Workshop Abstract

Federal Service. Not as altruistic as academia or the non-profit sector, not as lucrative as private industry, not as jazzy as the entertainment industry… but it has its moments! For those of us who have chosen this civil servant path, we realize that it takes a “particular set of skills.

Please join me to hear about those “skills” and the tips, tricks, trade-offs, and trials of my 25 years of government service as a Black, female scientist who became a member of the US Senior Executive Service.


Dr. Njema Frazier is a member of the US Senior Executive Service at the Department of Energy. She currently serves as the Acting Assistant Deputy Administrator for Strategic Partnership Programs in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Dr. Frazier’s Program assures that strategic interactions with other federal agencies, private industry, academia, and foreign entities are established, maintained, and conducted in the best interest of the NNSA and the Nation. These interactions include (1) multi-billion dollar strategic partnership projects and technology transfer activities conducted at NNSA sites; (2) a broad array of mission-relevant partnerships supported through MOUs, CRADAs, grants, centers, working groups, councils, and advisory committees; and (3) headquarters review and oversight actions to ensure program compliance with Executive Orders, Federal statutes, Departmental Directives, Congressional language, or DOE/NNSA strategic guidance.

Since joining NNSA in 2001, Dr. Frazier has managed and led a number of flagship scientific and technical programs established by NNSA to ensure the United States maintains a safe, secure and effective nuclear weapons stockpile without explosive testing. This includes the Office of Experimental Sciences, where she served as Director for the newly consolidated, $1.3B weapons science R&D program to direct, plan, coordinate, and execute experiments in fields ranging from nuclear physics, hydrodynamics, plasma physics, and materials science, to high energy density and ignition science.

A long-time trailblazer in science, Frazier was the first African-American woman to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as the first to receive a Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics from Michigan State University. She is currently a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) National Advisory Board, a member of the Mellon College of Science Dean’s Council, and the NNSA representative for the DOE Taskforce on Equity R&D Working Group, for President Biden’s EO 13985: Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.