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Women @ Energy


The Women@Energy series showcases profiles and videos of inspirational women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers at the Department of Energy.

The profiles and videos highlight what inspired these women to work in STEM, what they do day-to-day in their jobs, their ideas for engaging others in STEM, tips, and more. Soon, the Women@Energy series will also include sample classroom lessons to engage middle school girls with the Women@Energy series.

We hope the stories and videos inspire women to think about their possible future in STEM. 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

Jennifer Steeb is an assistant chemist in the National Security theme within the Chemical Science and Engineering Division at Argonne National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Jennifer Steeb

"Working at Argonne National Laboratory as a staff scientist provides me the opportunity to apply my knowledge in chemistry to solve challenging problems in the interest of meeting the needs of the Department of Energy’s national security mission. It is very gratifying to work in teams that advance the U.S. capability to perform nuclear forensics, knowing that the end result contributes to the ultimate goal of keeping our nation safe." Read more from Jennifer on her profile here.

Marie Rinkoski Spangler is an electricity analyst working at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Women @ Energy: Marie Rinkoski Spangler

"As you are taking STEM courses, realize that you are learning more than just the topic material. You’re learning how to define and solve problems, and how to use mathematical tools. These abilities will make you particularly desirable as an employee—whether or not you end up working in the field you are studying now." Read more from Marie on her profile here.

Julie G. Ezold works in the Nuclear Material Processing Group, Nuclear Security & Isotope Technology  Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Julie Ezold

"I always tell high schoolers and college students to find something that excites you; for you will spend more of your waking hours at your job then you will outside of it. It should be everyone’s goal to find a career such that when you wake up and the morning you are looking forward to going into to work." Read more from Julie on her profile here.

Pamela Sydelko is the Deputy Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Engineering & Systems Analysis at Argonne National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Pamela Sydelko

"I also think giving working scientists and engineers the time and opportunity to get out and be involved in schools and science fairs would be very influential. It can’t be just teachers that spark and inspire, but in collaboration with career scientists and engineers from diverse fields, a student can get a better picture of how fulfilling these careers can be." Read more from Pamela on her profile here.

Dr. Kathleen Carrado Gregar is the Manager of User & Outreach Programs at the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Kathleen Carrado Gregar

"I firmly believe that what I do, what my colleagues do, and what Argonne National Laboratory does, contributes in an invaluable and permanent way to the national good. Our basic sciences and engineering discoveries are often eventually translated into advances for our citizens in energy security, national security, information technology, and health." Read more from Kathleen on her profile here.

Michelle Buchanan is the Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Women @ Energy: Michelle Buchanan

"All children are curious, and capturing and nurturing this curiosity as they go through school in math and science courses is very important. Often the connection between what we learn in classrooms and how it applies in the real world is not clear to students. Providing rich, meaningful experiences—examples in the classroom, field trips or hand-­‐on research-­‐-­‐can make math and science lessons more relevant to student’s lives and thus make a huge difference in keeping students interested in STEM." Read more from Michelle on her profile here.

Carrie Milton is an operations research analyst for the Office of Electricity, Coal, Nuclear, and Renewables Analysis at the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Women @ Energy: Carrie Milton

"I love working in my field, studying the underlying economic drivers of electricity markets and translating that into energy models. The electric power industry has seen tremendous changes in the past decade, and working on a team whose job it is to incorporate this information into models that forecast supply and demand curves is challenging and exciting." Read more from Carrie on her profile here.

Deanna Pickel is on the Research Staff of the Macromolecular Nanomaterials Group, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences Division.
Women @ Energy: Deanna Pickel

"The most important advice I have for young women interested in any field of STEM is to find an internship, whether at a National Laboratory, academia or industry. The best way to learn about a field is to work with experts in that field." Read more from Deanna on her profile here.

Giselle Sandi received a Ph.D. in electrochemistry and joined Argonne National Laboratory as a postdoctoral appointee in 1994.
Women @ Energy: Giselle Sandi

"What excites me the most about my work at Argonne is the people: world class scientists and engineers working together to gain fundamental knowledge and pushing forward new applied technologies." Read more from Giselle on her profile here.

Kerstin Kleese van Dam is an associate division director of the Computational Science and Mathematics Division and leads the Scientific Data Management Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Kerstin Kleese van Dam

"Working in with different science domains means that there is never a dull moment. My technical abilities and creativity are consistently challenged by their evolving requirements, pushing to create new solutions that take us to the next level." Read more from Kerstin on her profile here.

Erin Iski received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Tulsa in 2005 and then went on to Tufts University for a Ph.D. in chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Charles Sykes.
Women @ Energy: Erin Iski

"I think first and foremost, we need to expose more women and girls to the prospect of careers in STEM at a young age. The earlier these groups realize that they can have a part in these fields, the more likely they are to ultimately chose to go to college in a STEM related path. Additionally, they need to see and meet older and younger female scientists. Getting the chance to see other females in these positions solidifies these career goals as possible." Read more from Erin on her profile here.

As an agronomist (University of Milan, Italy, 1981), Ms. Cristina Negri leads the phytotechnologies R&D activities at Argonne as an Argonomist Environmental Engineer at the Process Technology Research Energy Systems Division.
Women @ Energy: Cristina Negri

"Role models, role models and more role models. They will change the stereotypes that surround women’s perceived interests and what is “appropriate” for a woman – there should be more role models readily available that offer young people (women and other underrepresented groups) an opportunity to see themselves in STEM professions." Read more from Cristina on her profile here.

Shawna Waugh is a mathematical statistician for the Office of Petroleum and Biofuels Statistics at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Women @ Energy: Shawna Waugh

"I started my career solving puzzles, an activity I enjoyed early in life! I enjoy the creative process (brainstorming, identifying alternative approaches and outcomes, establishing boundaries for a problem, and utilizing analytic and systems techniques useful in approaching problems, professional and personal."

Rebecca Abergel, Ph.D. is a Staff Scientist in the Chemical Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Rebecca Abergel

"We need to change the vision that people have of scientists. Too often, when we ask younger children if they know a famous scientist, they refer to Albert Einstein, and envision an older man with a crazy hairstyle. Taking science classes in school should be considered as "cool and desirable" as being on the football team, and we can only change this perception by continuously disseminating and explaining what we can achieve with science and who is behind it." Read more about Rebecca on her profile here.

Ashfia Huq is a Lead Scientist of the Powgen beamline, in the Chemical and Engineering Materials Division at the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Ashfia Huq

"Do it because you love it and you can’t imagine doing anything else. Don’t let anyone bully you, stick to it and don’t give up when it gets hard."

Karena Chapman assembled advanced battery materials into sample holders that can be placed in a detector at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory where high-energy X-ray beam will reveal the structure of the chemical elements.
Women @ Energy: Karena Chapman

"It is not always clear how what we learn at school as science relates to problems in the world in which we live. Programs which provide girls with a hands-on discovery experience and an understanding of how what they learn can be used to address new problems and to devise creative solutions is important for demonstrating why STEM matters and for inspiring the next-generation of STEM professionals."

Tina Henne, in the purple scarf, stands with participants in Argonne's Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day in February 2013.
Women @ Energy: Tina Henne

"I get to work with people who are passionate about making our world cleaner, safer and more sustainable. The Department of Energy mission is also well aligned with my research interests. As a microbiologist, I studied bacteria that can live in very toxic environments. Figuring out how they are able to live in such harsh places and potentially using that knowledge to help clean up the environment was like solving a mystery. So, in a way, I got to be a microbial sleuth!"

Jill Deem is the Chief Information Officer and Director of Information Services for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Women @ Energy: Jill Deem

"Energy is one of the biggest challenges in the world. To have a part in supporting a better future for generations to come is what this job is all about for me. My job as CIO is the kind of job you could do in many fields and organizations. But supporting the renewable energy mission is motivating and exciting for me."

Ritimukta Sarangi is a Staff Scientist for the Structural Molecular Biology Division at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
Women @ Energy: Ritimukta Sarangi

"I feel STEM education should be made more engaging and connected to everyday life in order to attract girls and young women. Since family and teachers play such an important role in the early development of academic interests, they play a vital role in shaping future generations of innovators, regardless of gender, and both play vital roles in encouraging girls to explore STEM topics."

Robin Goldstone is a computer scientist working in the High Performance Computing (HPC) division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).
Women @ Energy: Robin Goldstone

"I am surrounded by smart people from all disciplines: physicists, engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists all working together to solve some of the world's most challenging technical problems. It is exhilarating and rewarding." Read more from Robin on her profile here.

NREL Principal Scientist Sarah Kurtz leads a tour of the Outdoor Testing Facility for the Congressional Staff at The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). (Photo by Dennis Schroeder / NREL)
Women @ Energy: Sarah Kurtz

"Treat all feedback as opportunities. Find the place where you fit in, personally. Research is fun, because there are always new things to do, but it is highly competitive: so choose a level of contribution at which you can be the strongest contributor around. If this means that you are a technician in the lab, that is something to be proud of: a good technician can be very difficult to find." Read more from Sarah on her profile here.

Young-Kee Kim is the Deputy Director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and a Louis Block Professor of Physics at the University of Chicago
Women @ Energy: Young-Kee Kim

" It is very exciting for me to see talented diverse teams of scientists and engineers, assembled from both the National Laboratories and Universities, tackle great scientific and technical challenges to create the new tools that enable us to push the boundaries of our scientific knowledge." Read more from Young-Kee on her profile here.

Vivian Stojanoff, a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, holding a protein crystal model. Stojanoff uses x-rays at the National Synchrotron Light Source to study how atoms are arranged in protein crystals, because the arrangement affects how proteins function.
Women @ Energy: Vivian Stojanoff

"I suggest being flexible, because very few people end up doing exactly what they planned for in high school. It is important to have direction, so major in the subject you like best, don’t forget the other sciences, and keep an open mind to take advantage as opportunities arise." Read more from Vivian on her profile here.

Elaine McCluskey has worked as a civil /structural engineer and project manager for thirty-five years.
Women @ Energy: Elaine McCluskey

"I get excited when we are able to work together to design and build equipment and facilities that can enable research into fundamental questions such as why is there more matter than anti-matter in the universe. Since this is a long-term experiment, I know that we are literally enabling basic research for future generations." Read more from Elaine on her profile here.

Johanna Nelson is a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford Institute for Materials & Energy Science at Stanford University.
Women @ Energy: Johanna Nelson

"My parents always supported the notion that their daughters were smart, powerful women who could accomplish anything into which they put their hearts and minds. “Power to the women!” was and continues to be one of our family battle cries." Read more from Johanna on her profile here.