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Hispanic heritage runs deep at Los Alamos Lab

Named among best companies by LATINA Style
October 1, 2020
Tana Cardenas

As a child in Galisteo, New Mexico, Tana Cardenas liked to walk around the house with a screwdriver, tightening every loose screw she saw. “Someone asked me what I wanted to be, and I said, ‘I’m going to be a mechanical engineer.’” She is now an R&D engineer at the Lab, where she designs targets physicists put in the path of lasers.

Los Alamos stands out among national labs for its high percentage of Hispanic employees. Some hail from Latin America and Spain, but the majority are Americans who trace their roots to those regions. The Lab has garnered recognition as a top employer from Hispanic Network Magazine, Latina STYLE Magazine, STEM Workforce Diversity Magazine and Minority Engineer Magazine.

Without local talent and contributions, especially from the Hispanic community in Northern New Mexico, the Lab would not be able to operate at a high-performance level. Of the 11,888 employees as of July 1, 2020, 4,454 employees self-identified as Hispanic or Latino (37.5%).

Hispanic Latino chart

Recently, Los Alamos National Laboratory was selected as one of the 2020 Top 50 Best Companies for Latinas to Work in the U.S. by LATINA Style Inc. The Lab ranked 33rd out of 50, based on 2019 data.

There’s even a Hispanic Opportunities Los Alamos (HOLA) group at the Lab, which offers fun events for all employees and career growth opportunities. The group “focuses on the growing population of Hispanic/Latino employees and helps to foster a sense of family and pride of Hispanic heritage while embracing other heritages, in order to deliver the best possible science and technology results for the nation.”