Sandia Labs Honors STEM High School Students


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Sandia National Laboratories honored 26 girls from California high schools in the Tri-Valley, East Bay and San Joaquin County at the annual Sandia Women’s Connection Math & Science Awards. The honorees were nominated by their teachers for outstanding accomplishments in STEM. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the students and their families participated in the awards ceremony virtually.

Hosted by Sandia Women’s Connection at the labs’ California site, the annual awards program helps introduce girls to the many careers available to them and highlights opportunities available through the Sandia internship program. Award winners also are paired with female scientists, engineers and mathematicians at Sandia who are available for mentoring as the students enter college and explore future careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

“We are proud of you because we know that the accomplishments that brought you here require perseverance and determination,” said Marcey Hoover, director of the energy and homeland security program management center at Sandia.

“Continue following your passion for math and science. We desperately need more women in these fields,” she said, adding that nationally, women remain underrepresented in many key science and engineering fields. Sandia uses community programs like the Math & Science Awards to help end that trend.

“Through young women like you, we will continue to make strides in having more diverse mathematicians, engineers and scientists. This is really important because it takes diverse approaches in thinking to solve complex problems.”

Sandia_PoojaSpark of inspiration

Sarah Allendorf, director of the chemistry, combustion and materials center at Sandia also addressed award winners, encouraging them as they pursue future education and careers in math and science.

“You are here because you are part of that rare and wonderful group of students who have found a spark of inspiration in math and science. I hope today’s celebration of your accomplishments and passion feeds that spark and brings you encouragement. I can’t wait to hear about your future successes.”

Local elected officials also participated in the recognition event via prerecorded remarks.

California State Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan of Orinda, California, encouraged the girls in their future pursuits.

“Women often bring a different and important perspective to their work, and we all benefit from that,” she said. “We will continue to need your bright minds to join the ranks (of STEM fields) and help solve some of society’s hardest challenges.”

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell also congratulated award winners.

“The number of women in science and engineering is, thankfully, finally growing, but the scarcity of women in STEM fields is a persisting problem. We need you,” he said. “That’s why I’m so excited to offer my sincere congratulations to all of you. You have shown that anything you set your minds to, you can achieve, and that no obstacle can prevent you from future success.”

Following the virtual ceremony, award recipients had an opportunity to connect one-on-one with female mentors at Sandia, who discussed academic plans and careers in STEM, and answered any questions the students had.

Outstanding Achievement in Mathematics

  • Ekaterina Osipova, Amador Valley High School
  • Kiara Kelly-Montoya, Castlemont High School
  • Lilly Jiang, Dublin High School
  • Andrea Cheng, Foothill High School
  • Tida Ngov, Granada High School
  • Cristina Pineda Carranza, Lathrop High School
  • Paige Felkins, Lincoln High School
  • Nevaeh Thompson, Merrill F. West High School
  • Emma Brown, Millennium Charter High School
  • Jaquelen Gómez, Oakland High School
  • Christy Ko, Oakland Technical High School
  • Samantha Ivey, Skyline High School
  • Natasha Rodriguez-Zanuto, Tracy High School

Outstanding Achievement in Science

  • Jocelyn Zhu, Amador Valley High School
  • Audrey Kwan, Dublin High School
  • Pooja Mehta, Foothill High School
  • Emily Macias, Granada High School
  • Tricia Mae Albano, Lathrop High School
  • Isabella Costigliolo, Lincoln High School
  • Manvitha Nandamuri, Livermore High School
  • Shannon Le, Manteca High School
  • Zeenat Entezar, Millennium Charter High School
  • Sahityasree Subramanian, Mountain House High School
  • Mia Pollard, Oakland High School
  • Samantha Ivey, Skyline High School
  • Mysha Mamsa, Tracy High School

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