July 27, 2023
Staff Accomplishment

Juan Lopez Named Young Professional of the Year

Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business names Pacific Northwest National Laboratory STEM education consultant “Young Professional of the Year.”

Portrait of Juan Lopez

Juan Lopez

(Photo courtesy of Richard Breshears | Breshears Professional Photography)

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) STEM Education Consultant Juan Lopez was nominated Young Professional of the Year by the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business. Since 2008, Mid-Columbia professionals and rising stars, age 40 and under, have been nominated or enter the contest. The contestants are judged for their career development, leadership, charitable work, and community involvement outside of the workplace.

“I was super humbled to be nominated and selected for the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business contest,” said Lopez. “Serving my community has always been important to me, especially being able to empower and motivate students to make an impact and move it forward.”

Lopez joined PNNL as a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education consultant in 2020. He works with interns across the Laboratory and manages the high school intern program. As a Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory, PNNL supports DOE’s commitment to train, provide opportunities, and inspire scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. Collectively, the national laboratories train and educate more than 250,000 K–12 students; 22,000 K–12 educators; and over 11,000 undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral researchers annually, providing a tremendous boost to the nation’s resources in STEM.

“Juan is an outstanding example of a STEM professional who not only is making a difference through his work here at the Lab, but also within our local community,” said Elizabeth Stephens, PNNL’s STEM Workforce Development team leader. “Through his leadership, commitment to the future generation, and dedication to investing in those around him, Juan is a rising leader here at the Lab and within the Tri-Cities.”

Lopez said, “I get to be a part of students’ learning journeys through internships in STEM or business fields. It is exciting to be able to witness their progress and growth, not only during their internships but in their journeys post-internship as well.”

This year marked the journal’s 16th annual Young Professional of the Year contest. The journal’s rotating panel of judges has nominated 140 professionals to date. Nine others were also selected as this year’s cohort of honorees.  

Lopez lists three top priorities for making the community a better place in his featured story in the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business:

  • Mentorship opportunities for underserved communities.
  • More community events that focus on different resources available to everyone.
  • Random acts of kindness.

The announcement addressing all honorees stated, “They are all 40 or under and their resumes are impressive. Each clearly loves our community, as they have stepped up in a variety of ways to make it a better place.”

Published: July 27, 2023