INL News Release
March 09, 2017

Lori McNamara, 208-520-6066,
Sarah Robertson, 208-520-1651,

Students today, scientists tomorrow: INL hosts 10th My Amazing Future event

Editor’s Note: Click here fora bio of keynote speaker Bernadette Hernandez-Sanchez.

Visualizing the future is tough. Visualizing your own future is tougher. And yet, research indicates that by the third grade, students are beginning to develop passions and interests. By the eighth grade, they deepen those passions and begin practicing hobbies. By high school, many students have formed a fairly clear idea of what they want to do with their lives.

For the 10th year, Idaho National Laboratory will gather over 150 eighth-grade young women to see what their future could hold: potential careers in science, technology, engineering or math. Instead of presenting abstract summaries of life in a STEM field, these students will interact with real researchers, engineers and scientists at Idaho National Laboratory.

At a time when women are underrepresented in STEM professional fields, the program hopes to show girls how scientific and technical fields can provide exciting professional opportunities. “Inspiring students to pursue a STEM education and career is critical to the future of INL, Idaho and the nation as a whole,” said Michelle Thiel Bingham, INL’s manager of University Partnerships and chair of the My Amazing Future event. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and technicians.”

The event will give young women the opportunity to explore topics such as: DNA extraction from a strawberry, cyber-securing your future, radioisotope thermoelectric generators, and more. A total of 16 sessions will be offered at the event.

The event gives students a look into the resources available to pursue STEM careers. “One of the biggest challenges the lab and industry as a whole face is developing the workforce of the future,” said INL Laboratory Director Mark Peters. “It’s vital that we engage students now and make sure they are aware of the incredible opportunities right here in Idaho along with the education and training needed to take advantage of them.”

The young women will also have the opportunity to hear from keynote speaker Bernadette Hernandez-Sanchez during lunch. Hernandez-Sanchez is the Advanced Materials Program lead for Sandia National Laboratories’ Water Power Technologies program, where she leads the Marine Hydrokinetic and Wind Materials Database. Beyond her technical expertise, Hernandez-Sanchez recently received the prestigious 2016 Technical Achievement Award at the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Conference, has mentored more than 50 interns, and has developed an interactive STEM workshop that has reached over 5,000 students.

Media is invited to come watch as these young women learn, experiment, explore and discover the wide world that STEM careers can offer for their amazing futures.

When:   Friday, March 10
Where: Contact INL Media Affairs representative listed above
Time:    8:15 a.m. – Opening remarks
8:45 a.m. – Sessions begin
11:10 a.m. – Lunch and keynote speaker, Energy Innovation Laboratory, 775 University Boulevard, Idaho Falls

Click here to view a video of last year’s event.

INL is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

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