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About PING 2019

A pilot program to inspire pre-college students, especially from minority groups, to pursue  an education in a Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field was held  on July 27, 2019-August 3, 2019 on the campus of Michigan State University. This program  entitled “Physicists  Inspiring  the  Next  Generation  (PING):  Exploring  the  Nuclear  Matter” brought four female high school students from the Hampton City School District (Hampton,  VA)  and  two  senior  female  undergraduate  physics  majors  from  Hampton  University  (Hampton, VA) who served as co-advisors.


The students were tasked to build two Parallel  Plate Avalanche  Chambers  (PPACs)  that would  be  used  to measure  the  position  of  heavy  ion beams for nuclear physics experiments lead by the MoNA Collaboration at the National  Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory/Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. The students were  able  to accomplish  this  task  over  the  one-week long  pilot  program, although  none  of  the  PPACs were fully successful in withstanding the required 5 Torr pressure and giving a good  signal. From the pre- and post-survey results, at least 50% of the students are interested in  pursuing an education in STEM (86.67%), especially nuclear science (50%) and possibly at  MSU (50%) with confidence in conducting college level research stayed high (83.33%)  while following a very stringent schedule.

The program included participation with the MoNA Collaboration conducted at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory/Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. The MoNA Collaboration consists of 11 institutions,  the majority of  which  being  undergraduate  institutions  and  one  Historically  Black  College. It has established itself as a powerful  Collaboration to train the next generation of basic and applied nuclear scientists over its 10  years of existence. The Collaboration has involved +100 undergraduate students in various  aspects of its research program on unbound neutron-rich nuclei along  the dripline of  the  nuclear  chart.  With  the  upcoming  of  the  FRIB  facility,  a  new  beam  position  monitoring  system is under development for future MoNA-lead experiments.

The  idea  to  involve  pre-college  students  in  assisting  the  Collaboration  in  this  aforementioned  effort lead  to  the  creation  of  a  “Physicists  Inspiring  the Next  Generation  (PING):  Exploring  the Nuclear Matter” within which  students will  build,  characterize and  perform  all  the  necessary  data  analysis  prior,  during  and  after  any  experiment  that  will  utilize these detectors. 


The program is not only geared to teach participants about STEM or physics. PING administrators and mentors strive to provide an entire experience for the PING participants. The goal is to well-round participants in preparation for their futures. PING administrators to find it equally important to focus on STEM, college preparedness, and agricultural education.

Agriculture can sometimes be a subject that is left unexplored or untaught to students on the STEM track. The very first program, PING 2014, is what made PING administrators realize the importance on educating on the subject of agriculture. It began when students were on a bus, headed to an offsite exploration. Cows in a field were one of the largest excitements of the day. It may seem to be a small thing, however, not all students have even seen a live cow before. PING strives to help bridge the gap between student and animal, city and country, STEM and farm. Head over to the agricultural page to see more.

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