Fermilab to host Pathway Summer School program

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has received funding to co-host a STEM-based summer program for students from underrepresented groups and underserved schools. The funding comes from the DOE Office of Science’s Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce, or RENEW, initiative.

Sponsored by the DOE’s Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists, the RENEW Pathway Summer Schools aim to diversify the STEM pipeline via hands-on learning opportunities through awards for five programs at six national laboratories. They are intended to create a consortium of intentional, concerted efforts across the DOE national lab network. The programs are designed to initiate and sustain inclusive pathways for young students to enter the science and technology workforce.

“We need a diverse workforce to solve the big science challenges we are currently facing now and in the future,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, director of the DOE Office of Science. “The summer schools will engage a diverse group of students who may not have otherwise seen themselves in science. Our hope is that they see the opportunities available in the science disciplines and continue to pursue a career.”

Participants in the inaugural cohort of the Fermilab and Brookhaven Exchange Program will get to spend time at two different national labs in a single summer in a first-of-its-kind program. Photo: Fermilab

Created in collaboration with Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Fermilab and Brookhaven Summer School Exchange Program provides first-year college students the unique opportunity to experience scientific research at two different national labs. Two cohorts of 20 students will spend three weeks at each laboratory for summer school-style experience. During the six-week program, the participants will learn about neutrino research, artificial intelligence and quantum science — research priorities for Fermilab and Brookhaven National Lab.

“By receiving this grant, we now have more opportunity to reach young college students who can explore STEM careers and experience first-hand the world-class research at Fermilab and Brookhaven,” said Fermilab Director Lia Merminga. “We are committed to attracting a diverse talent pool to prepare for the future growth of projects that include DUNE, PIP-II, quantum sciences and emerging technologies.”

After participating in the summer school program, the students may attend bimonthly cohort meetings during the following academic year, as well as professional development and networking sessions to support their continued engagement with both labs. The program participants may also join the Fermilab Alumni Network to stay apprised of future internship and job opportunities.

“We are thrilled to receive funding for a completely new and innovative program at Fermilab and Brookhaven National Lab,” said Amanda Early, STEM ambassador in Fermilab’s Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility. “Being able to engage college freshmen with Fermilab’s research at a critical point in their educational pathway when it comes to making career choices is an important piece of the STEM pipeline.”

Offering a program that supports students in their STEM educational journeys both during the summer school and after the program concludes aids their pursuit of and persistence in STEM fields. It may ultimately lead to their full-time employment at Fermilab.

“The opportunity for students to visit two national labs in a single summer is brand new and unique,” said Sandra Charles, Fermilab’s chief equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility officer. “We look forward to working with the team at Brookhaven National Laboratory to develop this program and complement our existing STEM-focused training opportunities at Fermilab.”

Those interested in the Fermilab and Brookhaven Summer School Exchange program are encouraged to apply at Fermilab jobs.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.