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NNSA joins to mentor those differently abled

NNSA panelists Antoinette Hawkins and Jillian Hunt during panel discussion.

NNSA recently participated in the first DOE Disability Mentoring Day (DMD). The goal of the event was to encourage students to apply for internship opportunities at the department next summer.

The program’s agenda included presentations from the program offices followed by a question and answer session. The event allowed DOE officials to interact with a diverse group of well-abled individuals, who have been identified as having disabilities.

DMD is designed to:

  • Educate students on the important role of DOE and the service we provide to the nation
  • Establish and strengthen relationships with local colleges and universities through outreach for the event
  • Provide students an opportunity through job mentoring to learn more about a specific field while exploring necessary preparations to position themselves for a career in a chosen field

One panelist, Antoinette Hawkins, is employed at NNSA Human Resources (HR) as a supervisory HR specialist. Hawkins was excited about being a panelist for the event. “Working in HR for over 30 years, my number one goal is to provide quality customer service to candidates seeking employment and current federal employees,” said Hawkins.

“When I heard about the DOE Disability Mentoring event, I wanted to use my HR experience and knowledge to assist the students with their career paths and also be a part of their professional development,” she added.  

Hawkins believes in giving back. She explained, “This event will provide guidance to help the mentees achieve his or her career goals and professional development. It will also help encourage and motivate the mentees as they learn more about NNSA's mission, our people and the variety of positions we recruit for.”

Jillian Hunt, also an NNSA HR specialist, volunteered to assist the mentees as well.  Hunt shared, “I was honored to have the opportunity to share my HR knowledge and expertise. I volunteered for this event because it continuously teaches me something new about people, about cooperation, about compassion, and about myself.”

According to Hunt, this event provides the students information on NNSA’s and DOE’s missions and employment opportunities. Hunt says, “My role as a panelist will help students evaluate personal goals, identify career skills, and explore possible career paths within NNSA.”

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.