EDIA Recognition Awards

The EDIA Recognition Awards acknowledges and celebrates individuals who have made outstanding contributions to advancing EDIA efforts at the laboratory.

EDIA Recognition Awardees for 2023 were honored on March 20, 2024, with a ceremony hosted by the Office of EDIA.

EDIA Ambassador

EDIA Ambassador Award recipients are recognized by their peers for being individuals who continuously advocate for equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility at the laboratory. Go to 2023 Ambassadors.

 

EDIA Influencer

EDIA Influencer Award recipients were nominated by the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility. These awardees are recognized for their valuable dedication to advancing the mission and vision of a laboratory resource group of which they are a member. Go to 2023 Influencers.

EDIA Champion

EDIA Champions were identified by Chief Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office. Awardees are recognized for their vital role in the contributions and success of laboratory inclusion initiatives and resource groups. Go to 2023 Champions.

EDIA Ambassadors

EDIA Ambassador Award recipients are recognized by their peers for being individuals who continuously advocate for equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility at the laboratory.

 

Dr. Betancourt helped bring Latina middle school girls to Fermilab in 2019 as part of an education and career conference.

Minerba Betancourt, scientist in the Neutrino Division of the Particle Physics Directorate, was nominated by Ornella Palamara.
Dr. Betancourt’s passion for equitable access to workforce and learning opportunities and for promoting workplace belonging and increasing gender and racial representation, have truly become evident since joining Fermilab as a postdoc in 2013.

Minerba is one of the founding members of the Hispanic Latino Forum Laboratory Resource Group, which launched in 2016. She served as a co-lead for the group for four years beginning in 2017 until 2021. During this period, the Hispanic Latino Forum organized and hosted two STEM education and career conferences for Latina middle school girls and their parents in collaboration with the Dare to Dream non-profit organization and Fermilab’s Education and Public Engagement office. Minerba was also instrumental in organizing three Superheroes in STEM conferences for high school students during this time.

She has voluntarily led the Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internship, more commonly referred to as the SULI program, at Fermilab since 2017. She has been instrumental in expanding the lab’s participation in the SULI program to the spring and fall semesters – previously the SULI program at Fermilab ran only in the summer. Notably, Minerba has mentored 14 undergraduate students through the lab’s internship programs – ten of these students are now pursuing PhDs and one SIST engineering student was hired as a Fermilab employee. Additionally, since 2017, she has mentored five Latin and Italian masters-level students, six PhD students, and two postdocs.

In 2021, Minerba was awarded a Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) grant in collaboration with Juan Estrada and Daniel Elvira. The program had a series of recruitment events designed to increase the number of applicants and acceptance rates of Hispanic and Latinx students to the CCI and SULI programs at Fermilab. Twenty-five students came to Fermilab to shadow a Fermilab STEM professional for three days, and of those, four students were accepted to the SULI program in summer 2023.

 

Erica Snider, senior scientist, Data Science, Computational Science and Artificial Intelligence Directorate, was nominated by Tia Miceli. Dr. Erica Snider is a passionate advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion who has made significant contributions to ensuring Fermilab is a welcoming and supportive place for everyone.

Since 2015, as co-lead of Spectrum, Fermilab’s LGBTQ+ and allies laboratory resource group, Erica has contributed to the development and facilitation of a customized Safe Zone training curriculum specific to Fermilab. The science-based segment of the training provides a deep-dive into the biology and genetics of sex and gender. This segment dispels the notion that humans are simply binary male or female, and affirms identity is on a spectrum.

Erica has and continues to advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusive laboratory policies and practices such as the designation of easily accessible all-gender bathrooms and promoting access to equitable healthcare benefits.

Her advocacy has also been instrumental in promoting non-binary self-identification options and Fermilab’s participation in Pride Month community celebrations. Erica’s outreach to LGBTQ+ students and professionals and her attendance and talks at the annual oSTEM conference are also concrete contributions made to promoting a workforce culture of inclusion.

Erica has worked tirelessly to make Fermilab more visible and welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community. With her leadership and vision through Spectrum, Fermilab is able to show the world that we can lead in science and in LGBTQ+ equality.

 

Martin Bentivengo, principal engineer in the Infrastructure Services Division, was nominated by Allen Schmitt.

Martin is an ally and board member of the Fermilab Society of Women Engineers (fSWE). In 2022, he was elected to the board and held the position of co-chair for the Advocacy sub-committee. He joined the EDI Task Force as a representative of the lab’s SWE professional chapter, advocating for the group. He is currently on his second year of serving as a board member.

Martin actively engages in outreach efforts. He participates in the fSWE Collegiate Pipeline Program (CPP) – specifically in the “Career Pathways Thru STEM” panel to share his pathway to STEM and Fermilab. The panel sheds light for undergraduate students from local colleges and universities to learn from the personal STEM stories of Fermilab employees. He also attends events in the community like the Resume Critique Day at Northwestern University to raise awareness of the lab.

Beyond his involvement in fSWE, Martin is also an active and contributing member of the African American/Black Association (AABA). He regularly offers insights, shares ideas, and attends AABA events to demonstrate his support for the community. Recently, he raised his hand to be part of the AABA board.

In his workplace, Martin is proactive in addressing equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility matters within the department and division.

 

Jemila Adetunji, deputy director of Contractor Assurance & Head of Quality Assurance was nominated by Mary Curtis.

As a former executive sponsor and current member of the African American Black Association (AABA), Jemila Adetunji has made valuable contributions to organize and energize this Laboratory Resource Group. Her involvement goes back to 2014.

Jemila was instrumental in organizing the 2018 Black History Month screening of the Hidden Figures movie for local middle school students. The goal was to expose middle school students throughout Will County to STEM and give them an opportunity to explore STEM-related concepts with Fermi personnel so that they could perhaps see themselves in similar roles and realize that science is for everyone. About 330 students and faculty from 13 schools attended the event that was sponsored by the AABA. As part of a larger organizing body, Jemila’s efforts brought a vision to fruition with the help of employees across many divisions and directorates and LRGs to make this opportunity possible.

As the executive sponsor of the AABA in 2022, Jemila’s leadership helped to bring the group together by addressing their concerns and focusing their energies on building community at the laboratory. Following her tenure as executive sponsor, Jemila remained active and walked alongside the Holly Lett, president of the AABA in 2022, and was instrumental in inviting Lia Merminga, Bonnie Fleming and Martha Michels to speak about the relevance of the Diversifying and Empowering Our Workforce pillar to the lab as a whole. All of the laboratory resource groups were invited to attend.

Jemila’s dedication and commitment to see the AABA LRG succeed is unquestioned and has not gone unnoticed.

 

Biswaranjan Behera, postdoctoral researcher, Particle Physics Directorate, was nominated by Jane Nachtman.

Dr. Claire Malone presented at Fermilab’s 2023 Users Meeting at Dr. Behera’s invitation.

Dr. Behera has made substantial contributions to the Fermilab community as well as the particle physics community in his advocacy of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. Early in his career (2017) Biswaranjan was the Young Institutional Board Member in the NOvA collaboration. In this position, he demonstrated leadership by advocating for early career scientists (students and postdocs) and represented their interests. As a Users Executive Committee member from 2021 to 2023, he actively engaged with the U.S. Senate and House representatives, securing support for crucial High Energy Physics projects.

In a leadership role, Biswaranjan chaired the 56th annual Fermilab Users Meeting and deputized the 55th meeting, emphasizing equity, diversity, and inclusion. He introduced diverse perspectives and fostered inclusivity within the Fermilab community. His invitation to Dr. Claire Malone as a special speaker on being a disabled physicist brought a unique and inspiring perspective to the laboratory community

In a local outreach effort, his participation in Fermilab’s “Ask A Scientist” program enhances public understanding of physics, kindling curiosity across diverse audiences. On a global level, his outreach includes inspiring students in rural schools and colleges in India. He exemplifies the values of determination and hard work, motivating young minds to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams.

Recognized as an American Physical Society (APS) Career Mentoring (CM) Fellow for 2023-2024, Biswaranjan champions diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field. His mentorship and advocacy for these principles showcases commitment to creating an inclusive and accessible environment at Fermilab and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of physics.

 

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EDIA Influencers

EDIA Influencer Award recipients were nominated by the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility. These awardees are recognized for their valuable dedication to advancing the mission and vision of a laboratory resource group of which they are a member.

 

Michelle A. Ibrahim, senior engineer, Accelerator Directorate

Laboratory Resource Group: Fermilab Society of Women Engineers (fSWE)

Aisha Ibrahim is a Senior Engineer in the Accelerators Directorate. Her dedication and contributions to support women engineers at Fermilab extend beyond the laboratory.

Aisha, a former Fermilab Society of Women Engineers (fSWE) board member, has made notable contributions to the laboratory’s professional chapter of national Society of Women Engineers organization. In 2022, she initiated the fSWE Collegiate Pipeline Program (CPP) that is focused on strengthening connections with local college and university SWE chapters to raise awareness of internship and employment opportunities at Fermilab. As examples, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Olivet Nazarene University have participated in the pipeline program. Despite no longer being on the fSWE board, Aisha continues to be an active member and leads the CPP.

Aisha’s outreach efforts extend to the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) conferences. Her participation helps with raising awareness of the laboratory’s mission and vision, along wit promoting internships and job opportunities.

To raise awareness within the laboratory about fSWE and for National Engineers Week 2023, Aisha collaborated with the Engineering Advisory Council and the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility to secure Kimberly Moore as the keynote speaker as part of the 2023 Inclusion Matters series. Kimberly Moore is the founder and President of KDM Engineering, one of the country’s largest Black, woman-owned electrical engineering firms based in Chicago.

Aisha has also served as the fSWE representative on the EDI Task Force (EDIT). As a reminder, EDIT serves as a forum for the discussion, evaluation, development, and implementation of workplace and workforce actions and plans to improve lab culture and climate. Aisha’s contributions to the career progression working group, assisted in the development of recommendations on the laboratory’s promotion policy.

 

Genfa Wu, senior scientist, Applied Physics and Superconducting Technology Directorate

Laboratory Resource Group: Fermilab Asian Pacific Association (FAPA)

Genfa Wu is a senior scientist in the Applied Physics and Superconducting Technology Directorate. As a former co-leader, Genfa has provided sage advice, unwavering support and great cohesion to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community at Fermilab. Embracing the many cultures of the community, Genfa has gathered the ideas, energy and contributions of many, many LRG members and allies to organize numerous membership meetings and events including Lunar New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, Zongzi Festival and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month celebrations.

The Fermilab community and their families are invited annually to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival and stargaze with telescopes, bringing together science and culture.

For instance, in alignment with the Mid-Autumn Festival in 2022, Genfa helped to organize the first Mooncake Social and Stargazing Event. The event provided the opportunity to learn about the Mid-Autumn festival and eating mooncakes was followed by stargazing that included seeing the moon, Jupiter and Saturn with the help of Astro photographers. This was FAPA’s first on-site event after the pandemic, and attendees were able to invite family and friends. The gathering has now become an annual event.

During Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in 2023, at Genfa’s invitation, Argonne National Laboratory Physicist Yuelin Li gave a hybrid presentation titled “Chinese Calligraphy: An Exploration of Its Visual Aesthetics and Cultural Relevance.” This presentation was featured as part of the Inclusion Matters 2023 series, which invites the entire Fermilab community to participate.

Genfa also played an important role in starting quarterly Asian American and Pacific Islander ERG roundtable meetings across the national lab complex. The meetings provide a platform for each lab to share what they are working on in their affinity group, explore possible inter-lab collaborations and address common concerns.

Although he is no longer on the FAPA board, Genfa remains an engaged member of the Fermilab Asian/Pacific Association by sharing ideas, volunteering at events and offering advice to the new leadership.

 

Pete Cholewinski, Compensation Manager, Human Resources Division

Laboratory Resource Group: Spectrum (LGBTQ+) Community

Pete Cholewinski is a member of the Compensation Team in the Human Resources Division, and as a co-leader of the Spectrum Laboratory Resource Group, he has made significant contributions.

Pete is one of four Spectrum members who co-lead the LGBTQ+ SafeZone training as part of the Inclusion Matters series. Based on the national model, the interactive presentation on LGBTQ+ SafeZones was created especially for the Fermilab community by the Spectrum LRG with Pete’s leadership. The presentation is focused on fostering a welcoming environment for our colleagues in the LGBTQ+ communities with takeaways that are easy to apply. Fermilab’s expectations regarding inclusivity, what inclusion looks like, what a safe zone is, the science of gender and how we can put LGBTQ+ inclusion into practice every day are all topics of discussion. Currently, the presentation is offered three times a year: June, July and October.

On behalf of the Spectrum Community, Pete has also contributed to the completion and submission of Fermilab in the 2023 Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index. The index is a national benchmarking tool on policies, practices and benefits for LGBTQ+ employees. This was a collaborative effort with the Spectrum LRG, Human Resources, the Infrastructure Services Division, the Office of Communications, and the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility.

Pete has also represented the laboratory at the Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (oSTEM) conference to inform students and professionals of Fermilab. In 2021, he presented a talk titled “Overcoming EDI Obstacles” focused on lessons learned and real-world guidance on how to surmount barriers and drive significant EDI change in an organization.

Raising the Progress flag at Fermilab during Pride Month in 2023 was also an effort in which Pete had a hand. Pete’s commitment to making Fermilab an inclusive environment has positively impacted all employees, particularly enhancing the experiences of LGBTQ+ employees.

 

Michael Geelhoed, Engineering Physicist III, Accelerators Directorate

Laboratory Resource Group: Fermilab Young Professionals (FYP)

Michael Geelhoed is an Engineering Physicist in the Accelerators Directorate and is co-lead of the Fermilab Young Professionals (FYP) which is dedicated to building community for Fermilab’s early career professionals.

As co-leader of FYP, Michael organizes monthly board meetings and works with board members to ensure that early career professionals have a variety of events to participate in. Additionally, he attends networking meetings with other Early Career Professional employee resource groups across the national laboratory complex.

The Fermilab Young Professionals facilitates professional development opportunities and community building, including the annual Fermilab bike tour for members.

In collaboration with the group’s co-lead, Michael is dedicated to the FYP Buddy Program. The initiative is an organized, yet informal, system of support to help new employees acclimate to the laboratory. The Fermilab Young Professionals Buddy Program is an opt-in program where new employees are matched with a current employee – a buddy – during their first months at Fermilab. The Buddy program is now on its 11th cohort.
Additionally, Michael has introduced the FYP LRG to new employees, interns, and users during the Annual Users Meeting – to raise awareness of the laboratory resource group. These presentations showcase the many opportunities FYP offers its members including social events, site bike tours, exciting off-site gatherings, professional networking opportunities, and highlights of laboratory resources and programs.

 

Brian Niesman, Project Manager I, PIP-II Division

Laboratory Resource Group: Veterans Group

Brian Niesman is a PIP-II Project Manager. Longstanding commitment to Fermilab’s veteran community has fueled Brian Niesman to advocate, to celebrate, and to participate in military-related in-reach and outreach efforts at Fermilab. As co-lead of Fermilab’s Veterans Group, Brian’s commitment has and continues to make a difference in the veteran community.

As an active advocate, in 2023 Brian organized a Veterans picnic which brought together VALOR, VetTech, SkillBridge interns and apprentices and the lab’s employees who are military veterans. The picnic was an opportunity for veterans to get together and connect with one another. It was also an opportunity to remind them that they are valued by the Fermilab community.

Moreover, for Veterans Day, in the same year, Brian planned – with his co-leaders and members – a luncheon to honor all veteran employees. For the luncheon, he invited Brett Nila, Commander, Illinois Veterans of Foreign Wars who gave a brief summary of current program offerings for veterans. Also, Stephanie Kifowit, Illinois State Representative, provided an update on current and planned house bills affecting veterans. This Veterans Luncheon was significant because it was the first one held at the lab since 2019. About 60 veterans attended the veterans’ luncheon.

Brian also makes it a priority to bring veterans to the lab by attending career fairs and informing them about Fermilab internships and employment opportunities. He has attended outreach events such as the Chicago Brigade Networking Event and the East Aurora High School Veterans Recognition.

 

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EDIA Champions

EDIA Champions were identified by Chief Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office. Awardees are recognized for their vital role in the contributions and success of laboratory inclusion initiatives and resource groups.

For 2023, Sandra Charles recognized nine individuals who, as far back as 2009, have championed inclusion at Fermilab. These passionate advocates and innovators have been instrumental in making the laboratory a welcoming place to support employees and military veterans.

Building a culture takes time, effort, and engagement in all job categories across Fermilab. The outcomes of people-centered initiatives are all-hands efforts that may be sparked by a single voice that dared to be heard.

Stephen J Brice, Head of DUNE Coordination Office, Directorate

Dr. Brice attended a conference [which conference] in which he saw what other organizations were doing to actively recruit veterans to the workforce, and as a result, he helped develop the VetTech Program, which piloted with his organization, Neutrino Division, in 2016. The full internship launched in 2017, and has consistently recruited veterans with a focus on technical employment. In 2022, the program expanded to VALOR or Veteran Applied Laboratory Occupational Retraining Program for which Fermilab five years of

At Fermilab’s 2023 Progress Flag raising event, Dr. Brice spoke about the importance of the lab consistently showing inclusion and equity for the LGBTQ+ community.

funding from the Office of Science. The program provides multiple entry points for learning and training veterans returning to civilian live with short-term learning opportunities and long-term employment security. The program also provides visibility to post-high-school career pathways that may or may not include college. The goal is to build a rich workforce pipeline of trained technicians, and computing and procurement professionals, to fill critical roles as incumbents retire.

Steve has played an instrumental role in continuing Fermilab’s long legacy of engagement with the GEM Fellowship Program, which facilitates the connection between high-potential Masters and PhD students from underrepresented communities and Fermilab. Over the years, Steve’s department has funded several of these Fellows.

Additionally, Steve has served as the executive sponsor for the Spectrum Community LRG since its formation in 2016. In this role, he’s been an outspoken ally and advocate for Fermilab’s LGBTQ+ community and ensuring inclusion is a priority at all management levels at the laboratory.

 

Griselda Lopez spoke at the 2018 Dare to Dream conference, which welcomed 50 Latina middle school girls and their parents to Fermilab.

Griselda Lopez, Global Services Manager, Security & Emergency Management Division

Griselda is a passionate advocate for the Hispanic and Latino community at Fermilab and also the students in neighboring communities. She was a co-founder of the Hispanic Latino Forum in 2016 and has continuously championed opportunities to help bring together her colleagues and enhance the reputation of the lab. Through this commitment, she was one of the primary drivers for the Dare to Dream STEM conference for middle school Latina girls hosted by Fermilab from 2016-2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lita Scott, Computing Project Manager II, Information Technology Division and Jennifer J. Gondorchin, Deputy Chief Human Resources Officer, Human Resources

Laboratory Resource Group: Women’s Initiative

Jennifer and Lita helped found the Women’s Initiative and also delivered the We Are One Fermilab posters now in every conference room on site, which ensure everyone is consistently reminded of the Fermilab Code of Conduct and the ways everyone can treat each other with respect. This work drove a cultural change for the laboratory, and the Women’s Initiative remains one of the most robust LRGs today.

 

 

 

 

 

Jeny Teheran, Principal Cyber Security Architect, Information Technology Division

Laboratory Resource Group: Fermilab Young Professionals (FYP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valery Stanley, Immigration Specialist Supervisor, Security & Emergency Management Division

Laboratory Resource Group: Spectrum (LGBTQ+) Community

Valery began the initial push for Fermilab to raise a Pride flag. Once the approvals were acquired, the process for purchasing it ran into delays, so she bought it herself. The Pride flag has hung consistently in the Wilson Hall Atrium since, and it was replaced with the Philly Flag and later the Progress Flag in 2023.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean L. Reising, Software Developer I, Information Technology Division

Jean drove the creation of an LGBTQ+ resource group (then known as GLOBE) beginning in 2009. Her work to establish this group ensured a formerly invisible group of employees could feel safe bringing their authentic selves to work. Jean also started the ongoing request to participate in local Pride events, which was finally accomplished in 2022 when Fermilab employees marched in the Aurora and Chicago parades.

 

 

 

 

Norman Ho, Software Developer I, Information Technology Division

Laboratory Resource Group: Chinese-American Society at Fermi, formally known now as the Fermilab Asian Pacific Association

Alpana Shenai, Senior Engineer, Emerging Technologies Directorate

Laboratory Resource Group: Drishti, formally known now as the Fermilab Asian Pacific Association

 

 

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