July 1, 2005  


SULI Students Here for the Summer

By Monica Bobra

Twenty-seven undergraduate science, math and engineering students from around the country are roaming about SLAC’s campus this summer. They’re part of an 8-week long Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program that runs from Monday, June 20 to August 20. The interns will populate all of the research facilities at SLAC, according to program manager Helen Quinn (THP), who works with program director James Lindesay (HR).

SULI students Isabella Griffin (Norfolk State University), Marissa Cevallos (California Institute of Technology), Elizabeth Rivers (Wellesley University) and Matt George (Harvard University).
(Photo provided by Isabella Griffin)

In addition to conducting research with a mentor, preparing a formal report—and having a shot of publishing it in the DOE’s Journal of Undergraduate Research—the students tour local high-tech industries, attend guest lectures and live together on Stanford University’s campus.

Though the DOE-sponsored SULI program is in its fifth year, SLAC has been recruiting interns for the past thirty years. The selection committee looks for applicants under-represented in the physics community—such as minorities, women and students from little-known colleges. “At the 25-year reunion, people said the program literally changed their lives,” said Quinn. The strength of the program, she says, is the student’s research experience. “It lets them see how scientists actually work as opposed to how you learn science in school.”

SSRL physicist Uwe Bergmann (ESRD), who is hosting his second SULI student, said mentors also learn a lot from the program. “If they ask good questions, you realize how poorly you understand things,” said Bergmann. “You also realize what a highly specialized, tiny little domain you work in. You could talk to them and say a sentence in which they don’t understand seven out of the eight words you say. It makes you think about how to express yourself.” 


The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is managed by Stanford University for the US Department of Energy

Last update Friday July 01, 2005 by Topher White