Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Employee Spotlight

Employee Spotlight features women and men from across the Laboratory to recognize employees and showcase the institution's wealth and diversity of personal and professional backgrounds, interests, and talents.
  • John Turon

    John Turon— Restoring the golden age of arcade video games

    John Turon of the Weapons Product Definition group grew up during the golden age of arcades filled with different types of pinball machines and the latest video games. Today, John spends his free time restoring such vintage games to their old glory so that new generations of players can experience the thrill that these games still provide.6/6/17

  • Darrin Visarraga

    Darrin Visarraga— Dance the salsa, make it your own

    In 2002, Darrin Visarraga, of the Information Systems and Modeling group, discovered the beat- and groove-laden world of salsa. A few short years later, he began to teach his passion of dancing the salsa to others in Los Alamos and in the northern New Mexico area, encouraging each student to learn the dance and have fun while doing it. 5/2/17

  • Edward Jacquez

    Edward Jacquez— A quarter mile of pure adrenaline

    J Division Deputy Group Leader for DARHT Operations Edward Jacquez has always felt a need for speed, leading him to race motorcycles and all types of vehicles. It is drag racing, however, that makes him truly excited and happy, as each race gives him an opportunity to reach speeds close to 200 miles per hour in a matter of seconds. 4/4/17

  • Susan Suazo-Martinez

    Susan Suazo-Martinez— “Everyone knows it’s Slinky”

    Invented in 1943 by Naval engineer Richard James, the Slinky has a particular fascination for Susan Suazo-Martinez of the Telecommunications Services Group (NIE-TS). Her current collection of the “Lazy Spring” toys stands at close to 1,500, garnering her inclusion into the Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! 2/28/17

  • Todd Haagenstad

    Todd Haagenstad— The Passion of Pétanque

    Once Todd Haagenstad of Environmental Programs discovered the French recreational sport of pétanque, he knew he had to introduce it to his family and to northern New Mexico. The game is as simple as you can get—all of you need is some dirt, boules, and a pig. 1/31/17

  •  Lawrence Garcia

    Lawrence Garcia— Descendant of the masters

    A martial arts descendant of Bruce Lee, Lawrence Garcia remains soft-spoken and humble as he leads training classes in Jeet Kune Do, “the way of the intercepting fist.” 12/12/16

  • Ronnie Bell

    Ronnie Bell—Soulful vocals for modern times

    Genre-mixing singer Ronnie Bell of the Nuclear Process Infrastructure Group (NPI-2) takes personal joy in reaching as many people as possible. ​ 11/15/16

  • Bill Purtymun

    Bill Purtymun—Snow Angel

    Whether he’s helping a hiker with altitude sickness or assisting with an airlift for an injured skier on Pajarito Mountain, EMT Bill Purtymun always finds “there’s gratification in working hard at work worth doing.” ​ 10/18/16

  • Jim Stein

    Jim Stein—Photo finish

    In the “photographer’s paradise” around Los Alamos, Jim Stein finds drama in the landscape. 9/20/16

  • Laura McClellan

    Laura McClellan—Lending a helping hammer

    From shoring up floors to building a brand-new home in southern Africa, Laura McClellan spends much of her free time helping people in extreme poverty. 8/23/16

  • Melissa Montoya

    Melissa Montoya—Helping students reach for the future

    Melissa Montoya mixes adobe bricks and high-tech fun to show kids the joys of math and science​ 7/26/16

  • Brad Lounsbury

    Brad Lounsbury—Working on the railroad

    “A labor of love” is how James “Brad” Lounsbury describes restoring cars on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. 6/28/16

  • Erica Larson Baron

    Erica Larson Baron—Fleet feet

    A top trail-running racer nationally, Erica Erica Baron of Information Systems and Modeling (A-1) often figures out work problems on her daily training runs at the Laboratory. 5/31/16

  • Gene Ortega

    Gene Ortega—The eyes have it

    ​​Painting with a style that mixes chaos and refinement, Gene Ortega has found a way to blend his technical and artistic sides. 5/4/16

  • Deirdre Monroe

    Deirdre Monroe—If you map it, they will come

    During her spare time, Lab engineer and endurance rider Deirdre Monroe helped make Santa Fe's Caja del Rio plateau more accessible for hikers, rock climbers, mountain bikers and equestrian trail riders.11/2/15

  • Alina Deshpande

    Alina Deshpande—Dances of India

    Lab scientist Alina Deshpande teaches classical Indian dance and writes, produces, directs and choreographs an annual benefit performance in Los Alamos. 9/29/15

  • James Hunter

    James Hunter—Discovering Oz

    James Hunter helped discover a new section of Carlsbad Caverns National Park's famous Lechuguilla Cave.9/15/15

  • John Bacik

    John Bacik—Enzyme detective

    Molecular biology postdoc John Bacik studies enzymes that are key to biofuel production.8/25/15

  • Leon Lopez

    Leon Lopez—Split-second decisions

    When not at work, Leon Lopez referees high school and college basketball games.8/11/15

  • Hai Ah Nam

    Hai Ah Nam-The power of yes

    Hai Ah Nam is passionate about saying yes to opportunities, collaborations and new adventures, regardless of which profession one is in.7/28/15

  • Michelle Ferran—Painting from the heart

    Michelle Ferran—Painting from the heart

    The Lab’s Michelle Ferran used to stack her vibrant watercolor paintings under her bed. But when she finally gained enough confidence to participate in the Española Valley Arts Festival’s poster contest in 2001, one of her paintings immediately won first prize.6/30/15

  • Max Schulze

    Max Schulze—Extreme unicycling

    The unicycle that Los Alamos student intern Max Schulze and his brother had given their dad for Father’s Day in 2005 did not get much use until Schulze tried it and got hooked. Today, he is a three-time unicycling world champion. 6/9/15

  • Denise Neudecker

    Denise Neudecker—A different kind of culture shock

    Working with the Laboratory’s nuclear experimentalists provides the Theoretical Division’s Denise Neudecker with insights into their research, and she also looks to the experimentalists to shed light on previous approaches to nuclear experiments.5/18/15

  • Jason Halladay

    Jason Halladay—Ascending one of the world's highest active volcanoes

    At 1:00 a.m. on a June 2014 trip, the Network and Infrastructure Engineering Division’s Jason Halladay and four of his rock climbing and mountaineering friends, including Aron Ralston of “127 hours” fame, step from a rental van into the darkness and howling winds of a barren parking lot 15,092 ft high in South America's Andes mountain range. 5/4/15

  •  Alessandro Cattaneo

    Alessandro Cattaneo—One thing leads to another

    The first time the Laboratory’s post-doctoral mechanical engineer Alessandro Cattaneo arrived in the United States from his native Italy, he was a regular tourist taking a road trip through the American West with three Italian friends. 4/12/15

  • Sim Balkey

    Sim Balkey—On the way up

    The “kid who has the goods” has been quite busy lately. Just ahead of the MusicRow review he celebrated the release of his new CD, Messin’ Around, with a CD release party in Albuquerque on March 13, and before then he was in the national limelight performing in Nashville on February 24.4/6/15

  • Denise Thronas

    Denise Thronas—Balancing family, pueblo life and a career

    Denise Thronas lives in Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo (formerly San Juan) and during her morning drive to Los Alamos often reflects on how the women in her family have balanced their family and community life with the ability to seek varying levels of education and earn a living.3/23/15

  • Janice Lovato

    Janice Lovato—A gift for imagination

    The Associate Directorate for Nuclear and High Hazard Operations’ Janice Lovato has turned her love for nature-watching and story-telling into writing a children’s book called Germaine the Beetle.3/10/15

  • Glen Wurden

    Glen Wurden—What you can see from your driveway

    The Physics Division’s Glen Wurden marvels at celestial objects 300 trillion kilometers (180 million trillion—or 180 quintillion—miles) from his house.2/18/15

  • Bryant Roybal

    Bryant Roybal—Champion chile

    The Associate Directorate for Project Management’s Bryant Roybal has been a chile competition contestant ever since entering the Hot Chili Days, Cool Mountain Nights Cookoff in Red River in 2011 and immediately taking first prize.2/18/15


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