September 2015

Building community and diversity

Increasing access to science is a running theme in the life of Berkeley Lab staff scientist Daniel Ushizima. In her early days, she was frequently the only girl or one of a few girls involved in research. For more than 20 years, she has given back to the communities in which she works, first in her native Brazil and now in the Bay Area, working with young girls to get them excited about science and engineering.

“The main motivation of getting involved comes from my own observations as a woman in technology,” she says. “There are not enough of us. Something must happen to improve workforce diversity early in the process, and I wanted to try and help out. ”

For several years, she has been a volunteer with Black Girls Code, which serves a wide range of underrepresented girls. She recently spent the weekend programming with a group of 12- to 15-year-olds.

“It was fascinating how quickly they could learn and how motivated they were,” she says. “I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunities to get where I am and it is a pleasure to pass it on.”