Sandra Begay-Campbell, chair of the STC.UNM Board of Directors, will be recognized for her lifetime contributions to the advancement of Native American students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers.

Begay-Campbell will receive the Alumni Circle Award from the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) at its 40th Anniversary Awards Dinner and Celebration where more than 500 leaders from industry, academia, government, universities, foundations and other organizations from across the country are expected to attend the event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City on Oct. 15.

NACME is focused on increasing the proportion of African American, American Indian and Latino graduates in STEM education and careers through its many programs that assist the career development of these under-represented minorities. The 40th Anniversary Awards Dinner & Celebration is a fundraiser for NACME scholarships for African American, American Indian, and Latino students in engineering. The event also honors individuals who contribute to NACME’s mission and who have gone far beyond the call of service.

Featured in NACME’s 2013 annual report, “Investing in America’s STEM Workforce:  Driving Innovation Through Diversity,” Begay-Campbell is a former executive director of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), former chair of the AISES Board of Directors, and the recipient of the AISES Lifetime Achievement Award.

The mission of AISES is to substantially increase the representation of American Indians and Alaskan Natives in STEM studies and careers. Members from over 200 tribal nations are represented within AISES, and AISES enjoys the support and partnership of corporate, government, academic and tribal decision-makers. AISES offers pre-college, college and professional programs for Native American students, scientists and engineers in support of their pursuit of STEM careers and professional development. 

Some of AISES accomplishments include:

  • 184 Chartered College and University chapters throughout the United States and Canada
  • 13 Professional Chapters
  • 160 Affiliated Schools that enroll more than 55,000 K-12 Native American students
  • Nearly 3,000 current members
  • More than a thousand Sequoyah Fellows (Lifetime members)
  • Scholarship programs which have cumulatively awarded over $8.7M to 4,924 students

A former regent of the University of New Mexico, Begay-Campbell joined Sandia National Laboratories in 1992 and is now a principal member of its technical staff. She heads Sandia's technical efforts in the Renewable Energy Program to assist Native American tribes with renewable energy development. Prior to this she also worked at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories and at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She received her B.S. in civil engineering from UNM and her M.S. in structural engineering from Stanford University. 

Recognized by WEPAN (Women in Engineering Programs & Advocates Network), she has served on its national board of directors. In 2000, Begay-Campbell was the recipient of the Stanford University 2000 Multicultural Alumni of the Year Award. She has also been selected as a recipient of the Governor's Award for Outstanding Women from the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women. In 2003, Begay-Campbell was awarded the Women of Color Emerald Honor for Community Service during the Third Annual Women of Color Research Sciences and Technologies Awards Conference.