Los Alamos National Laboratory announces winners of its most prestigious medals

Awardees embody Laboratory commitment to ‘simultaneous excellence’

October 20, 2022

Los Alamos National Laboratory announced the winners of three special medals that acknowledge their exceptional commitment and achievement. The Global Security, Operations and Community Relations medals reflect the broad scope of work done across the institution and align with the Laboratory’s philosophy of simultaneous excellence.

“I extend my thanks to each awardee and the nominees for your dedication, innovation and impact,” said Director Thom Mason. “These medals represent essential work performed across the Laboratory, in our communities and beyond.”

Below are the winners of the three medals. Awardees will be recognized during a special awards ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 22.

2022 Global Security Medal

Sara Del Valle and Catherine Snelson

Sara Del Valle and Catherine Snelson are recipients of the 2022 Los Alamos Global Security Medal. The award recognizes the exceptional achievements of active or recently retired employees who have made significant contributions to the Laboratory’s global security mission.

Del Valle is being recognized for bringing together scientific expertise, computational capabilities and mission awareness to transform scientific epidemiological models into a well-recognized major new global security initiative at the Laboratory. She leads a multidisciplinary team focused on the development of mathematical and computational models for infectious diseases, complex networks, agent-based simulations and applying machine learning approaches to extract information from nontraditional data streams (e.g., social media) to inform national security applications.

Snelson is being recognized for her exceptional leadership resulting in a major enhancement of the Laboratory’s ability to execute its global security mission in the field of underground detonation detection and characterization. She has achieved recognition across the National Nuclear Security Administration and Department of Energy complex for her leadership and related science and technology expertise, which have impacted not only the Laboratory but also the broader national and international scientific communities.

2022 Operations Medal

Dina Siegel

The Operations Excellence Medal, which recognizes exceptional work in the Operations area of the Laboratory Agenda, was awarded to biosafety standout Dina Siegel for her contributions to worker safety and health.

Siegel is the Laboratory’s biosafety officer and industrial hygiene and safety professional. Her contributions to the Laboratory during her 24 years of service are extensive and driven by her passion to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for all employees. Siegel was key to the Lab’s COVID-19 response, helping the COVID-19 Task Force establish policies, training, guidance documents, webpages and hotline information so employees could continue to meet mission deliverables.

As the Laboratory’s biosafety officer, Siegel transformed the institution’s biosafety program from a three-page document into a complete, complex program that addresses national bioterrorism and biohazardous threats. She also established the exposure assessment process, which is a cornerstone to the Laboratory’s industrial safety and hygiene processes.

2022 Community Relations Medal

Anna Llobet and Pierre-Yves Le Bas

Anna Llobet and Pierre-Yves Le Bas have been named the winners of this year’s Community Relations Medal, which recognizes active Laboratory employees or retirees who have made significant contributions to the Laboratory’s goal of excellence in Community Relations. This medal honors community leadership and building partnerships within Northern New Mexico across the areas of STEM education, economic/workforce development and philanthropic investment of time or resources. 

Llobet is the founder of the Summer Physics Camp for Young Women, now in its sixth year. The free two-week camp strives to bridge the science, technology and engineering gender gap by immersing students from underserved communities in sessions covering physics, computer science, robotics and professional development, taught by volunteer role models who can help students identify career pathways. Llobet has also led an effort for the Laboratory to join a consortium of national labs and other organizations working to develop a career pipeline for young women. Additionally, she is a member of the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee, which honors the intellectual and ethical legacy of the Scientific Director of the Manhattan Project and promotes education throughout the region.

Le Bas has made substantial long-term contributions to STEM education robotics programs in Northern New Mexico, including helping the Los Alamos FIRST Team 4153 Project Y robotics team compete in world championships for high-school age teams and helping to form the first teams in Española and Santa Fe. His robotics work provides growth opportunities and outlets for students to be part of a team while exploring science and technology. He also supports the Los Alamos Concert Association, serving on its board of directors and helping with everything from marketing to audiovisual support during concerts.