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Sandra Gail Biedron

Director and Physicist
Department of Defense Project Office, Argonne National Laboratory
Sincrotrone Trieste

Country of origin: USA

What I do.
As director of the Department of Defense Project Office at Argonne National Laboratory, I help connect programs sponsored by the Department of Energy with those sponsored by the Department of Defense, as well as help build new programs. I also act as a consultant for Sincrotrone Trieste, Basovizza, Italy, working on the exciting FERMI free electron laser (FEL) project. It will be the first laser-seeded FEL to emit light at soft x-ray wavelengths, and will provide a high quality light beam for a broad user program.

What I find exciting.
There are two exciting parts of developing technologies for me. The first is working with intelligent and fun people on development teams. People working together exponentially enhance and amplify the creativity of individual ideas. Plus, it is more fun to share successes with colleagues. The second most exciting part is having an idea, then nurturing and developing it, and then finally building and testing it. I love to build things, and it is exciting to see an intellectual idea become a physical object.

What I wish someone had told me.
You will eventually get there (there is light at the end of the tunnel). Major in or at least take more courses in electrical engineering (during undergraduate schooling). Absolutely minimize contact with abusive people. There are plenty of good, kind people out there, work with them. Take a few business courses. Always speak up; don't be afraid. You have the ability to create your own style and are in control of your own destiny.