KITP staff play a critical role in the KITP experience
If the word “physicist” conjures the image of an isolated scientist, think again: international scholars aren’t sojourning in Santa Barbara for a lonely getaway.
“People come here because they want to interact. That’s the whole point: to form new connections,” says Maggie Sherriffs, KITP Special Programs and Evaluation Manager.
Sherriffs echoes the sentiments of her colleagues who represent a contingent of the KITP community. Together, KITP staff not only serve the Institute but significantly contribute to the KITP experience.
“I always greet them with a smile,” says Bibiana Rojas, KITP Visitor Services Assistant. “Physicists are amazing people.”
For Rojas, going above and beyond is her trademark approach. She handles the little things that arise for KITP’s visitors as well as bigger challenges like transportation and healthcare.
“KITP programs are simply one of the kind,” reflects one KITP alumnus. “The scientific quality is high, the support and supporting staff is unparalleled, [and] the ease of settling down and working out the practicalities makes everything smooth. It is a model for how families can be treated and made to feel welcome.”
“Everyone plays a role,” explains Rojas. “Physicists require the freedom and space to think and be creative. If not for staff, our visiting scientists wouldn’t be able to get much done.”
That kind of camaraderie comes from a shared commitment to the cause — namely, to support theoretical physicists in their work and living spaces. The admixture of staff, faculty, and families serve to create the interactive atmosphere for which the KITP is known.
“I like being involved with a place with a mission that I care about,” says Sherriffs. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of the repeat visitors, hearing every so often that ‘this is a really important experience for me,’” she says. “They’re all so happy to be here. It’s kind of a summer camp environment.”
“When the scientists are in an enthusiastic discussion at a talk or at one of the numerous blackboards around the KITP, I feel like I’m experiencing the advancement of science and knowledge, firsthand.”
KITP Information Technology Administrator
Pictured left with Dennis Yu, KITP Computing Intern