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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2016-02-02 10:05:35
    • Article ID: 647184

    Shannon Greco: A Self-Described "STEM Education Zealot"

    The program leader in PPPL's Science Education office will be honored as a "woman of excellence" by the YWCA Princeton

    • Credit: Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications

      Shannon Greco

    • Credit: Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications

      Greco with Trenton High School students during an energy camp last summer.

    • Credit: Elle Starkman/PPL Office of Communications.

      Greco and the "Orange Power" Lego robotics team she coached jump for joy during a practice presentation.

    • Credit: Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications.

      Greco uses solar-powered cars to teach students about solar energy during PPPL's energy camp.

    Shannon Greco, a science education program leader at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, has been named one of the YWCA Princeton’s “women of excellence” for her work with young women and disadvantaged youth, including her help in starting two all-girls robotics teams for the YWCA Princeton.

    Greco organized PPPL and Princeton University volunteers to coach and advise two teams of girls ages 9 to 14 competing in a Lego robotics project for the FIRST® LEGOLeague and coached one team herself. Greco is also working on fostering a partnership with the Northstar Academy in Newark, and is leading Science Education’s high school internship program. She established an energy camp for Trenton High School students last summer that taught students about various types of energy.

    “Shannon’s leadership, passion for science, and being a role model for this unique all-girl team has resulted in empowering girls through scientific literacy and positioned the teams for their first competition in November 2015,” said Cheryl Rowe-Rendleman, the first vice-president of the YWCA Princeton’s Board of Directors, who nominated Greco for the award.

    The award, which Greco will receive at the YWCA Princeton’s “33rd Annual Tribute to Women Awards Dinner” on March 3 at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton, is given to women who “embody the YMCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.” For more information on the event, go to www.ywcaprinceton.org/tribute.

    “I’m incredibly honored,” Greco said. “It’s very nice to be recognized for doing something that you love and that makes you feel like you’re making an impact.”

    Science programs for under-served youth

    “I might be a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education zealot,” Greco admits. She firmly believes that science education is a critical component of every youngster’s education and gives him or her skills they can use in every aspect of their lives. “It helps them think critically and have a healthy respect for the data,” she said. “It protects them from getting the wool pulled over their eyes and helps them make decisions about their health and their family. It even helps them with their voting decisions. And if they actually go into one of these STEM fields, they can contribute to solving the energy crisis or climate change.”

    A part-time job becomes a career

    Greco grew up in Houston until she was 15 when her father got a job in Saudi Arabia and Greco attended an international boarding school in Switzerland. She then went to the University of Arizona where she studied international studies and spent a semester living in Mali. After college, she spent a few years traveling around the world and began working part-time for the Princeton Center for Complex Materials (PCCM), a research center supported by the National Science Foundation. Greco spent 11 years as an education outreach coordinator at PCCM. She went on to get a master’s degree in science education from Montana State University. She met her husband, Scott, an entrepreneur, in 2003 and the two married in 2009.

    When Greco came to PPPL for an interview two years ago and was asked why she wanted to come to work in PPPL’s Science Education program, she replied, “It seems like you guys have more fun over here!” She said she appreciates the camaraderie and the passion everyone in Science Education has for science education. “The way all our different roles interact works out really well,” she said.

    “She’s very engaged, she is very thorough, she doesn’t mind if it takes time for the explanation to get through,” said Greco’s colleague Arturo Dominguez, a senior program leader.

    Balancing parenthood and career

    Balancing a demanding career with raising two young children, Lukas, who is almost 4, and Ryan, who is 16 months, when both she and her husband are working is “really hard,” Greco says.

    One way Greco copes is to sometimes bring Lukas or Ryan along to after-work activities. “She often attended meetings with her robotics team with her young child comfortably nestled in a baby carrier over her shoulder,” the Y’s Rowe-Rendleman said. “This is more than a heart-warming picture. It truly sends a message to the young girls and teens that one can be both a scientist and a mother. One does not need to choose between the two demanding and rewarding roles.”

    PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit www.science.energy.gov.

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    Researchers switch material from one state to another with a single flash of light

    Scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have demonstrated a surprisingly simple way of flipping a material from one state into another, and then back again, with single flashes of laser light.

    The Stories Behind the Science: How Does the Ocean's Saltiness Affect Tropical Storms?

    Two researchers with personal experience of hurricanes set out to investigate the role of an underestimated factor in storm's strength - salinity. They found that salinity plays a larger role than anyone thought, including them.

    Surprise finding: Discovering a previously unknown role for a source of magnetic fields

    Feature describes unexpected discovery of a role the process that seeds magnetic fields plays in mediating a phenomenon that occurs throughout the universe and can disrupt cell phone service and knock out power grids on Earth.

    Genetic behavior reveals cause of death in poplars essential to ecosystems, industry

    Scientists studying a valuable, but vulnerable, species of poplar have identified the genetic mechanism responsible for the species' inability to resist a pervasive and deadly disease. Their finding could lead to more successful hybrid poplar varieties for increased biofuels and forestry production and protect native trees against infection.

    Pushing the (Extra Cold) Frontiers of Superconducting Science

    Ames Laboratory has developed a method to measure magnetic properties of superconducting and magnetic materials that exhibit unusual quantum behavior at very low temperatures in high magnetic fields.

    Scientists Find Unusual Behavior in Topological Material

    Argonne scientists have identified a new class of topological materials made by inserting transition metal atoms into the atomic lattice of a well-known two-dimensional material.

    Wind Farms and Reducing Hurricane Precipitation

    New research reveals an unexpected benefit of large-scale offshore wind farms: the ability to lessen precipitation from hurricanes.

    New simulations confirm efficiency of waste-removal process in plasma device

    PPPL scientists have found evidence suggesting that a process could remove the unwanted ash produced during fusion reactions and make the fusion processes more efficient within a type of fusion facility known as a field-reversed configuration device.

    How Animals Use Their Tails to Swish and Swat Away Insects

    A new study shows how animals use their tails to keep mosquitoes at bay by combining a swish that blows away most of the biting bugs and a swat that kills the ones that get through.

    Missing gamma-ray blobs shed new light on dark matter, cosmic magnetism

    Scientists, including researchers from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, have compiled the most detailed catalog of such blobs using eight years of data collected with the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope. The blobs, including 19 gamma-ray sources that weren't known to be extended before, provide crucial information on how stars are born, how they die, and how galaxies spew out matter trillions of miles into space.


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    Engineering professor receives Department of Energy grant

    New Mexico State University Department of Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Ehsan Dehghan Niri has received a United States Department of Energy grant. This is a three-year award for $400,000 and is a collaboration with Arizona State University.

    AVS and AIP Publishing Expand Partnership to Launch AVS Quantum Science

    AIP Publishing and AVS: Science and Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing (AVS) today announced an agreement to publish AVS Quantum Science, a new online interdisciplinary journal. The announcement coincides with the AVS 65th International Symposium & Exhibition in Long Beach, California, from October 21-26, 2018.

    Prototype Solar Energy, Battery Systems to Fuel Commercialization

    Designing, building and testing prototype systems that show how renewable energy can power devices, such as a weather and soil sensor station, can help bridge the gap between basic science research and commercialization.

    Argonne to Advance High Performance Computing in Manufacturing

    Argonne awarded funding to partner with Industry to advance the use of high performance computing in manufacturing.

    "Invisible Glass" Wins 2018 Create the Future Design Contest Grand Prize

    Scientists from the Center for Functional Nanomaterials developed a technique for making nonreflecting glass, silicon, and plastic surfaces.

    Missouri S&T researchers win multimillion dollar grant to build fast-charging stations for electric cars

    Researchers from Missouri S&T and three private companies will combine their expertise to create charging stations for electric vehicles that could charge a car in less than 10 minutes - matching the time it takes to fill up a conventional vehicle with gasoline."The big problem with electric vehicles is range, and it's not so much range as range anxiety.

    Making batteries store more energy, last longer

    A new solid polymer electrolyte may help make cell phone batteries store more energy and last longer.

    Three Brookhaven Lab Scientists Named Fellows of American Physical Society

    The American Physical Society (APS), the world's largest physics organization, has elected three scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory as 2018 APS fellows.

    Southern Research first to win accreditation under ISO 14034

    Southern Research has become the first organization in the United States to earn accreditation under ISO 14034, a new international standard for evaluating and verifying environmental technologies that was recently adopted by the American National Standards Institute.

    Kawtar Hafidi to head Physical Sciences and Engineering directorate at Argonne

    Physicist Kawtar Hafidi has been appointed Associate Laboratory Director, Physical Sciences and Engineering at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.


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    Cryocooler Cools an Accelerator Cavity

    Researchers demonstrated cryogen-free operation of a superconducting radio-frequency cavity that might ease barriers to its use in societal applications.

    Shining Light on the Separation of Rare Earth Metals

    New studies identify key molecular characteristics to potentially separate rare earth metals cleanly and efficiently with light.

    Placing Atoms for Optimum Catalysts

    Precise positioning of oxygens could help engineer faster, more efficient energy-relevant chemical transformations.

    How to Make Soot and Stardust

    Scientists unlock mystery that could help reduce emissions of fine particles from combustion engines and other sources.

    Breaking the Symmetry Between Fundamental Forces

    Scientists improve our understanding of the relationship between fundamental forces by re-creating the earliest moments of the universe.

    Water Plays Unexpected Role in Forming Minerals

    Water molecules line up tiny particles to attach and form minerals; understanding how this happens impacts energy extraction and storage along with waste disposal.

    Heavy Particles Get Caught Up in the Flow

    First direct measurement show how heavy particles containing a charm quark get caught up in the flow of early universe particle soup.

    Seeing Between the Atoms

    New detector enables electron microscope imaging at record-breaking resolution.

    Scaling Up Single-Crystal Graphene

    New method can make films of atomically thin carbon that are over a foot long.

    Discovered: Optimal Magnetic Fields Suppress Instabilities in Tokamak Plasmas

    U.S. and Korean scientists show how to find and use beneficial 3-D field perturbations to stabilize dangerous edge-localized modes in plasma.


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