Erin Conley
Graduate student researching supernova neutrino studies
Duke University, United States

At my first major DUNE talk, it was so scary. I was presenting to 30 or 40 people — literal experts in the field. I was about to start my second year of grad school. I wanted to make my working group proud, and I wanted to highlight my area of physics because it’s important. I had two days to prepare. My advisor was very excited about it, and I was just terrified. It was a daunting moment when I first stood in front of the crowd, and it seemed no words came out for the first 10 seconds. I eventually said, ‘Hi. My name is Erin.’ It took a long time to get that first ‘hello’ out. But I made it through. I’d like to think I’m stronger because of it. Now I’m on the collaboration working on studies to prepare the DUNE detector for the moment that a supernova shows up and lots of neutrinos come out of it. I love working for DUNE — I love working with people on various problems and projects, the travel opportunities, and the exposure that comes with it. I enjoy the questions we’re asking and seeing the way we answer them. I feel grateful and fortunate. What a life — it feels like a dream.