Former Lane physics student to intern at Los Alamos National Laboratory

By Lance Sparks

Rebecka TumblinRebecka Tumblin been awarded a summer internship with the prestigious Los Alamos National Laboratory, following an intense national competition. She will join other outstanding students in research of the newest developments in her field.

Rebecka is a former Lane Community College student currently enrolled as a senior at the University of Oregon, majoring in physics. She lives in Eugene.

The story of Rebecka's success is both unusual and common to the LCC community.

"Ten years ago," she says, "I was a kid on the corner. If I can do this, you can." She had few prospects. But she did possess a largely untried and provably superb intellect, plus an intense interest in science, particularly physics. Yet she was struggling. She had been born in Ramona, Calif., and had moved often as her parents battled through a contentious divorce. After a number of shifts between the West Coast and the East, Rebecka managed to graduate from Siuslaw HS in Florence.

Through a strange twist of fate, she had found employment, starting at age 13, learning to repair pipe organs. She soon discovered that the craft would not sustain her. She went to work building massage tables. One day, while finishing a table, she noticed a fortune-cookie message stuck on a wall: "Do not waste your time at a task that does not challenge your intellect."

In 2009, Rebecka enrolled at LCC and began to discover her abilities. She worked hard and performed brilliantly, earning recognition and awards, particularly major scholarships: The Miller Foundation, a Ford Restart, UCORE, the Scholarship for Oregon Scientists, NASA Space Grant, and more. In 2010, Rebecka joined the Imamura Group at UO, taking part in a team working at the very edge of physics.

Rebecka says, "LCC gave me the stepping stone for all my aspirations." She realistically expects to finish a PhD in physics. After that? "I'd be happy teaching at LCC." She adds, "The body of teachers there is just astounding."

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Published by Lane Community College Marketing and Public Relations, March 2013.