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Women @ Energy: Rebecca Springmeyer

February 6, 2014 - 9:05am

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Rebecca Springmeyer serves as Deputy Division Leader for Livermore Computing and Principal Investigator for the Advanced Simulation and Computing Computational Systems and Software Environment.

Rebecca Springmeyer serves as Deputy Division Leader for Livermore Computing and Principal Investigator for the Advanced Simulation and Computing Computational Systems and Software Environment.

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Rebecca Springmeyer serves as Deputy Division Leader for Livermore Computing and Principal Investigator for the Advanced Simulation and Computing Computational Systems and Software Environment. Becky helps manage the Livermore Computing workforce and coordinates CSSE activities to deliver leading edge computer simulation capabilities. Becky has more than 25 years of experience as a computer scientist in management and technical roles at LLNL. She has built and led teams, overseen the procurement and integration of hardware, and designed and developed software tools. Outside the lab, Becky has taught computer science courses at Mills College and studied at the University of Stuttgart and their HPC center in Germany during her graduate school years. Becky has a B.A. in Computer Science and Mathematics from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from the University of California, Davis. She minored in journalism and finds that a communications background can be very useful in computer science work.

1) What inspired you to work in STEM?     

I always loved math in school and when I went to college I discovered computer science, so I decided on a double major.  Our student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) went on field trips to companies, such as the local Bell Labs branch. This inspired me to go on to graduate school and then to work at a national lab as a computer scientist. 

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

The people.  As a computer scientist I have worked with scientists from many different and exciting areas at the Laboratory in additional to computer scientists with many R&D specialties.  I enjoy working on efforts that have a large impact and that involve innovative technology and really smart colleagues.  

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

I am a volunteer for Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Math, an organization that encourages young people to pursue studies and careers in STEM.  Our lab helps host the annual EYH conference and we also host science field trips from local schools, we support a Science on Saturday program for local students, and we engage in other educational outreach programs. I think a good way to encourage greater diversity in STEM is to invite a more diverse set of students at all ages to visit labs and technical companies and then hire them into intern positions when they are still in high school. This can provide a pipeline of more diverse students and it can give young women and other underrepresented groups experience in STEM and motivation to continue with their science education and pursue careers in STEM. By graduate school it's often too late, and even undergraduate schools have lost many of the young women from science and math programs.

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

Get experience as early as possible, to see whether you have a strong interest in the work and to expand your network.  Internships are great for this.  In college it's good to minor in additional subjects of value in a computer science career; one of mine was journalism and those communication skills have definitely paid off.  Typically we like to hire computer scientists who have also studied one of the sciences, so a minor in science or at least coursework in science are important.  

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

I love to read, write, cook, and spend time with my kids, sharing and documenting their hobbies (dance, robotics, music, games).  We also like to visit national and state parks and go hiking. 

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