Paradise Valley Community College will have double the representation this summer at the United States Department of Energy’s Community College Internships program at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). Two honors physics students in their final semester here at PVCC -- Aaron Fawley and Tanner Bouwens – were recently selected for the prestigious internship program, which gives students hands-on experience with the world’s most advanced particle accelerators, as well as digging down to the smallest building blocks of matter.
“This is fantastic,” said Dr. Casey Durandet, faculty member in the Science Division and the young men’s physics instructor, who told them about the internship opportunity. “Two students from one institution at the same time at Fermilab. These guys are amazing!”
Fawley and Bouwens will report to Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois near Chicago in June for the 10-week internship. Fawley will work on helping to improve the accelerator beam intensity by working on a state-of-the-art accelerator simulation code, along with studying the performance and evolution of the beam properties through the acceleration cycle. Bouwens will work on the design, fabrication and launching of robotic applications, ideal for use during accelerator beam operation and for work in challenging areas for humans.
“As an undergraduate student at Fermilab, the majority of people will be older and more experienced than I am. I hope to learn from them and to make the most of this opportunity,” said Fawley. Bouwens added, “I’m really looking forward to gaining hands-on experience at the national lab and meeting all kinds of new people.”
While both Fawley and Bouwens will graduate in May, each with an associate’s degree in Science, this is just the beginning of their careers. Upon returning from Illinois, Fawley plans on serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints before continuing his education at a university to earn his bachelor’s degree, and Bouwens intends to transfer to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff for his bachelor’s in physics and math.