Women make up more than half the U.S. population, yet are significantly outnumbered by men in STEM-related fields in college, and constitute only a third of the STEM workforce, with some industries showing much less representation than others. While STEM opportunities continue to grow and gain popularity, the number of women in fields such as computer science, engineering, and math have yet to see an upward shift.
However, NNSA women continue to rise above the challenge. They’re setting a new standard and forging an atypical path that other women and girls can look to for inspiration in STEM.
Trang Ha, Safety Engineer
Ha is a Safety Engineer with the Environment, Safety & Health (ES&H) group and is responsible for the oversight of construction and industrial safety at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).
“My proudest accomplishment was establishing the framework for the institutional construction safety program at LLNL in 2009,” said Ha. The initial groundwork was achieved by including a new performance measure as part of the contract performance award fee process.
Prior to the creation of the program, the Lab’s oversight of construction activities, primarily performed by subcontractors, was inconsistent and not always well documented. Now the program measures LLNL’s approach on construction safety and facilitates continuous improvement through a very specific set of criteria.
I feel very fortunate that I was able to attend college in the United States, become a U.S. citizen, and have had a rewarding career as a federal employee.
As NNSA’s mission needs have evolved and grown at LLNL, it was important to establish a formal approach to manage the significant annual construction workload handled by Lab subcontractors. For example, last fiscal year the Lab executed approximately $118 million in subcontract work and expects to execute roughly $130 million in subcontract work this year.
Since ES&H oversight applies to these projects from the design phase through assembly and final project completion, Ha’s role in managing the safety program has been very involved.
Recently, NNSA recognized the importance of ensuring that subcontractors involved in construction projects had clear requirements for work, and with a mature construction safety program, LFO and LLNL were well ahead. LLNL’s program continues to be improved, making construction safety performance at the Lab one of the best in the complex.
A career federal employee, Ha started with the Department of Defense’s Naval Facilities Engineering Command Western Division and transferred to the Department of Energy’s Oakland Operations Office before joining NNSA’s Livermore Field Office.
She immigrated to the United States from Vietnam at the age of 19 and graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in industrial engineering.
“I feel very fortunate that I was able to attend college in the United States, become a U.S. citizen, and have had a rewarding career as a federal employee,” she said.
Ha comes from a large family – she is one of 10 children. With a large family and her now adult children, she continues to hone her favorite hobbies: cooking and baking. “I can’t wait to bake an apple cake to celebrate us coming back to the office.”