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Awards and Recognition | Physical Sciences and Engineering

November 2020 PSE Employees of the Month

Anthony Avarca, Lindsey Bleem and Travis Sikes are recognized as PSE Employees of the Month

The Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Employees of the Month program recognizes individuals from two categories each month — programmatic and operations — based on the excellence of their work and demonstration of Argonne’s Core Values: Impact, Safety, Respect, Integrity and Teamwork.

November 2020 PSE Employee of the Month – Operations category

  • As a research computing architect in Argonne’s Nanoscience and Technology (NST) division, Anthony Avarca played a pivotal role in a funding proposal submitted to DOE regarding a joint data platform for Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs). At a recent NST retreat, he presented a thorough plan to develop a comprehensive and sustainable data management infrastructure for Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, to better serve its users. Avarca’s efforts are extensive, involving dozens of partners, and his leadership, initiative, intellectual strength and tenacity have positioned NST as a leader among NSRCs in the field of materials modeling software and data management.

November 2020 PSE Employees of the Month – Programmatic category

  • A physicist in Argonne’s High Energy Physics (HEP) division, Lindsey Bleem has displayed exceptional efforts to lead development of a proposal to submit to the American Physical Society for hosting a Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) in January 2022. She assembled an organizing committee with members from HEP and Argonne’s Physics division, as well as Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of Chicago, to plan an engaging experience for conference attendees. Bleem cares deeply about supporting the development of a diverse workforce — in particular, bringing women into science. Her work  displays Argonne’s Core Values of Impact, Respect, Integrity and Teamwork.
  • Travis Sikes, a postdoctoral appointee in Argonne’s Chemical Sciences and Engineering division, has gone above and beyond in developing a unique program, called Frhodo, to simulate experimental data and optimize chemical kinetics mechanisms. He established key collaborations with the people who develop and maintain the core code (Cantera) that provides the chemical kinetics solver for Frhodo. Sikes also worked with the Argonne legal team to obtain the necessary approvals to release Frhodo as an open source program. Through this work, Sikes has especially demonstrated Argonne’s Core Values of Integrity and Teamwork.

Each month, the PSE Associate Laboratory Director and Division Directors review PSE Employees of the Month nominations and select recipients. All Argonne employees are eligible for nomination, including people within PSE and those who work with PSE. All PSE staff, postdocs and students are welcome to submit nominations. The call for nominations opens on the first of each month.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.