National Nuclear Security Administration

Graduate Fellow Feature: Dr. Karen Ventura

January 2, 2019

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Dr. Karen Ventura, a NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program Fellow in the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation
Dr. Karen Ventura, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Fellow.

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 graduated in 2017 from the University of Texas at El Paso with a doctorate in physical-inorganic chemistry. My dissertation focused on the study of metal-metal multiple bonds and in developing magnetic nanomaterials for water remediation. One nanotechnology goal was to transform water treatment systems to protect human lives and support sustainable economic growth.

What has been a highlight of your time with NNSA so far?

As a scientist, one of the biggest highlights has been to learn and see all the different groundbreaking projects being carried out by Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation’s Research and Development team. Also, by closely working with project managers and technical advisors, I have learned and applied management skills that are important for leading technical projects. These skills are necessary to understand and build upon the connection between headquarters and the National Labs.

What do you hope to do after the fellowship?

I would like to work at one of the National Laboratories. I believe that further development as a scientist is necessary for me to better understand and serve the nuclear security community. I have confidence that being a NGFP Fellow has prepared me to face an array of challenges that could be on the horizon for the nuclear security community.

What advice would you give prospective fellows?

They should always believe in themselves. The fellowship is a great introduction to the nuclear security field. A fellow’s experience will be what they make of it. If they work hard and show initiative, they will quickly become an asset to their office and be successful. Their time as NGFP Fellows will position them for a career in national security.

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