One minute with Lidija Kokoska, mechanical engineer

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Lidija Kokoska is currently working on tests of the Mu2e transport production solenoid in the Heavy Assembly Building. Photo: Al Johnson

How long have you worked at Fermilab?
It will be five years this summer. I started in 2012. Before that I had been working in private industry for about five years. It was a small company, about 30 or 40 people, and we were basically suppliers for places like Fermilab. Now I get to be the end user for these products, which is kind of nice.

What do you do as a lab mechanical engineer?
I work in the Technical Division Test and Instrumentation Department, mostly testing magnets. Right now, I’m working on the relocation of a test stand that was at the Central Helium Liquefier building. Now it’s going to HAB, the Heavy Assembly Building. We’re modifying the test stand to test the Mu2e transport solenoid production magnets.

What’s a typical day for you?
It varies day to day, depending on what state we’re in. Usually I’ll come into work, meet with technicians about modifications over at HAB, figure out the day’s work. Then I’ll work on design work, analysis or engineering notes. Later I’ll meet with the techs again to see if there are any issues or problems.

What do you like about working at Fermilab?
I like meeting people who come from all over the world, the variety of people. I also appreciate the overall concentration of intellect at Fermilab. It’s a unique opportunity to be working among so many different smart people and on so many different things outside my expertise.

You recently finished a term on the Engineering Advisory Committee. What was that like?
I was working with Paul Czarapata and Chris Mossey as part of the EAC. Various engineers got together to discuss different engineering-related issues with the director. I really liked that because it gave you an opportunity to look at engineering at the lab with a higher, 30,000-foot view. It was a good experience, because it takes you out of your bubble and lets you see how other people work and what kinds of issues they run into.

What do you do outside of work?
I play guitar in a band, the Blue Freedom Band. It’s a cover band that I play in with friends. We perform mostly in bars in the southwest suburbs or festivals. A lot of the people I play with grew up in that area, so they’ll book gigs different places around there.

Lately I’ve been taking improv classes in Chicago. It’s so much fun. My sister and I take classes together. We wanted something for us to be able to do together since we live far away from each other. We did some classes at Second City, and now we’re trying to do classes at iO.