Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

February 26, 2020

Photo of NIF tour guide Nathan Palmer explaining to Soaring Eagles students how targets work
NIF tour guide Nathan Palmer explains to Soaring Eagles students how targets work. Photos by Julie Russell (Click to expand. Use keyboard arrow keys to view all photos.)

Native American middle and high school students from the Intertribal Friendship House of Oakland recently toured NIF and met Native American employees who play important roles in moving the world forward through science and technology at the Lab.

The students were part of LLNL’s American Indian Activity Group’s (AIAG) first-ever Soaring Eagles pilot project. The Jan. 15 tour, hosted by AIAG and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Office of Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Programs (OSDIP), was geared toward stimulating interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

AIAG Chair Darlene Yazzie initiated the proposal to launch Soaring Eagles and coined the motto “Planting the Seed’” to promote STEM education. The motto became the foundation of the pilot program, which AIAG plans to make an annual event.

“I’m thrilled that our first pilot program went extremely well and we at AIAG are excited for the next event,” Yazzie said. “I’ve waited a long time to get this program off the ground.”

Photo of a Soaring Eagles student getting a hands-on look at a NIF target display
A Soaring Eagles student gets a hands-on look at a NIF target display. (Click to expand and view all)

The AIAG has several goals for Soaring Eagles, starting with forming relationships with youth community builders within the greater Bay Area’s Native American organizations to help identify promising middle and high school students.

The organization also wants to bring students to LLNL to show STEM in action and to meet LLNL’s Native American STEM stars. Through Soaring Eagles, AIAG wants to track participants and community organizers to make sure opportunities for internships and other interactions are made available to the students as they progress in their studies.

And AIAG also hopes the partnership stimulates imagination through engaging experiences that give insight into possible careers at the Lab or in science in general. AIAG is one of the Lab’s 10 Employee Resource Groups, which seek to develop, sustain, and enhance a diverse and inclusive workforce through recruitment, mentoring, and networking.

“Sharing what the laboratory does and how the people who work here got here is absolutely necessary in reaching our pipeline,” said AIAG member Randy Pico. “I believe opportunities for students to get a glimpse into work environments like the Laboratory enriches all those who participate.”

Students toured NIF and received Global Security Road Show and Fun With Science demonstrations. They also had the opportunity to ask questions during a panel discussion.

Here are more photos:

Photo of tour guide Nathan Palmer talking about NIF’s optics
Tour guide Nathan Palmer talks about NIF’s optics.
Photo of Richard Hunt of LLNL’s Fun With Science program providing a demonstration
Richard Hunt (center) of LLNL’s Fun With Science program provides a demonstration.
Photo of a middle school student watching a Fun With Science demonstration
A middle school student watches a Fun With Science demonstration.
Photo of the students and chaperones posing outside NIF before their tour
The students and chaperones pose outside NIF before their tour.

For more information about AIAG, contact Darlene Yazzie.

For more information about the OSDIP, contact Jenessa Dozhier.

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