Rocha was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy for its “Women@Energy” series, detailing inspirational women in STEM fields and is meant to highlight what inspired the women to pursue their careers.
The overall goal of the Women@Energy program is to get women to consider STEM-related courses in college and in the workforce.
“As a young girl, I was always fascinated by the natural world around me. I wanted to know why and how things happened,” Rocha told the DOE. “When I started college, I followed my passion by pursing a degree in the biological sciences.”
Rocha went on to explain how her undergraduate research experiences prepared her for further studies and cemented her desire to explore environmental microbiology.
As a doctorate fellow under Hazen, who is also the head of UT’s Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, Rocha is part of a multi-institutional collaboration known as ENIGMA, the Ecosystems and Networks Integrated with Genes and Molecular Assemblies.
She helps investigate particular bacterial species and conducts field sampling efforts at radioactive areas at the Oak Ridge field site.
“The best part of my job is working with a dynamic and interdisciplinary group of researchers—both within my research team and across Oak Ridge National Laboratory,” Rocha told the DOE. “Another exciting aspect is the ability to mentor undergraduate researchers in the field and in the laboratory. Mentoring students and helping them develop a passion for their research motivates me to pave a path for future generations.”
She was recently chosen by Hispanic Engineer and Information Technology magazine as one of 32 women worldwide to be profiled in the magazine’s “Latinas at Tech Giants” edition.
Her interview for the DOE’s story, including her tips on women in STEM education, can be read here.
David Goddard (865-974-0683, firstname.lastname@example.org)