LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — In hopes of educating and inspiring New Mexico’s youth to pursue STEM-related careers that benefit their communities, three N3B employees are volunteering at the fifth annual New Mexico Consortium (NMC) Summer Physics Camp for Young Women this week and next. The camp serves students from all over the state — primarily underrepresented minorities and those from financially disadvantaged households.

N3B employees presenting and speaking at the camp include Kim Lebak, acting N3B president and program manager; Nancy McAllister, Waste Technical Services manager; and Ellen Gammon, Transuranic Waste Management director. N3B also offered financial support to the camp.

“I was very excited to speak to the camp participants about our important N3B environmental cleanup mission,” Lebak said. “Their energy and enthusiasm were awesome, and they asked many questions about how they could help clean up the environment. Although it’s called a physics camp, we certainly covered a myriad of STEM-related topics.”

The camp runs June 7-18, and serves New Mexico students in grades 8-12. This year, 40 students enrolled in the virtual camp — double the number of students from previous years.

According to the NMC website, the camp focuses on boosting students’ understanding of how STEM allows us to accomplish what was unimaginable — exploring Mars, understanding the origins of the universe during the Big Bang, deciphering how the building blocks of life fold and unfold, and better comprehending COVID-19 behavior and vaccines.

Daily activities include demonstrations, hands-on experiments, engineering and programming and robotics projects, presentations, professional development, and discussions with female scientists and engineers from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“I hope to convey to these young women that science and life are fun,” McAllister said. “Women in the science field don’t have to be stuffy. We are smart, capable women that enjoy math, chemistry, physics, solving problems and thinking outside of the box.”

Camp students will also learn skills such as resume writing and computer programming. They will be given virtual tours of research facilities and be introduced to internship opportunities at Los Alamos National Laboratory and local New Mexico colleges, among other places.

Next year, the consortium hopes to move the camp to a hybrid or in-person model.

“I really value the shared sense of giving back to the community that my co-workers have,” Gammon said. “In addition to being good stewards to the environment, so many N3B employees give back to the community through meaningful volunteerism.”

Pictured in the graphic above clockwise from top right: N3B Transuranic Waste Management Director Ellen Gammon, N3B Acting President Kim Lebak, N3B Waste Technical Services Manager Nancy McAllister.