Na’ilah Bowden
Na’ilah Bowden

The National Nuclear Security Administration is celebrating the women who make up the backbone of our Enterprise. These women work across areas like project management, maintenance, disposition, sustainability and more. Their contributions and accomplishments are what make our workforce so incredible, and their backgrounds and expertise ensure that workforce is just as vibrant and important as the missions they support.

Title: Director, Office of Infrastructure Planning & Analysis
Program/Office: NA-50
Years in infrastructure: 10+

 

How did you become interested in infrastructure or what was your career path to this point?

I knew that I had an interest in infrastructure long ago, hence my undergraduate degree in architectural engineering and my graduate degree in civil engineering. I didn’t know, however, where that interest would take me. I’m so glad that it landed me where I am today. Infrastructure is exciting! From understanding ways to improve it and plan for the future to watching it move from a vision into a plan and transform into an actual building or structure is an exciting experience unlike any other. Fold into that finding ways to make our infrastructure more sustainable and resilient and you can easily see the daily opportunities to conquer large and complex infrastructure challenges. What fascinated me most about engineering was the opportunity to solve problems, so my career continuously fulfills my desires.

My first working experience with DOE, an internship opportunity through the Minority Serving Institutions Program, is what ultimately led to my career with NNSA. I have had the pleasure of working in a few different roles within NNSA and enjoy both supporting the Office of Infrastructure and leading our Infrastructure Planning & Analysis efforts.

Describe a proud moment or accomplishment.

One of the more exciting moments in my career has been giving infrastructure a “voice and a face.” I have had such a wonderful opportunity to interact with and work with some of the most phenomenal and brilliant people across the country who have worked tirelessly for many years at improving the infrastructure this Nation needs to maintain our nuclear weapons stockpile and ensure global nuclear security. It makes me so happy to see them receive the recognition and praise they deserve from our leadership across the complex for work that can often go unnoticed.

Why do you like working for NNSA?

There is nothing more satisfying for me than knowing that the work I am doing is contributing to the national security of our Nation. The rich history of NNSA and the amazing people working for this administration make coming into work every day a rewarding experience. I work with some of the hardest working, dedicated, and talented people. Just having the opportunity to work alongside them on a daily basis is refreshing.

Any advice?

Don’t be fooled; infrastructure has many career paths! Don’t be afraid of trying new things and exploring the various career paths available to you through the world of infrastructure. Infrastructure is everywhere, and women are needed within it.  So go explore the opportunities that exist! It’s that exploration that helps solidify and determine the career path that will feel right to you.

 

*This is part of an ongoing series for Women’s History Month to recognize women in infrastructure at NNSA*