Elizabeth Vela Stephens is a senior STEM education professional at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in the Office of STEM Education and is the STEM Workforce Development team lead. She leads signature efforts in STEM Equity and Inclusion and professional development for educators. She serves as the director of the Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) Center program at PNNL that spans across four school districts and seven schools, leading a team of staff to engage 13 teachers and serve over 400 students. With over 16 years of engineering research experience, she has realized her own personal struggle to succeed, and she wants to impart that ambition to others, especially within the Hispanic/Latinx community. She believes by promoting equity and justice to create transformative change, we can build our communities and diversify the population of students pursuing STEM careers. Stephens is a member of the Directorate Diversity & Inclusion Council for Human Resources and is key personnel informing DEIA & Workforce Development Strategies in research funding opportunities. She also co-leads or contributes to key strategic efforts in developing a sustainable workforce as well as STEM education outreach.
Stephens holds a BS in metallurgical engineering from the University of Washington.