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Women @ Energy: Sarah Cousineau

August 27, 2015 - 4:15pm

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Sarah Cousineau is an accelerator physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended the University of North Dakota for a bachelor of science degree in physics and Indiana University for a Ph.D in accelerator physics.

Sarah Cousineau is an accelerator physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended the University of North Dakota for a bachelor of science degree in physics and Indiana University for a Ph.D in accelerator physics.

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Sarah Cousineau is an accelerator physicist. She studies the physics of subatomic charged particle beams traveling at very high speeds inside an accelerator.

1) What inspired you to work in STEM?

I like to work on challenging problems. The degree of satisfaction I get from succeeding at something is directly related to how much work I put into it. Science provides an endless array of complex and exciting problems, and solving them is like a game. I often feel like I am “paid to play.”

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

The best part of my job is being a member of an internationally diverse team of scientists. On a daily basis, I work with talented physicists from Europe, Russia, Japan, and many other countries. The variety of cultural backgrounds adds an exciting dimension to the working atmosphere.

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

Provide more opportunities for women and underrepresented groups to engage with working scientists on a one-on-one basis. 

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

I recommend that any undergraduate interested in a STEM career participate in a summer research internship through one of the DOE or NSF programs. These internships are invaluable for helping aspiring scientists understand what it’s like to work in a STEM field. Internships away from a student’s home institution are particularly helpful at broadening one’s experience. 

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

My favorite hobbies are playing volleyball, swimming, biking, and skiing. Any outdoor activity will do! 

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