2014-15 Fermilab Student and Postdoc Association works to improve laboratory life

The 2014-15 FSPA officers are, top row, from left: Mateus Carneiro, Pengfei Ding, Alex Drlica-Wagner. Bottom row, from left: Rob Fine, Pavanpoot Pandey.

Fermilab is a home away from home for many of its scientist users, who often come from abroad for an extended stay at the lab to conduct their research. The Fermilab Student and Postdoc Association works to create a comfortable research home for these users.

FSPA’s new officers, elected earlier this month for one year, plan to pick up on accomplishments of last year’s representatives.

“We want to improve the quality of life here,” said incoming FSPA officer Pengfei Ding, a Fermilab postdoc on the NOvA experiment. “We plan to continue FSPA’s excellent work.”

Ding is one of five newly elected officers. The others are Mateus Carneiro, Alex Drlica-Wagner, Rob Fine and Pavanpoot Pandy.

The FSPA officers understand first-hand what it’s like to live at the laboratory and far from home. Three of the five hail from outside the United States. Four of them reside in the Fermilab Village, where, with the assistance of one of last year’s officers, residents were recently hooked up with better Internet connectivity.

This year, the officers said, they hope to provide Village residents with faucet water purifiers to make it more convenient to filter drinking water. They also plan to host more sports events for social interaction and as a way to release energy.

“Many families live in the Village, and we represent them, too,” said Carneiro, who works on MINERvA as a graduate student at the Brazilian Center for Physics Research (CBPF). “We want to bring people together, not just to work, but to talk.”

In the spring, the officers will accompany the Fermilab Users Executive Committee to Washington, D.C., to advocate for particle physics. And in the summer they will host the annual New Perspectives conference, which takes place during the Fermilab Users Meeting.

Meet the new group at this year’s Halloween party, which takes place at Kuhn Barn on Friday, Oct. 31, at 6:30 p.m. All are invited. Costumes are encouraged, and snacks and beverages will be provided.

You can subscribe to the FSPA email list or follow them on Facebook.

“I’m excited to support the Fermilab student and postdoc community this year through organizing traditional events, as well as to help create new traditions,” said Fine, graduate student at the University of Rochester on MINERvA. “I’m grateful for the service of our outgoing FSPA leadership, and I look forward to making them proud.”

Leah Hesla

Don your spookiest outfit, grab a friend and go get some candy at this year’s Halloween party at Kuhn Barn. The party starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31. Costumes are encouraged.