JLab's Outreach Programs
This article, submitted by Douglas Higinbotham, summarizes the collective work of the Jefferson Lab Office of Education
The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) is a basic research laboratory, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, in Newport News, Virginia, to study and understand the detailed structure and behavior of the nucleus of the atom. Physics experiments started in 1995. As a world-class research facility, Jefferson Lab is a valued partner to the local, regional and national education community. Jefferson Lab's long-term commitment to science education continues to focus on increasing the number and quality of undergraduate and graduate students who complete degrees in science, increasing the number of teachers with a substantial background in math and science, strengthening the motivation and preparation of all students, especially minorities and females, and addressing the serious under representation of minorities and females in science, math, engineering and technology careers.
In addition, Jefferson Lab has been working with public school divisions to enhance the quality of science, math and technology education, and to help effectively address the problem that minorities and females are lost to the science, math and technology career pipeline long before they are of college age. Our unique research environment and use of science, math, and technology skills and knowledge create the baselines for extraordinary educational partnerships that are solidly grounded in the laboratory's scientific programs and expertise, with benefits to both the participants and the laboratory's dedicated staff. Over a third of the laboratory staff and many Jefferson Lab scientific users participate as mentors and career role models, interacting with the students and teachers.
Jefferson Lab's outreach programs include a weeklong laboratory immersion experience for middle school students called Becoming Enthusiastic About Math and Science (BEAMS). Jefferson Lab sponsors physics fests where a day each month is set aside for groups of students to attend science presentations in the Lab's auditorium. Monthly seminars are given by the lab's scientists and engineers on topics aimed at sixth through twelfth grade students. Jefferson Lab's high school summer honors program hires students who are strong in math and/or science to expose them to career opportunities in science. Jefferson Lab also participates in the Department of Energy's Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) where some of our nation's best undergraduate students get to experience what life as a doctoral candidate working at a national lab is like. Details about these programs, as well as many other outreach programs that the Lab is involved in, can be found at http://education.jlab.org/indexpages/program.html.