Summer program "targets" budding scientists
TARGET program students and staff pose for a photos after their final presentations in July.
Can six weeks at Fermilab inspire a lifetime in science? The participants in the laboratory's TARGET: Science and Engineering Program may be proof positive.
For 30 years, the summer internship program has given local high school students from underrepresented minority groups the chance to explore the life of a scientist from the inside. Today, TARGET alumni are scientists and engineers themselves.
"From what we've seen, the program has been very successful," said Sandra Charles of Fermilab's Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office. "One of our alumni is currently attending MIT, and another is on the physics faculty of Florida A&M University."
On Friday, this year's 14 TARGET students wrap up their busy summer at Fermilab. They spent mornings paired with personnel throughout the laboratory, working in sites spread from the Technical Division to the Office of Communication. In the afternoons, they gathered at the Quad County Urban League to collaborate on their own science projects, including a wind-powered electric generator and hot air balloons. During one week, the students heard career advice from a Ph.D. biochemist and an aerospace engineer. Now they are eager to imagine their own futures in science.
"I will definitely apply what I learned here to school and to my career," said Camilla Brewer, a rising senior who hopes to become a doctor. "I learned how to apply physics. I knew how to go from a word problem to math, but I'd never connected physics to the real world."
Matt Bajzek, also a rising senior, said his experience testing magnets in the Technical Division solidified his interest in engineering.
"It's interesting just being in close proximity to so much different technology," he said.
Rising college freshman D'Angelo Cox, who worked on grid computing support in the Computing Division, said the future might lead him right back to Fermilab.
"I want to do physics," he said. "This program has given me a glimpse of what doing research will be like."
-- Rachel Carr