Senior Member of Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories, USA
Country of Birth: USA
Educational Background: PhD, MS, Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, USA; BS Physics, San Diego State University, USA
I work in a research group that focuses on optical remote sensing system research and development. Our missions vary from ground-based proof-of-concept sensors to satellite systems. For some projects, we are developing innovative first-generation sensor technologies, which can be really exciting. Another part of my job is representing the United States as an external evaluator for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization's (CTBTO) on-site inspection exercises. These exercises serve as tests of the operational capability of CTBTO to carry out an inspection focused on determining if a nuclear explosion has occurred. I enjoy the international travel and participating in work with potentially a global impact. What I love most about my job is the variety of research and the ability to be involved in several different projects simultaneously. For me, that keeps the work interesting.
Balancing work and home life can be a constant challenge, especially for women, in nearly every career field including STEM R&D. We all struggle with making sure our life is rewarding on multiple levels, and work-life
balance has been the biggest challenge in my career. My way of working through this challenge has centered on respect - specifically, I respect my own decisions regarding my level of commitment to my career and my home life, and I respect the decisions that others make for their own unique work-life balance.
Some things will be easy for you to understand and learn, others will not, and that is okay. No one fundamentally grasps everything immediately. Work at understanding what challenges you, and learn from your mistakes. As we all know, failure teaches us much more than success.