10 moments of community connection in 2022

Review last year’s most memorable highlights

By Tricia Ware | February 9, 2023

As we said goodbye to 2022, the Laboratory looked back at some of the ways we connected with communities across seven counties throughout the year.

“We continue to be grateful for the support of our neighbors and the chance to work, live and grow as a community,” said Kathy Keith, director of Community Partnerships. “We look forward to finding more ways to support the region in 2023.”


1. Challenge Tomorrow Trailers hit the road. The Lab expanded its educational outreach with the Challenge Tomorrow experience: traveling trailers targeted at New Mexico middle-schoolers with Lab scientists on board to explain everything from robotic arms to glove boxes to missions to Mars.


2. Hollywood comes to town. Los Alamos County took on a different look this spring with movie trailers, lights and celebrity sightings becoming the norm for a few weeks while Christopher Nolan’s new movie, “Oppenheimer,” was filmed. Scheduled for a summer 2023 release, the biopic looks at the life of the Lab’s first director, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and was filmed in part at Fuller Lodge in downtown Los Alamos. Several Lab employees donned 1940s-era clothes and hairstyles to play extras in the film.


3. Collaborating to combat wildfire. More than 1,100 firefighters tirelessly battled the flames of the Cerro Pelado wildfire that started April 22 and burned for several weeks, keeping the fire from reaching the townsite and the Lab. During that time, the Lab, the NNSA Los Alamos Field Office, the U.S. Forest Service, Santa Fe National Forest, Los Alamos County, Sandoval County, the DOE Office of Environmental Management’s Los Alamos Field Office and N3B all worked together to keep the community informed and to share resources.


4. Millions invested in community. Triad National Security’s Community Commitment Plan invested over $2 million in the LANL Foundation, the Regional Development Corporation, the United Way of Northern New Mexico and more than 70 other nonprofit organizations supporting education, economic development and nonprofit giving in the seven counties surrounding the Lab: Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Miguel, Santa Fe and Taos.


5. The Lab’s Math and Science Academy celebrated 22 years in 2022. Since its inception, MSA has provided professional development for more than 900 teachers and school leaders within Northern New Mexico’s seven-county region, including eight public school districts and the seven Northern Pueblos Day Schools under the authority of the Bureau of Indian Education.


6. Money and toys donated for the holidays. During the 2022 holiday season, employees donated $23,935 and more than 200 toys for the 2022 Toy Drive, with 41 employees volunteering to sort and deliver gifts. This will contribute to supporting more than 2,500 children across Northern New Mexico.


7. Talent and technology shared. The Lab’s Community Partnerships Office unveiled new Community Technical Assistance grants, which pairs Lab experts with community partners to solve challenging scientific and technological problems. In 2022, the Lab helped an acequia association find a lost underground well, dated 480-year-old artifacts from Coronado Historic Site and measured restoration efforts on exhausted rangeland.


8. More than 1,000 backpacks provided. Lab volunteers donated school supplies and stuffed 1,000 backpacks in a back-to-school drive that were then distributed to students in need in 16 districts throughout the seven-county region.


9. Scholarships funded. The Lab’s Employees’ Scholarship Fund raised $360,000 in 2022. For 24 years, Lab employees have made generous annual donations supporting Northern New Mexico scholars. Academic performance, as well as financial need, diversity and regional representation are integral components of the selections process. (Learn more about Jamie Cruz-Sandoval (shown above), 2022 Bronze Scholarship and Michael A. Hiskey Nursing Scholarship winner.)


10. Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation celebrated 25 years. Based in Española, the foundation advocates for human learning potential. Its efforts involve educational research, early childhood and K-12 programs, scholarships and grants for educational enrichment.