“I have chosen education and good science as my way to serve my country but joining the military was one of the best decisions of my life," said Tadepalli.
Arun Tadepalli – Hall A/C Postdoc at Jefferson Lab
Army - 2004-2012
“You need it? I got it.” This was the motto Arun Tadepalli lived by during his time in the military. Impeccably organized, as a Unit Supply Specialist in the Army, Tadepalli was responsible for ensuring his fellow soldiers had everything they needed to get the job done.
It was in Iraq that he learned the importance of truly being responsible; not just for himself but for the others in his unit. The kinship, the camaraderie, the feeling and knowing of defending something bigger than himself all began to mold who he was. As he recounted his time overseas, Tadepalli kept saying that there is something indescribable about the trust earned in the military, particularly trusting your fellow soldiers with your life.
“The military gave me the first exposure to leadership and doing what it takes to protect others,” Tadepalli says. “We had a good leader that went above and beyond to keep us safe and complete the mission.”
At the lab, those skills translate because in order to run experiments correctly, sometimes you need to do more than what is originally asked of you. Especially during the ongoing pandemic, Tadepalli says that it is necessary to adapt to the situation and help each other out when it comes to taking care of and organizing the equipment.
“When everyone can’t be on-site, sometimes you need to jump in to ensure the experiment is a success. It boils down to helping others to accomplish the goals of an experiment,” Tadepalli adds.
So how did he go from serving in the military to working as a scientist? Tadepalli recounts how he would complete his military tasks during the day and when he got home, he would ponder the deep secrets of the universe. He wanted to know more about the unknown. After he left the military, that’s just what he did. Tadepalli received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 2019.
As a Hall A/C postdoc, Tadepalli works on experiments in Hall A/C, including the polarized Helium3 target, the upcoming SuperBigbite and the TDIS experiments, which blends hardware and software work for the lab.
“I have chosen education and good science as my way to serve my country but joining the military was one of the best decisions of my life. My core values, the responsibility, the true friendship, the camaraderie, I learned it all from the Army,” Tadepalli says.
“There is truly something special about defending freedom that at times we can take for granted. Service members and their families sacrifice a lot doing this and I thank my family for being there for me during this. My service molded me into the person I am now. I thank the U.S. Army for molding me into that person and will continue to serve in one form or another till the day I die.”
Thank you for your service, Arun!
By Rebecca Duckett
The regional home of Jefferson Lab, Hampton Roads, has a rich military history. Located in Southeastern Virginia, the region is currently home to more than 80,000 men and women in uniform, representing every branch of the armed forces. Throughout November 2020, Jefferson Lab is celebrating the region's military ties by highlighting some of our veteran employees who have served in the armed forces and who continue to serve their nation by supporting the research efforts carried out at the laboratory.