STEM Career Exploration

Opportunities to pursue a career in a STEM-related field are vast. These careers are in high demand and will continue to be in demand in the future. NETL wants to help students understand how their interest in STEM fields can translate into a STEM career.

Each NETL professional follows a unique path that leads them to a career at the Lab. NETL is home to experts who are eager to pass on their passion for STEM to the next generation of scientists, problem solvers, and innovators.
Check out our spotlight videos below. Keep checking back, because we’re always adding new videos and thinking up new ways to share the awesomeness of science.

Scott Montross

Research Geologist
Growing up in the Adirondacks, NETL research geologist Scott Montross knew he wanted a job that involved looking at rocks. Today, Scott is thinking outside the box and researching rare earth elements to make technologies we rely on every day cheaper and more abundant.

Circe Verba

Research Geologist
NETL Researcher Circe Verba was just 14 years old when she took an earth science class that began her STEM journey. Check out this spotlight video to see how this Lego buff became a research geologist at NETL.

Greg Hackett

Technical Portfolio Lead
Meet Greg Hackett, an NETL Technical Portfolio Lead whose 4th grade water experiment began his science journey that led to a career in solid oxide fuel cell research.

Bert Thomas

Check out this Spotlight a Scientist video featuring Burt Thomas to learn how a first look at the Rocky Mountains led to a career in research geology.

Ranjani Siriwardane

Senior Research Scientist
NETL Senior Research Scientist Ranjani Siriwardane always dreamed about having a career in science and math. Check out her spotlight video to see how she achieved her dream and the impacts her research has on the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Jennifer Bauer

Geo-Data Scientist
Meet Jennifer Bauer, a geo-data scientist whose 5th grade STEM project sparked a lifelong interest in science and problem solving. Jennifer discusses her path to NETL and how her research addresses important energy questions.

Don Ferguson

Research Engineer
Meet Don Ferguson, a research engineer at NETL with a lifelong passion for learning how things work. Born just after the moon landing in 1969, Don was inspired to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering. Today, he’s studying thermodynamics and turbine engines for power generation.


Michael Buric

Functional Materials Researcher
NETL researcher Michael Buric has always loved experimenting. By the age of 11, he had already built himself a 250,000-volt Tesla coil. In this video, Mike explains how he harnessed his passion and applies it to energy research.

Kelly Rose

Geology & Geo-Data Scientist
Kelly Rose began her geology journey with a rock collection when she was just 2 years old. Learn how Kelly went from pocketing rocks to leading cutting-edge geologic research at NETL.

Antonio Ferreira

Chief Information Officer
Ever hear of “greedy mind syndrome”? NETL’s Chief Information Officer, Antonio Ferreira, has it! Watch the video to find out what that means and learn how Antonio’s education prepared him for his career.

Paul Ohodnicki

Functional Materials Scientist
Work hard and love your work. That, says material scientist Paul Ohodnicki, is the key to success. It’s certainly working for Paul. He’s been collecting accolades from his former high school all the way to the White House.

Djuna Gulliver

Environmental Engineer
Meet Djuna Gulliver, an NETL environmental engineer who investigates the large impact of tiny things. In this video, Djuna discusses the fluid nature of science and what led her to this career.

Natalie Pekney

Environmental Research Engineer
Environmental engineer Natalie Pekney says, “Don’t be intimidated! It’s not that hard to be a scientist if that’s what you really want to do.” Watch this video to find out how a former farm girl ended up solving national energy and environmental problems at NETL.

Ale Hakala

A geochemist AND a champion snowboarder? Yep! That’s Ale Hakala, an NETL scientist who defies limits. In this video, Ale discusses her work and what led her to NETL.

Dustin McIntyre

Mechanical Engineer
What do Superman and NETL’s Dustin McIntyre have in common? They can both look inside rocks! Find out how by watching this video.