Hanford Ladies, Three Dogs, and a Baby

Sometimes it is nice to hang out with folks who are in your peer group.  I love getting to spend time with other women my age especially since there are not too many of us involved with Hanford.  Erika, Shannon, Laura, and I decided we should all go walk by the Columbia River and get to know each other better.  Erika brought her two dogs and Laura brought her two dogs and her sweet baby.

We all came to Hanford through different routes.  Shannon found Hanford as a field manager for the 1-297 campaign in Seattle to ban offsite waste from ending up at Hanford.  She couldn’t stay away and ended up studying Hanford in her Masters work and is currently working on her dissertation as a Geography Ph.D. candidate at Berkeley focused once again on Hanford, which brings her to the Tri-Cities quite often for interviews, meetings, and walks by the river.

Erika found Hanford through a job editing cleanup reports for a Hanford contractor and then started working in the Tank Waste Treatment section of the Department of Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program. Erika spends a lot of time communicating about Hanford tank waste, the Waste Treatment Plant, and sprucing up the Nuclear Waste Program website.

Laura found Hanford through a job with the EPA.  She loved biochemistry so much that she went for a Ph.D and ended up studying the effects of asbestos on human lung cells.  After five years in the lab she wanted to get out in the field and work in an environmental type job, so when she heard about a job opening at the EPA Hanford Office, she drove out to a job fair in Richland, got the job and has been with EPA since 2007.

I found Hanford through my friend and roommate Meredith.  I was looking for a low key job after working as a domestic violence victim’s advocate.  Mere introduced me to Tom to do some part time work and five years later, I am still working with Hanford Challenge, going to Hanford Advisory Board meetings, getting the word out and recruiting more young people to find their way into the wonderful world of Hanford.

Though we ‘arrived’ at Hanford through different paths and different interests, it’s reassuring to know there are other young women who care about Hanford cleanup, as I do.

By: Liz Mattson

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