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Women @ Energy

Women @ Energy

Our new feature, Women @ Energy, showcases a few of our talented and dedicated employees here who are helping change the world, ensuring America’s security and prosperity through transformative science and technology solutions. View profiles of employees across the country, sharing what inspired them to work in STEM, what excites them about their work at the Energy Department, sharing ideas for getting more underrepresented groups engaged in STEM, offering tips, and more. 

We hope that these stories can inspire others as they think about the future. Only 24% of the STEM workforce is female, an alarming gap as over 51% of the workforce overall is female. We can and should share our own STEM stories to help engage others and offer our voices on how our STEM careers have impacted us. Questions? Comments? Want to request a speaker? Get in touch by emailing

Women @ Energy: Alice Koniges

"All jobs are hard, but having one where you can really master your science and research is most rewarding. And within that area, find what really appeals to you—be it teaching, laboratory experiments, computing. Finally, don’t be afraid to switch it around – do an experiment if you are a theorist, write some code if you are an experimentalist. Give talks, meet people, and get ideas for new and exciting areas."

Kristi Schneck, a graduate student at the Stanford Department of Physics, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on the SuperCDMS Collaboration, grew up in Fergus Falls, a small town in western Minnesota.
Women @ Energy: Kristi Schneck

The first thing that drew me to physics was how fundamentally weird it is. I remember reading about relativistic time dilation—the fact that time appears to slow down for objects traveling near the speed of light—as part of my high school physics class and being struck by how strange it was that the world works that way. Through solving a lot of problems in my college physics classes, I developed a deep appreciation for the power of science to describe the way the world works.

Wei Xu joined Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) in 2013 and is currently an Advanced Applications Engineer in the Computational Science Center.
Women @ Energy: Wei Xu

"The beauty and the power of science and technology inspired me. STEM could change the world and improve life quality dramatically. I feel lucky to live in the decades that women are welcome to STEM and join the works to put what they learn and imagine into reality equally."

Environmental microbiologist Cheryl Kuske built a world-renowned Los Alamos research program targeting complex microbial communities in the environment.
Women @ Energy: Cheryl Kuske

"Be brave - sometimes you just have to ‘jump into the deep end of the pool’. You are definitely going to lose many times, but if you are tenacious and flexible you can make good things happen. Don’t be afraid to make inquiries.Be respectful of diversity – this includes others’ opinions, heritage and background, as well as their scientific research area. These ‘edges’ between different scientific disciplines are where new ideas become realities."

Women @ Energy
Women @ Energy: Becky Chamberlin

"I also love the fact that young girls who are drawn to “girly” colors and themes – pink and purple and horseback riding and cupcake baking – now have access to appealing construction toys that build their spatial reasoning and 3D manipulation skills. Being “girly” and becoming an engineer aren’t mutually exclusive."

Los Alamos mathematician Amy Bauer’s research has always focused on protecting people, whether from cancer, HIV or nuclear terrorism. She works on a broad range of nuclear counterterrorism projects, including post-detonation nuclear forensics.
Women @ Energy: Amy Bauer

"Do something you are passionate about. Don’t wait for your opportunities; position yourself opportunistically and create them! Develop and adhere to a strong work ethic. Think for yourself. Listen and be heard. Find a way to do what’s right, even if it is an unpopular thing."

Los Alamos aerospace engineer Marianne Francois’ ability to model the complexity of nuclear weapons systems through advanced numerical methods play an important role in supporting nonproliferation efforts.
Women @ Energy: Marianne Francois

"It is important to ensure that girls learn about various opportunities in STEM. Participation in hands-on program like Expanding Your Horizon should be encouraged, which provides opportunities for girls to build things and do experiments in order to develop creative thinking. It is also important that their interest is sustained and that they feel encouraged. A supportive environment at home, at school and in the work place is key."

Elizabeth Hunke develops advanced ocean and ice models for evaluating the role of ocean and ice in climate change and projecting the impact of such change globally.
Women @ Energy: Elizabeth Hunke

"One of the things I love best about making music is the sensation of creating something beautiful from essentially nothing. Not everyone would consider a computer program beautiful, but designing a mathematical model for a particular scientific phenomenon and then writing a computer program to solve it is a creative process."

Having monitored environmental compliance for New Mexico State and analyzed water chemistry for a nuclear power plant in Virginia, Los Alamos’ Dianne Williams Wilburn is well versed in environmental health and radiation safety.
Women @ Energy: Dianne Williams Wilburn

"Many STEM career paths are dominated by males. Women need mentors, both male and female, to encourage them to pursue STEM career paths. A lot of times someone just needs to be asked, have they ever thought of taking this class or applying to this school or considering a career in this area?"

Women @ Energy
Women @ Energy: Raenna Sharp-Geiger

"The best way to engage others in STEM fields is to start early and make it a lot of fun. Whether it is doing little experiments at home, building Lego objects, or applying it to cooking. Anything that builds the intellectual curiosity, through outreach starting at a young age and continuing across decades."

Los Alamos bridge engineer Crystal J. Rodarte-Romero is a proud steward of the historic bridge and is honored to extend its life with design modifications and forthcoming modeling.
Women @ Energy: Crystal J. Rodarte-Romero

"I encourage anyone looking to enter structural engineering or bridge engineering to pursue it with all of your passion. Never give up on your purpose and always stand in your truth. Never look at an engineering task as a pass or fail; but from the mind frame of what do you know and what can you learn. Treat your profession as series of growing opportunities."

Los Alamos biomedical researcher Alina Deshpande is dedicated to strengthening the world’s fight against infectious diseases by providing new tools for early detection and mitigation of disease outbreaks.
Women @ Energy: Alina Deshpande

"You can be successful in anything your heart desires, but you must be persistent, focused and not impulsive."

Los Alamos scientist Kathy Prestridge is trying to solve physics’ greatest mysteries, including how to harness the power of the sun.
Women @ Energy: Kathy Prestridge

"I have told many young people that the STEM fields need people who have different perspectives, are good at doing the science, are able to communicate their ideas well, and who are generally well spoken. Don't fall into believing the mad scientist stereotypes."

Amanda Randles is a Lawrence Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).
Women @ Energy: Amanda Randles

"Pursue internships and be open to using them to try different topics. Talk to a lot of people. I’ve found most people I approach for advice are extremely receptive and want to help. You just need to feel comfortable approaching them."

Dr. Angie Capece is an associate research physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory where she works in the field of plasma-surface interactions.
Women @ Energy: Angie Capece

"We also need to change the current stereotype of what a scientist is. We're not one-dimensional beings totally engrossed in our science with no other interests. Most scientists I know are pretty cool. They're beautiful, personable, and well-rounded people."

Darlene Yazzie is a Computer Support Technician within the Computations Directorate at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Darlene Yazzie

"Science and math has to be demonstrated as a “fun” thing with excitement to entice interest in elementary students; this will pique their interest throughout their school years. STEM can help students understand that having a successful career takes hard work and self-determination to persevere and do well in school."

Ulrike Meier Yang is leading the Computational Mathematics group at the Center for Applied Scientific Computing at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Ulrike Meier Yang

"Do not be afraid to ask questions when you do not understand the material. Do not give up when things get difficult. It also helps to find a mentor or working group. Things always get easier when one can discuss them with others. And most importantly, have fun."

Suzanne L. Singer is a post-doctoral researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where she supports engineering and energy security with projects in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Women @ Energy: Suzanne Singer

"We need to expose Native Americans and other underrepresented, and often underserved, populations to science and math at an early age and continuously stimulate STEM education. There are some efforts to identify cultural and socioeconomic barriers to academic success, foster learning opportunities across many education levels, and provide support mechanisms through mentorship."

Carol Meyers is a mathematician at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, working in the areas of counterterrorism, energy grid planning, and nuclear enterprise modeling.
Women @ Energy: Carol Meyers

"I love that I get to think about a diversity of big problems, such as: how do we modernize the country’s electric grid? How can we safeguard the nation’s nuclear deterrent? What kinds of countermeasures are most effective in combating terrorism? I feel very fortunate that I have had the chance to work on such big problems and contribute my own small part to addressing them."

Pascale Di Nicola works at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and is in charge of a working group for pointing performance and is a core member of the Target & Laser Interaction Sphere.
Women @ Energy: Pascale Di Nicola

"Find yourself a good mentor, somebody who will engage you in pushing your limits and will know what you can do even when you feel you are not able to. Look for what talents you have in your team, as there is a lot to learn from them too. Be passionate about what you are doing, feel responsible for your work, be proud of what you achieve but remember that this is more often a team effort than an individual success."

Punita Sinha is a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She is currently the group leader of the B Physics Simulations CS group leader, where she works on and manages a team of computer scientist s working on HPC (high performance computing ) multi-physics, massively parallel simulations codes.
Women @ Energy: Punita Sinha

"We need to have girls and women get comfortable in the scientific arena, which starts when they are very young. Having people who work with, or have jobs related to STEM fields, around them gives them a role model, and/or familiarity with the area. Our media tends to focus on entertainment and political news, only the public TV or public radio tend to have shows or events on science."

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.
Women @ Energy: Terri Quinn

"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."

Dr. Tanzima Islam is a postdoctoral research staff member working in the Center for Applied Scientific Computing (CASC) division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Tanzima Islam

"I believe early exposure to the fun side of science and math goes a long way in sowing “dream-seeds” in kids about STEM. This can be done by arranging hands-on science demonstrations where kids can do something cool such as basic chemical experiments or working with older kids to write software for switching the lights on or off with voice command."

Lisa Belk is the Information Technology (IT) Manager for the Global Security (GS) Principal Directorate at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Lisa Belk

"The single best way to enter my field of work is to earn a college degree! That degree will follow you wherever you go in life and serve as the starting point for your career, so be mindful about picking a major that will serve you in the long term. Embrace the idea that your career will change over the course of your working life, but that degree will help define the direction. Adding graduate degrees to your portfolio further enhances the opportunities that will be presented to you throughout your career."

Dianne Gates-Anderson is an Environmental Process Engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where she began working in 1996.
Women @ Energy: Dianne Gates-Anderson

"I loved chemistry from my very first chemistry course in the tenth grade. Of the sciences, I found chemistry the most fascinating because you can use the principles of chemistry to explain so much about everything around you."