Yesterday, February 11 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science and it is apparent that we need to shine a light on some of the amazing women in Los Alamos that are doing amazing things in their field. I asked each participant two questions: What’s your title and what do you do? And What inspired you to get into your field?  I reached out to 3 local  women in distinct positions, at different places of employment. 

 First I reached out to Stephanie Meyer who is a Science Teacher at Los Alamos High School. Her response: When I contemplate my career in science, I think back to my youth in Kansas, living at the edge of town with a ditch next to our house full of critters. I used to catch and sort tadpoles by the number of legs they had; getting in trouble for using canning jars to "collect slimy things" as my mom liked to put it. As I got older, I found that my academic pursuits and interests landed me in biology classes. Once I'd graduated, I found I was uncertain of what I wanted, so I pursued something easy - a career with the grocery chain I'd been working for in college. They discovered my talent for teaching before I realized it, sending me around the midwest training new employees at new stores. For five years I clueless did this until I had an epiphany and realized that teaching was what I was meant to do, more specifically teaching science. I enrolled in a graduate program, earned my MS in Curriculum and Instruction and moved to Los Alamos. I began my teaching career at LAHS in the special education and science departments. I love being able to share my knowledge, experience and appreciation for science with young people. I love being able to teach them in ways that make sense to me and that are meaningful to them. 

I then reached out to Jenelle Mann who works for Los Alamos National Labratory. Her response: I am a Criticality Safety Analyst at Los Alamos National Laboratory. We analyze new and modified processes at the Lab to ensure safety of operations by providing administrative and engineered controls to each of these processes. I enjoy the worker safety aspect of the work, learning about the different operations that we perform, and the iterative process of giving our operational groups the most flexibility, while maintaining the safety of operations. I started in Criticality Safety in 2019 after working in Radiological Engineering for almost 3 years. I first became interested in science during high school when I took a Chemistry laboratory class. Although I had taken science classes before this, this was the first laboratory class I had taken. I credit my success and enjoyment of this class on my teacher, who encouraged me to think creatively, explore concepts that I found interesting, and continue my education. In the spirit of exploration, I pursued and received my bachelor’s degree in a field that I had never heard of: Nuclear Engineering, becoming the first person in my family to receive a bachelor’s degree. Nuclear Engineering has remained an interesting field with diverse work. I’ve had the opportunity to work at a nuclear power plant, collaborate internationally on radiation dose modeling for a waste repository, perform research at Fukushima University, pursue graduate work in Radiation Health Physics, and perform radiation backpack detection at events, including the 2017 Inauguration. In my career, I have found role models and continued mentoring to be essential to my success as a woman in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). I enjoy participating in community outreach events where young girls can learn about STEM and enjoy exploring concepts and thinking creatively. I hope that I can help show young girls that not only is a career in STEM exciting and interesting, but it is also an achievable career path.

Then I contacted Liseth Garay, who is the VP of Operations at UbiQD, Inc. UniQD, Inc. is an advanced materials company powering product innovations in agriculture, clean energy, and security. Her response: At UbiQD, I oversee the departments of Financial Administration, Human Resources, Safety and Compliance, and General Administration. While my formal educational background in Business Administration and a good portion of my job duties are not STEM in nature, I've always believed administrative support is a key background component to enable STEM. STEM for me is what shapes our present and our future and working in this field gives me a front-row seat to witness innovations and development of ever-changing technologies that offer solutions to the challenges we face, as well as the opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than me.

I encourage you to reach out women and girls in our community and learn from them on what they do and what they want to do for our community. projectY cowork is a place that encourages innovators and entrepreneurs of all ages, gender, and background to achieve their goals an dreams. For more information about what projectY is and what we do contact us today! 

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