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.


Jenessa Dozhier

“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. When she was looking for employment opportunities, she talked to family members employed at the Laboratory and the consistent message she received was the excellent support of work/life balance. As a mother of two children under the age of two, this was a real selling point.  The Lab provides the ability to have multiple careers without changing companies, providing continued years of service and home stability. When she first started working at the Lab, she did not know what she wanted to do. Through her experiences and work opportunities she was able to develop her skills in event management, ultimately leading to her current role as the administrator for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at LLNL. As she evolves through her career, her job is constantly evolving with new opportunities and educational experiences. She finds it exciting to think she will always have the ability to find a job at the Lab that both matches her skillset and leaves her feeling fulfilled and that she had made a difference.

Jenessa is a member of all of the employee resource groups (ERGs). She joined the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Women’s Association (LLLWA) in search of networking and volunteer opportunities and wanted to meet new people and find ways to give back to the community. When she joined LLLWA she learned there was an opportunity to serve in an officer role and volunteered. Since then, she has served in every officer role for the maximum time of service allowed and ends her service in 2021 as the president. Her involvement with this ERG has resulted in strengthening leadership skills, creating a vast network throughout the Lab, increased confidence, and lifelong friendships.
Her role models are her Lab mentors. “I am surrounded by a supportive group of mentors that provide guidance, opportunities to learn new skills, and the overall encouragement that I can do anything I put my mind to. I believe mentors truly are the key to success. I know that I am a better employee because of the time they took to guide and nurture my career and personal growth.”

shiela dixon

Shiela Dixson

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

Shiela works as a financial analyst for Environment, Safety & Health, and as the treasurer for Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Women’s Association (LLLWA). She feels that LLNL is a great place to work because the Laboratory tackles new and innovative projects that affect the world.    

She is a part of LLLWA and the African American Body of Laboratory Employees (ABLE) employee resource group (ERG). She joined both groups to make a difference. “Everyone has the ability to contribute to helping each ERG be successful in its mission,” she says. “The LLLWA ERG provides an opportunity to help raise awareness of different women’s concerns and also provide financial assistance for scholarships to assist employees in reaching their educational goals. The ABLE ERG provides an opportunity for employees to gather together and openly discuss concerns and try to navigate each employee to a valuable resource within the Laboratory that can assist with the issue. ABLE also provides scholarship opportunities to assist employees with educational growth.”

Shiela believes diversity and inclusion are important because everyone should feel included in their circle, both personally and professionally: “We should value and respect our differences between the various cultures, genders, races, etc. among our friends, co-workers, and mankind. We must learn to embrace or at least be open to learning about others and the reason they feel or react a certain way.” 
Her role models include her father, Oprah Winfrey, and Nelson Mandela. Her favorite Mandela quote is: “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” 

Lynda Tesillo

Lynda Tesillo

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

Lynda was intrigued by LLNL’s mission to study and practice science in the national interest. “The diverse and exciting science and engineering work being done here is unmatched anywhere else!” she says. She applied to LLNL because she is passionate about the mission and wanted to serve her country through engineering. She felt that LLNL also provides amazing work–life balance and continuing education programs.

She feels she is constantly learning and growing as an engineer. She is also a member of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Women’s Association (LLLWA) and the Early Career Employees Group (ECEG). Lynda joined LLLWA because she wanted to help empower and strengthen women at LLNL. “LLLWA strives to develop women professionally and personally and I absolutely want to be a part of that. I joined ECEG because, as an early career employee myself, I am passionate about ensuring that all new employees learn the skills and have the tools that they need to thrive professionally and personally as they start their careers at LLNL,” she says.

Lynda believes diversity and inclusion is paramount to being able to innovate and advance science and technology through diverse thought and varying perspectives. It is also important in ensuring that all employees are comfortable being their whole selves and feeling fully included at work.

Her role models include every woman in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that has come before her: “They have endured so many obstacles and overcome numerous barriers that have allowed me to thrive today as a female engineer.”

Lorenzo Wells

Lorenzo Wells

I saw a need for the Lab to see people of color who can be educated, fun and human. We are the SAME."

Lorenzo has worked at the Lab for over 25 years as a health physicist for Environment, Safety, & Health (ES&H). He was hired after working 13 years at a nuclear power facility as a health physicist. Lorenzo was always interested in radiation as he knew it was all around us and that it could affect the body, but he also wanted to understand the risks and its helpful uses. Monitoring the exposure of radiation to individuals drew him into becoming a health physicist. He enjoys working at the Lab because there is always something new to learn. He feels the learning curve will always climb at a 45-degree angle and keep the Lab interesting.

He is one of the African American Body of Laboratory Employees (ABLE) Employee Resource Group (ERG) leaders and continues to support all ERGs. The importance of diversity and inclusion is evident to him because of the negative feelings people have for those who look different. “I saw a need for the Lab to see people of color who can be educated, fun, and human. We are the SAME,” he says.

For the first time in his 25 years at the Lab he is seeing senior managers wanting more diversity and talking about it. He feels that “diversity should not be hidden because it will be apparent to anyone when you look at any organization to see people of different races, nationalities, genders, and backgrounds.” His hope for the future of this Laboratory is “to see more diversity up and down the management structure, and not only talk about wanting to be diverse, but also holding those accountable to make the change that has been desperately needed for some time.” He believes that “things have to get better and that senior management has heard the call and picked up the ball. Now we have to be proactive and continue with the tough discussions that need to occur in order to get better.”

Lorenzo’s role models are his dad, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the friend who helped him get his position at the Lab.


Jason Cruz

“Diversity and inclusion not only gives us a sense of belonging but is essential to fostering new ideas and unites us under a common banner of “Science in the National Interest.”

Jason came to the Laboratory after being recruited by Randy Pico at a job fair. Working at the Lab was a prestige his peers and he strove for while in school. He was enticed by working among the most innovative thinkers and cutting-edge technology, and feels the Lab has a great philosophy of work–life balance.

Currently, he is the outgoing Chair of the Asian Pacific American Council (APAC). He has also been a member of the Bible Study Groups (BSG). He joined the employee resource groups (ERGs) because they are a great way to make friends and meet like-minded people. He feels it is also a great way of meeting other individuals you may never otherwise encounter outside your division.
“I didn’t necessarily join APAC intending to become part of its leadership. But along the way, I’ve been given this great opportunity providing a voice for employees’ concerns. It is a great honor working with my peers and partnering with management to help make the Lab a more equitable and inclusive workplace.” He believes diversity and inclusion are important because it not only gives us a sense of belonging but is essential to fostering new ideas and unites us under a common banner of “Science in the National Interest.”

His role models are his parents, Gil and Josephine Cruz; his great-uncle Delfin Cruz, who pioneered one of the first ethnic newspapers; Fred Rogers from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”; and the late astronomer, Carl Sagan.


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. 

Terri manages a business operations team that ensures needed applications are available to the many scientists and researchers who support the Lab’s mission. She also serves as the President of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Women’s Association (LLLWA). When first joining the Lab, she was impressed by the dedication to give back to the community manifested by the employee resource groups (ERGs). In her first month, she attended a talk coordinated by LLLWA and has been involved with them ever since. The group and its membership are sources of inspiration and motivation. Terri was recently named the Chair of the WCI Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. In this role she will help WCI achieve its goals of creating a more inclusive workplace.

Terri believes diversity, equity, and inclusion are important because diverse workplaces are more successful, more innovative, and more likely to achieve our mission goals of groundbreaking science. 
Her role models are Mae C. Jemison and Sally Ride.