IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – The Idaho Business Review announced its selections for the 2020 Women of the Year Awards, including Distinguished Scientist Dawn Scates of Idaho National Laboratory. The 50 honorees were evaluated based on criteria including leadership experience, professional accomplishments, mentorship and community service. These extraordinary women will be recognized at a gala on March 11, where an overall Woman of the Year will also be announced by the judges.
Scates joined INL in 1999 upon completion of her master’s degree in physics from Idaho State University, distinguishing herself with her work ethic and developing one-of-a-kind gamma spectroscopy systems to evaluate nuclear fission products and support the development of sustainable domestic energy sources. Refusing to be limited to one area of research, however, she has expanded her responsibilities by taking on a leadership role and is currently the manager of four Nuclear Science and Technology labs at INL.
Well known for her willingness to mentor junior staff, Scates is committed to helping her team members develop into sought-after researchers. “I love helping individuals become the best they can be,” she said. Scates emphatically believes in the power of strong mentors and credits her own childhood influences with starting her on the path to a career in the sciences.
In addition to facilitating the professional development of her employees, Scates also participates in STEM outreach activities within the Idaho Falls community. She enjoys performing demonstrations at local schools to awaken a desire in children to understand scientific principles. “Once I even brought a horse to a sixth-grade class to discuss laws of physics. That was a very popular visit,” she recalled. “I think it’s important to realize that science is all around us every day. I love seeing young people’s faces light up when they learn and understand a complex process and then in their own words are able to relate it to real-life circumstances. To me this is success.”
A mother of two teenage daughters, Scates is guided by an unwavering belief that leadership comes through our actions rather than just words. “You have to lead by example,” she said. “People mirror what you do, and I want to help develop the rising generation.”