The Office of Fossil Energy (FE) is closing out Women’s History Month by highlighting two women who are making valuable contributions to FE through their ongoing work. Learn more about their roles in FE and their advice for young girls and women who may be interested in working in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM).
Natenna Dobson is an International Energy Analyst and Physical Scientist within FE’s Office of Oil and Natural Gas. Managing the Africa and Middle East portfolio for FE, Natenna’s work currently focuses on enabling the responsible development of domestic and international oil and natural gas resources. Prior to DOE, Natenna worked in public health for non-profit organizations whose focus was on environmental and human health issues within local communities.
When it comes to more inclusion in the science and energy fields, Natenna says she thinks back to the words of the writer and poet, Maya Angelou: “…in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” She says that she believes it’s important for women to be involved in STEM to continue the tradition of women making invaluable contributions to the scientific community. She cites women like French scientist Marie Curie and NASA research mathematician Katherine Johnson as examples of both leadership and innovation in their fields. “Simply put, our society would not be as technologically/scientifically advanced if not for women in the STEM and energy fields,” she said.
For young women interested in pursuing a career in STEM, Natenna advises them to persevere despite the challenge of there not always being a large number of women working in their field. She said, “I would encourage young girls to first find something in these areas that you can relate to or be motivated by in investigating questions/issues no one dares to address––next find mentors and a support group; be a champion of diversity themselves; and most of all, make sure to always be willing to learn!”
Amishi Kumar is a Fellow in FE’s Office of Clean Coal and Carbon Management. In this role, her work focuses on two main projects: 1) the production of rare earth elements from and coal by-products and 2) the regional Industrial Carbon Management Initiative.
Amishi believes it’s only right that women should have equal representation in the science/energy field since women make up half of the population—and those numbers should carry over to the individuals working in STEM. “It is especially important to get the smartest young minds, regardless of gender, into the science/energy field to solve and innovate the tough challenges for our future,” she said. “That can only happen when women (and men) today work hard to address the inequality that exists in our fields to create that unbiased and fair system for the future.”
For young women interested in pursuing a STEM career, Amishi encourages girls to take advantage of as many science-related classes and activities as possible. Most importantly, she says girls should seek advice from others already working in STEM. “People in the field understand there is a disparity for women, and I’ve always received helpful advice and guidance from current professionals who are looking to help the next wave of young girls become leaders.”
At FE, we’re proud to celebrate the contributions of the women on our team, and we are excited to play a role in cultivating the minds of the next generation of scientific leaders.