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NNSA Graduate Fellow Ramon Rodriguez
NNSA Graduate Fellow Ramon Rodriguez

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?

Electrical engineering – with most of my experience in the telecommunication and aerospace industries. I heard about the NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program while working on my master’s degree in manufacturing engineering and saw the program as an opportunity to broaden my experience and apply my skills to NNSA’s national security mission. I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico.

What drew you to the NGFP program?

What first attracted me to the Department of Energy was its role in addressing energy needs. I believe that nuclear energy together with renewable energy is the answer to resolving critical global issues that pique both my interest.

Though I believe that nuclear energy is part of the solution to our future energy needs, I appreciate the dangers of potential nuclear accidents, the need to safely dispose of nuclear waste, and the possibility that nuclear technology could fall in to the hands of terrorist groups or unstable nations. I am confident in our ability to find solutions to these challenges just as this nation did with its space program, with the telecommunication industry, and in health and medicine. I am fortunate to work with Los Alamos National Laboratory, where I am exposed to the latest research and discoveries in all of these fields and more.

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

Through the fellowship, I’ve had the opportunity participate in training and workshops about nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security, which are fascinating.

One major project I worked on was leading a quality assurance management assessment, where my team reviewed more than 100 policies and procedures at the Los Alamos Field Office. I drafted a report identifying best practices, opportunities for improvement and corrective actions. My team supported completion of the corrective actions. This helped increase my knowledge and understanding of oversight – and enhanced the office’s capabilities in this area.

What do you hope to do after the fellowship?

This year has been full of new experiences and learning opportunities. My goal now is to pursue a position either with the government or in the private sector, where I will continue to grow professionally and apply my knowledge and skills to solving the challenges within the nuclear industry.

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