Jackie Scoggins is a Computer Systems Engineer in the Information Technology Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Jackie received her BS degree in computing science with a minor in mathematics from California State University, Hayward. She has been at the lab for 23 years and has spent 17 years in IT. Throughout her career, she has played a vital role in developing, deploying, and operationally supporting scientific computing resources. She has also been part of the National Energy Research and Scientific Computing program for six years. Jackie is a founding member of the Lab’s African American Employee Resource Group, a member of the Women Scientists and Engineers Council, and a Diversity Advisory Board member where she serves as a Task Force Lead for the Strategic Communications group.
What inspired you to work in STEM?
I became interested in STEM out of curiosity. I always wanted to know why did the copy machine, that I would work on at the Oakland Naval Supply Center in Oakland during the 1980's, kept track of the count and the image to reprint it. So I decided that day I was going to do computer science because it was the closest degree I could find at UC Davis that would be close to me working on Computers. And after being in this field for over 30 years I say that was a wise decision for a 16 year old.
My inspiration came out of curiosity. I wanted to know how computers worked, so when I left high school, I decided I would major in computers. I like solving problems. The work to get to the solution can be frustrating at times, but it’s also rewarding because I fixed the problem. So different challenges inspire me to work every day.
What excites you about your work at the Energy Department?
I am excited by having the opportunity to work with world-renowned scientists, the diversity at the lab, and by always learning something new. I am really excited when I hear about discoveries made on a system I or my team supports.
How can our country engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM?
Stop labeling tasks and jobs as male or female, but base it on whether the person can do the job. My grandparents had 10 granddaughters and no grandsons. So I never remember a time when there was a competition or comparison of what a girl or a boy could do. I was taught you can do anything you put your mind to. And that is exactly what I have done. So if people just encourage others based on their interest, we would not have to worry about seeing more females in STEM or operations.
Do you have tips you'd recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?
Don’t let anyone stand in your way or prevent you from achieving any goal you set for yourself. Be confident, courageous, proud, and willing to learn and take and give advice. Be a role model to others so they, too, can do what you do.