WEST VALLEY — Girl Scouts of Western New York has announced that the 2013 Woman of Distinction Award recipient in the science, technology, engineering and math category is Heatherly Dukes, vice president of nuclear operations and storage at CH2M HILL B&W West Valley LLC. Dukes received her award during a recent ceremony at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens in Depew.
Women of Distinction is a girl-led signature fundraising event for Girl Scouts of Western New York, and it also provides girls in grades 9-12 the opportunity to receive mentorship from honorees and to gain leadership skills, through roles such as greeting guests at the event.
To be eligible for this award, women are nominated by members of the community. Nominees must live or work in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans or Wyoming counties and must have demonstrated leadership in their careers and in their communities, through public service, and be considered role models for girls, by the committee.
This year, the selection committee received numerous nominations and chose one honoree for each of the following categories: arts and humanities, business, entrepreneur, education, Girl Scout volunteer, healthcare, public service, sports and fitness and STEM.
As the recipient of the Women of Distinction award in the STEM category, Dukes has more than 36 years of experience in the nuclear industry, with 22 years of management experience in areas such as operations, waste management, engineering, maintenance, deactivation and decommissioning, as well as nuclear materials management.
In her current position, she manages the Department of Energy’s West Valley Demonstration Project. The site’s mission is to close and decommission most of the nuclear facilities. Her efforts include overseeing operations and maintenance for the site’s infrastructure, transitioning facilities for turnover, to allow deactivation and decommissioning, and for constructing a new High Level Waste Interim Storage System, which will house 278 canistered waste forms, consisting of highly radioactive vitrified glass waste.
Dukes holds a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Florida.
For the Women of Distinction Program, Dukes mentored Nina Ragland of Williamsville. Ragland presented Dukes with her award, during the awards ceremony.
For more information on Women of Distinction, visit gswny.org.