Fermilab’s first MBK Lab Day to open doors to underrepresented communities

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Fermilab will host its first My Brother's Keeper Lab Day on March 29. Pictured here is a snapshot from an event at Sandia Lab, which opened its doors for the 2015 pilot of My Brother’s Keeper Lab Day to 50 local underrepresented middle school students. Photo courtesy of Sandia Labs

Fermilab will host its first My Brother’s Keeper Lab Day on March 29. Pictured here is a snapshot from an event at Sandia Lab, which opened its doors for the 2015 pilot of My Brother’s Keeper Lab Day to 50 local underrepresented middle school students. Photo courtesy of Sandia Labs

Two years ago, President Barack Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address the persistent opportunity gap faced by boys and young men of color, according to the initiative’s website. MBK challenges communities throughout the country to ensure all people receive resources and experiences that allow them to reach their full potential.

In consideration of the President’s call to action, Fermilab will host its first MBK Lab Day on March 29. Fermilab is one of 11 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) labs taking on the MBK challenge this year.

Communities from the suburbs of Chicago to Madison, Wisconsin, are invited to visit Fermilab and learn about the ways that all students can contribute to the incredibly rich field of particle physics. Each community center, church organization or school may bring a maximum of 10 students with a chaperone.

“It’s an opportunity for students to make a connection with Fermilab’s diverse workforce and to see the range of opportunities for people who look like themselves,” said Susan Dahl, an education program leader for the Fermilab Office of Education and Public Outreach and President of Fermilab Friends of Science Education.

Participants will tour Fermilab and hear from laboratory scientists and engineers in a panel discussion.

The President’s initiative aims to inspire students and help them discover new passions in any career path of their choosing.

“Over 200 communities throughout the United States responded to the President’s call with plans on how they’ll engage their youth in the MBK initiative,” said Amanda Quiñones, diversity and inclusions specialist at the DOE. “The national laboratories also began working with their surrounding communities to bring in students that haven’t had access to the labs before.”

The initiative piloted the MBK Lab Day with four national labs in 2015. After the success of the four pilots, the White House made the decision to invite other federal agencies to participate with the hopes of serving additional students and providing gateways to future STEM careers. As a result, 50 laboratories, including the DOE labs, will participate in the Week at the Lab Program.

“As an agency we have an imperative to think about our workforce,” Quiñones said. “We know that demographics are changing and that we have to prepare all American citizens to take on these jobs and help us solve our energy challenges of the future. We also know all students, regardless of who they are and where they are from, need access to tools and opportunities to have a fulfilling life.”

Community centers and schools can register through their city mayor’s office. Registration for Fermilab’s MBK Day ends March 22. For questions about Fermilab’s involvement with MBK Day, email edreg@fnal.gov.