Girls are first from Stockton to visit Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Students were eagerly awaiting the 11:49 bell that signaled the commencement of spring break, but for select girls of Marcus Sherman’s classes on Mar. 20, the first hours of spring break were spent learning in a new, exciting environment.
The group, accompanied by math teacher Sandra Ozornio and alumna Dellanira Alcauter, toured the National Ignition Facility in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for the day. The trip was geared to encourage high school females to study math and the sciences.
Featured in the eight-hour adventure was a panel interview session with three females who hold PhDs in the engineering field and are research engineers at the lab, Vanessa Tolosa, Sarah Felix, and Monica Moya.
The group took a serious interest in the role models as they shared stories that relate now and in the future to the young ladies. Hands shot up when Research Engineer Moya spoke about her struggles of having a traditional Mexican cultured family and her attendance at Northwestern University after winning the Bill Gates Millenium Scholarship. Her parents didn’t understand when she announced her decision to go to grad school, her cousin even expressed concern, “Engineering? Isn’t that a man’s degree?”
Later, Felix admitted to “fighting against the slight tug” of being discriminated against because of gender. “Some aren’t so blatant,” Felix said. Moya agreed in saying that “it’s so under the radar” making her revoke from paying the remarks too much attention and coming off as “some crazy feminist.”
The trip rose some serious questions about the gender gap in the math and science fields, but Tolosa encouraged the ladies to “use them as strengths.”
Attendees also got to visit the off site museum of sorts and take a group photo.
Sherman showed the utmost gratitude towards the hosts and speakers as well as the females in attendance as the first group to ever visit Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from Stockton.