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Women @ Energy: Novella Bridges

August 15, 2013 - 4:57pm

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Novella Bridges has worked at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory since 2000. Novella is a project manager in PNNL's Applied Statistics and Computational Modeling group.

Novella Bridges has worked at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory since 2000. Novella is a project manager in PNNL's Applied Statistics and Computational Modeling group.

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Novella Bridges has worked at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory since 2000. Novella is a project manager in PNNL's Applied Statistics and Computational Modeling group.  She is currently on an Intergovernmental assignment (IPA) with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security specifically working in the Non-Intrusive Inspection and Field Operational Requirements Division.

Prior to this assignment she worked as the training manager for a federal program to deploy radiation detection systems at all U.S. Customs and Border Protection ports of entry. As a research scientist, she is primarily involved in research that has led to the development of radio-labeled composites as therapeutic agents for cancer treatments.  While at PNNL, Bridges has worked on projects designed to reduce diesel emissions in vehicles, locomotives and light-weight trucks; improve production of hydrogen for fuel cells and other advanced energy systems; radiochemistry separations and the development of novel catalytic systems used for bio-based products.

Bridges earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, and a doctorate in inorganic chemistry from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.  Bridges is the recipient of several national professional awards and has been heavily involved in advancing K-12 science education. She also won PNNL's Fitzner-Eberhardt Award for outstanding contributions to science and engineering education. Bridges is a native of Detroit, Michigan. She is single with no children.

1) What inspired you to work in STEM?

I have always enjoyed science even as a young child. It was my favorite subject when I was in elementary school. As I got older and my knowledge grew; I became fascinated by science. I decided that science would be the best way to earn a good living and really enjoy my work at the same time.

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

I really like the fact that I can work on exciting and cutting edge research. Additionally, the Department of Energy has so many world renowned scientists that you always have such great resources right at your fingertips.

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

It has to begin while they are young. We should make the connections to other aspects of their lives. Most, importantly we should demystify the fact that STEM fields are hard and only for "boys". This needs to be taught often and repeatedly to young girls throughout elementary, middle school and high school. So, when they get to college they will be ready and excited about STEM and not afraid of it.

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

Yes, first tip would be to really like chemistry. Second, always stay curious, it helps when you want to become a scientist. Third, do well in all your courses besides science and math. You will need them all, especially grammar and writing composition.

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

I love to read, it is so relaxing. I like to play sports, especially tennis and basketball.  I also enjoy singing and listening to music; I love a good opera or a Broadway show. 

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