The NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program (NGFP) is a unique opportunity for recent graduates to join the Nuclear Security Enterprise. These full-time, salaried positions offer a year of specialized, on-the-job training, and the chance to tackle real-world challenges in one of NNSA’s program offices. Fellows develop technical and leadership skills to launch their careers with a full immersion in one of NNSA’s core mission programs.
What is your academic background/field of study?
I have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology and a master’s degree in technology management from Texas State University. My graduate work was in microelectromechanical systems design and fabrication. At the onset of the program, I was not sure how my education would inform my work, but as the fellowship progressed I can see more and more opportunities to apply my experience and education to the NNSA mission.
What are you currently doing for NNSA?
I work for NNSA’s Office of Safety, Infrastructure and Operations. It is our business to ensure the safe and efficient transport of radioactive and/or hazardous material throughout the Nuclear Security Enterprise. My day-to-day responsibilities involve reviewing transportation safety documentation, as well as new and current package designs, and validating operating procedures to ensure that customers in the enterprise are transporting material in the safest way possible. The nuclear complex is much like a puzzle. We ensure all the pieces come together safely to form the big picture.
What drew you to the NGFP program?
The NGFP provides access to an elite element of national security with exposure to one of the most intricate and arduous missions our nation assumes. I knew long before I graduated that I wanted to do something that made an impact, and the fellowship has provided me with that opportunity. Every day I am astounded at the caliber of my peers in the program as well as the federal employees here at NNSA. Mediocrity simply isn’t in the job description and that instills a mindset of continuous improvement in my professional and personal life.
What advice would you give prospective Fellows?
Get involved in challenging projects and take every opportunity to do something you have never done. This fellowship is a chance to get your foot in the door of some amazing prospects. If you are willing to take on the challenge, you may be surprised at what you find yourself doing. Even if you find yourself in a program where you have very little experience, with a little care and consideration, the fellowship can evolve into what you want it to be. Above all, stay humble and be patient.
NGFP is funded by NNSA and is administered by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Explore a career in nuclear security!