What the BU/CERN program meant to me

The Boston University Geneva Physics Program was incredibly meaningful to me. Since I attend a liberal arts school, my semester as part of the program was my first to focus entirely on physics, and I joyfully soaked up all the physics knowledge I could. Luckily, I found that CERN was full of many incredibly brilliant people who enjoyed explaining their work to a curious student. I worked as part of the Antihydrogen Experiment: Gravity, Interferfometry, Spectroscopy (AEGIS) collaboration. I fabricated scintillator detectors and took part in AEGIS’s first beam time. It was my first experience with a running experiment, and it was exhilarating. I acquired many new research skills associated with the work I did. In addition, participating in an international collaboration afforded me the opportunity to meet many physicists and engineers from across the globe. Watching the team leaders of AEGIS in action also gave me the opportunity to learn about effective leadership of a diverse, international team. The independence my mentor gave me, in addition to the structure of the courses at the University of Geneva, taught me that self-motivation is a necessity in order to do meaningful work. In short, I could not have asked for a better experience as part of the BU/CERN program!
Next year, I will begin pursuing my Ph.D. in physics at the University of Pennsylvania. I’m still deciding between research in experimental cosmology and high energy physics. Regardless of what I choose, I know that my experience as part of the BU/CERN program will provide me a solid foundation on which to build my career in physics.
Please contact me (alyssabarlis@gmail.com) if you have any questions about the program!
Alyssa Barlis

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