Advancing Networking And Mentoring Opportunities For Women In Nuclear Security

Olga Martin - Los Alamos National Laboratory
Margarita Kalinina-Pohl - James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
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The proposed paper will provide a summary of current activities and planned next steps under DOE NNSA Office of International Nuclear Security/Nuclear Security Women initiative, led by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Specifically, we will discuss the joint CNS-LANL project on capacity building and promoting women experts in the nuclear sector in the Black Sea region. Given the challenges of underrepresentation and lack of women leadership in nuclear security, nuclear energy, and other related fields in this region, the project will support development of a professional network of women - nuclear security experts from the Black Sea countries. Located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, the Black Sea region has a unique strategic importance, including an international shipping route with heavy maritime traffic carrying potentially hazardous materials, such as chemicals, contaminated scrap metal, and dual-use items. The Black Sea region also has its share of incidents of trafficking in nuclear and radiological material, including in view of “frozen” and active conflicts and contested territories in the region. The specific activities under this project include development and delivery of technical workshops on current nonproliferation and nuclear security issues, as well as hands-on exercises on PR, budgeting and strategic thinking. The project goal is to establish professional network for women experts working in nuclear and other security sectors in the Black Sea region. The follow up activities will focus on promoting the network and developing a strategy for its sustainability. The proposed network will provide a platform for women in this region to connect and seek professional development and advancement opportunities, engage in joint projects, be mentored and serve as mentors to early career women in nuclear security and related fields. The project is based on successful CNS capacity building activities aimed at bridging gender divide and engaging more women in nuclear security and related fields, as well as on LANL’s current and past diversity and inclusion initiatives for women in STEM.