Oct 02

From farm to lab: Meet Evangelina Galvan Shreeve

Evangelina Galvan Shreeve was the first person in her family to graduate from high school. Then, she went on to college. And today she’s connecting Washington students with one of the country’s leading laboratories.

Galvan Shreeve took over as Director of STEM Education at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) at the beginning of this year. The previous director, Jeff Estes, retired with nearly three decades under his belt. Shreeve will continue to bring STEM opportunities to students across the Pacific Northwest.

Galvan Shreeve grew up in Prosser, Washington, as a first-generation American. Her parents were farmworkers, living just 37 miles away from the national lab. But they never knew about the groundbreaking science happening nearby.

“If I would have known what I know today about PNNL and its mission, I would have become a chemical engineer,” Galvan Shreeve said.  “But, having grown up in a secluded rural area as an immigrant who was still learning American culture and ideals, I didn’t even know what a bagel was when I went to college.”

Now, as the Director of STEM Education, Galvan Shreeve is committed to making sure PNNL is a place that can inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers across the entire continuum of learning, from K-12 and beyond.

“How do we offer the excitement and engagement of a national laboratory to inspire STEM careers?” Galvan Shreeve asked. “How do we collaborate with our community to leverage the benefits of a national lab as a STEM leader?”

As Washington state focuses more on career-connected learning – using STEM experiences as a mechanism for developing competencies and the needed skills set, PNNL is partly realigning its STEM education efforts to emphasize the Lab’s Science & Technology priorities and is focusing on the “T” in STEM.

Computer science is a growing need for the STEM workforce as it touches on all things STEM. Office of STEM Education is collaborating with technical staff to develop unique and interesting efforts that will engage all students from all educational levels to get inspired about computing and computing related careers.  From its annual Pink Elephant Unicorn cybersecurity competition, to computing and cyber summer camps for middle and high schooler students and teachers; PNNL is ensuring students are exposed to cyber opportunities early on.

There is also an effort to help prepare teachers with the knowledge and tools to assist them in preparing students to the new state computing science standards. For post-secondary students, PNNL and Columbia Basin College worked together to launch a new cybersecurity bachelor’s program at Columbia Basin College. That program is also preparing students to become interns, and later professionals, at PNNL, the greater Department of Energy system and the nation.

When Galvan Shreeve started working at PNNL it was the month of April.  During the “bring your kids to work” day on April 26, Galvan Shreeve’s then nine-year-old shook her manager’s hand, saying, “Thanks for hiring my mom at the Disneyland for scientists.”

Galvan Shreeve hopes to foster this sense of wonder and excitement in students across the region, and provide the support needed to build the next generation of STEM professionals.

PNNL is just one of many national labs under Battelle’s management, each with its own approach towards STEM education outreach and engagement.