Annual Summertime Science Getaways Start at Brookhaven Lab

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Many of the students and professors from universities across the country who have begun annual summer research programs at Brookhaven Lab.

The Brookhaven Lab community grew on June 3 when students and professors from universities across the country began annual summer research programs on site. That day, incoming undergraduate, graduate, and faculty participants gathered in Berkner Hall for a welcoming ceremony to kick off their science summertime getaways.

Teaming up with scientists and researchers in nearly every area of Brookhaven Lab's scientific community, participants will get hands-on experience at the Lab's world-class facilities such as the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, National Synchrotron Light Source, and Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, as well as in directorates such as Basic Energy Sciences; Environmental, Biological, and Computational Sciences; Global & Regional Solutions; Nuclear & Particle Physics; and Photon Sciences.

"The programs that started last week are just the beginning of an exciting summer season as we promote science literacy and educate new generations of scientists, engineers, technicians, and teachers."

— Ken White, manager of Brookhaven Lab's Office of Educational Programs and founding director of the Portal to Discovery

The interns who arrived on June 3 are participating in three different Department of Energy (DOE) programs—Community College Institute (CCI), Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI), and Visiting Faculty Program (VFP)—or one of several other internship programs at Brookhaven Lab: College Research Teams Program (CRTP), Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP), and Supplemental Undergraduate Research Program (SURP).

The theme for this year's summer programs is "Where Safety and Science Work Side-by-side."

"Safety is an essential part of good science. OEP and our mentors, who we can't thank enough for their commitment to science education, will ensure that interns fully understand that," said Ken White, manager of the Lab's Office of Educational Programs (OEP) and founding director of the Portal to Discovery—which currently consists of the Lab's existing science-learning facilities and a partnership with the Long Island Museum of Science and Technology (LIMSAT), a not-for-profit institution dedicated to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Welcoming the Next Members of the Scientific Workforce

"The mentors you'll meet here are creating new machines, probing new materials, and developing new mathematical models to look at things that have never been seen before. You're now part of that enterprise," said White, as he spoke to this year's participants during the welcoming ceremony.

During the ceremony, Deputy Director for Operations Mike Bebon said, "I have found through experience that people who are truly professional at what they do manage risk in two major and opposite ways. They will take bold intellectual risks, thinking in new, untried, and innovative ways, and will achieve great breakthroughs and discoveries as a result. However, at the same time they will aggressively minimize physical risks to themselves and the people with whom they work. 

"As you work alongside our professionals here at BNL, I expect that you will observe both of these risk management approaches," Bebon continued. "I know you are eager to learn as much as you can about your field of professional interest and you certainly will have that opportunity. But I also encourage you to learn the tools, techniques and approaches that will keep you and your colleagues safe. They will distinguish you as a true professional and serve you well throughout your career."

DOE Brookhaven Site Office Manager Frank Crescenzo also welcomed the participants during the ceremony.

"I know you're here to work with real scientists and engineers at state-of-the-art facilities doing real science on real projects, but while you're doing that, ask yourself and your mentor, 'Where did all this stuff come from?' and, 'Who pays the bills here?'" Crescenzo said. "No matter where your career takes you, remember that there will be an important business side of things—especially in science.

"Remember that you can't save or change the world if you're injured," Crescenzo added.

More Students Are on the Way

"The programs that started last week are just the beginning of a exciting summer season as we promote science literacy and educate new generations of scientists, engineers, technicians, and teachers," explained White. "Hundreds more students and teachers are on their way here to participate in programs offered by the Lab and through the Portal to Discovery with our partner the Long Island Matrix of Science and Technology (LIMSAT)."

In the largest comprehensive urban project-focused internship program organized by OEP, one hundred students will begin a three-week program on geosciences later this month. The students—mostly from the City University of New York, but from a number of other schools throughout New York State as well—will become members of the S-SAFE (Subway-Surface Airflow Exchange) program. They will participate in workshops about meteorology, tracer technology, contaminant transport, modeling, instrumentation, and counterterrorism, while also joining in the largest urban airflow study ever conducted to better understand the risks posed by airborne contaminants, including chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) weapons as they might be dispersed in the atmosphere and in New York City's subway system.

Many more summer program participants, including more college students and faculty as well as middle and high school students and teachers, will continue to arrive at the Lab this month for programs including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Safeguards and Security Summer Course, Nuclear Chemistry Summer School, and High School Research Program.

During the summer, the Portal to Discovery through OEP's partnership with LIMSAT, will host more than 250 students from grades 4 through 12 for the second annual Summer Science Explorations hand-on workshops—including two workshops in partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's DNA Learning Center. Students participating in this year's summer programs include members of several special groups including the Children's Defense Fund's Freedom School located at Stony Brook University as well as local chapters of the Girl Scouts of America and Girls Inc. The K-12 programs at OEP will also host a summer camp for employees' children and guests for the Summer Sunday open house on July 14 at the Science Learning Center.

Tags: education

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