Volume 3.01 | February 2021
Alumni Newsletter - February 2021
News & Events
Leadership Program Connects Fellows, NNSA Leaders. One of the recent additions to the fellows’ professional development agenda has been the inclusion of the NNSA Aspiring Leadership Certification Program (ALCP). The multi-week event covers topics including self-awareness, teamwork, business management, and workplace leadership and features courses on interpersonal skills, collaboration, effective communication, and maximizing employee engagement. This past quarter many of the fellows participated in the shadowing component of the program, where they joined NNSA staff members to learn more about their roles, responsibilities, and day-to-day operations.

“This was an excellent experience and helped give me perspective on both the work of a very different office within [Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation] as well as the very different challenges and responsibilities that go with office-level leadership,” said a fellow.

“It was a great experience. I really learned a lot from that assignment. It made me understand that this is what I want to do for my career!” noted another fellow.

If you would be interested in participating in ALCP shadowing or other professional development opportunities with our fellows, let us know at ngfp@pnnl.gov
Career Workshops Span Enterprise. You might recall from the last few months of your fellowship—it is never too early to start thinking about your post-fellowship career path. For the Class of 2020-2021, we took a deep dive into that process with a series of virtual career events.

The week of January 11, fellows participated in a series of career mapping and consultation activities, including one-on-one sessions with PNNL recruiters and Human Resources representatives. The activities provided a facilitated, individual exploration of their needs, desires, and aspirations in relation to their existing and future career. Fellows also received feedback on their resumé, interview skills, and LinkedIn profile.

On January 25-26, the NGFP team hosted the NGFP Career Development Workshop that provided fellows with practical guidance for continuing their careers after their fellowships. The event featured a series of panels with NGFP alumni who shared their experiences choosing a post-fellowship career path and negotiating their salaries and benefits in their new positions. Panelists included:
  • Savannah Blalock, NNSA Office of Nuclear Export Controls (NA-242), Class of 2018-2019
  • Michelle Dover, Ploughshares Fund, Class of 2012-2013
  • Kyle Fowler, NNSA Office of Tritium and Domestic Uranium Enrichment Program (NA-192), Class of 2015-2016
  • Jere Freeh, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Class of 2016-2017
  • Xander Godinez-Robinson, NNSA Office of Learning and Career Management (NA-MB-40), Class of 2019-2020
  • Diego Lozano Jimenez, Northrop Grumman, Class of 2019-2020
  • Gabriel Sandler, NNSA Office of Cost Policy Analysis (NA-MB-92), Class of 2019-2020
  • Erica Wolf, NNSA Office of Policy and Strategic Planning (NA-1.1), Class of 2019-2020
The workshop helped prepare fellows for the NNSA Career Fair on January 27 and the NGFP Career Fair on February 10. The NGFP Career Fair featured a video message from NNSA Chief Learning Officer Julie Spyres and welcomed 46 fellows, 26 employers, and nearly 100 representatives from across the Nuclear Security Enterprise, including federal government, national laboratories, contracting partners, private industry, and non-governmental organizations. Nearly 330 connections were made between fellows and employers, including more than 170 audio/video chats. The purpose of the event was to match NGFP fellows with potential post-fellowship employers from across the national security sector. 

If you have a potential employment opportunity you would like to share with our fellows, you can contact ngfp@pnnl.gov or share on the NGFP Alumni LinkedIn page
Ready. Set. Recruit! Recruitment for our Class of 2022-2023 begins this spring. If you know a current or recent graduate student who might be interested in applying, our application opens March 1 at pnnl.gov/apply-ngfp. If you would be interested in joining us for virtual information sessions or have university contacts to suggest, let us know at ngfp@pnnl.gov
Fellow Highlights
Workshop Explores Environmental Operations. Fellow Margaret Butzen attended the Annual Site Environmental Review Workshop 2020. The workshop is held by the DOE Office of Environment, Health, Safety, and Security (AU) to share guidance with the sites for preparing Annual Site Environmental Reports each year. Margaret participated in several sessions on an emerging class of contaminants called PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
“I’m working on a PFAS project within the NNSA, so I wanted to hear the PFAS working group updates, the PFAS legislative update, and hear about the PFAS Survey that the DOE Office of Environmental Management is conducting,” Margaret said.
Margaret is a fellow in the NA-53 Office Enterprise Stewardship. She has a Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences from the University of Notre Dame.
Presentation Explores Export Control, International Cooperation. Fellow Austin Wright recently presented at the European Union (EU) Nonproliferation and Disarmament Consortium Next-Generation Workshop. The event was organized by the Isitituto Affari Internazionali, on behalf of the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium in Italy, and convened more than 100 participants from 26 countries.

Austin’s presentation examined the EU’s export control system and provided policy recommendations on how the system can combat the illicit trade of small arms/light weapons. His presentation covered proliferation statistics and exporters, export control issues, European laws and relations, and international agreements.

“The conference gave me a unique opportunity to hone my policy skills by engaging a variety of security professionals. The feedback I received helped me better understand how Europe can improve its export control laws and reiterated the important role international cooperation plays in combating the proliferation of arms,” said Austin.
Austin was also selected to join this year’s cohort of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) Nuclear Scholars Initiative. Starting in February, Austin will spend his time researching multilateral export control regimes and other strategic trade issues, such as the proliferation implications of dual-use goods and emerging technologies. Austin’s time with PONI will be guided by the expertise of the highly respected Former NNSA Administrator (2002-2006) Ambassador Linton Brooks.

Austin is a fellow in NA-19 Office of Strategic Materials. He has a Master of Science in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and a Master’s of International Security from the Paris Institute of Political Studies.
Upcoming Events
Save the Date. Well, they’ve almost made it! Our Class of 2020-2021 will wrap on the first-ever virtual fellowship year in May and you’re invited to help us celebrate a job well done! Mark your calendars for our virtual closing ceremony on May 10, 2021.
Contact Information
Where have you been all these years? What have you been up to in your post-fellowship career? How did NGFP impact your professional trajectory? Have you taken on a new and exciting opportunity? We want to hear from you! Send us your latest career highlight and we will share it in a future newsletter!

NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 
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Seattle, WA 98109 USA