LIVERMORE — It’s not easy for a woman to succeed in the field of laser physics. But Alameda County’s Women’s Hall of Fame is sure that the career of LLNL’s Gina Bonanno is a successful one.
This weekend, Bonanno will be inducted into the county’s Women’s Hall of Fame as the top nominee in the Science category.
Bonanno has been a trailblazer at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) for the past nine years. As one of only a handful of women senior managers at NIF, she has a variety of responsibilities in the areas of strategic and workforce planning, financial management and institutional reporting.
She is a NIF program manager, and since 2005 has headed NIF’s National Ignition Campaign (NIC), the $1.6 billion program that sets the stage for the first set of fusion experiments on NIF beginning in 2010.
“I’m really very honored to be inducted along with so many accomplished women this year, and proud to represent the Laboratory,” said Bonanno. “The Lab has provided the opportunity for me to work on exciting and challenging projects, and I’m constantly inspired by the dedicated and extraordinarily talented people I get to work with every day.”
Her prior responsibilities at NIF included serving as Commissioning Operations Manager and Associate Project Manager for NIF Assembly, Installation and Refurbishment.
Since joining LLNL in 1986, she has successfully taken on numerous challenging scientific and managerial tasks. In 1994, she was named Laser Operations Manager for LLNL’s Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS) program and then served as project manager for the integrated enrichment demonstrations from 1997 to 1999.
NIF director Edward Moses said, “I have admired Gina’s abilities and leadership qualities for many years. My hope is that her induction into the Hall of Fame serves as a model for future generations of young scientists.”
Bonanno graduated magna cum laude from college, then earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Maryland in 1984. This was followed by a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship and two years at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD.
She actively participates in LLNL outreach programs including educational programs such as Expanding Your Horizons, as well as tours and presentations for community groups and schools. She has served on the Livermore Library Advisory Board.
Bonanno still manages to balance her professional pursuits and family life, especially caring for her young son.
Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a mission to ensure national security and to apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.