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Sandia Labs award winner is security expert

Carrie O’Hara of Sandia National Laboratories teaches an international training course on the physical protection of nuclear materials and nuclear facilities before the COVID-19 pandemic. (Brett Latter/Sandia Labs)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories’ Carrie O’Hara has been chosen as a 2020 Women Worth Watching award winner by Profiles in Diversity Journal as part of a 19-year-old program designed to recognize dynamic women who are changing workplaces and the world.

“This award was a surprise to me, but I’m honored,” O’Hara said in a statement.

She attributed her success in part to having the confidence to solve problems in difficult situations.

“My advice to young women is to never take ‘no’ for an answer and never let someone else hold you back,” O’Hara asid. “Put in the work and get the training you need to pursue your goals. Your success is a direct result of your efforts. It won’t be easy, but ‘no’ is for other people, not you.”

Nominees were evaluated for leadership, executive responsibility, professional achievement, innovation and mentorship.

O’Hara, a security expert and innovative instructional systems designer at Sandia, collaborates with federal agencies to develop and lead training programs for nuclear security professionals in the U.S. and across the globe, according to a news release.

She previously served as the labs’ security systems and tech training project lead for the U.S. Navy Strategic Weapons Facilities Physical Security Engineering programs for both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets. She developed and led training for Navy and Marine security forces.

O’Hara holds a master’s degree in organizational learning and instructional technology at the University of New Mexico.

Before joining Sandia, she served in the Air Force as a Combat Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape instructor.

Profiles in Diversity Journal magazine is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion and Women Worth Watching in the corporate, government, nonprofit, higher education and military sectors, according to a release.

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