Diversity Equity Inclusion

Our People in Action

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) values diverse talent and continues to strengthen workforce diversity. Diversity, equity, and inclusion have proven to be vital in supporting the Laboratory's mission, driving innovation, groundbreaking research, and discovery.

Below are stories and profiles of LLNL employees from diverse backgrounds who have contributed to the Laboratory's success.

Kerrie Ingraham

Kerrie Ingraham

“I have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, so that means that I do my job the way that works best for me. When onboarding other admins, I always encourage them to find their own way of accomplishing their tasks.”

When Kerrie Ingraham started at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), she was immediately impressed by the welcoming environment that she encountered. Within her first year, she’d already discovered ways to participate in the Lab’s culture of guidance and mentorship.

Lauren Casonhua

Lauren Casonhua

“We’ve seen major shifts in some of our demographics since I’ve joined the Lab – we have a lot of newer and younger employees, I’d like to see that same trend when it comes to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and specifically Black communities.” 

Lauren Casonhua’s journey to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory begins with a love of stories. Growing up in Texas, she remembers returning home after each library visit with a stack of fiction books under her arm.  

Simon Cohen

Simon Cohen

“There’s a cultural adjustment coming from the East Coast to the West Coast,” said Cohen, “and it’s even more pronounced when you come from a region with a large Jewish population, and numerous synagogues, to a region that has a smaller Jewish population or is spread out across a larger geographic area” 

When Simon Cohen joined Lawrence Livermore National Lab in 1989 to work with laser systems as an Optical Engineer, he was not only new to the Lab but also to California.

Scott Scharmann

Scott Scharmann

"There’s a common misconception that we need to ‘tough it out’ when facing mental health challenges,” he said. “That doesn’t always work, because strength isn’t just physical."

Scott Scharmann’s definition of strength was forged through significant life changes, through which he learned that mental health is just as important as physical.

“There’s a common misconception that we need to ‘tough it out’ when facing mental health challenges,” he said. “That doesn’t always work, because strength isn’t just physical.”

Natalie Nguyen

Natalie Nguyen

"Our mission here at LLNL is to serve and protect our country, so what better way than to honor one of our country’s greatest assets: its diversity,” said Nguyen. “It is so important that we do everything in our power to make everyone at the Lab feel included and valued for all that they are and all that they have to offer!”

When Natalie Nguyen was just 11 years old, she and her mother immigrated from Vietnam to the United States. Natalie was the first of her family to attend university and earn a graduate degree.

Kim Ferrari

Kim Ferrari

“The Lab fosters a great environment for women, I can see that people work hard to ensure the workplace maintains a respectful, collaborative atmosphere as well as a genuine work–life balance.”

Growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, Kim Ferrari might not have initially imagined that her career would involve working with the largest players in the aerospace industry and more than 25 years at a national laboratory on the opposite side of the country. 

Ferrari has a flair for software—a befitting strength for her intellectual passions.  


Lynda Tesillo

“LLNL is a great place to work because of the unique mission, exciting science and engineering, and fantastic work-life balance.”

For Lynda Tesillo, Women’s History Month means more than reflecting on the past.

Her path to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory started with studying engineering at a university — a decision which put her in a unique position within her family.

Rochelle Barker

Rochelle Barker

“Statistically speaking, as a mixed race, single mother who grew up in foster care and who has no college degree, I shouldn’t be where I am today, but instead, I have a great employer who offers me work-life balance and that has enabled me to become a homeowner. In fact, I’m the first person to own a home in my family in generations.” 

Rochelle Barker grew up in Modesto, California, where she and her brother were raised by their grandmother. Two of the most important values that Barker learned from her grandmother were to work hard and to take care of those around you. 

Tanim Islam

Tanim Islam

“I think having more diversity in a workplace allows mentors and mentees to have more ways to form a connection with one another, as an American of South Asian descent, I have seen that other non-white people are more comfortable talking to me.”

For Tanim Islam, a physicist in the Lab's Design Physics Division, mentorship means improving systems that serve as barriers to employees as they acclimate and begin to work. One of his passions is looking closely at whether employees have suitable structures to accomplish their tasks.


Jenessa Angel

“Diversity and inclusion creates an environment of mutual respect resulting in increased recruiting opportunities and higher employee retention. Our differences can create a space that employees of all backgrounds thrive in. Diversity at the Lab brings people with varying perspectives and viewpoints together to work as a team, generate ideas, and solve complex problems.”

Jenessa relocated from Southern California to be closer to family.


Bianca Toledo

“Diversity and inclusion are important because without them, innovation is put at a halt. I believe that we should strive to break cultural barriers and understand more of how the world works by connecting with people who are different from us. After all, we can’t change the world if we don’t understand it.”

Before working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Bianca was working with tech startups creating products that did not necessarily feel meaningful or impactful.


Terri Stearman

“It feels great to know that I am part of something important—no matter what you do here, you are helping people.” 

Terri joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2018. Her husband has worked at the Laboratory for over 20 years. After a career in both the private sector and law, she was inspired to join the Lab after learning about its national security mission. Terri was always impressed with the world class science being achieved in her backyard.