On March 15th, 2022, the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED) partnered and cohosted an Awareness, Interest, and Access Webinar with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). PNNLab is the nation's leading center for scientific discovery in chemistry, data analytics, Earth science, and technological innovation in sustainable energy and national security. 

This partnership and webinar objective aimed to bring awareness of Commercialization innovations and current STEM outreach initiatives. With the combined goal of sparking interest and increasing access to current and upcoming University Partnerships, Talent Acquisition, and Small Business Programs through the PNNLab.

After a warm welcome from ED Deputy Director of The Office Minority Programs (OMP), Mr. Vince Quarles, the Program Analyst, Mr. Chester Scott, described the mission and goals in partnership with OMP and PNNL. He then introduced Ms. April Castañeda, Chief Human Resources Officer. After defining what the PNNL does, Ms. Castañeda described the lab's culture of belonging and how her team has spent the past two years intentionally cultivating a virtual and in-person work environment that promotes an appreciation for equity and inclusivity.

PNNL's DEI/EEO Manager, Tanya Bowers, presented data on the lab's commitment to creating an inclusive workplace that reflects our diverse nation. Akin to the DOE, PNNL creatively enhances its education and workforce practices to sustain a congenial environment that supports all employees in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Ms. Bowers shared how the PNNL implemented a lab-wide DEI strategy and their commitment to inclusive recruiting and retention strategies.

The webinar transitioned into the business section with OMP's Senior Business Opportunities Specialist, Mr. Rodney Walters. He reviewed Executive Order #13985, Advancing Equity Across the Federal Government, to reduce potential barriers that underserved communities' businesses might face in accessing capital. Following Mr. Walter's Segway, Ms. Christina Lomasney, Director of Commercialization, spoke on how PNNL inventions drive global competitiveness for U.S. companies and markets. PNNL is accomplishing this feat through various technology portfolios such as Biotech and Human Health and Energy Grid and Fuel. Ms. Lomasney shared how businesses can work with the PNNL: collaborative research, sponsor research, agreements for the Commercialization of technology, and direct licensing of technology.

Ms. Brianna Yi, Small Business Program Manager, provided details on how small businesses can conduct business with the PNNL through the Mentor Protégé Program. As part of the program, small businesses are encouraged and assisted in enhancing their capabilities to perform contracts and subcontracts with PNNL, DOE, and other federal agencies while using research facilities and receiving assistance from small businesses. 

The Director of STEM Education, Ms. Evangelina Galvan Shreeve, concluded the webinar presentations by discussing the education side of the PNNL. She highlighted the STEM Education Key Efforts and the critical outcomes of STEM Education at the lab, including inspiring and preparing the STEM workforce for the future (particularly DOE), increasing diversity, equity, & inclusion in STEM, while building sustainable foundations for STEM literacy. She also discussed PNNL's internships and graduate and post-doctoral opportunities. At the end of her presentation, Panelists moderated education and business breakout sessions where webinar attendees could ask and receive answers and resources to their specific questions. 

Kudos to the dedicated staff of PNNLab and the Department of Energy's Office of Economic Impact and Diversity-Minority Programs stakeholders for their tremendous contributions to STEM education and business development.