Lauren Moraski is a Technology Manager for Marine and Hydrokinetic (MHK) Technology Development in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO). Lauren joined the WPTO after working for the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) as a civilian Naval Architect for 10 years.
1.) What inspired you to work in STEM?
I always enjoyed my math and science classes growing up, and many of my relatives are engineers (my father, grandfather, aunt, and uncles). So when I started thinking about going to college and what I would study, I assumed I would study engineering. I went to a two-week summer program at Stevens Institute in New Jersey between my junior and senior years of high school that focused on exploring options in engineering and science. It was there that I learned about Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (i.e. ship design), and I was hooked.
2.) What excites you about your work at the Department of Energy?
As a technology manager for the marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) program, I enjoy being able to work with a wide range of people, from scientists at the national laboratories to stakeholders within industry, to support device design and testing that further develops the U.S. MHK industry. The industry is relatively young compared to other forms of renewable energy, but the goal is to provide Americans with reliable and resilient energy from the country’s ocean and river resources. As a result, there is still a lot of divergence and ongoing research in the areas of MHK device design optimization, operations, and maintenance, which makes it interesting and exciting!
3.) How can our country engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM?
You can’t pursue a career if you aren’t aware the field exists! I was lucky because I had family in engineering, who not only introduced me to the concept but also advised me on how to reach my goals. Outreach about STEM career options—as well as the fact that women are every day having a huge impact in these fields—is a step in the right direction. Also, efforts to increase awareness about STEM should start early and aim to reach a broad spectrum of age groups. From commercially available STEM toys for children to summer outreach programs to engage teenagers, it’s never too early (or too late) for that message to take root.
4.) Do you have tips you'd recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?
Take advantage of every opportunity you can. If an opportunity sounds interesting, even if it isn’t immediately clear how the experience would fit into your career plan, go for it. You never know who you might meet or how the experience could impact or be useful to your future. It may even change your plans for the better.
5.) When you have free time, what are your hobbies?
In my free time, I enjoy hiking in Great Falls and Shenandoah, practicing yoga a few times a week, and spending time catching up with family and friends. My bucket list also includes visiting each of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World: Grand Canyon, Aurora Borealis, Paricutin Volcano, the Harbor of Rio De Janeiro, Victoria Falls, Mount Everest, and the Great Barrier Reef. I’m currently 1/7th of the way there.