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Lisa Dougherty

Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States


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Ups and downs are what life is all about and Lisa Marie Dougherty has had her share of both. After a challenging adolescence, she entered the Music Engineering Technology program at Ball State University in Indiana for her first big up in life. While bouncing back and forth between her music and physics studies, she chased some dead-end dreams like playing guitar in a rock band and writing short stories. After five years, she graduated with a B.S. in Physics and a B.M. in Classical Guitar Performance.

Determined to follow a profitable career path, she abandoned music to pursue graduate work in materials science at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. However, the transition proved difficult and, depressed and frustrated, she left the university to work temp jobs during the day and cocktail at night. Chasing another dream, she joined forces with a friend to form an acoustic band, but it never went anywhere.

After floundering for nearly a year, she re-entered the materials science program with a new advisor who assigned to her a fascinating project involving electron microscopy. The challenge was inspiring, but graduate work is tough and largely unrewarding. So, she joined the collegiate bicycle racing team and began spending less time in the laboratory and more time on her bicycle. She became a strong bicycle racer but, not surprisingly, her research stagnated.

Committed to finishing her PhD, she decided to cut back on cycling. But then, while on a bike ride, she met the love of her life. A year later, they married and, shortly thereafter, started a family. Eventually, she did manage to complete her Doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering and, freed from the chains of graduate school, she moved to New Mexico with her husband and daughter. Immediately, they felt at home in the rugged frontier. They quickly fit into the community, brought a native New Mexican into the world, and learned to race bicycles with minimal oxygen.

Recently, Lisa rediscovered her passion for literature, both as a reader and a writer, and began work on a two-novel series about a violin virtuoso and his efforts to rise above his criminal past. Near the end of 2005, she founded the local literary magazine Sipapu Literary Explorations, which was enthusiastically received by literary enthusiasts in Los Alamos. The quarterly magazine highlights the talents of local authors, although any work of merit is considered for inclusion.

As her first book, The Concertmaster: Lure of the Stringed Siren, undergoes the long process of publication, slated for mid-2006, she is working on her third novel and pursuing a job at the national laboratory. If she is lucky, 2006 will be an exciting year for her and her whole family, with the publication of her first book, more issues of her literary magazine, and a new job at a premier science institution.

Interests: Music performance, classical guitar, violin, bicycle racing, motorcycling, hiking, backpacking, downhill skiing, running, industrial music and literature.

Published writer: Yes

Freelance: No


Published works:


  • The Concertmaster: Lure of the Stringed Siren