Lab women profiled in DOE's 'Women @ Energy' feature

March 31, 2014

Lab women profiled in DOE's 'Women @ Energy' feature

In celebration of Women's History Month, the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Department of Energy (DOE), highlighted the contributions of talented and dedicated employees from across the DOE complex in an online feature called "Women @ Energy: Innovators in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics."

Out of 170 profiles on the site, 47 of the women featured are employees of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The LLNL women represent a variety of disciplines across the Laboratory from senior managers, group leaders and program managers to scientists, engineers and postdocs.

The women profiled share what has inspired them to work in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and what excites them about their work at the Energy department. They also provide their thoughts on how our country can engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM and offer recommendations for those interested in entering their field of work.

Common threads of advice from the women featured were to engage students at a young age to get them excited about STEM and the importance of finding a role model, mentor and champion.

Pascale Di Nicola, who works at the National Ignition Facility, is in charge of a working group for pointing performance and is a core member of the Target & Laser Interaction Sphere. "Find yourself a good mentor, somebody who will engage you in pushing your limits and will know what you can do even when you feel you are not able to," Di Nicola said.

"The key to STEM engagement is exposure, " said Francesca DeMello, a computer scientist in the Computation Directorate's Applications, Simulations and Quality Division. "It's all about the spark that happens when you learn something new that you can't stop thinking about; it all seems possible when the face you see doing it, looks like yours."

Diane Chinn, director of the Accelerated Materials and Manufacturing Initiative, has been inspired by hearing how her role models achieved success. "Changing the perception of what an engineer or scientist looks like is an important step toward making STEM education widespread for girls. We need to highlight role models for underrepresented groups and show the fun, interesting work that they do," she said.

Tony Baylis, director of the Office of Strategic Diversity Programs, was named in 2013 as a Department of Energy (DOE) champion of the Minorities in Energy Initiative. Baylis has been engaging and collaborating with DOE, seeking opportunities to engage the diverse workforce at LLNL and promote STEM education and careers. "I hope to be a positive representative for DOE and LLNL in promoting this effort and in bringing awareness of STEM careers to minorities," Baylis said.

Nadine Horner, president of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Women's Association (LLLWA) and external relations officer for the Laboratory, was impressed by the caliber and number of women from LLNL featured by DOE during Women's History Month. "This feature not only showcased the diverse talents and careers of our women employees, but also focused on their commitment in encouraging young women towards STEM education," she said.

For more information on women in STEM careers visit the Department of Energy's Women @ Energy website. Watch videos highlighting Women in STEM on the Web as well.

The Million Women Mentors campaign, an initiative of STEMconnector, is seeking women in STEM fields to take the pledge to mentor young women. The goals of the campaign are to increase the percentage of U.S. high school girls planning to pursue STEM careers, increase the percentage of U.S. young women pursuing undergraduate degrees in STEM fields and to increase the percentage of U.S. women staying in STEM careers. For more information and to take the pledge, visit Million Women Mentors.