Workforce Education and Development hosted a GEM Virtual Site Visit with clockwise from top left: Executive Director Marcus A. Huggans, Communications Coordinator Ingrid Ockert, Staff Scientist Carl Grace, Manager of Workforce Development and Education Colette Flood; GEM Coordinator Kia Johnson; GEM Fellow, Liban Hussein; WD&E Internship Program Manager Nakeiah Harrell; GEM CEO Brennon Marcano.
On July 6, 2021, members of National GEM Consortium leadership met with members of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) over ZOOM to check in with LBNL’s only GEM fellow for 2021, Liban Hussein. Started in 1976, the National GEM Consortium has helped over 4,000 students from under-represented minority groups find opportunities for research in laboratories around the United States. Berkeley Lab became an employer member of the Consortium in 2017; just 10 fellows have been placed through the Workforce Development & Education Department. Recruited GEM fellows are the top students at their institutions and passionate about science; their GEM fellowships are often the first step along their successful journey.
Already, Hussein is more than halfway through his internship. He is working closely with Carl Grace, a staff scientist with Berkeley Lab’s Engineering Division on a particle physics experiment, Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). Hussein is creating a standard cell library that will allow Grace’s team to develop necessary chips for a neutrino detector 1500 km underground. “We need to make sure that these chips will operate for 30 years,” Grace told the group, “Liban’s task is to adjust the core building blocks so that they will be reliable. He’s already exceeded our expectations!”
Hussein reported that he’s been enjoying his fellowship as well. “Things are laid-back and straight forward at Berkeley Lab,” he remarked, “Everyone has a calm and peaceful attitude.” He thanked Grace for providing him with articles and support during the internship. He thanked WD&E Internship Program Manager Nakeiah Harrell for “her swift help in the onboarding process.” Liban also praised WD&E Director Colette Flood as a ‘trailblazer’ at the Lab for establishing the partnership between GEM and Berkeley Lab.
GEM CEO Brennon Marcano and Executive Director Dr. Marcus A. Huggans also chatted with Hussain during the call. “You’ve joined a prestigious group,” Marcano told Hussein. Even though 2021 was a tough year, the GEM program has placed 50% more fellows than in 2020. He encouraged Hussein to use the fellowship as an opportunity to connect with others. “You’re already contributing to change the entire world’s landscape. “View these last few weeks as a start,” he suggested, “Your network is super powerful.”
A strong network will help Hussein as he starts as a doctoral student in electrical engineering at the University of Washington this fall. To learn more about hosting GEM fellows at Berkeley Lab, please check out the GEM program page.