Area high school students shadow researchers in Quantum Pathways summer program

masked students in a lab with a researcher
Photo by Nancy Holincheck/QSEC

Karen Sauer (pictured left), a George Mason University professor of physics and astronomy, explained her quantum physics research to local high school students Eric Sierra, Grace Min, and Sharon Biju during the Quantum Pathways Immersion program in July.

The free summer program, co-sponsored by Mason's Quantum Science and Engineering Center (QSEC) and the nonprofit Potomac Quantum Innovation Center, brought together rising high school seniors from around the region to participate in a week-long job shadowing opportunity and to learn about quantum and STEM-related careers from researchers at leading universities and in the industry.

In addition to visiting Sauer’s lab, students met with other Mason researchers and talked with scientists and policy professionals at MITRE, University of Maryland, George Washington University, and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

The program was organized and run by Jessica L. Rosenberg, an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy within the College of Science and the director of education for QSEC, and Nancy Holincheck, an assistant professor of STEM education in the College of Education and Human Development and associate director of education for QSEC.

The Quantum Pathways Immersion program is part of QSEC’s K12 Quantum Workforce Development Project, which was funded by an appropriation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton, and aims to inspire the next generation of students to pursue the field while simultaneously preparing a diverse quantum workforce in Northern Virginia.