UEC Nominee for 2019-2021 Term: Ashley Back

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Ashley Back
Iowa State University


I have been at the lab now for approaching three years, moving here when I started my postdoc position on NOvA and ANNIE, with Iowa State University. It was a big move for me, leaving all my friends and family in the UK and moving to the US, and I was slightly nervous. But, when I arrived I felt nothing but warmth from everyone I met on NOvA and ANNIE, and within the wider Fermilab community. I think the UEC does a great job ensuring that new arrivals to the lab have the resources they need to get settled into the community and I would like to draw on my own experiences and continue this if elected to the UEC.

Towards the end of my first year at Fermilab, I took on the role of one of NOvA’s three run coordinators. It was a challenging role but also very exhilarating to be responsible for the daily operations of the flagship experiment of one of the world’s premier particle physics labs. One of the best aspects of the job was meeting and working with the experiment liaisons and all the many other people from accelerator division, scientific computing and elsewhere in the lab, without whom we wouldn’t be able to keep experiments like NOvA running. I think the committee this year did a great job at highlighting some of the people who work in the lab and the diverse roles and experience they have. If elected to the UEC I would like to continue highlighting the fantastic work of everyone who keeps Fermilab a world-class lab.

As a new convener in NOvA I am acutely aware that I might now be someone who people would think to come to for advice or support. I am keen to continue the important conversations we’ve been having in NOvA – and I’m sure elsewhere in the lab – on diversity and inclusion and de-stigmatising mental health. I want to make sure we continue working to create a respectful and supportive environment where everyone can thrive.