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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

Linda Silverman	is a senior adviser in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C. Her hometown is Miami Beach, Florida, and she attended the University of Colorado and Johns Hopkins University. She has a bachelor of science degree in finance and international business and a master of arts in international relations.
Women @ Energy: Linda Silverman

"We need to ensure that we are always demonstrating the relevancy of STEM to our most critical challenges and that need new blood is needed to be most innovative. Girls and underrepresented groups need to see that their experience is crucial to contributing to solutions to these challenges. Not everyone in STEM has an engineering or science degree – folks can have other backgrounds."

Clarina R. dela Cruz is lead instrument scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended the University of the Philippines, Diliman, earning a bachelor's degree in physics; and the University of Houston, earning a master's and Ph.D in physics.
Women @ Energy: Clarina R. dela Cruz

"The U.S. is a great melting pot of cultures, and we are entering an era when the rapid growth of information technology is making it much easier to empower a thought, a value, or a group of people. This is a perfect foundation to successfully engage and promote STEM amongst women and underrepresented groups. The key is to convey the idea that STEM is part in our everyday life and success in a STEM-based career is achievable for everyone, including them."

Radja Boughezal is a staff scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, HEP Division. She attended Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany, earning a Ph.D.
Women @ Energy: Radja Boughezal

"Coming up with new ideas and techniques to solve the mysteries of the universe is extremely exciting and very rewarding. We are challenged on a daily basis. There is absolutely no routine in what we do. This keeps you very active, and mentally always challenged. I also love the fact that we collaborate with people from all over the world, and travel to present our new research ideas all over the globe. I had the chance to live in multiple countries: starting with my home country Algeria, going to Italy, Germany, Switzerland and finally my current home, the U.S. I could not dream of a more interesting scientific and social life than what I have experienced so far."

Eve Kovacs works at Argonne National Laboratory. She attended University of Melbourne, earning a B.Sc. (with honors), a Ph. D., and a diploma of computing studies.
Women @ Energy: Eve Kovacs

"In high school, I was the only person (male or female) who liked physics. I found it intellectually stimulating and very satisfying to learn how nature really worked. It was fascinating to me that one could use mathematics to describe physical phenomena and to calculate the outcome of experiments. I couldn't imagine a more interesting career than doing research to advance our understanding of nature."

Katie J. Heroux is a Senior Scientist A at Savannah River National Lab (SRNL). She attended the University of New Hampshire for her bachelor of science degree and the University of California San Diego for her master's and Ph.D.
Women @ Energy: Katie Heroux

"Before working for the DOE, my research in academia was primarily based in fundamental knowledge with no real world applications. Now, my research efforts help develop technologies for a facility that runs 24/7 so I am able to see the immediate importance and implications of my work. The idea that my work plays a role in solving some of the world’s toughest problems is exciting and rewarding!"

Simona E. Hunyadi Murph is a principal scientist at Savannah River National Laboratory. She attended the University of South Carolina, studying chemistry/nanotechnology, Georgia Regents University (Augusta State University), and Babes-Bolyai University in Romania, studying chemistry/electrochemistry and physics with an education minor. She holds a Ph.D in chemistry/nanotechnology.
Women @ Energy: Simona E. Hunyadi Murph

"Through my position at SRNL, I am able to develop innovative ideas that help to ensure America’s homeland security and continued prosperity. Through transformative science and technology solutions, SRNL will continue to be a leader of the scientific community. I am also able to give back to my local community. I volunteer and conduct numerous community outreach programs centered on STEM related events each year. This is truly one of the most rewarding aspects of my position at SRNL."

Vivian O’Dell is a Scientist II at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). She attended the University of Georgia, earning a bachelor of science degree in physics and math, and Brown University, earning a master's degree and Ph.D.
Women @ Energy: Vivian O’Dell

"There are many great things about my job. I enjoy being part of an international collaboration and being able to work with scientists from many different countries and cultures. At Fermilab, I enjoy working with the talented postdocs, scientists, and engineers that are working on a wide range of research in technology and collider physics analysis. My day is typically divided between discussing the latest analysis results from our experiment and how to best 'rehab' our detector to get the most gain in our physics reach in future running."

Brenna Flaugher is a Scientist II and department head of astrophysics in the Particle Physics Division of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). She attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and earned a Ph.D from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
Women @ Energy: Brenna Flaugher

"My work is aimed at understanding our universe. As we have learned more about it we have realized that we only understand about 5% of the energy in the universe. The rest is in dark matter and dark energy. I was in charge of building a 500 Mpixel, five-ton camera to measure the effects of dark energy. We put it on the telescope in August 2012, and we have been collecting images since then."

Michele L. Wolfgram is an emergency management team manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended the University of Rochester and earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering.
Women @ Energy: Michele Wolfgram

"As a young child, I was more interested in conducting experiments with my chemistry set and investigating things under a microscope than having dolls and playing dress-up. I had many opportunities in my youth to participate in various extracurricular programs related to science, and I took full advantage of those offerings. As I progressed through my education, my love of math became more apparent and an engineering degree seemed like the most logical way to combine both interests."

Andrea M. Rocha is a postdoctoral research associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She holds a Ph.D. in engineering science from the University of South Florida, Tampa; a master of science degree in oceanography from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia; and a bachelor of science degree in biology from Texas A&M University –- Corpus Christi, with major emphasis on marine science and a minor in chemistry.
Women @ Energy: Andrea M. Rocha

"While it is important to introduce science at a young age, the number of women and underrepresented groups completing a graduate program is still low. There is a need to recruit and maintain the number of women and underrepresented groups working in STEM careers. If we lose them at the early career level, who will be there to inspire the next generation? For me, participating in mentoring programs was crucial to successfully completing my doctorate and is still an important factor as I progress in my career."

Dr. Monica Regalbuto, center, who is DOE’s assistant secretary for environmental management, surveys progress on recovery efforts at EM’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
Women @ Energy: Dr. Monica Regalbuto

"I would say that a solid education is the foundation for anyone looking to enter this field. I was fortunate enough to have family members who supported me when I went on to obtain the best education offered at that time. I also encourage young people not to put limits on themselves, and remain open minded, no matter what job you have at any given time. You never know where you could end up. It has been my experience that one job can lead to another, and so on."

Chang-Hong Yu is senior scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended the University of Copenhagen (The Niels Bohr Institute) and Peking University and holds a Ph.D in physics.
Women @ Energy: Chang-Hong Yu

"To be a scientist is exciting and fun! It is also inspiring to your friends and family!"

Karen S. White is controls group leader and data operations manager at the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended Old Dominion University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in computer engineering and master's degree in computer science, and George Washington University, where she earned an M.E. in engineering management.
Women @ Energy: Karen White

"Growing up, my father always encouraged me to study engineering. He claims to have put a calculus book in my crib rather than a baby toy. I started college a chemistry major, and after a couple of years, changed to engineering."

Lisa M. Thompson is a group leader in the Global Security Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended the University of Tennessee, earning a bachelor of science degree.
Women @ Energy: Lisa Thompson

"Our country needs to make STEM education more interesting to everyone—not just females—by finding innovative ways to make STEM courses more engaging and dynamic. An effort also needs to be made to erase false limitations. People need to be taught there is nothing to prevent them from entering into STEM careers."

Tara M. Pandya is a member of the research and development staff in the Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended Texas A&M University –- College Station, earning a bachelor of science degree, master of science degree, and Ph.D.
Women @ Energy: Tara Pandya

"I think the biggest challenge about pursuing my career was always being in the very small minority of women in my field. In my college classes, seminars at my job, and even conferences, the vast majority of colleagues are male. However, being recognized by my peers for my work, surprisingly, built and continues to build my confidence."

Olga S. Ovchinnikova is an R&D staff scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, earning a bachelor of science degree in physics, and a master's and Ph.D in chemical physics.
Women @ Energy: Olga Ovchinnikova

"Science is not just a career; it is a passion. Every day I have the opportunity to see or do something that no one else has. It is an extremely rewarding career, where I get to constantly learn. Think of a science education as an opportunity to explore and grow your passion."

Lee McGetrick is a nuclear infrastructure program manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, earning a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering.
Women @ Energy: Lee McGetrick

"As families, communities and states, we must work together to provide role models for our young people and create opportunities for higher education, regardless of the field of study. Aspects of STEM-related skills apply to almost everything we do in work, play, and life. As a country, we should make education a priority and use our tax dollars to support education reforms."

Liyuan Liang is a Distinguished Scientist and director of institutional planning at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended California Institute of Technology and earned a Ph.D.
Women @ Energy: Liyuan Liang

"Follow your heart. Do what interests you. Figure out the key questions you want to understand. As my advisor told me, 'When the questions are defined, the problem is half solved.'”

Melissa Voss Lapsa is a group leader at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended St. Mary’s University and Western Illinois University, earning an M.B.A. and B.A. in marketing, with minors in mathematics and computer information systems.
Women @ Energy: Melissa Voss Lapsa

"Always keep thinking and dreaming about what is possible in your field of interest –- especially what may seem impossible now. Never stop being innovative. Also, always keep building the network of people you interact with, learn from, and share ideas with."

Suzanne A. Herron is deputy project manager for the U.S. ITER project at Oak Ridge National Lab. She attended Ohio University, earning a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and a master of science degree in industrial and systems engineering.
Women @ Energy: Suzanne Herron

"When professionals are trying to solve problems, the emphasis is on who can contribute. If you apply yourself and work hard –- no matter who you are –- you will be accepted and respected in the workforce and will never feel 'out of place.'”

Christina Forrester is a group leader of the Technical Testing and Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended the University of Florida and the University of Tennessee, earning bachelor of science and master of science degrees in electrical engineering.
Women @ Energy: Christina Forrester

"I was honored to be able to travel to Baku, Azerbaijan, for a workshop on earthquake resistant and energy-efficient building materials. I assisted with the organization of the workshop, and I presented two papers to the U.S.-Azerbaijan community on renewable energy technologies and green building technologies. Baku is a bustling city with obvious signs of rapid growth. Yet, constructing safe, sound buildings that would survive an all-too-common earthquake was not where money was being spent. It was eye-opening to speak with the Azerbaijani representatives about the construction of their buildings. There was an obvious need in Baku, and solutions to their problems existed. They just needed to collect all the facts to make an informed decision about how to construct buildings in the future."

Sarah Cousineau is an accelerator physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended the University of North Dakota for a bachelor of science degree in physics and Indiana University for a Ph.D in accelerator physics.
Women @ Energy: Sarah Cousineau

"I like to work on challenging problems. The degree of satisfaction I get from succeeding at something is directly related to how much work I put into it. Science provides an endless array of complex and exciting problems, and solving them is like a game. I often feel like I am 'paid to play.'”

Jennifer Caldwell is a group leader in technology commercialization at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended the University of Florida and Florida State University and has a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and Ph.D in chemistry with emphasis in biochemistry.
Women @ Energy: Jennifer Caldwell

"My career path has presented all sorts of bends and forks in the road that I could never have anticipated. At a young age, I began thinking I would be a scientist working in a laboratory and then found myself climbing the space shuttle pad after launches at Kennedy Space Center. Later in graduate school, I became a research scientist and hoped to make a contribution in science for humanity. At the conclusion of my Ph.D, I leapt from the lab to an early-stage technology investment firm where I envisioned real-world solutions from premier R&D institutions. From all my experiences, I believe that curiosity within your career path is key to discovering new and exciting opportunities."

Jan Berry works at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a technical responsible officer and team leader for the Tokamak Cooling Water System of the U.S. ITER project. She attended the University of Florida and University of Tennessee and has a bachelor of science degree and master of science degree in chemical engineering.
Women @ Energy: Jan Berry

"Widespread pollution was a national topic, and I was intrigued that as a chemical engineer I could work in the industry that was causing the problems. I decided to return to college and try to become an engineer. I knew I would never become one if I didn’t even try."

Nina Balke is part of the research and development staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She attended the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, earning a Ph.D.
Women @ Energy: Nina Balke

"Not enough people actually know what STEM is. You don’t need to be a genius to pursue it and have fun. We have to teach kids that it’s OK to pursue a field with few women/underrepresented groups and build confidence that everyone can do it."