PSD Spotlight: Ben Stillwell

April 19, 2022

Ben Stillwell
Ben Stillwell

The PSD April Spotlight is Ben Stillwell, research engineer manager for PSD’s Engineering and Technical Support Group (ETSG), which works with clients to plan, design, build, and test apparatus for their groundbreaking research projects. Ben is from Tampa, Florida, and has been working in this role since 2017.

What do you enjoy about being a part of the PSD community?

I enjoy the variety—both in the work that we do but also the wonderfully different and interesting people that we get to work with.

Tell us a bit about you.

I’ve been a tinkerer since I was a kid and have always loved building and fixing things. In my 6th grade science textbook, there was a page about different careers in chemistry. Inspired, I wrote to the American Chemical Society and got a bunch of pamphlets and, for a long time, planned to be a chemist. Later, I realized that I actually did love science—but I loved building the stuff to do science even more.

Who inspires you?

Creative people, the ones coming up with new ideas and with new ways of seeing things.

What is the most interesting thing that you are working on right now?

The most interesting thing that I’m working on right now is the EUSO-SPB2 gondola. There have been a lot of challenges in the mechanical design, but I’ve had broad freedom to implement my own solutions which really makes it a lot more fun.

What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?

Over the years working as an engineer, I’ve seen time and again how individuals with different backgrounds and life experiences can bring new ideas to the table. I think it must be because they’re able to see things in a different light. It’s not at all surprising to me that scientific studies have shown that diverse groups of people are able to solve problems more effectively than homogeneous ones.

To me, diversity and inclusion means appreciating the inherent value that variety brings to everything in life. Of course, it’s wonderful that the world is painted in so many different colors, but diversity is much more than just a thing of aesthetic beauty. I love meeting and learning about people from different backgrounds and identities because, more often than not, they offer an insightful perspective that I would have not been able to find on my own.

What three words best describe you?

Too much coffee!

If they made a movie about your life, what genre would it be and who would play you?

It would be an adventure in the seemingly, but not, mundane. I’d be played by a no-name actor, but Jim Jarmusch would write the screenplay and direct.

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