Advancing nuclear security is a mission of sky-high importance. To keep threats from popping up out of the blue, the national security professionals of NNSA prepare for nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. Meet some of the women at the leading edge of this emergency response and preparedness mission, with eyes in the sky as part of the Aerial Measuring System (AMS) team:
Chief pilot at Nevada National Security Site’s (NNSS) Remote Sensing Laboratory at Nellis Air Force Base, Susan Roberts is a 16-year veteran of the lab’s mission to provide ground and aerial measurements to protect the nation from radiological and nuclear threats. Roberts flies the B200 fixed wing aircraft and the Bell 412 helicopter, as well as a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Jezabel Stampahar is a principal technologist with the Remote Sensing Laboratory at Nellis. Since 1985, Stampahar has worked with the Aerial Measuring System project as an on-flight equipment technologist and as a home-team data analyst. She supported countless AMS events during her tenure, including the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant response. More recently, Stampahar served as a major contributor in a number of large-scale aerial radiological operations exercises.
While obtaining her master’s degree in radiochemistry in 2012, Ashlee Dailey joined the Remote Sensing Laboratory at Nellis. She worked in both the AMS and the Consequence Management Response Team as a team leader, product scientist, and data analyst. Dailey supported numerous AMS events including a role as the lead planner for a number of large-scale aerial radiological operations exercises.
Dr. Jacqueline Beckvermit is a senior scientist at the Remote Sensing Laboratory at Joint Base Andrews. Beckvermit supports AMS as a mission manager and home team scientist. She plans activities, executes aerial radiation measurements, and provides analysis for deployed field teams. Beckvermit has a doctorate in physical chemistry and a research background in modeling explosives. She combines this knowledge with expertise in aerial radiation measurements to use unmanned aerial vehicles to study how radiological dispersal devices might function.
Dr. Johanna Turk is a principal scientist for the Remote Sensing Laboratory at Andrews. She served as the AMS team lead from 2009 to 2015. Her work supports aerial and ground measurement campaigns, providing technical and scientific expertise during proficiency flights, as well as national special security events, including presidential inaugurations.
Julia You is a senior engineer at the Remote Sensing Laboratory at Andrews. She has supported the AMS mission for 10 years as a data analyst and equipment specialist. During the early phase of the Fukushima Dai-ichi incident, international government channels released a high volume of radiation measurement data to the Department of Energy. You led efforts to aggregate and interpret the data so it could be used to respond to the incident. You also provides data analytics and engineering expertise during proficiency flights and high-profile events.
Sandra Hayes is the aviation section’s business assistant for both Remote Sensing Laboratories. Hayes is responsible for all administrative processes, including records maintenance, developing correspondence, and compiling and submitting reports. She provides backup flight operation support by completing and distributing various aviation reports and updating the Asset Response Management System (ARMS) on the status of the alert aircraft.
Jessica Thomason is an emergency response specialist and operations lead for the aviation section at both Remote Sensing Laboratories. Thomason’s work is similar to flight dispatch and maintenance control support of a major airline. In addition to monitoring and maintaining detailed aircraft flight crew information, tracking flight information, and assisting with flight crew training, she attends mission planning meetings and coordinates the operations plan for each aviation event.