|Tanja Waltrip manages Fermilab’s student and teacher science internship programs. Photo: Reidar Hahn|
What is your position with Fermilab?
I am the internship program administrator for the Education Office. I’ve been in the position for one year. I oversee 11 programs. Most are typically about 10 summer weeks.
One program is the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy SIR Program. Those students are here every Wednesday from September through April and for six full weeks in the summer. The other programs are undergraduate, graduate and teacher programs supported by Fermilab or DOE.
Right now, we are in the application period, and I am working with the physicists who are in charge of the individual internship programs to prepare for next summer.
What in your background has helped you in this position?
I am an educator. I began as an elementary school teacher and received my teaching certificates in English as a second language and special education. I am always happy to help students reach their goals.
What are you looking forward to next summer?
Next summer I get to put on my teacher’s hat. The interns are expected to write a research paper at the conclusion of their program. I will guide them during a six-week workshop, breaking down all the sections involved.
What has been most satisfying for you working at Fermilab?
Fermilab is a wonderful community of people — it is very supportive and diverse. Also, my colleagues in the Education Office are all great mentors to me.
Working with the interns is so rewarding. Some have written since leaving saying that working hand in hand with the physicists was an unbelievable opportunity and the best summer. I go the extra mile to help them meet any challenge here and have a successful Fermilab experience.
What do you most enjoy doing in your off time?
I am a beach lover, so there you will find me when I am not with my interns, here at my desk or roaming the halls of Fermilab.
Do you prefer salt or fresh water?
I love the Carolina beaches, but I’ll take Lake Michigan on a beautiful day.