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Dorfan Today: Summer Students at SLAC

My family and I wish you and your family a happy and restful 4th of July celebration.

The Summer Solstice passed just a few weeks ago, and with it came waves of new faces at SLAC: the summer students. About 130 young people will join the lab this summer, doing everything from helping to organize the Stanford Summer Institute to working on photovoltaic electrochemical cells at SSRL.

The majority of these students—about 100 in all—are hired through SLAC's employment office to work a full 40-hour week. They apply for specific positions in the spring and spend their summers working in departments across the full spectrum of the laboratory.

Three other programs also bring summer students to SLAC: the Youth Opportunity Program (YOP), the Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science program (known as GEM) and the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI).

Partially funded by the Affirmative Action Office, YOP offers an opportunity for students from disadvantaged families to work at SLAC for the summer while providing supplementary income. The 10-week program seeks to give entry-level exposure to a scientific work environment while allowing participants the opportunity to enhance their job skills.

The GEM program places highly-qualified minorities in technical roles at SLAC to help them achieve academic and professional success. In its 30-year history, GEM nationally has supported over 2,500 minority students seeking masters' or doctoral degrees in engineering and the sciences. Fellows receive financial assistance, internships, mentoring and professional development training.

Finally, the SULI program brings students from around the country to work at DOE labs for eight to nine weeks. Students in the program work on a scientific project and attend lectures on various topics in physical sciences and engineering. At the end of the summer each student submits a paper and gives a presentation about the research he or she completed.

These four programs are bringing many enthusiastic, qualified students to SLAC this summer. In addition, the Stanford Summer Institute will bring several hundred more students to the lab in mid-July. Please help me welcome these students, ensuring that they enjoy a fun and fruitful time at SLAC. From amongst these students will emerge leaders for the next generation of scientists and engineers.

—Jonathan Dorfan, July 3, 2006