Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Athena Engineering Scholars Program

The LANL Athena Engineering Scholars Program (The Athena Program) inspires women to achieve their full potential as future leaders in engineering.

Contact Us  

  • Athena Program Manager
  • Ellie Vigil
  • (505) 667-2818
  • Email
  • Athena Lead Engineer
  • Michele Decroix

Athena Participants 2019

Our Mission

The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Athena Engineering Scholars Program (The Athena Program) is designed to inspire women to achieve their full potential as future leaders in engineering. In turn, the Athena Program supports LANL’s values for teamwork and excellence by helping to populate the engineering technical staff with highly qualified and diverse female engineers for LANL to provide the best technical solutions for national security challenges. The Athena Program supports LANL's institutional needs for talent acquisition and development of highly motivated women engineers by offering educational assistance for engineering graduate degrees and professional development and networking opportunities during the scholar's studies and throughout her early LANL career.

Who We Are Looking For

Are you interested in solving some of the most challenging engineering problems in the nation? Then LANL and the Athena program are for you! The Athena Program is open to all women at LANL, including students, who are interested in pursuing a graduate engineering degree. Nominees must have an interest in a career at LANL because the program requires at least a 12-month employment commitment following completion of their Athena Program-sponsored degree requirements. Nominees must have been an employee at LANL for at least 12 months prior to being nominated.

If you are not currently a LANL employee and are interested in the program, then please visit our jobs site https://jobs.lanl.gov  and apply for any of our interesting positions. You can contact HR recruiting to discuss our many openings and let them know you are interested in the Athena Engineering Scholars Program.

Additional requirements for eligibility

Nominees must have completed at least their junior year of course work prior to being considered for the program. Nominees must be enrolled in, or a graduate of, an ABET-accredited engineering program. Exceptions to the ABET accreditation requirement can be requested. Nominees are expected to be in and maintain good standing with their university and LANL’s Student Programs office.

Being a Scholar

Once an Athena Scholar has been accepted, the program will:

  • Assist the scholar with obtaining funding through the selected mechanism.
  • Assist the scholar in selecting a graduate school.
  • Provide additional mentorship to the scholar throughout graduate school, in coordination with the LANL mentor and the university advisor.
  • Provide professional development and networking opportunities.
  • Provide additional administrative support to the scholar and line organization for needs that arise during the relationship.
  • Call upon the scholar to provide some service back to the larger Athena Program community. Service opportunities are varied and are voluntary.

Scholars for Life

The Athena Program is only one piece of the puzzle to educating and retaining more women in engineering.

Once the scholar has completed their degree, they become Alumni and the program continues to provide opportunities for professional development and networking as they enter the next phase of their professional journey with LANL. This is done through three related mechanisms.

  • Engineers are dispersed widely across the LANL site and across organizations, which can create roadblocks to networking with other women engineers. The Athena Program organizes the Athena Engineering Affiliates. Any woman engineer at LANL can be an Athena Affiliate. This creates a network for women engineers to share information. Affiliates receive notification for professional development and networking activities they can participate in with Athena Scholars and are invited to engage in engineering service opportunities such as educational outreach.
  • The Athena Program maintains the LANL institutional membership for the Society of Women Engineers. We are building a SWE community at LANL by participating in the national and local conferences. In the future, we will expand our use of SWE professional development offerings.
  • We ask all our scholars and alumni to inspire younger women through outreach events such as #GirlDay during Engineer’s week, the LANL Atalanta Academy, and the Summer Physics Camp for Young Women. The Athena Program sponsors several outreach activities each year and we are always looking for new ones!

In the future, The Athena Program wants to expand its offerings for women engineers re-entering the workforce at LANL.