Ph.D., Civil Engineering (empahsis in Computational Engineering Mechanics), University of California, Davis
M.S., Mechanical Engineering (empahsis in Thermosciences and Microdevices), Stanford University
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara
Lara joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) as a full-time engineer in 1997. She has worked as a Computational Finite Element Analyst, Principal Investigator, Program Manager of the Joint DoD / DOE Munitions Technology Development Program, and (currently) Director of the Energetic Materials Center (EMC). Her primary interests are in failure modeling and assessment of structures and mechanical components under blast loading and high explosives reaction-zone physics. Representative discipline areas include risk and vulnerability assessment development, explosives modeling, and structural response.
As the Energetic Materials Center Director, she is the principal contact for the science of high explosives, propellants, thermites and pyrotechnics, driving strategic direction and facilitating execution of the science of energetic materials at both Site 200 (LLNL's main site located in Livermore, CA) and Site 300 (LLNL's 7,000 acre experimental test site located in Tracy, CA, 15 miles southeast of Site 200). In this role, Lara works closely with representatives from Facility Operations, Facilities Equipment & Infrastructure, and Program (WCI and GS) organizations. Lara's responsibilities also include principal oversight of the Explosives Safety Committee and I am the U.S. Chair of the Joint Working Group on High Explosives under the U.S. / UK Mutual Defense Agreement.
The EMC mission is to integrate state-of-the-art capabilities in high explosives, propellants, thermites and pyrotechnics for the benefit of the DOE/NNSA’s Science-based Nuclear Stockpile Stewardship Program. The EMC also supports the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, other U.S. government agencies, and U.S. industry. LLNL conducts over 500 experiments annually at the High Explosives Applications Facility (HEAF) in Livermore, CA, and Site 300 experimental site in Tracy, CA.
Lara was also employed for over two years as a full-time managing engineer at Hinman Consulting Engineers in San Francisco. Hinman is a small consulting firm that specializes in anti-terrorism/force protection and blast consulting for a range of projects. Lara's responsibilities included delivering on projects (e.g. U.S. embassies abroad, military facility design and upgrade, high threat/high risk developments for international clients, and federally-owned facilities), managing technical innovation to improve project execution capability and efficiency at the firm, and staff management. Partnering with the Technical Director as the Lead Engineer for New Technology, Lara developed manuscripts and reports on finite element computation, experimental validation, and risk studies for blast design.
“At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory we are at the forefront of technology and innovation. This develops a community of camaraderie and friendly completion. If you have a technical challenge, there is likely someone at the Lab who is a Subject Matter Expert. This makes the work so exciting because our impact as a scientific community to solve problems can be tremendous.”