One minute with Jean Reising, applications development and systems analyst

Jean Reising

What do you do at Fermilab?

I work for the lab’s content management group, which means I do a slew of things: I help people with their WordPress, HTML or SharePoint websites. I’m also in charge of the devices and Moxie applications behind the digital signage around the lab. The biggest thing I’m doing right now is serving as project manager for the labwide travel system software applications. People ask me how to do something and, if I don’t know, I have to figure it out. I find that challenges like that are fun.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Cook. Cook, ride my bike, cook, read about cooking. I actually have a degree in culinary arts. I went back to school when I was 40 and got my associate’s degree. I even opened up a little personal chef business for a while.

I read cookbooks, cooking magazines, any chef memoir. Recently I went to Barnes and Noble to get a couple of books, and I ended up getting a fiction book, which I thought was good because it wasn’t about cooking for once, but as it turns out, the book was about this woman who goes to New York and starts to work in a restaurant.

And I love my bicycle. I just recently did Bike the Drive in Chicago. It’s really cool. You get to Lake Michigan at about six in the morning and then ride 30 miles. I’ve been doing it for years.

How would you explain the importance of inclusion at the lab?  

It’s extremely important. I remember when the rainbow pride flag went up in Wilson Hall, the lab’s main office building. I was proud to see that statement of inclusion from the lab’s management. That was a great moment. I walked out there one day, and I saw it, and I immediately took a picture of it. I have it on my phone still.

How can people get involved?

Get a hold of Spectrum, which is the lab resource group for the LGBTQ+ community at the lab. In Spectrum, we want members of the community, allies, or even anybody who’s curious and isn’t necessarily an ally — someone who wants to know what this is or what we stand for.

Why is Pride Month important?

It’s important to say who we are, what we do, and what we stand for. You’re celebrating your diversity and that you’re happy to be who you are. It’s about opening minds and educating people. That’s why I wasn’t afraid to come out. I’m just like you: If you get to know me, you’ll find out I put my socks on the same way as you do. Maybe. You might start with the left; I start with the right, but we both get them on. That’s why I think it’s important for the lab to see everybody. Fermilab is home to so many people from all over the world, but we are all just people.