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Female NETL Scientists Inspire Girls at GirlCon 2021

Four scientists at NETL are inspiring girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at GirlCon 2021, an international tech conference aiming to empower the next generation of female leaders. Natalie Pekney, Alexandra Hakala, Circe Verba and Madison Wenzlick are slated to present at several sessions throughout the conference to share their career stories, offer tips for working in energy and address challenges girls may face in pursuing STEM.

The conference, held virtually this year from June 27-30, features breakout, professional development and keynote sessions from numerous companies and backgrounds to promote networking and building connections. Attendees have the chance to personally connect with companies from countless career paths and gain mentorship from women in both college and the workforce.

Pekney, technical lead for the Lab’s Natural Gas Infrastructure Program, and Verba, a research geologist on NETL’s Geochemistry Team, will speak at a professional development group Tuesday, June 29, to share their pathways, daily work routines and words of wisdom for working for the federal government. The panel encourages open dialogue about how female leaders can break barriers and encourage future generations to join a career in STEM.

Hakala, a research scientist in NETL’s Geological and Environmental Systems Division, and Wenzlick, a research mechanical engineer, NETL support contractor, will speak at a breakout session surrounding technology and sustainable energy Wednesday, June 30. During the session, scientists, engineers and researchers across the National Nuclear Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will share some of the ways DOE is using technology to mitigate climate change and discuss sustainable energy. The panel will encourage participants to discuss their clean energy ideas, and panelists will also give tips for working in energy.

“Sharing our experiences and career paths as women in STEM is important when setting examples for young girls who are interested in science. By increasing diversity and the number of voices in STEM fields, we open the door to greater innovations and advancements that have the potential to change the world,” Verba said.

The U.S. DOE’s NETL develops and demonstrates for commercialization advanced technologies that provide clean energy while safeguarding the environment. NETL’s work supports DOE’s mission to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy and environmental challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.