[MUSIC PLAYING] ANJULI JONES: I wasn't passionate about physics until I actually did physical things with Physics.
NAOMI GENDLER: Doing this type of work is probably very different from what you've done over the school year. You're not sitting in the library working on problem sets. You're working on a project that hopefully is new. No one's really looked at it before, and you have this opportunity to figure out the answer for the first time.
SHANE MICHTAVY: This is every ChemE's or physicist's dream actually. You want to see things on that molecular level. All you talk about is lattice structures all day. You get to see it here. You get to see it in action. There applying it every day.
NAOMI GENDLER: I'm working here on the Cornell Electron Storage Ring.
ANJULI JONES: I've been simulating a new model for a beam pipe that's going to be in the quadrupole, the accelerator.
SHANE MICHTAVY: I was helping integrate the software detective with a new instrument called a potentiostat.
ANJULI JONES: I'm planning on majoring in biomedical engineering and both physics. You can kind of combine those two.
SHANE MICHTAVY: I'm considering transferring here from my community college.
NAOMI GENDLER: I actually am looking to do theoretical physics in grad school, and so I've been able to meet with a good number of the theory faculty here just to talk about their research, find out what kind of research is going on here.
SHANE MICHTAVY: I've never had anyone turned me down for a question-- ever. Even if I'm like getting in their way, they'll still take their time and break down every single aspect of their experiment in order for me to understand it a little better.
ANJULI JONES: I've been able to go like other faculty member, ask them questions, and it's been really fabulous being able to interact with all these different people.
SHANE MICHTAVY: They're really friendly, and they're really excited about their job, so it makes it easy to be able to pour their interest into you.
NAOMI GENDLER: You meet a bunch of other people who are just as crazy and just as passionate about this stuff as you are.
ANJULI JONES: Also, interacting with people and sharing ideas, I think it's kind of important as a foundation for society as well.
NAOMI GENDLER: This is actually the first time where I've done a research project where it is, in a big sense, my project from start to finish.
ANJULI JONES: I'm not just viewed as a student who has to be told what to do, when and where. I actually get to think. I get to come up with ideas and have conversations and say, oh, I think it would be better if we did it this way instead. And my opinion's heard.
NAOMI GENDLER: As a woman in physics, people are not always going to take you seriously.
ANJULI JONES: As a minority, I'm told I can't do things because of my background.
NAOMI GENDLER: The solution to that problem is that we need to fight back tenfold and say, no, actually, this is what I'm doing.
ANJULI JONES: Because we're capable, and we're here. So I think it's important to be able to look at this program and say, yeah, I'm going to go there, and I'm going to do what I want to do.
SHANE MICHTAVY: If you think you know everything, you don't. This will open up your mind.
NAOMI GENDLER: I mean, it's just a great experience to be able to come to a world-class facility like this, where so much research is being done and just to be part of that and be part of the excitement.
ANJULI JONES: If it spikes your interest, if you want to do it, do it.
SHANE MICHTAVY: It's just an amazing experience. It's hard to get it anywhere else. I believe [INAUDIBLE] is only like one of five in the world, at this caliber at least-- one of two in the nation. This is the place to be.
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Three undergraduates from diverse backgrounds reflect on their recent participation in Cornell's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer program at CLASSE -- the Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-Based Sciences and Education. This internship program provides an opportunity for students to see whether they’d like to pursue research after graduation, and allows them to be creative and solve real-world problems.
“The program provides high-quality research experiences for students across the country, which is of special importance for undergrads who would not easily find such opportunities at their home institutions. We are, therefore, glad to have about 50 percent participation from underrepresented groups.”-- Georg Hoffstaetter, professor of physics and the CLASSE REU program’s principal investigator.