Women in Cryogenics and Superconductivity 2020

Emily HarrellEmily Harrell

Who is your present employer?

Engineered Controls International, LLC, is the official name of my current employer, although everyone knows and refers to the company as RegO®. The name RegO was originally derived from the words “regulator” and “oxygen”.

What is your title?

I am the senior global product manager for industrial gas and LNG products at RegO. I started in this role within the company over two years ago. Along with my team of technical and product specialists, we are responsible for providing worldwide technical support and new product development.

What projects are you working on now?

I am responsible for evaluating new market and product opportunities, including defining market penetration plans and positioning. I lead a cross-functional team to develop new cryogenic products from conception to launch, as well as support existing products in every aspect from the commercial to technical to manufacturing considerations. Currently, we are actively developing more than 15 new product families that expand our portfolio and market presence.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

At the time of responding to this question, the global spread of the COVID-19 virus is affecting every one of us on a personal and professional level. During this unprecedented challenging time, RegO is protecting the safety of our employees while providing support and service to our customers. Despite the challenges facing all of us, my team—and everyone at RegO—is continuing to proactively respond to industry needs as the medical community continues to prepare for an influx of patients requiring urgent, critical care.

What advances for women would you like to see in the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity?

Women are continuing to be a strong force within the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity. As a first step to help further advancement, we need to be proactive in encouraging and educating women on how exciting this field is and how they can make a real impact in the industry. By inspiring, supporting and empowering women in this industry, we enable them to achieve their highest potential.

As with all STEM-related fields, not just cryogenics and superconductivity, I believe that women need to continue to elevate their presence in higher level, key decision-making positions by advocating for themselves. We need to continue to praise and give credit to everyone involved in making advancements in our fields, including ourselves. I have learned over the years not to be afraid to speak up and interject my opinion, and not shy away from healthy debate. My advice to women is to continue to take a seat at the table and make a seat for yourself when it is not offered to you.

What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

I believe helping grow diversity within our field starts with our future generation. Women in the industry should be strong role models for young girls who may not understand the options out there. I actually grew up on a farm and led a pretty sheltered life. I just happened to get lucky and had a chemistry teacher in my sophomore year of high school who helped identify my potential strengths as a chemical engineer and introduced me to the concept. Having someone recognize that potential in me gave me the confidence to pursue a difficult degree and ultimately led me to an amazing career.

I encourage teachers to continue to recognize the potential in their students and help empower girls, specifically, to understand their strengths and the full breadth of potential career opportunities in STEM-related fields.

Serena BarbonottiSerena Barbanotti

Who is your present employer?

I work for DESY Hamburg in their cryogenics group.

What is your title?

While I’m currently employed as a “scientist”, I am a nuclear engineer.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m working on the ALPSII project and on the cryogenic R&D activities related to our main accelerators, FLASH and XFEL.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

During my first years at DESY, I participated in the production, assembly and installation of all the 98 cryomodules that form the XFEL accelerator. It was a challenging, but very interesting, time. We followed the production of the main cryogenic components from international companies, worked closely with the French institute doing the module assembly and installed the 98 cryomodules in the tunnel.

What advances for women would you like to see in the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity?

Simply having more women in the field would make everyday life easier. I’ve been studying and working in a mainly masculine environment for more than 15 years and it’s not always easy: being the only or one of the few women in a group puts you “under the spotlight,” even if you don’t notice it.

What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

I don’t think there is a simple answer to this question. The situation cannot be changed in a short time; we need to work with the younger generations and bring them closer to science, demolish stereotypes and show the variety of activities available in the scientific fields. We need to actively go to schools and show what we do, speak with girls and demonstrate that we are very normal people and we can have a very normal life while doing something we really like.

Roza DoubnikRoza Doubnik

Who is your present employer?

I work at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

What is your title?

Mechanical engineer.

What projects are you working on now?

I work on the Short—Baseline Neutrino Program (SBN Far Detector and Near Detector) and Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) Project.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

The Short-Baseline Far Detector (SBN FD), or ICARUS Project, was at the early design stage when I started working at Fermilab; I am so proud to be a part of the cryogenic team that made all the effort from scratch to the beginning of experimental operations. This year, two ICARUS detectors with 760 tons of liquid argon will serve physics. I have the honor of working with professionals from Fermilab, the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) and I was nominated for the exceptional performance recognition award in 2019 for “a several-year process of getting the ICARUS cold vessels qualified and the cryogenic system installed that culminated this year with the successful pressure testing of the vessels and installation of the cryogenic system.” I am very proud of this recognition as it involved some unique challenges including pressure testing the equipment, identification and connection of the interfaces between parties and bridging the difference between metric and imperial units for the fittings, piping and equipment.

What advances for women would you like to see in the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity?

I would like to see more acceptance in the fields to avoid having to prove myself to each male engineer or technical specialist. It takes time before they start to rely on you and your engineering decisions and they eventually stop challenging and testing you.

What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

I think the best way is outreach to high school students. The opportunity to see an engineering job as an “Engineering Shadow” or being able to spend several days together with an engineer to see their work would be invaluable.

Angela KrennAngela Krenn

Who is your present employer?

I work at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

What is your title?

I am a senior cryogenics R&D engineer.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m currently working on two major projects. The first is the Cryogenic Thermal Control Coating development. This is a new coating that blocks UV and visible wavelength radiation while allowing emission of IR wavelength radiation. Further development of this coating may enable passive storage of cryogens in deep space. The second is insight into cryogenic systems for ground support, in-space cryogenic fluid management and extraterrestrial surface systems for the Artemis Program.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of the successful testing and propellant servicing of Goddard Space Flight Center’s Robotic Refueling Missions 3 (RRM3) payload, performed at Kennedy Space Center. Filling a payload with liquid methane, weeks prior to launch, had never been attempted before. The team was tasked to design, build and operate a liquid methane fill system with limited time and resources. Many issues arose throughout the process, but the payload fill with liquid methane was completed on time and RRM3 was delivered to the flight provider (SpaceX) for final processing and launch.

What advances for women would you like to see in the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity?

I would like to see advances in spacecraft design that would enable long term storage of cryogens in space. Proper integration of structural, electrical, thermal and other flight systems is required. The ability to achieve and maintain low temperature systems in space will pave the way to human missions beyond the moon and superconductivity in space for both women and men

What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

Exposing elementary age students to cryogenics is a great way to attract women to the field. Classroom demonstrations using liquid nitrogen can be a fun and interesting way to get kids excited about cryogenics. Once women have been drawn to the field, studies have shown that creating a flexible work schedule goes a long way toward keeping women in technical jobs.

Jillian EvankoJillian Evanko

Who is your present employer?

I work for Chart Industries, Inc.

What is your title?

I am president and chief executive officer.

What projects are you working on now?

Further growth strategies around leveraging our equipment, process and solutions—particularly in the global clean energy infrastructure buildout, as well as specialty markets.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Our Chart team members’ efforts to have a record order, backlog and sales year in 2019!

What advances for women would you like to see in the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity?

I’d like to continue to see companies provide women with opportunities to take on broader roles and positions outside of their functional areas to support more female P&L leaders.

Robbie GarrisonRobbie Garrison

Who is your present employer?

Corteva Agriscience.

What is your title?

I am a biologist working as the technical leader of cell banking.

What projects are you working on now?

Currently, I am working on the recovery of plant suspension cultures from cryogenic storage, the rescue of plant cell cultures and suspensions after cryopreservation-induced damage.

What advances for women would you like to see in the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity?

More opportunities for employment in the field. Currently, my options (that I am aware of) in Indianapolis IN are limited to two medical research companies and one biotech company. If there are others utilizing cryogenics in this part of the US, they are not publicized openly.

What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

More jobs available that are openly advertised.

Gargi MengerGargi Menger

Who is your present employer?

INOX India Pvt. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of cryogenic equipment.

What is your title?

I’m an executive of the cryo-scientific division in quality assurance and quality control.

What projects are you working on now?

The most important project I am currently working on is the design and manufacture of disruption mitigation system cryolines at ITER. I’m also working at the Raja Ramanna Center for Advanced Technology doing fabrication of horizontal test cryostats with feedcan and a horizontal liquid nitrogen storage container.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

My accomplishment as a cryogenic quality engineer. I have done various performance tests, NER tests, cold shock/thermal cyclic tests and heat leak tests on cryogenic projects being executed by my division. It’s a great challenge and a wonderful experience. The very first project I worked on was a prototype of the ITER cryolines and, with its successful execution, we became eligible to bid for the ITER cryolines project.

What advances for women would you like to see in the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity?

There are many women working at good positions in the fields of cryogenics and superconductivity but they seem to mainly be in research or the design field. With six years of experience in this field, I have come across very few women in fields like quality, production and installation on site. I want to see more women explore all fields!

What would be the best approach to getting more women into our field?

One idea is to publish more magazines and articles about this field to educate more women about this wonderful career opportunity. We can educate parents and students and invite women from the cryogenic fields to raise awareness about their exciting careers and possibilities. The women who are in this field can share their own experiences and should give themselves the task of spreading awareness to bring more young girls to cryogenics… just as I did! ■