physics and research at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), the students got a firsthand look at some of the Lab’s other research facilities, including the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN).

The students also met with professionals from various sectors of the lab, including biology, media and communications, and particle physics. During five-minute “speed-chat” sessions the students had a chance to ask the professionals anything they wanted, from “How do you use computer programming in physics?” to “How much are you involved with industry?” or even simply “How did you get interested in what you do?”

Gail Mattson, who oversees environmental protection and occupational health at the Lab, volunteers for the speed-chat each year. "I enjoy participating not only for the opportunity to share my experiences in environmental sciences and engineering, but also because of the energy I get from the students who are excited about potential careers in STEM,” she said.

Brookhaven chemist David Shaffer added, “It’s great that the students got to talk to people with very different science-related careers. It’s important for young people to see all the different options they have.”

The group capped off the day with hands-on activities at Brookhaven’s Science Learning Center.

“It was great to see the students getting excited about their futures and how much they enjoyed visiting the lab,” said Dorsinvil.

RHIC, NSLS-II, and CFN are all DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy.  The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.  For more information, please visit

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