National Laboratories researcher Ginger Hernandez has been
honored by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society
with its 2017 Technical Excellence Award. (Photo by Randy
ALBUQUERQUE Sandia National Laboratories researcher Ginger
Hernandez and Tribal Government Program manager Laurence Brown have
been honored by the American Indian
Science and Engineering Society for their career accomplishments.
Hernandez is the recipient of the AISES Technical Excellence Award
and Brown has received the Government Partner Service Award.
The Technical Excellence Award winner is deemed to have made
a significant contribution to science, engineering or technology
by having designed, developed, managed or assisted in developing
a product, service, system or intellectual property, according to
the AISES website. Hernandez assesses emerging technologies for
the Department of Energy.
The Government Partner Service Award is not lightly bestowed,
according to the notice to Brown about the honor. This award
is a symbol of our appreciation for your hard work and contributions
to the mission of AISES. We are humbled by your passion, service
and commitment to provide opportunities for natives in STEM [science,
technology, engineering and math].
Hernandez grateful for recognition, looks forward
to giving back to AISES
Hernandez earned a doctorate in inorganic chemistry from Texas
Tech University after receiving her undergraduate degree at the
University of Central Florida. From 1998-2010, she taught chemistry
part time at Central New Mexico Community College while also working
full time at Sandia. As a volunteer with the Dream
Catchers Science program, she taught concepts of physical science
by making and analyzing peanut brittle and building flutes.
She came to Sandia in 1994 and spent the first six years of
her career managing a materials characterization laboratory. In
2000, Hernandez transferred to the firing set capacitor group. During
that time, I also worked on several projects that supported a critical
national security program, she said.
That experience sparked my interest in Sandias work
that provides data analysis and assessment to various government
agencies. I wanted to be a part of that group and in the fall of
2009, I saw my opportunity a posting for a technical analyst.
Shortly after joining the technical assessments department, I became
a team lead over a group of analysts who address evolving technical
capabilities in a particularly unstable and dangerous region of
the world. This is where I work today.
whose ancestry is of mixed Anglo and Cherokee background, said she
didnt have much exposure to her native heritage as a child.
My grandparents struggled with their Cherokee identity
because they grew up in a time when they were afraid of being identified
as native. My granny, who has significant Cherokee blood from both
her mother and her father, played down or sometimes outright
denied her heritage, she said. As an adult, Im
trying to piece together who I am and how I fit into my native community.
Hernandez said she is incredibly honored to be chosen
for the AISES award. But more so, Im grateful to learn
about the AISES community and begin to interact with them,
She said she learned at the 2017 AISES conference about resources
to help encourage and develop students in STEM careers and looks
forward to getting more involved in helping students succeed in
STEM. I wish I had known about AISES when I was in college;
I could have used their support, she said.
Hernandez has advice and encouragement for students interested
in working in the technical arena. Getting a STEM education
can be tough and overwhelming at times, but hang in there,
she said. Never give up. Surround yourself with positive and
encouraging people. Distance yourself from toxic influences. Your
efforts will be well worth it because a STEM education will provide
you with endless opportunities to earn a good living doing interesting
and meaningful work.
Brown, a member of the Navajo Nation,?is the 2017 recipient
of the Government Partner Service Award presented by the American
Indian Science and Engineering Society. Brown serves as Sandia
National Laboratories tribal relations manager. (Photo
by Randy Montoya)
Brown credits AISES for the success of his tribal
Brown came to Sandia in 1989. Before that, he worked for IBM
for three years in Tucson, Arizona, after earning his bachelor of
science degree in chemical engineering from New Mexico State University.
He came to Sandia through the One Year On Campus program and went
to Stanford University for his masters of science in materials
science and engineering.
Browns first job at Sandia was in the thin film and brazing
department. After a one-year Entrepreneurial Leave of Absence in
1995, he returned to the same department working on Cooperative
Research and Development Agreements that intersected organizations
across the labs. Since 2002, he has been with Sandias Government
Relations department, focusing primarily on tribal government relations
and tribal energy development.
He became involved with AISES in 1986 while at IBM, became a
(lifetime member) in 1989 and continued his AISES involvement at
Sandia. I was instrumental as one of the founding members,
developing charters and bylaws, of the first AISES professional
chapter, the New Mexico Chapter, in 1991, he said.
Brown served on the AISES board of directors in the mid-1990s
and remained involved afterward as a member of the AISES
Corporate Advisory Council. He has held his current national
leadership role with the AISES STEM organization, as chair or co-chair,
since about 2009. While on the Corporate Advisory Council, he was
instrumental in developing the AISES Professional Awards program
that began in 2004. Since then, Sandia has had eight AISES Professional
AISES has been an important part of my professional development,
and the network of student and professional contacts contributes
to the success of my tribal relations work at Sandia, Brown
said. AISES has been and continues to be the only game in
town for diversifying our talent pool with top American Indian and
Alaskan Natives in STEM.
The AISES Government Partner
Service Award means a lot to me with the recognition at the
national conference that celebrated the 40th anniversary of AISES.