‘Distinguished Trailblazers in the Sciences’ competition winners recognized at virtual ceremony

31 January 2023

FRIB, Michigan State University (MSU), and the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) honored the winners of the “Distinguished Trailblazers in the Sciences” competition at a virtual ceremony on 17 January. For the competition, pre-college students created video presentations about scientists and engineers from minority and marginalized ethnic/racial groups who have excelled or contributed to the fields of nuclear science, accelerator science, and accelerator engineering.

Students created an original artistic design expression, personalized poem, musical performance (song/rap), video, or poster to highlight their selected “Distinguished Trailblazer in the Sciences.” They then created an original video in which they presented their submission. The winners and their winning videos are:

The competition was developed under the Student Training and Engagement Program for Undergraduates in Physics (STEP-UP). STEP-UP is a national organization of physics teachers, researchers, and professional societies that designs high-school physics lessons to inspire young people to pursue physics in college. It is a joint initiative between FRIB and Jefferson Lab. STEP-UP Coordinators Chandra Oaks-Garcia and Mornetka Gueye, and Artemis Spyrou, professor of physics at FRIB and in the Michigan State University (MSU) Department of Physics and Astronomy, created and organized “Trailblazers.”

At the ceremony, the students were recognized for their work by representatives of FRIB and Jefferson Lab in addition to the students’ families and teachers, and others. One attendee had a unique connection to the event: Clarice Phelps, a nuclear chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who was the subject of the first-place presentation. She spoke at the ceremony, thanking the students and their parents for participating in the competition and applauding them for their work. She said the videos not only get the information to the viewers, but they also successfully draw in the audience and entertain them.

FRIB Laboratory Director Thomas Glasmacher and Jefferson Lab Electron-Ion Collider Co-Associate Director Rolf Ent also attended the ceremony. Both commended the students, stating they were impressed by the students’ presentations.