Volume 4.01 | February 2022
Alumni Newsletter - February 2022
News & Events
Engaging with the Enterprise. In preparation for their post-fellowship career journey, the Class of 2021–2022 fellows recently participated in a series of career development events. Activities included one-on-one consultations where fellows received feedback on their resumes, interview skills, and LinkedIn profiles and participation in career mapping with PNNL’s Leesa Duckworth and Matt Taubman. Career mapping uses an agile process to guide fellows through experiential exploration of their career needs, desires, and aspirations.

Fellows also attended the annual NGFP Career Development Workshop, where leaders from across the nuclear security enterprise shared their experiences and career advice for succeeding in this field. The event featured panels with several alumni, including:
  • Choosing Your Path In the Nuclear Security Enterprise with Alexander Godinez-Robinson (Class of 2019–2020, moderator), Savannah Blalock (Class of 2018–2019), Jere Freeh (Class of 2015–2016), Lenka Koller (Class of 2010–2011), and Ryan Coogan (Class of 2020–2021)
  • How to Get the Most from a Career Fair with Samra Wolde-Tensae (Class of 2020–2021) and Matt Shalloo (Class of 2020–2021)
  • Experience in Negotiating a Federal Offer with Tom Gray (Class of 2015–2016, moderator), Alexander Godinez-Robinson (Class of 2019–2020), Margaret Butzen (Class of 2020–2021), and Gabriel Sandler (Class of 2019–2020)

The career events culminated in the NGFP Virtual Career Fair, which welcomed representatives from federal government, contractors, national laboratories, and nongovernmental organizations to connect with fellows about potential employment opportunities. The event connected 48 fellows and over 100 representatives from 29 employers across the national security enterprise. Fellows made 353 connections during the fair, including 173 audio/video chats. It was a great opportunity to connect with national security stakeholders who have a vested interested in the skillsets and experience NGFP fellows bring to the national security mission space.

Do you have a job opportunity to share with our fellows, or would you like to participate in future NGFP networking or career events? Let us know! We also invite you to share job opportunities on our NGFP Alumni LinkedIn page
Lights, Camera, Interview! After the close of the Class of 2022–2023 application on October 1 (more than 210 applications received!), we conducted approximately 400 interviews with nearly 140 candidates, 50-plus NNSA program and site offices, and the Department of State.

We would like to thank the many alumni who joined us in this process. We look forward to sharing the hiring results in our next newsletter, and we can’t wait to see many of you at orientation in June!

Fellow Highlight
Mentorship for a Diverse, Equitable, Inclusive, and Accessible Workplace. Fellows Michelle E. Vega and Alexandra Housh recently volunteered for the NNSA’s Diverse, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Strategy team. 

“Diversity starts with us thinking differently to help beyond our comfort zone and with an innovative contribution. The future depends on what we can do today; what a better way to start than by being part of the multi-culture movement," Michelle said.

A key contribution was a draft deliverable of the Mentee & Mentor Guide for a DEIA Mentorship Program. The goal of the guide is to increase retention, involvement, and career growth within minority groups. The guide is now in internal review to be refined with NNSA leadership in the upcoming months.

“We’re very excited about this opportunity and look forward to collaborating on more endeavors with the DEIA Strategy Team in the future,” said Alexandra.

Michelle is a fellow in the Office of Stockpile Sustainment (NA-122.1). She is pursuing a Master of Science in engineering management from the Polytechnic University. Alexandra is a fellow in the Office of Analysis and Evaluation (NA-MB-92) and has a PhD in radiochemistry from the University of Missouri.
Productive Publishing Partnerships. Silvina “Silvi” Di Pietro was first author on a recent publication, “Solid phase characterization and transformation of illite mineral with gas-phase ammonia treatment,” featured in Elsevier’s Journal of Hazardous Materials.

The work was a collaborative effort with researchers at both PNNL and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as well as the University of Washington. The paper explores in situ remediation applications of ammonia gas for sequestration of subsurface contamination.

“I am proud of this work because it includes collaborators from my previous internships, work that began early 2018. This significant collaboration catalyzed my desire to apply to this program to pursue a technical career,” Silvi said. 

Silvi is a fellow with NNSA Defense Programs at the Lawrence Livermore Field Office. She has a PhD, Master of Science, and Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Florida International University. This is her second first-author publication; she is also first author on “Phyllosilicate mineral dissolution upon alkaline treatment under aerobic and anaerobic conditions,” a 2020 publication with PNNL researchers highlighting research to systematically quantify mineral dissolution with variable alkaline treatments and redox conditions for the first time. 
Building Future Leaders. In late 2021, several Class of 2021-2022 fellows attended the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs National Security Executive Leadership Program. This one-week professional development opportunity helps participants gain foundational knowledge of the U.S. national security apparatus, instruments of national power, the appropriations process, gaming, and critical decision-making.

“The event provided me an opportunity to learn more about national security, develop leadership skills, and network with others within and without NNSA,” said Christopher Byrd (NA-212). “I exercised strategic thinking skills while using some of the leadership principles we discussed previously. The other sessions were also very helpful in learning about different areas of concern for national security leaders.”

“The game simulation was very interesting—we simulated what it would be like to try and avoid war in a national security incident with everyone playing the role of an important group or figure. It gave me a lot of insight as to how deep political strategies go in terms of national security,” said Jared Thurgood (NA-18).

Participating fellows also included Anna Armstrong (NA-84), Gregory Jack (NA-MB-812), Rusty Dauzat (NA-APM-1.3), Victor Jones (NA-EA), Elia Lichtenstein (NA-122.4), and Elisabeth Scully (NA-10). 
Alumni Spotlight
Happy New Year! Our 2020–2021 annual report is now available online with a spotlight on some stellar alumni who have gone on to serve the national security mission in interesting ways. Highlights include Hannah Gardiner (Class of 2019–2020), Anagha Iyengar (Class of 2014–2015), Karen Ventura (Class of 2018–2019), Katherine Bachner (Class of 2010–2011), Wardah Amir (Class of 2019–2020), Sidra Zia (Class of 2019–2020), and Ryan Bolt (Class of 2019–2020).

Do you have an alumni highlight for our next report or newsletter? Please send to [email protected]
Networking for the Next Generation. Angely Martinez (Class of 20202021) was selected for the Eurasia Foundation Young Professionals Network Class of 2022. The program identifies young professionals who share the foundation’s commitment to international engagement across the region and connects them with more established professionals from a variety of fields.

“I am very excited to be part of this cohort and participate in discussions exploring developments in the Eurasia region. I hope this opportunity will increase my knowledge of the region and broaden my network of peers in the DC area,” said Angely.

During her fellowship, Angely supported the Department of State Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction. Upon completing her fellowship in June 2021, Angely joined the office as a Program Officer responsible for training foreign partners on WMD threats. Angely has a PhD and Master of Arts in political science from Syracuse University.
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 
1100 Dexter Ave N, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98109 USA