Dr. Kirsten Laurin-Kovitz is Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear Technologies and National Security at Argonne National Laboratory. She leads an organization that supports a secure and resilient society by advancing nuclear energy and delivering innovative, objective science- and engineering-based solutions to inform decision making. The Nuclear Technologies and National Security Directorate leverages Argonne’s longstanding, world-leading expertise in nuclear energy, coupled with its unique, first-in-class capabilities in nonproliferation and infrastructure science, to tackle energy and security challenges. In particular, the directorate focuses on enduring and emerging challenges in nuclear reactors and fuel cycles; nonproliferation; infrastructure risk and resilience analysis; intelligence and vulnerability analysis; and emergency and disaster preparedness.
Previously, Dr. Laurin-Kovitz was the Director of the Strategic Security Sciences Division. In this role, she led more than 100 scientists and engineers who worked to prevent, detect, and mitigate chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cybersecurity threats through analytical assessments, applied research, technology development, and global engagement to promote peaceful uses of critical materials and technologies.
Dr. Laurin-Kovitz has more than 20 years of experience in nuclear reactor analysis, nuclear nonproliferation, and nuclear material safeguards. Before her directorship of the Strategic Security Sciences division, she led the Nonproliferation Policy Support Group within the Center for Strategic Security for Argonne’s Global Security Sciences division, where she managed a team that combined expertise in science and engineering with the knowledge of nonproliferation policies and international affairs. They provided technical advisory services and conducted outreach for policy implementation, including training export control enforcement personnel on strategic weapons of mass destruction–related commodities and nuclear authorities on implementation of the additional protocol.
In addition to her technical work, Dr. Laurin-Kovitz actively supports diversity and inclusion efforts. She participates in Argonne’s Women in Science and Technology Program, which provides leadership and resources to promote the success of women in scientific and technical positions at Argonne. She was also the co-founder of Argonne’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day for middle-school girls.
She received the American Nuclear Society Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award in 2013. She completed the Strategic Laboratory Leadership Program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2008 and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oppenheimer Science and Energy Leadership Program in 2018.
Dr. Laurin-Kovitz earned her Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University and her Bachelor of Science in General Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.