November 15, 2019

DID it: PNNL Strives for Diversity

Intern initiative bringing talent and inclusion to PNNL and DTRA.

Interns at PNNL 2019

PNNL's 2019 DID interns (L to R): Daniel Carrera, Kenneth Gonzalez, Micaiah Mayfield, Raul Pichardo, and Christopher Amani

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL or Laboratory) and the U.S. government’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) have partnered to offer educational and career development opportunities to traditionally underserved undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and political science programs.  

The Diversity Internship for DTRA (DID) is a first-of-its-kind program at PNNL designed to foster diversity within the Laboratory as well as DTRA’s chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear national security mission domains. Through DID, PNNL is able to bring talented students into the national security sphere while simultaneously increasing the diversity of the U.S. government workforce. In 2019, the program’s inaugural year, the Laboratory hosted five students from across the nation.

PNNL is committed to broadening the Laboratory’s approach to fostering diversity within the organization. Building a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness to enable all individuals to contribute to their full potential and to enhance employee retention is at the forefront of the PNNL leadership’s mission.

One of my priorities at PNNL is to foster a work environment that fully embraces and values diversity and inclusion. By doing so, we benefit from a breadth of perspectives and experiences that enables the innovation one expects of a DOE national laboratory. I applaud the team who worked to bring this great new program to PNNL, through which we can expand our efforts to help grow a talented and diverse future workforce in national security.”  – Steven Ashby, Laboratory Director

DID actively recruits from minority-serving institutions, which include historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges, and Hispanic-serving institutions. DID is primarily interested in minority-serving institutions that feature robust curricula and programs in STEM fields that DTRA prioritizes in its national security mission.

PNNL’s national security and STEM Education teams collaborated to develop and pilot this program. Managed by PNNL’s April Augustine, the program pairs interns with mentors to work on DTRA-funded projects at PNNL. 

DID offers 8- to 12-week internships at PNNL’s Richland, Washington, campus. The program seeks students with an aptitude for creativity, ingenuity, and problem-solving, as well as the motivation to succeed. Selected interns have the opportunity to work with experienced researchers to solve challenging problems in the U.S. national security sphere.

DID is PNNL’s second 100% diversity-focused internship. In addition to DID, PNNL offers a wide range of internships in STEM and business fields. These opportunities are available for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students during the summer and throughout the academic year. A few examples include high school programs such as the High School Student Business Intern and Research Intern opportunities, and university students can access programs that include the Technical Project and Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships. Graduate-level internships are also available in some programs.

If you are a student interested in a career in one of the many STEM and business arenas, including the U.S. national security mission, check out PNNL’s full list of internship opportunities here.

Want to apply for the DID program? Contact April Augustine via email at or visit the PNNL Careers website, DID Job ID 309781, which is now open and accepting applications. The application deadline is March 29, 2020.


About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Published: November 15, 2019