Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is home to the Spallation Neutron Source, a facility that produces neutrons with the most intense pulsed neutron beams in the world. At this unique research center, Nabeel Jaser, a Community College Internship (CCI) participant, was given the task of increasing the productivity of the beamline process.
With his mentor, John Wenzel, Jaser helped construct an automated cryogenic sample changer for the Vibrational Spectrometer beam line. The instrument, referred to as VISION, is used in material research. Ideally, this sample changer would reduce the time it takes to change samples placed in the instrument’s line-up.
“The goal of the project is to increase the number of scientists’ throughput and usable beam time,” Jaser said.
As a child, Jaser was fascinated with understanding how everyday items worked. This interest led him to begin studies at Pellissippi State Community College in mechanical engineering.
The CCI program, sponsored by the Department of Energy Office of Science’s, Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS), provides community college students opportunities to experience technical research at national laboratories. The CCI program at ORNL is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), which is managed by ORAU for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Prior to participation in the CCI program, Jaser had little knowledge of the uses of neutron science. Now, he is aware of the many applications of the research.
“Neutron science provides researchers with unmatched capabilities for understanding the structure and properties of materials, macromolecular and biological systems and the fundamental physics of the neutron,” Jaser explained.
By working closely with various researchers, Jaser was exposed to differing thinking styles. He recognized that while his engineering background taught him to think practically, many scientists approached situations more abstractly.
During the program, Jaser’s daily activities involved researching computer aided designs, assembling parts and designing specific components. He gained working knowledge of engineering software such as Pro E design and AutoCAD. These tasks and interactions allowed him to gain applicable skills that would be difficult to learn in a classroom setting.
Next, Jaser will pursue his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Tennessee. However, upon completing his degree, he hopes to obtain his pilot’s license and become a commercial airline pilot.
Jaser recognizes his participation in the CCI program as a beneficial step toward his future goals. Not only did he receive guidance from professionals in his field, but he also developed an understanding of how to approach scientific problems.
“The experiences and skills that I have gained will help me in my career after graduating college,” Jaser said. “They will assist me in my future job as I’ll have experience in this field.”