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Team player: Former NFL lineman makes smooth transition to INL Security

June 30, 2022

When he mangled his shoulder in his second season in the National Football League, Robert Valenzuela realized his NFL career was over. So, he traded his shoulder pads and helmet for a badge and gun and embarked on a career...

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Growing the long way: INL’s Jodi Vollmer cultivates record-breaking long gourds

May 5, 2022

Jodi Vollmer thinks big with her after-work hobby. When she isn’t supporting Idaho National Laboratory’s Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program, Vollmer grows long gourds. The aim is to produce the longest fruit she can, and it led to a record-breaking...

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Building a better you: INL employee competes in bodybuilding competition

April 1, 2022

Bishop pictured shortly before she made the decision to start dieting and exercising. When the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced people across the world into solitude, the abrupt adjustment to a standard way of life led many to take...

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From the top: Digital twin researcher summits Denali

March 4, 2022

For about a year, Kaleb Houck spent an hour every day after work walking on a treadmill at maximum incline with a 65-pound pack on his back. He was also working out an additional two or three hours each workday...

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Calvin O’Hern: Advanced Test Reactor drafter on the clock, passionate wood carver...

February 4, 2022

Wandering in the wilderness and finding forms of beauty typically overlooked by most passersby inspires Calvin O’Hern to create new things. O’Hern has been a wood carver since he was 10 years old.  O’Hern examining a box he made from various types of plywood pressed together. Fly hooks decorate the top in...

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Need for speed: INL counterintelligence specialist switches gears

January 7, 2022

Many hold fond memories of their first “real” car. That first car has stayed with Michael Vollmer and led to a hobby that has lasted more than 25 years.  Just a couple of high school kids: A young Michael Vollmer, right, poses with...

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Sweet traditions: Keeping a family legacy alive through chocolate

December 22, 2021

The holiday season doesn’t begin for Cassie Sandoval until she smells homemade candies.  Every year, she fills her kitchen with the tools and aromas of making caramels, peanut butter cups and more. Making the treats with her daughter for extended family and co-workers is a tradition, something she inherited from her grandmother, Meldeane Whitmill. As a young...

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Connie Bates’ blue-ribbon baking affair

November 4, 2021

Connie Bates messily throws together sugar, flour and other ingredients in her kitchen laboratory. She calls herself a “kitchen chemist.” “Sometimes it blows up. Sometimes it doesn’t,” she said. But for this Idaho National Laboratory (INL) employee, baking is a...

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Scary fun: INL employee spends October in some dark places

October 27, 2021

Most people don’t like to be scared. Joel Hiller lives for it. As a communications specialist at Idaho National Laboratory in the Nuclear Science & Technology directorate, Hiller works to demystify and educate the public about the important research taking...

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How this computer scientist threads the needle

October 1, 2021

Computer science and quilting don’t appear to have much in common, but they share an important thread for Bev Novak. Novak hard at work on her quilting. Novak works in machine learning for Idaho National Laboratory’s National and Homeland Security...

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