Fermi National Laboratory

Volume 24  |  Friday, August 10, 2001  |  Number 13
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Student's View: A Career in Science

by Hillary Blanchard

Amber Boehnlein A typical scientist -- visions of thin, male geniuses with pale skin and a large puff of unruly white hair beginning to bald, wearing large eye-popping glasses, and, of course, long, white, immaculately clean lab coat. With these usual misconceptions comes another that I am guilty of myself: the assumption that working with science for a living is slow, boring and possibly too complex and challenging for me to make a career of.

I have been interested in science for most of my life. I know it is something I enjoy, but sometimes committing to science as a career seems intimidating and risky. Obviously, I never truly understood exactly what it is to be a scientist. However, after meeting some of Fermilab's scientists, they became less mysterious, and more real, witty, intelligent and interesting. This not only eased my fears, but also confirmed my hopes that I could fit into a scientific community. A career in the sciences has become an option, rather than a dream.

I had the opportunity to interview a Fermilab employee, Amber Boehnlein, for my group's project. We were interested in talking to her because we wanted an insider's view of Fermilab and the experiment she works in: DZero. However, what interested me about her was not what went on during the interview. Instead, it was her life, her accomplishments, and the fact that she became an instantaneous role model. Waiting for the cameramen and chatting, I immediately respected this motivated and articulate individual. As I learned more about her, I could not help but admire her achievements and background, not only because she was female, but also because she had acted upon her interests and established herself through hard work and being a self-starter.

Hilary Blanchard Many misconceptions exist because most people do not interact with scientists on a regular basis. While it is true many scientists are geniuses -- and some do have crazy hair-- the sciences should not be intimidating. My misconceptions and apprehensions could have kept me from making a career of something I enjoy. Learning about the people behind the science has led me to new understanding and appreciation.

I hope that others will find the same inspiration I have.

last modified 8/9//2001 by C. Hebert   email Fermilab