Argonne National Laboratory

Theresa Davis

July 22, 2016

Theresa Davis leads the Environmental Protection Program within the Environment, Safety and Quality Assurance Division at Argonne National Laboratory.

What attracted you to Argonne?

I've been working here for almost 30 years, but it seems like just a few. Argonne is an institute of learning, and I'm honored and grateful to be a part of it.

A friend of mine had a position at Argonne and recommended that I apply for an opening in the laboratory that analyzed environmental media to ensure compliance with local, state and federal environmental regulations and U.S. Department of Energy directives.

What is your background?

My background is in chemistry. An enthusiastic chemistry teacher made high school chemistry interesting. When it came time to attend college, I picked a small liberal arts school in central Missouri because a big university was intimidating to me. This college decision was a terrific experience for me. My science classes were very small, and the professors taught for the love of learning. The school had previously been an all-male college and I became the first woman to graduate from the college with a degree in chemistry. I continued my education at a large university and eventually completed a master's degree in chemistry with an emphasis in radiochemistry.

What kind of work do you do at the laboratory? And how does your work support the laboratory's mission?

My work is very diverse including managing programs and staff members, writing technical documents, maintaining several accreditations, reviewing analytical results and supporting chemical and analytical methodology. This work involves the environmental stewardship of Argonne. It helps to protect the worker, the environment and the public from environmental impacts.

Argonne research activities must be conducted in an environmentally safe and sound manner in order to prevent pollution, minimize waste and strive to improve the local environment. To this end, Argonne's Environmental Protection Program conducts sampling of environmental media (such as air, water and soil), analyzes environmental and radiological samples, operates and maintains environmental remedial action systems that put in place repairs or preventative measures to protect the local environment, and manages Argonne's environmental management tool that describes how the laboratory consistently monitors and manages the effects its operations and processes may have on the environment.

What do you like most about your job?

The variety of responsibilities and the people make Argonne special to me. Your job is what you make it here. In every encounter that we have during our lives, we have the power to influence people in a positive way. That freedom to learn from others and influence society is extraordinary at Argonne. There is also a depth to the people here, and the wealth of knowledge at Argonne is amazing.

Has Argonne provided a positive work-life balance for you?

Yes, the work-life balance here is wonderful. There are plenty of opportunities to support workers here. The different organizations and activities, the flexible work schedule, the child care center, the credit union and the benefits are just a few things that have made a difference for me.

Argonne has been a large part of my life and has provided the opportunity for me to live my life while working for a great institution. The supportive environment is one reason I think Argonne is one of the best places to work is because working here doesn't seem like a job. What I do here is who I am as a person. It is what I was meant to do. I can't imagine working anywhere else.

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