New Fermi Explorers program receives funding to strengthen undergraduate diversity in STEM


Fermilab has received funding from the Department of Energy Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists for a new year-long program to increase the diversity of undergraduate students applying to its Community College Internship and Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship, and more broadly to internships in STEM fields.

The Fermi Explorers program starts up this fall. Fermilab staff will work with promising college-level students in demographic groups underrepresented in STEM who, with training and professional development, would be good future candidates for internships supported by the DOE WDTS Office.

Harold Washington College students discuss the Community College Internship with Fermilab representatives. Photo courtesy of Cara Brown

In the program, the laboratory professionals will be trained in science communication and diversity and inclusion strategies. After a period of student recruitment, they will host skill development workshops for the undergraduates and familiarize them with STEM internships available to them. Students will participate in “upskilling” activities, such as software development, hardware construction and data science, improving their confidence and illustrating research areas available at Fermilab. They will also shadow laboratory staff.

By leveraging the world-class expertise at Fermilab and its proximity to a number of Chicagoland communities underrepresented in STEM, Fermi Explorers will build a bridge between America’s premier particle physics laboratory and local communities.