Amber Hames is a graduate fellow at Argonne National Laboratory. She works on recycling used nuclear fuel using pyrochemical processing. She's from Homer Glen, Illinois, and attended Lewis University, earning a bachelor's degree in chemistry. She is working on a doctorate in chemistry.
1) What inspired you to work in STEM?
Since I was in first grade I wanted to work in science. I remember saying I wanted to be a veterinarian, then an astronomer, and then an eye doctor. It was high school when I realized that I love chemistry.
2) What excites you about your work at the Department of Energy?
Knowing I’m making a difference in the world is the best part about my job. Being able to take something like radioactive waste, and turn it into a safe usable source of energy is very exciting.
3) How can our country engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM?
I think our country needs to promote that science is no longer just a man’s field. Most of my classes are male dominant. Going into college I realized very quickly that I was going to be one of the only girls in my science classes. I think in high school there should be a bigger push to get girls into STEM.
4) Do you have tips you'd recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?
To someone looking to enter my field I would encourage them to go to graduate school. Chemistry is a very complex subject that requires a lot of discipline, and knowledge in the subject. Graduate school gives all of the tools to succeed in this field.
5) When you have free time, what are your hobbies?
When I have free time I run, I walk my dog, and I brew beer.