For seven years, the Bardeen Engineering Leadership Program has helped bring young, creative engineering talent to Fermilab, invigorating its scientific projects with a fresh perspective. This year the program’s selection committee welcomed their eighth recipient of the Bardeen position, mechanical engineer Kavin Ammigan.
“We’re glad to have him here,” said Elaine McCluskey, chair of the program’s 2012 selection committee. “He has a variety of engineering experience and was a good match for what we do at Fermilab.”
Ammigan came to the laboratory last month, having received his doctoral degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in May. He currently works with the Accelerator Division to research and analyze target materials to withstand high-intensity particle beams for future experiments such as LBNE and Project X.
“I’m looking forward to starting my career here,” he said, adding that his work entails a nice balance of fundamental research and engineering.
This isn’t his first time working at the laboratory. As an undergraduate, Ammigan participated in Fermilab’s co-op student program. Now, nine years later, he now serves a lab that is shifting its focus from high-energy projects to more high-intensity experiments.
“I was surprised by the number of new projects the lab is taking on,” he said.
And, McCluskey says, new projects benefit from new talent.
Every year, the Bardeen program’s selection committee nominates an engineer no more than three years out of graduate school to join the laboratory as a permanent employee. In their worldwide search for candidates, the six-member committee looks for engineers with potential for leadership and for bringing original approaches to Fermilab’s projects.
“The fresh approach enlivens the program at the laboratory,” McCluskey said. “We saw a chance for Kavin to be a leader in our engineering efforts.”
In his or her first week at the lab, the Bardeen employee tries on a few projects for size, spending a few days in each of several different departments before settling on one. The flexible approach helps ensure a good fit for both department and employee.
“All our future plans for the Intensity Frontier hinge on developing target systems that can handle higher and higher beam intensity and power,” said Stuart Henderson, directorate sponsor of the Bardeen program. “It’s fantastic to have Kavin joining us to help strengthen our efforts in targetry.”
The program is named for two-time Nobel laureate John Bardeen, who served on the Honorary Board of Directors for Friends of Fermilab.
The search committee will begin to accept the next round of Bardeen program applications in November.