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Women @ Energy: Kelley Herndon Ford

March 11, 2013 - 10:48am


Kelley Herndon Ford works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Kelley Herndon Ford works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Kelley Herndon Ford works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  She is Deputy Project Leader for a cyber security research project in Global Security, Associate Division Leader for Global Security Computing Applications Division, and principal investigator for an LDRD project.  Kelley’s expertise is in applying machine learning and data mining algorithms to real-world problems, such as cyber security, radiation detection, and entity disambiguation.  She received her MS in Computer Science in 2005 and BS in chemistry in 1997 from Stanford University.  Prior to this, Kelley was also a team lead and software engineer for the Integrated Computer Control System for the National Ignition Facility (NIF).  Earlier in her career, Kelley worked as an analytical chemist in the biotechnology industry, developing methods to analyze raw materials used in the manufacture of vaccines.  Kelley is married, has two young children, and is an avid cyclist.

1) What inspired you to work in STEM?

A life-long love of the natural sciences, math, and engineering. My interest in STEM started with a deep dive into rocks and fossils while studying for the National Science Olympiad in middle school.  This interest and passion continued to evolve over the years, eventually leading me to a career in computer science.

2) What excites you about your work at the Energy Department?

I love the mission, seeking out science for the national interest.

3) How can our country engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM?

Mentoring. Supporting existing programs like Science Olympiad, Expanding Your Horizons, and math competitions.  Supporting and developing specific outreach activities and events geared around STEM that are hands-on, such as robotics, science camp, tech camp, engineering camp, Hack day events.

4) Do you have tips you'd recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

You’ll likely work on many different projects in your professional life, so I encourage you to experience a diverse set of disciplines--don’t focus too narrowly too soon. Once you find something you like, work hard, ask for help, and don’t give up.

5) When you have free time, what are your hobbies?

Cycling and playing with my two kids, who are 7 and 4 years old.