Gollapinni to strengthen user ties at Fermilab

The 2017-18 Fermilab Users Executive Committee. Front row, from left: Jiyeon Han, Sowjanya Gollapinni, Thomas Strauss, Gavin S. Davies, Fernanda Psihas. Back row, from left: Tammy Walton, Leonidas Aliaga-Soplin, Brian Nord, Sarah Demers, Joseph Zennamo. Not pictured: Frank Chlebana, Carrie McGivern. Photo: Fermilab

Adapted from Fermilab’s article Users Executive Committee works toward increased interaction with Fermilab users, 6 December 2017.

University of Tennessee physicist and DUNE collaborator Sowjanya Gollapinni began her one-year term as chair of the Fermilab Users Executive Committee in October. She assumes the role from fellow collaborator and Boston University physicist Ed Kearns, who served from 2016-17, and is the fourth woman physicist to take on this role in its 50-year history.*

The Users Executive Committee (UEC) heads the Fermilab Users Organization, a group of scientists and engineers that advises the laboratory on scientific and administrative matters related to the users, and provides support to the overall user community. DUNE, as the future flagship experiment at Fermilab, represents a significant and growing portion of this community.

Gollapinni is a strong advocate for women and minorities taking on leadership roles in the physics community, and hopes that more will follow her in this role. She is one of the nine Far Detector consortium leaders, leading the Joint Far Detector Slow Controls and Cryogenic Instrumentation Consortium. She also co-leads the Far Detector Calibration Task Force with Kendall Mahn.

Continuing Kearns’ efforts in this direction, Gollapinni wants to strengthen the ties between the UEC and the broader body of users at the laboratory.

“We want to increase our face time with the users, meet at the Frontier Pub over drinks and food, and talk about quality-of-life topics,” she said.

She also plans to increase the UEC’s participation in laboratory strategic planning, ensuring that the committee has a say in how Fermilab’s scientific and experimental programs are carried out. The UEC maintains an advisory role in determining the relationship of outside users to the laboratory and the support they will have in implementing their experimental programs.

“Many quality-of-life issues –  dormitories, office space, and so on –  involve accommodating the increased influx of users, largely due to DUNE and related projects,” she said. “In everything – the HEP funding reports we get from Washington, the monthly Directorate reports, our annual trips to Washington – DUNE is there, front and center.”

* The previous women UEC chairs were Sharon Hagopian (FSU, 9/03-8/04), Patricia McBride (Fermilab, 9/96-8/97), and Anna Jean Slaughter (Yale, 8/87-6/88).