Sandia Labs News Releases

Sandia recognizes top female high school students in math, science in northern California

26th annual Sandia Math and Science Awards

Sandia National Laboratories researcher Marilyn F. Hawley, right, presents an award to a student from Manteca, California, while Sandia Business Development Manager Annie Garcia, center, announces the recipients of this year’s awards. (Photo by Dino Vournas) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

Mentorship emerged as theme for this year’s program

LIVERMORE, Calif. – Female scholars from the junior class from San Francisco Bay Area high schools recently gathered at Sandia’s California site for the 26th annual Sandia Math and Science Awards.

The Sandia Math and Science Awards program recognizes high-achieving young women for their accomplishments in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects and encourages their future studies by pairing them with Sandia National Laboratories mentors. Teachers from 19 northern California high schools in Livermore, Dublin, Pleasanton, Tracy, Lathrop, Manteca and Oakland nominated students they deemed outstanding in math and science.

In her keynote address, Heidi Ammerlahn, director of Homeland Security and Defense Systems, touched upon her academic and professional journey and the role Sandia plays in ensuring a peaceful world.

“At the beginning of my career, I knew I wanted to do something with math and computer science,” Ammerlahn said. “But I also wanted to be involved in public service and serving my country. Sandia has allowed me to do both.”

Ammerlahn also discussed a major theme that emerged in this year’s nominations —  mentorship.

“You all aren’t just incredibly hard-working. You also went out of your way to motivate your peers and help others,” she said. “It says so much about you as human beings and future leaders.”

Kelsey Tresemer, an engineer with Sandia’s Advanced and Exploratory Systems group, shared her journey from a freshman theater major to nuclear engineer. She impressed upon the awardees not to be afraid to explore and change their minds.

Sandia Business Development Manager Annie Garcia, who led the Math and Science Awards planning committee for the first time, said she was proud to be part of the program.

“I was drawn to the Math and Science Awards because of its impact on young women during a pivotal time of their lives,” Garcia said. “We all need a little encouragement from time to time, so it is a pleasure to be a part of something that recognizes the achievements of the next generation of STEM leaders.”

The winners of the 2017 Sandia Math and Science Awards include:

Outstanding Achievement in Mathematics

  • April Chen, Amador Valley High School
  • Jailene Lopez, Castlemont High School
  • Christine Haggin, Dublin High School
  • Stephanie Plumb, East Union High School
  • Elena Zhang, Foothill High School
  • Gabriella Bond, Granada High School
  • Danielle Gallo, Lathrop High School
  • Ivy Tang, Livermore High School
  • Genna Vieira, Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory
  • Kaitlynn Funsch, Manteca High School
  • Jade Ou, Merrill F. West High School
  • Islah Zareef-Mustafa, MetWest High School
  • Jaqueline Hurtado, Millennium High School
  • Tiffany Ngo, Oakland High School
  • Lesly Carrillo Cazares, Sierra High School
  • Ivy Tu, Skyline High School
  • Gabrielle Arrieta, Tracy High School

Outstanding Achievement in Science

  • Makenzie Melby, Amador Valley High School
  • Sruthi Mukkamala, Dublin High School
  • Rashim Hakim, East Union High School
  • Peggi Li, Foothill High School
  • Meenakshi Singhal, Granada High School
  • Sara Hawk, John C. Kimball High School
  • Marissa Briseno, Lathrop High School
  • Melia Miller, Livermore High School
  • Ariel Kenfack, Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory
  • Surayya Sakhi, Manteca High School
  • Chaztine-Xiana Embucado, Merrill F. West High School
  • Jasmin Galvan, Met West High School
  • Yvonne Ng, Millennium High School
  • Zayra Cornejo Ibette Rivera, Oakland Tech High School
  • Emily Cunial, Sierra High School
  • Helen Nguyen, Skyline High School
  • Kiana Soeung, Tracy High School

Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.

Sandia news media contact: Michael Padilla,, (925) 294-2447