How long have you been employed at Fermilab?
In May of 2013, I arrived as a graduate student for the first time. Officially, I’ve been a postdoctoral researcher at Fermilab since May of 2018.
What is your involvement in this situation?
I am a jack of all trades; I am capable of doing a little bit of everything. My stated employment objectives are to assist with the DUNE and NOvA neutrino investigations. In practice, this involves working together to collect, analyze, and publish data from both trials.
What piques your interest in working on these projects?
What I find most intriguing about DUNE and NOvA is that they have applications from my graduate-level work in nuclear physics to high-energy physics. I’m quite intrigued about the beyond-the-Standard-Model physics that neutrino oscillations may examine, such as the universe’s matter-to-antimatter ratio. I believe Fermilab will be the epicenter of a type of “neutrinoland” for at least the next ten years, so I’m thrilled to be there in the middle of it all.
What drew you to physics in the first place?
I took a physics course in high school and bombed it. I received a C. I used to believe I wanted to be a computer programmer because I enjoy systematic approaches to problem solving. Thinking about algorithms in code enables you to solve issues in the context of computers, but knowing about physics allows you to address problems in the context of the cosmos. “Yeah, I’ve got to do this,” I thought after discovering this strong frame of thinking.
What do you love most about working on Saturday Morning Physics, the lab’s high school lecture series?
Some of the issues addressed in Saturday Morning Physics are ones I had after taking my first physics course: What is fire? Is there mass in light? My favorite component of Saturday Morning Physics is interacting with young brains, chatting with people who are just discovering about this material and trying to explain it to them and fulfill their curiosity.
I’m really enthusiastic to attempt to spread Saturday Morning Physics to additional Chicago locations. That includes reaching out to schools on Chicago’s West and South sides, which are often frequented by people of color, to see if there are any students who could be interested in participating in this kind of program.
When you’re not working, what do you prefer to do?
I do a lot of running. Since COVID-19 began, I’ve completed over 200 five-mile runs. It’s almost like a meditative movement. While jogging, I go inside my thoughts to check how I’m feeling and feel out my body, and I also think about extremely challenging topics.
I’m also a vehicle enthusiast. I like working on my automobiles, driving them, and attending car events. And I like reading. I’m a member of many book groups.
I like cooking a lot. I’m from the South, and my family has a long history of cooking – Cajun cuisine, French food, and a variety of other dishes. I’ve prepared duck à l’orange from scratch before. I prepare gumbo, red beans & rice, and fried fish. I do all of that.