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Title ImagePublic Abstract


DE-SC0024677: Pathways to Improved Representation in Advanced NucleAr science

Award Status: Active
  • Institution: San Mateo County Community College District-Skyline College, San Bruno, CA
  • DUNS: 085844975
  • Most Recent Award Date: 09/27/2023
  • Number of Support Periods: 1
  • PM: Bryson, Tasia
  • Current Budget Period: 09/01/2023 - 08/31/2024
  • Current Project Period: 09/01/2023 - 08/31/2025
  • PI: Wamba, Kolo
  • Supplement Budget Period: N/A

Public Abstract

This project is aligned with the three core goals of the NP-RENEW program: increasing entry points, supporting retention, and investing in research capacity at MSIs. Its primary goal is to help diversify the field of nuclear physics by fostering student involvement in the ongoing R&D for the nEXO experiment, a ~5 tonne liquid Xe TPC designed for half-life sensitivity to neutrinoless double-beta decay approaching 1028 years. Through this project, Skyline College, a minority-serving institution (MSI), will help students gain confidence in their ability to participate in original, advanced research in nuclear physics.

This project will support a total twelve student trainees, six per year, beginning in fall 2023. Each student will commit to a traineeship term of one year. During each program year, three students will be responsible for supporting nEXO R&D at SLAC, one student will do the same at Stanford, and two students will go to McGill University. Trainees will be expected to contribute to the following nEXO activity areas: (a) supporting the screening of electronegative outgassing in liquid xenon at SLAC; (b) supporting the Xe gas purifier development at Stanford University; (c) supporting the Rn distillation column development at SLAC; (d) supporting the silicon photomultiplier R&D (SiPM) at McGill University; and (e) supporting the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts of the nEXO DEI committee. For all areas (a)-(e), trainees will be expected to use some or all of the skills they acquire through special summer workshops led by the Co-PIs and one lab coordinator.

The primary project outcome is to increase the likelihood that students from underrepresented populations will choose to pursue graduate studies in nuclear physics, thereby helping to diversify the field. Success will be assessed by observing whether trainees have achieved the learning outcomes and skills at the end of their programs. Learning outcomes include: (1) student trainees are acquainted with the field of experimental nuclear physics; (2) student trainees have confidence in their ability to independently pursue graduate studies in experimental nuclear physics; (3) student trainees have a clear sense of the career possibilities in nuclear physics; (4) student trainees have seen firsthand and understand how a modern experimental nuclear physics project is run; and (5) student trainees understand how some nuclear physics collaborations handle DEI. Skills to be acquired include: (1) computer programming; (2) electronics test and assembly; (3) rapid prototyping; and (4) design of experiments.

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