National Nuclear Security Administration

Graduate Fellow Feature: Lauryn Williams

March 13, 2019

You are here

Lauryn Williams is a member of the 2018-19 NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program (NGFP)
Lauryn Williams

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?

My background is in political science, public policy, and international security studies. I have a Stanford University professor to thank for introducing me to nuclear nonproliferation policy as an undergraduate student. My interest in this field led me to pursue a thesis analyzing the United States-India civil nuclear agreement and paved the way for later fellowships and internships with the Department of State, the Department of Defense, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and NNSA.

What drew you to the NGFP program?

Given my longstanding interest in nuclear nonproliferation policy, NGFP seemed a natural next step after graduating from Princeton University. Before applying to the program, I met several former fellows at nuclear policy events who shared with me the activities they were involved in and projects they worked on. These conversations gave me a good sense of what the fellowship year could look like. The fact that fellows have the opportunity to pursue professional development – through attending international and domestic workshops and trainings – was also a major draw.

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

Attending domestic and international workshops coordinated by my office, NNSA’s Office of Nuclear Export Controls, has been a highlight of my fellowship experience. Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in and provide feedback on new workshops on export control-related topics before they are deployed. I have also attended and presented in workshops overseas. The international experiences, in particular, allowed me to see productive cultural exchanges between U.S. and foreign officials firsthand, and they also gave me a greater appreciation of other cultures and customs. I know these unique experiences will stick with me throughout my fellowship and in my career afterward.

What do you hope to do after the fellowship?

My previous jobs and internships included experiences in the public, private, and non-governmental organization sectors. Having dabbled in each of these areas, I know I want to pursue a career in a Federal government agency focusing on national security policy. National security issues touch the daily lives of all citizens in the United States and abroad, whether they realize it or not. For that reason, I believe it is incredibly important to have a diverse and thoughtful group of individuals working on solutions to the many challenges the world faces – I hope to become one of them.

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