For Emily Kroll, there’s nothing more captivating than solving problems and learning new things. Growing up, her teachers piqued her curiosity about the world around her and inspired her to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Kroll went on to study microbiology and cell science at the University of Florida. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she took part in an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE)-administered opportunity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she conducted microbial research.
Following her time with the CDC, Kroll applied to the Laboratory Technology (Lab Tech) Associate Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Administered by ORISE, the Lab Tech program offers undergraduate students and recent bachelor’s or associate graduates an opportunity to develop their technical skills at ORNL, the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy technology laboratory.
“I wanted to stretch my skill set and experience a broader scientific impact from a different perspective,” Kroll said of what drew her to the Lab Tech program. “I liked the idea of supporting the cutting-edge research that takes place at ORNL.”
Under the guidance of John Carruth, scientific associate team lead in ORNL’s Neutron Sciences Directorate and former ORISE participant, Kroll supported neutron scattering experiments at ORNL’s various beam lines. Her internship involved upgrading instruments, coordinating with teams to plan for experiments and training users.
“What I found most beneficial during my internship was collaborating with a large group of experts,” she said. “It is amazing to see how quickly a project can come together when the right people are involved.”
Following her Lab Tech internship, Kroll was hired on full-time as a scientific associate in the Neutron Sciences Directorate. In this role, she coordinates operations for neutron scattering instruments at ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor.
“My internship experience with ORISE introduced me to various fields and helped direct me to where I am today,” she said. “The collaboration, growth and leadership skills I have developed were made possible by my ORISE experience. I am thankful for the mentors who encouraged me, advocated for me and taught me how to be a leader by the examples they set.”
Since her internship, Kroll has had an active role with ORNL’s Women in Neutron Sciences (WiNS) group, most recently serving as the WiNS Outreach and Networking lead.
“It’s been an empowering chance to connect with others around the lab, learn about diversity and get to know the people I work with,” she said.
The Lab Tech program at ORNL is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy.