New Mexico Network For Women In Science and Engineering
Annual Meeting and Technical Symposium

October 19-20, 2001



Thermal Analysis of Polymers

Mary Stinecipher Campbell
Albuquerque, NM

Polymers change their physical properties as they are heated. At very cold temperatures below their glass transition temperature (Tg), They are hard and glass-like. As they are heated the polymer strands begin to move and they become rubbery. At even higher temperatures they will soften even more and melt. The temperature of each of these transitions is a property of the polymer and will suggest what use they will have.

This presentation shows thermal analysis instruments used in analyzing polymers and the results from these for Estane and polycarbonate. Estane is of interest because it is used as a binder for explosives. In uncontrolled storage the Estane strands may react with moisture and become two shorter strands. This affects its properties in the rubbery plateau causing it to soften at a lower temperature than for new Estane. This study is to measure the change in the dynamic mechanical properties as the Estane aged to a reduced average molecular weight.


Los Alamos National Laboratory Participation in the MentorNet Program

Wendee M. Brunish

MentorNet is an online mentoring program which pairs community college, undergraduate, and graduate women in engineering, related sciences and technologies, and math with engineers and scientists working in industry and national labs.

Los Alamos National Laboratory has been a partner in the MentorNet program for three years, beginning with the 1999-2000 academic year. During that time the number of LANL mentors participating in the program has grown from less than a dozen (prior to our partnership), to 33 during our first year as a partner, to 59 last year. This year we estimate that we will have about 80 mentors participating in the program.

MentorNet is an effective tool for encouraging and educating young women in science. Based on the results of annual evaluations, 84% of student participants would recommend MentorNet to a friend. A majority of students reported that "Encouragement and/or moral support" and "Learning about my mentor's job and workplace environment" were positive outcomes. Mentor responses indicate that they participate because they are committed to helping women students in engineering and science and are willing to share their knowledge and experiences. Positive outcomes reported by mentors included the satisfaction of being helpful, sharing knowledge, acting as a sounding board for students' ideas, and helping their proteges work through personal problems.

I encourage other science and engineering employers to get involved with MentorNet, and I urge educational institutions to find out how to make this program available to their students.

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Translating Community Concerns to Engineering Specifications

Elaine Brouillard
ATR Institute, UNM

Community Impact Assessment

Quality of Life

Responsive Decision Making


Who Defines Community?

Assessment Process

NM 44 Road Lifecycle Project

Road/Research Construction


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How to do chemical/engineering research without getting your hands/clothes dirty: working as a technical information detective!

Diane Kozelka
Sr. Technical Reference Librarian
Sandia National Laboratories
9615 MS 0899
Albuquerque, NM 87185
(505) 284-3280
Fax: (505) 844-3143

A clean, non-toxic and very enjoyable alternative to doing your own chemical/engineering research is training to become a technical information specialist. With a minimum of a B.S. degree in any physical science, technical information specialists are very much in-demand nationwide. Many chemical companies are very willing to take women with the above degrees and train them on-the-job to do their technical literature research. There are a few graduate programs throughout the U.S. that offer degrees in this field as well, which many companies will pay for, via tuition reimbursement. I will discuss the skills and personality qualifications necessary for this kind of work and my experiences, including how I stumbled onto this fascinating field. Although each technical information specialist has come into this field in a different way, I will give some advice for women interested in pursuing this as a professional career.


Microbially-Mediated Reduction of Uranium at a Site in Koenigstein, Germany

Danielle Diehl
USDA Forest Service

Over half of the U.S. population depends on groundwater for its water supply. Groundwater is frequently utilized for irrigation and process water in the technical and industrial arena. Groundwater supplies are increasingly threatened by organic, inorganic and radioactive contaminants introduced to the environment by improper disposal or accidental release. Protecting the quality of groundwater supplies from contaminants is an issue of global importance. Remediation of contaminated aquifers has become a high priority in areas where groundwater is currently being used or has been planned for use as drinking water by local communities.

WISMUT, a German government owned company conducted acid leach mining for decades to extract uranium from a mine at Koenigstein. The uranium was pumped to the surface for treatment. The uranium mine is currently undergoing remediation. The mine is located approximately 260 m below the earths surface. It represents a part of a larger basin formed by granitic rock. The basin is essentially layers of sandstone aquifers separated by clay aquitards. Another component of the environment is the presence of hydrogeologic faults that intersect the aquifers. These faults are potential pathways for dissolved uranium from the mine to leak upward into the pristine aquifer and contaminate it beyond regulatory limits. The contamination of the drinking water aquifer used by local communities is of concern and also the motive for the proposed microbially mediated bio-remediation.

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Balancing the Surface Water of the Middle Rio Grande Basin

by Christy Jones

The purpose of this report is to develop a spatial distribution of surface water over the Middle Rio Grande Basin (MRGB) for both annual and monthly scales for Water Years 1999 and 2000. Actual runoff, precipitation and wastewater return flow data covering the time period of October 1998 through September 2000 are used to produce a water model specific to the land in the MRGB that can serve as a guide for estimating future effects of water entering the basin. Although the Middle Rio Grande and its water resources are the subjects of several studies, this project is unique in its use of a geographic information system (GIS) to show where and how water moves in the basin as a whole. In addition to calculating and displaying the water budget components, rainfall/runoff relationships will be developed for each month and each year to show how seasonal variations affect availability and potential uses of water in the basin. The results of this water balance model are expected to be useful to those studying water quality and quantity in the Middle Rio Grande area.



J. M. Clark, Ph.D., (ESH-12, M.S. K-483, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545)

This presents an overview of LANL's Fetal Radiation Protection Program (FRP) that satisfies requirements set forth in 10CFR835 and LANL's Radiation Protection Program. At LANL the FRP is one of three components of the larger Reproductive Health Hazards Program, which also includes Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene. Although pregnant employees usually enter the program through Occupational Medicine, coordination with all three groups is achieved. The most important part of the FRP Program is performance of the workplace evaluation at her worksite. At the meeting between the health physicist and pregnant employee the following topics are reviewed: 1) risks to the embryo/fetus of working around sources of ionizing radiation, 2) LANL's requirements and 10CFR835 regulations, 3) her dose history, 4) basic methods of radiation protection, 5) instructions to wear the radiation dosimetry badge over her abdomen, and 6) detailed discussion of the work assignments/locations that enables the evaluation of the level of radiological hazards. Interface with her supervisor and the Operational Health Physics health physicist in charge of her work areas is essential in acquiring additional information. All of these data including the radiation dose history and recommendations for possible work modifications or reassignment are summarized in the workplace evaluation letter, which becomes part of the pregnant employee's medical file. Using input from LANL's legal staff the FRP developed a document titled "Guidance to the Supervisors Regarding Fetal Radiation Protection and Reproductive Health Hazards", which instructs supervisors regarding our requirements and regulations, contact names for workplace evaluations, and, very importantly, how to avoid discriminatory behavior against pregnant employees.

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Paula L. Hensley, MD
Assistant Professor
UNM Department of Psychiatry
Albuquerque, NM

Sexual dysfunction is a common and troublesome side effect associated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other classes of antidepressants. Its occurrence frequently results in medication switching, discontinuation, or dosage reductions to ineffective levels. Approximately 50% of women and men experience some degree of sexual dysfunction while taking SSRIs. The most common complains in women include decreased libido, difficulty with lubrication, dyspareunia (pain during intercourse), and delayed orgasm or anorgasmia. Such adverse medication effects are over-represented in women because of their higher rates of major depression and related disorders for which antidepressants are also prescribed. Attempts to treat the sexual dysfunction have been largely disappointing. Sildenafil (Viagra) represents a new, potentially effective treatment for this troublesome side effect. In an open-label study, sildenafil (Viagra) was prescribed for nine women outpatients who reported sexual dysfunction caused by antidepressant medication, primarily SSRIs. The nine patients, all of whom had experienced either anorgasmia or delayed orgasm with or without associated disturbances, reported significant reversal of sexual dysfunction, usually with the first dose of 50mg of sildenafil. We are currently conducting a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of sildenafil in treating antidepressant induced sexual dysfunction in women.

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