Fermilab Young Professionals presents the Fermilab Buddy Program

Fermilab Young Professionals started in 2017 with about 30 young professionals looking for a space to connect with fellow Fermilab community members. As a Fermilab LRG initiative, it is organized by employee volunteers, and all its events are coordinated by the FYP membership. Today, FYP has 330 members on its mailing list and promotes all work-life integration initiatives at Fermilab.

FYP is led by eight board members who focus on different aspects and events: virtual tours of Fermilab facilities; professional development workshops; social events via Zoom; and a few in-person small gatherings. Kerry Aschenbach, Mohammed Elrafih, Michael Geelhoed, Trevor Nichols, Jakob Schaeffer, Roshanda Spillers, Ahmed Syed and Jeny Teheran have been working together for the past few years, offering diverse spaces to strengthen the collaborative spirit of young professionals at Fermilab.

Alyssa Miller (AD) and Shyamala Shanmugasundaram (AD). Photo: FYP

More recently, Liz Sexton-Kennedy, Fermilab’s chief information officer, became FYP’s new executive sponsor. “We are grateful to Tim Meyer for his leadership and guidance since the start of FYP. We welcome Liz to FYP and are looking forward to continue our mission with her leadership,” said Teheran.

Sara Simon (PPD) and Yun He (AD). Photo: FYP

In 2021, FYP designed and launched the Fermilab Buddy Program. This program welcomes new employees, enhancing the onboarding experience and aiming to increase their sense of belonging to the Fermilab community. “Some new employees hired since March 2020 have not been on site once. It’s hard to create the Fermilab community through Zoom rooms,” said Geelhoed.

Sajid Ali (SCD) and Valerie Higgins (CCD). Photo: FYP

New employees are matched with a buddy, who is a current Fermilab employee to help them navigate the lab and their new position. This program is also a great opportunity to assist employees in understanding of how their role ties to the Fermilab mission. The Fermilab Buddy Program is modeled after the FYP Buddy Initiative, which matched about 20 new young employees with fellow colleagues.

Carly Kurr (COO) and Alison Markowitz (Chief strategic partnership officer). Photo: FYP

For each pair, the program runs for six months and is divided into three phases. Each phase focuses on diverse topics, such as the Fermilab working environment, resources and organizational knowledge. The first cohort started in November 2021. A few of them shared pictures of their meetings (in-person and through Zoom) that you see here.

Lindsay Holloway (FI procurement) and Laura Rogas (Office of the Directorate). Photo: FYP

FYP invites the Fermilab community to join the program using the form. A second cohort for the Fermilab Buddy Program is scheduled to start on Jan. 31. Everyone is welcome to participate in the program.