Celebrating International Women’s Day with Science

To recognize International Women’s Day, which celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women; Batavia’s Fermilab handed out hard hats and introduced the women behind the experiments.

“The Intensity Frontier” is Fermilab’s new project and it hopes to understand neutrinos and their role in the universe. But more importantly, it is lead by mostly women.

Currently 1 in 5 of Fermilab’s employees is a woman, but Elaine McClusky, an Engineer at Fermilab, remembers when this wasn’t a possible reality.

“I know that in my own career that started back in the 70s the opportunities were different than they are today, and I’ve seen that change, and it’s a very exciting time.”

Not only has she seen the change, but has played a significant role in that movement.

She helped oversee the construction of the new experimental facility that is 330 feet below ground, 1.5 times the size of Fermilab’s Wilson Hall.

“It was definitely an opportunity for me as a woman and engineer here at Fermilab to take on what was one of the largest construction roles we’ve had here at the lab,” said Elaine McClusky.

Bonnie Fleming is a professor at Yale University and has also been with Fermilab for nearly 10 years. To her, being a woman in physics is not a label she’s ever really thought about.

“I love what I do, so sometimes I don’t notice, but then I step back and I realize the number of women in physics is growing and that’s a good feeling,” she said.

And it should be a good feeling since for the first time Fermilab named a woman Deputy Director.

For Young-Kee Kim, she wants her success to be seen as a benchmark of what young women can achieve…if they just put their minds to it.

“Of course they can do it. I can do it, so they can do it. And it’s really cool. It’s really cool to be a physicist.”

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