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Careers

Profiles of Women at EPA

Women were at the forefront of the environmental movement long before the first Earth Day in 1970. Outstanding women like Rachel Carson and Hazel Johnson dedicated their lives to teaching us how, when we protect the environment, we also protect our health and our communities. You can learn more about the history of women’s leadership on the environment through the White House project on the untold history of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM fields). Every Women’s History Month, we celebrate the work of Rachel Carson, Hazel Johnson, and the work of many other women who are taking action on climate, clean water and other big issues.

Here at EPA, women serve in numerous leadership roles and play an integral part in the agency's decision-making. Thanks to the work and dedication of our scientists, rule-makers, lawyers, and specialists, we're able to fulfill our mission and make the Earth a better place. We hope the profiles below will inspire others to work towards a healthier and more sustainable environment.  You can also view more profiles of women scientists and researchers at EPA in EPA's Science Matters newsletter.

photo of Christy MuhlenSince the late 1990s, women have earned about half of all science and engineering bachelor’s degrees. One of our engineering technicians at the Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center Lab in Cincinnati, Christy Muhlen, synthesizes lead particles to investigate lead corrosion. Water can break down lead service pipes in our homes, contaminating the water we use. Christy’s research will help develop techniques to curb and stop the contamination of lead in drinking water. photo of Kelley Chase Women work in every part of the EPA, doing every type of job imaginable. Kelley Chase is an On-Scene Coordinator in our Philadelphia office, and a member of our Mid-Atlantic Scientific Dive unit. She’s conducting a transect survey, where she moves along a specified stretch of ocean, to measure the health of coral offshore of Puerto Rico. She has been a certified SCUBA diver since 2006. photo of Deepika KurupSince before Rachel Carson started advocating for a ban on DDT, women have led and innovated to protect the environment and people’s health. That includes young women like Deepika Kurup, who researched and created a way to purify water using solar energy. She was a winner of a President’s Environmental Youth Award in 2014, and she attends Nashua High School South in Massachusetts. photo of Katrina VarnerOnly 27.9% of environmental scientists and geoscientists are women, though their ranks are growing. Katrina Varner, an Environmental Research Scientist at the National Exposure Research Laboratory in Las Vegas, has been conducting research for the EPA since 1990. Her research centers on how to characterize pollutants and contaminants, and how they impact the health of humans and animals. photo of Dr. Sandy RaimondoPresident Obama has said, "One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science and engineering." Dr. Sandy Raimondo, a self-proclaimed "biology nerd," is a research ecologist at the EPA’s Gulf Ecology Division in Florida, where she studies the effects of chemical contaminants on endangered species. Sandy is shown here in the field in an estuarine marsh on the Gulf Coast.

Profiles of Women at EPA

Lisa Donahue, Environmental Scientist
Water Protection Division
EPA Region III, Philadelphia, PA

Lisa Donahue is an enforcement team leader in our Philadelphia regional office. Read more about Lisa Donahue.

Lisa Donahue, Environmental Scientist

Justina Fugh, Senior Counsel for Ethics
Office of General Counsel
Washington, DC

Justina Fugh oversees EPA's ethics program and compliance with the Hatch Act (which limits partisan political activity of federal employees). Read more about Justina Fugh.

Justina Fugh, Senior Counsel for Ethics

Francesca Grifo, Scientific Integrity Official
Office of Research and Development
Washington, DC

Francesca Grifo is a scientist in the Office of the Science Advisor who ensures that EPA uses the best science and technology to make decisions. Read more about Francesca Grifo.

Francesca Grifo, Scientific Integrity Official

Marva King, Senior Policy Advisor
Office of Environmental Justice
Washington, DC

Dr. King currently is the Senior Policy Advisor to the Director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ). Read more about Marva King.

Marva King, Program Manager

Tanya Lawrence, Attorney Advisor
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Washington, DC

Tanya Lawrence provides legal advice to help agency managers resolve labor and employment issues. Learn more about Tanya Lawrence.

Tanya Lawrence, Attorney Advisor

Edna D. Mercado, EPA Leadership Development Institute
Office of Administration and Resources Management
Washington, DC

Edna Mercado works at EPA's Leadership Institute managing employee development programs. Read more about Edna Mercado.

photo of Edna D. Mercado

Carolina Peñalva-Arana, Molecular biologist
Office of Research and Development
Washington, DC

Carolina Peñalva-Arana is a scientist working at the National Center for Environmental Research at EPA headquarters. Read more about Carolina Peñalva-Arana.

Carolina Penalva-Arana, Molecular biologist

Dale H. Perry, Ph.D., Deputy Chier of Staff
Office of Research and Development
Washington, D.C.

I am currently the Deputy Chief of Staff for EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD). Read more about Dr. Dale Perry.

Dale H. Perry, Ph.D., Science Advisor

Ann Richard, Research Chemist
Office of Research and Development
Research Triangle Park, NC

Ann Richard is a lead researcher in EPA's National Center for Computational Toxicology, evaluating potentially harmful chemicals to better protect public health. Read more about Ann Richard.

photo of Ann Richard

Sandra Rivera, MBA, Environmental Protection Specialist and EPA’s Hispanic Employment Program Manager Council Chair
Office of Environmental Information (OEI)
Washington, DC

I currently work as a Program Manager for OEI’s Office of Information Management. Read more about Sandra Rivera.

Sandra Rivera

Paula Selzer
Senior Policy Advisor, Children’s Environmental Health
US EPA, Region 6

Paula Selzer works with partners at different levels of government, academia, the private sector and community-based organizations to reduce children’s exposures to environmental health hazards. Read more about Paula Selzer.

Paula Selzer, Children’s Health Coordinator

Kathleen Stewart, Environmental Scientist
EPA Region 9
San Francisco, CA

Kathleen Stewart works on improving the air quality, indoors and outdoors, for people living in in the Pacific Southwest. Read more about Kathleen Stewart.

Kathleen Stewart, Environmental  Scientist

Maryann Suero, Environmental Health Scientist
EPA Region 5
Chicago, IL

Maryann Suero works on reducing children’s exposure to dangerous chemicals and environmental hazards in schools. Read more about Maryann Suero.

Maryann Suero, Environmental Health  Scientist

Nancy Tschirhart, Compliance Information Development Specialist
OAR National Vehicle & Fuel Emissions Laboratory
Ann Arbor, Michigan

I’m a technologist in the Fuels and Chemistry Lab for EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory, testing fuel samples from around the country. Read more about Nancy Tschirhart.

Nancy Tschirhart

Kelly Witter, Environmental Engineer
Office of Research and Development
Research Triangle Park, NC

Kelly Witter manages programs to connect the needs of communities with the expertise of our employees. Learn more about Kelly Witter.

Kelly Witter, Environmental Engineer