Michelle Criss
Michelle Criss

How do you support NNSA?
I am an Administrative Assistant, supporting the Director of Human Capital and Business Operations within NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs. For HCBO, customer service is our goal and people are our mission. I also serve as the security liaison for Defense Programs. In this role, I handle items as the go between for the Special Security Office, Headquarters Security Office and Defense Programs. Through my duties, I enhance the employee experience within the organization.

What is your personal background, and how has that shaped you and your approach to your career? 
I served in the U.S. Navy for nearly 23 years. During my time in military service, people were my passion, I worked with others as a Personnel Officer, Administrative Officer and Senior Enlisted Officer.  I am now proud to be able the make an impact as a civilian. People are the most important commodity anyone can ask for and with this responsibility comes honor and commitment for what we strive to become. This is how I have shaped my own life; this approach keeps my character pointed right towards my moral compass. 

What did you study in school and how did it impact you personally and professionally?
I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in Mental Health and Data Literacy. I am currently enrolled in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s degree program at Southern New Hampshire University. I would like to continue to make a professional impact by becoming a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Maryland.

Personally, my goal is to work in the family and group therapy counseling field with veterans and adolescents struggling with mental and physical health trauma. I also hope there is a place within the Department of Energy where I could assist with mental and physical needs.

What led you to a career in nuclear security?
For me, joining NNSA was a chance to be a part of history and hopefully in some way make a difference. My career in nuclear security has involved changes in roles and responsibilities, and over time I think people learn to adapt and evolve. It is truly an honor, and I am humbled to be able to work alongside my teammates in Defense Programs.

What is the best part about your job?
The best part of my job is working with my teammates to advance something much bigger than ourselves. Over my years in the military, I found out that the picture you see in the front of you is only a lithograph. The people fill in the colors and make movements happen, which in the end creates beauty.

Michelle Criss
Michelle Criss

Tell us something interesting about yourself.
I am a vegetarian who loves to experiment in the kitchen. One of my goals in life is to show people how wonderful vegetarian meals can be. Yes, lettuce is good, but there is so much more to discover in the kitchen. 

I love boxing and taking long bike rides. The joy of my life are my four grandchildren, and my best friend who is also the love of my life. I believe that each day you open your eyes is another day to rediscover yourself and try something new.

What advice would you have for anyone interested in a career in nuclear security?
The advice I would give to anyone interested in a career in nuclear security is follow your dreams and live life to the fullest. When you are doing what you love, the work becomes a part of that love and happiness especially if you can see the results of your labor.

Who is someone that inspires you and why?
The strongest people I know are my daughters. They have spent their lives being my biggest cheerleaders while never asking for anything in return. Each time I left home on deployment they never showed me a tear. As I manned the rails and while our ship slowly pulled away from the pier, I could only hope to have their strength and someday be able to pay back their love. They are my life, and they are the reason I am standing here today. 

How do you plan to celebrate/commemorate this Veterans Day? 
For Veterans Day, I plan to think about all my brothers and sisters that I have lost and those who have taken my place within the forces. I tend to stay at home with my family as I honor their sacrifices that they have made for me.