Meet the 2023 LANL Community Relations Medal winners

Their efforts help Northern New Mexico thrive

November 16, 2023

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Barbara Lynn and Ralph Martinez.

Laboratory employees Barbara Lynn and Ralph Martinez are the winners of this year's LANL Community Relations Medal.

The annual award recognizes active Laboratory employees or retirees who have made significant contributions to the Lab's goal of excellence in community relations, honoring community leadership and building partnerships within Northern New Mexico in the areas of STEM education, economic/workforce development and philanthropic investment of time or resources.

Building inclusive communities

Barbara Lynn is known at the Lab, in Los Alamos and across New Mexico for her work building inclusive, supportive communities that are welcoming to everyone, and providing opportunities for rewarding careers for underrepresented groups, especially within STEM fields. 

"Barbara has represented LANL as a place that listens, cares and takes action toward justice," said employee Nicole Lloyd-Ronning who nominated Lynn for the medal. "Her warm, welcoming, candid but kind style is something truly special and unique to Barbara, and allowed for an unprecedented level of trust to be built between LANL and our surrounding communities."

At the Lab, Lynn is the co-chair of the Laboratory’s  African American Employee Resource Group, and she has engaged in valuable conversations with Los Alamos Public Schools and Los Alamos Police Department to create a better environment in the town and the region for people from a range of racial and ethnic backgrounds.

She is also the chair of the American Physical Society's Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Alliance Community Building committee and serves as a member of the New Mexico Governor's Council for Racial Justice.

Supporting those in need

Having overcome his own struggles with addiction and homelessness several years ago, Ralph Martinez has been instrumental in establishing two much-needed nonprofit facilities in Española: a homeless shelter (Española Pathways Shelter) and a recovery housing unit (Pathways Village).

Martinez also has taken on a range of other leadership roles in the community, including president of the Española Community Matanza Executive Board, vice-president of the Veterans Day Event Committee, adviser on the Española Lowrider Museum Coalition and organizer of the Care Box initiative for children and seniors in need.

"There simply isn't enough space to describe the magnitude of Ralph's service," said nominator Prabhu S. Khalsa. "He leads or is involved in nearly every community service project in and around Española and Rio Arriba County."