Charalynn is the Information Technology (IT) Manager for the Operations and Business (O&B) Principal Directorate at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Charalynn is the Information Technology (IT) Manager for the Operations and Business (O&B) Principal Directorate at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Charalynn oversees the daily operations for the computer support unit that is responsible for the configuration, deployment, and repair of network systems in a mostly unclassified computing environment. Charalynn also serves as the Information Technology (IT) Manager for Site Operations & Infrastructure providing strategic and tactical IT planning, managing all aspects of the application development and support services for a broad range of institutional business domains that include Facilities & Infrastructure, Environmental, Safety, & Health, Supply Chain Management, and Telecommunications. Charalynn has 17 years of success in all phases of diverse technology projects. She began her career as a computer programmer and transitioned into technical leadership where she aligns technology investments with business, organizational, and programmatic goals. Charalynn holds a BS in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona.
1) What inspired you to work in STEM?
Thinking back to when I was young, I always enjoyed the creation process. I learned to sew at a very young age and made my own clothes. I didn’t realize it then, but it required skills in math, understanding the assembly of shapes, and working within tolerances. In school, my favorite classes were wood shop and drafting. I enjoyed the process of taking raw material and using tools and techniques to create something new. That continued into junior college with metal shop and a certification in electro/mechanical design. Again, things that required skills in math, assembly of shapes, and working within tolerances. I was the only female for the majority of the two year program. I thrived on the challenge of doing non-traditional things. I’ll never forget one of my college instructors questioning why I wanted a career in drafting and design. In his mind, it wasn’t a natural career for women. This gender bias displayed by a formal educator was shocking to me. After all, this was someone who was supposed to be on my side. It made me realize that I could do it. I could be successful working in a STEM field and it motivated me even more.
With Information Technology on the horizon, I headed back to school and earned my B.S. degree in Information Systems from the University of Arizona. I’ve been working at LLNL for more than 20 years in a career that is contributing to the mission of science through IT.
2) What excites you about your work?
Having grown up in an age where most everything we did was manual. Witnessing first-hand the transition of how Information Technology was changing every facet of everyday life both at work, at school, and at home was fascinating to me. The pace of this change is rather outstanding when you stop to comprehend it. Using technology to solve real problems; that change the way we think, learn, behave, and live, that drive operational efficiency, that advance research …. these are exciting times!
3) How can our country engage more women, girls and other underrepresented groups in STEM?
Encouraging children at a young age to understand the basic principles of math and science. Not by just reading but by doing. Doing things that are creative, exploratory, and fun! Continuing to foster an environment where girls are confident in their abilities so that they can maintain long-term interest in activities connected to math and science.
4) Do you have tips you’d recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?
It’s never too late to get your education! I worked full time and dabbled around in junior college when I was young. It wasn’t until I participated in a business systems re-engineering effort that I recognized the amazing opportunities that existed in the field of Information Technology. I headed back to college when most graduates have already been working in their chosen fields for a few years.Take pride in everything that you do. You don’t always have to get it right – in fact, there will definitely be times you don’t. Just know you worked your hardest and did your best.
And… Don’t ever, ever, ever, let anyone tell you “You Can’t”. Ever!
5) When you have free time, what are your hobbies?
I love to spend time with my family and friends. Waterskiing, baking, traveling are a few favorites. Spending time working outdoors is time that I treasure. There’s something amazingly good for the mind and soul by getting outside and working with your hands.