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Women @ Energy: Terri Quinn

March 12, 2014 - 4:22pm

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Teresa ‘Terri’ Quinn is responsible for an organization consisting of three divisions with over 400 technical staff working in high-performance computing, computer security, and IT at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Teresa ‘Terri’ Quinn is responsible for an organization consisting of three divisions with over 400 technical staff working in high-performance computing, computer security, and IT at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

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Teresa ‘Terri’ Quinn is responsible for an organization consisting of three divisions with over 400 technical staff working in high-performance computing, computer security, and IT. Livermore Computing (LC), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)’s high performance computing organization, operates some of the most advanced production classified and unclassified computing environments. Within LC’s five computing facilities are housed over 23 Petaflops of computing resources and serving 2,600 users both on-site and off-site. She represents LLNL on DOE’s Exascale Executive team, a collaboration of seven labs working to define and promote a joint NNSA/SC Exascale program for DOE, and she is on the Board of OpenSFS, Open Scalable File Systems, Inc. OpenSFS is a non-profit company dedicated to supporting high-end open-source file system technologies.

Since coming to the lab 28 years ago Terri has worked for a number of national security programs including the Stockpile Stewardship Program, the Treaty Verification Program and the Yucca Mountain Program. She served as the deputy CIO for LLNL. She has managed research and development efforts in high-performance computing, data science, scientific visualization, and scientific data discovery including collaborations with universities, industry, and other laboratories.Prior to her career at LLNL, Terri was an officer in the U.S. Navy working at Naval Reactors for Admiral Hyman G. Rickover.

1) What inspired you to work in STEM?

I get a kick out of solving problems and manipulating numbers, and I am good at doing both. This led to stint in the US Navy working on nuclear reactors, which led to graduate school, and finally to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

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

At the Department of Energy you can be part of a team that is the best in the world. I work in high performance computing (HPC), and the Department of Energy is known internationally for its HPC prowess and leadership.

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

My advice for everyone is to acknowledge that women and girls can be good at engineering, math, and science and to be aware of implicit biases against women.

My advice for women and girls is to don’t let others erode your confidence in your abilities. You have every right to be who you want to be and to pursue whatever career that interests you.

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

If you are in school, seek internships to get experience and to learn by working with others in the field. If you are working, seek mentors and advice. Few of us can navigate a STEM career alone.

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

I race our dog up the hill, I chase my husband in kayaks across lakes, and I try to keep up with my kids. I rarely beat the dog, catch up to my husband, or stay with my kids but that’s what makes life fun. 

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