Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, is one of the top scientific research facilities in the country. It houses 4 Nobel Peace Prize winners. Brookhaven has recently put on-line the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), which will create the "big bang" theory.
The U.S. Department of Energy and Brookhaven initiated the Community College Institute (CCI) for community college students. The pilot program started with 11 schools. In 1999, the Community College of Rhode Island was one of six colleges invited to a workshop to join the CCI Northeast Consortium. Jodie Bluto, CCRI Chemistry Department and Carl Marandola, CCRI Engineering and Technology Department were asked to CCRI’s points of contact. As of November 3, 2000, CCRI students who participate and complete the CCI Summer Program will receive 9 credits.
The Northeast Consortium has 3 initiatives; (1) Community College Institute, (2) Community College Mini-Semester Program and (3) Faculty and Student Team Program (FaST). Brookhaven also has ERULF, Energy Research Undergraduate Laboratory Fellowship and opportunities for student internships.
The Community College Institute Summer Program is a 10- week summer internship for community college students. These students do not necessarily need a science or technology background. The applying student does need at a 3.25 GPA. Participating students receive a $400.00 per week stipend and are housed in the Brookhaven dormitories. Each student is mentored by a top Brookhaven research scientist and uses state of the art instruments. The student is given a project within his or her area of interest to be completed by the end of the 10-week session.
At the end of the 10 weeks, each student must write an abstract and presents his or her project during the closing ceremonies. The abstract is published by the U.S. Department of Energy. At the AACC National Conference, the students are acknowledged and receive recognition awards. Upon returning to his or her college, if the participating student tutors other students, he or she is reimbursed for any science or technology books needed.
Since the summer of 2000, over 12 students have represented CCRI at Brookhaven.
The second initiative is the mini-semester, which runs for 5 days at Brookhaven. The participating students work on an environmental team research project. They interact with the laboratory scientists and attend lectures on current Brookhaven projects.
The third initiative is the Faculty and Student Team Research Program (FaST). Faculty must submit a relevant grant outlining a research project. If the grant is accepted, the faculty member and 2 students work on their research at Brookhaven for a 10-week summer session in collaboration with a research scientist in the needed field of study. The faculty member will be paid $800.00 per week; the student is paid $350.00 per week. Both faculty and students are housed in the Brookhaven dormitories. Again, they work with Brookhaven’s state of the art instrumentation.
Once the 10 weeks are over, the faculty member must continue his or her research at the home institution. If equipment is needed, the U.S. Department of Energy may furnish it. Students who assist in the research are paid $10.00 per hour, up to 15 hours a week.
When the research is complete, the faculty member writes a 20 page research paper, which will be published and an oral presentation given at a science conference.
An additional education program is the Energy Research Undergraduate Laboratory Fellowship. Students who apply must be an undergraduate and possess the potential for a successful scientific career. The students GPA must be 2.5 or higher. Appointments are available during the spring, fall and summer sessions. Spring and fall appointments run for 16 weeks; the summer session runs for 10 weeks. The stipends are $400.00 per week and the participating students are housed at Brookhaven. The students participate in cutting edge research and are treated as a colleague.
Additional opportunities the U.S. Department of Energy offers are student internships at Washington, D.C. These interns learn and implement national science education programs.
Participation in these programs is an opportunity that has grown in the CCRI community and continues to CCRI, its students and faculty.