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Women @ Energy: Robyn Madrak Plant

March 12, 2013 - 9:39am

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Dr. Robyn Madrak Plant is an Associate Scientist at Fermilab, working at the Accelerator Physics Center on the accelerator RF upgrades for the NOVA experiment.

Dr. Robyn Madrak Plant is an Associate Scientist at Fermilab, working at the Accelerator Physics Center on the accelerator RF upgrades for the NOVA experiment.

Dr. Robyn Madrak Plant is an Associate Scientist at Fermilab, working at the Accelerator Physics Center on the accelerator RF upgrades for the NOVA experiment.  She previously worked in Fermilab’s Technical Division, beginning in 2004. She received her undergraduate degree from Cornell in Physics and her Ph.D. in Experimental High Energy Particle Physics from Harvard University. Her post-doctoral research was on accelerator technology R&D.

1) What inspired you to work in STEM?

I wouldn't say there was one source of inspiration in particular. I was always interested in science, ever since I can remember. In general I would say my parents and science teachers were both sources of inspiration.

2) What excites you about your work at the Energy Department?

It's exciting that we can do such challenging and large scale experiments which could not be accomplished at most other places.

3) How can our country engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM?

I think the main source of encouragement would be in seeing role models: more women in STEM at all stages and branches - in positions from high to low level, from the teaching oriented to management oriented to technically oriented. Also, I think the opportunity to do research as an undergraduate is key. Finally, more funding for STEM in general and thus a larger total number of positions working in those fields would be hugely beneficial.

4) Do you have tips you'd recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

I would recommend that people pursue what interests them, and not necessarily what they are told they should pursue. (Though I would certainly not advocate that people do only the 'high profile' parts of the work without ever getting their hands dirty and doing some of the basics.)

5) When you have free time, what are your hobbies?

I enjoy keeping a saltwater reef aquarium (with coral, fish, crabs, etc.), scuba diving, and crafting in stained glass.

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