Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date October 12, 2007

For More Information: Brenda J. Rayner, (901) 333-4247

Southwest Student Researches Laser Safety at DOE

Timothy Cheers, computer and electrical engineering technology major at Southwest Tennessee Community College, completed a 10-week internship at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) during the summer of 2007. The DOE Office of Science Community College Initiative approved Cheers for the, all expense paid, Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship program. He was accepted to perform research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) located in Livermore, CA. According to the U.S. DOE Office of Science – Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists, this program is intended to support the intellectual and professional development of students who have a sincere desire to be fully involved in a program which offers an intensive, mentored scientific research experience.

The screening process for applicants was a highly competitive one. Students from colleges all over the United States vied for internships. “It was quite a surprise to meet students with such incredible backgrounds, ranging from political science to nuclear physics,” stated Cheers. “Students came from schools as far away as Virginia and Great Britain, and as prominent as Purdue and MIT. They told us towards the end of the program that only one of every 20 applicants was selected out of a pool of at least 3,000 applicants.”

One of the requirements for the program is that interns complete research projects. Cheers chose to perform his research on laser safety. “With such specialized laser labs on site, special equipment is needed to measure laser energy and power for calibration and reclassification. Because of constraints, the lab needed a method that could assist LLNL Hazards Control Department in selecting new equipment quickly and efficiently,” said Cheers. He added, “I chose to create an evaluation system that scored the equipment on multiple features, including: wavelength, pulse width, repetition rate, power range, energy range, and data transfer rates."

Cheers’ commitment to study and appetite for knowledge have been driving forces in his life since grade school. It is that drive that has kept him focused on his objectives. A graduate of Westwood High School, he came to Southwest as a transfer student from Morehouse College. Course by course, he is working toward his educational goal of earning a master’s degree. His career goal is to work for a large company that develops and advances computer technology and laser systems.

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Timothy Cheers