Rising Sun Spotlight: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

By Marrion Johnson

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is thinking outside of the box when it comes to investing in a sustainable future for our planet. Berkeley Lab is a leading member of the national laboratory system and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a diverse range of scientific disciplines in energy. As a national resource and an institution dedicated to pursuing profound scientific discovery, they understand the power of fundamental knowledge, and that if given the tools, each of us can make an impact in combatting climate change.

Armando Viramontes, the manager of State and Community Relations, believes that building relationships with local organizations in the green energy space is a great way to deepen the laboratory’s impact. “I wanted to expand our outreach to local organizations doing work close to the applied side of energy research. Not everyone is going to pursue a career as a scientist. But there are people looking for job opportunities and careers to install the next generation of solar panels and electric vehicle batteries or energy retrofit a home.”

That’s when he realized the advantage of collaborating with Rising Sun. “[You’re] targeting an important category of students, working with communities that need opportunities, and developing skills for employment and early career workforce training. I wanted to focus on those needs in our outreach.” Elaborating on Lawrence Berkeley’s focus in community investment, Armando says “We also work with local public schools as part of our science education program. For the past 11 years, every 5th grader in Berkeley public schools has had an opportunity to come to the Lab for a field trip that includes hands-on science activities, interactions with science professionals, and a tour of one of our unique facilities. Our efforts in educational outreach are a high priority for the Lab as well.”

berkeley lab pic
Pictured: Jodi Pincus, Rising Sun’s Exec. Dir., Armando Viramontes, and CYES youth. Photo Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab Photographer

Pictured here: Jodi Pincus Executive Director Rising Sun, Armando Viramontes Manager State & Community Relations Berkeley Lab
Armando concluded making a strong case for fundamental exploration in science. “The basic science done at Berkeley Lab has transformational power. Its important work to do at the fundamental level particularly at this point of time in light of the disastrous effects of runaway climate change… energy efficiency or installing a new light bulb isn’t going to be enough. We need to enhance renewable energy technology and invent new energy systems to support our lives, and significantly change our relationship and our impact on our planet.”

That sounds like an excellent plan.

To learn more about the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, visit their website: http://www.lbl.gov/


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