National Nuclear Security Administration

Graduate Fellow Feature: Candace D. Harris

April 10, 2019

You are here

NNSA Graduate Fellow Candace Harris
NNSA Graduate Fellow Candace Harris

The NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program (NGFP) is a unique opportunity for recent graduates to join the Nuclear Security Enterprise. These full-time, salaried positions offer a year of specialized, on-the-job training and the chance to tackle real-world challenges in one of NNSA’s program offices. Fellows develop technical and leadership skills to launch their careers with a full immersion in one of NNSA’s core mission programs.

What is your academic background or field of study?

I have a bachelor’s degree in physics from Spelman College in Georgia. Immediately after I received my degree, I began a summer research program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where I later completed my master’s degree in physics. The following year, I started a summer internship with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) scholar program. I was encouraged by my supervisor there to apply for doctoral programs in physics. I took their advice and now hold a Ph.D. in physics from Florida A&M University.

 I was so fascinated by the breadth of knowledge and responsibilities fellows have in the Nuclear Security Enterprise that I just had to apply.

Candace D. Harris
NNSA Graduate Fellow

What drew you to the NGFP program?

I knew two former fellows from my time at Florida A&M with a similar technical background as myself. I was so fascinated by the breadth of knowledge and responsibilities fellows have in the Nuclear Security Enterprise that I just had to apply. As a doctoral candidate in physics, the program is appealing for post-graduate opportunities in working with world-renowned scientists. The program offered a bridge in connecting my technical background to applications in global security.

What are you currently doing for NNSA?

I am currently conducting research in the Weapons Physics division at LLNL in support of stockpile management. I am also learning how policies in Defense Programs are being made by adding scientific and technical expertise. I have met some very influential NNSA managers who I am currently shadowing, so I would say networking is also an added bonus to the experience.

What do you hope to do after the fellowship?

I hope to remain working as part of the Nuclear Security Enterprise conducting research in support of NNSA’s mission. I believe gaining experience on the technical side of Defense Programs combined with policy development will help me build a strong foundation for a successful career in nuclear security.

The NGFP is funded by NNSA and is administered by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Explore a career in nuclear security!