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Women @ Energy

Women @ Energy

Women @ Energy showcases talented employees at the Department of Energy who are helping change the world through transformative science and technology work. View profiles of employees across the country at our headquarters and National Laboratories, and learn what inspired these women to work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, what they do day-to-day in their jobs, their ideas for engaging others in STEM, tips, and more. Browse through the hundreds of profiles here and share your favorites on Pinterest

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 annemarie.horowitz@hq.doe.gov

Elizabeth Sendich is an industrial sector expert with the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (U.S. EIA), the statistical and analytical arm of the DOE.
Women @ Energy: Elizabeth Sendich

"Start early and start simple. We don’t have to tell every high-schooler to be an astrophysicist (or a chemical engineer), we want the general idea of maths, science, technology, and engineering to be fun at a time when young girls are still interested in play and learning is fun, not just text books."

Sheryl Hingorani manages Nuclear Weapons Strategic Planning and Enterprise Integration at Sandia National Laboratories.
Women @ Energy: Sheryl Hingorani

"For any STEM field, you should expand your horizons and pursue every chance to experience a variety of careers. Ask if you can job shadow your parent, a neighbor, a friend and see what they can show you. There are a lot of options out there, some you may never have thought of."

Katherine Riley manages a team of computational scientists at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility.
Women @ Energy: Katherine Riley

"Computational science is an immensely powerful tool. Proving high performance computing power for the best computational science work in the world is inherently exciting. We engage these researchers and collaborate on all aspects of solving high impact science problems with novel, forward-looking methods on the most advanced computing hardware."

Computer scientist Sreeranjani (Jini) Ramprakash says she became hooked on computers in childhood. Her team at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility helps scientists worldwide use the facility’s supercomputers.
Women @ Energy: Sreeranjani (Jini) Ramprakash

"Don't let the quest for perfection prevent you from entering STEM fields. You do not have to be tough as nails to be in computer science or engineering. You don’t need to know all the answers, either. Initiative is the key to success."

Argonne Internet project manager Pam Richmond designs websites and e-learning to support programs in environmental remediation.
Women @ Energy: Pam Richmond

"I think we need to encourage failure, not for the sake of failure, but to discover how to learn from it and succeed in spite of it. So many people don’t take a chance because they think they won’t succeed. I think we also need to show that STEM careers can be very rewarding in many ways."

Metallurgical and Materials Engineer Ozgenur “Ozge” Kahvecioglu Feridun works on scaling advanced cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries at Argonne’s Materials Engineering Research Facility.
Women @ Energy: Ozgenur Kahvecioglu Feridun

"Diversity in background always helps. No matter what you end up doing, a diverse set of skills will provide you with the ability to approach problems in novel ways that perhaps help you find a solution more quickly."

Angela Fioretti is a Joint Ph.D student at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, focusing on photovoltaic materials research.
Women @ Energy: Angela Fioretti

"What excites me about my work is knowing that every day I come into the lab, I am making a difference. I am thrilled to see the rapid and dramatic changes to our energy landscape that have taken place in such a short time, and it is even more exciting to know that solar energy is a real contender in our current energy market."

Teresa Alleman is a senior chemist with the Fuels Performance Group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Teresa Alleman

"Take a long hard look at what skills you offer and how it fits into different areas of STEM. You could find yourself working in an unexpected area and realize it’s where you were meant to be all along. But, if you pigeonhole yourself, you will never know what opportunities are out there."

Kirstin Alberi is a Senior Scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Kristin Alberi

"Above all, be persistent and have confidence in your abilities. You will undoubtedly encounter problems that seem impossible to solve at first but are surmountable with some determination and effort. Also, surround yourself with truly excellent people and actively seek out opportunities to grow professionally."

Barbara Goodman is the Associate Laboratory Director, Mechanical and Thermal Systems Engineering at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Barbara Goodman

"Engineering has allowed me to work in a variety of different fields including biomass, hydrogen, vehicles, buildings and wind while doing hands-on research, project management, analysis, and people management. When I entered the engineering field, I had no idea how limitless the opportunities would be over the course of my career."

Lieve Laurens is a senior research scientist in the Bioprocess Research and Development group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Lieve Laurens

"...There are so many aspects about science and especially biochemistry that remain to be uncovered and often the only way out of a research dip or impasse is the passion, fascination and drive to continue. So anything we can do to light the fire in young women and girls about science can really make a difference."

Chemical engineer Jennifer B. Dunn is an active supporter of women interested in entering STEM fields. An avid nature lover and environmentalist, she leads the Biofuel Life Cycle Analysis Team at Argonne National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Jennifer B. Dunn

"My work requires a technical background and also relies heavily on communication and collaboration skills, which many women have in spades and enjoy using. My advice to young women interested in a STEM career: stay well-rounded!"

Argonne Systems Analyst Linda Gaines solves problems related to the efficient use of resources.
Women @ Energy: Linda Gaines

"Don’t succumb to Superwoman syndrome: You can’t do everything perfectly! There are only 24 hours in a day; don’t buy into the macho work week. Identify tasks that you can ignore, skimp on, really want to do right, delegate — then DO IT!"

Esther E. Bowen is a Data Management Specialist for the Environmental Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory, with responsibility for managing soil and groundwater contamination data generated during environmental investigations of agricultural sites.
Women @ Energy: Esther E. Bowen

"I would recommend that someone who wants to go into STEM seek out math and science early to discover the things that they would like to do in life through broad exposure. This will give them more time to actively figure out the fields that interest them and to understand all of the options that are available to them, because STEM encompasses a huge range of fields and jobs!"

Argonne’s first Gender Diversity Specialist, Erin L. Thomas, works to ensure that the unique experiences of minority women do not go overlooked in diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Women @ Energy: Erin L. Thomas

"At the end of the day, the world is growing increasingly interconnected and, thus, increasingly diverse. While girls, women, and underrepresented groups need to be proactively recruited and welcomed into STEM fields, the real work needs to be done with the majority of STEM professionals, who are not underrepresented, or else they will lose out on the marked innovation that diversity brings to the STEM enterprise."

Meifeng Lin is a theoretical particle physicist and a computational scientist at the Computational Science Center of Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Meifeng Lin

"Just don’t expect to know everything from the beginning. Nobody does. A lot of the skills, especially programming skills, can be picked up and improved on the job. As long as this is something you are interested in, be passionate, persevere, and don't be afraid to ask for help."

Dr. Sindhu Jagadamma is a postdoctoral researcher within the Environmental Sciences Division and Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Women @ Energy: Sindhu Jagadamma

Growing up, I was determined to go to college because no one else in my family had a degree at the time. When I was in high school, my chemistry teacher really motivated me to enter science because he made science fun by telling stories and made you remember the material without even realizing that you were learning at the same time!

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."