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Sandia recognizes top girl scholars with math/science awards

Uploaded: May 20, 2017
Top girl scholars from the junior classes in Bay Area high schools, including four from Pleasanton, have received merit awards in math and science from Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore.

Among those honored by Sandia for high achievement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs were April Chen, a junior at Amador Valley High School, and fellow junior Elena Zhang, from Foothill High School for their accomplishments in math.

Earning science awards were juniors Makenzie Melby, of Amador, and Peggi Li, of Foothill High.

The award winners recently gathered at Sandia’s Livermore campus for the 26th annual Sandia Math and Science Awards presentations.

In her remarks to the students, 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,” she said. “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.”

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

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.”

In addition to the four girls from Amador Valley and Foothill high school merit award recipients, other high school juniors honored for outstanding achievement in mathematics:

Jailene Lopez, Castlemont High School; Christine Haggin, Dublin High School; Stephanie Plumb, East Union High School; Gabriella Bond, Granada High School; Danielle Gallo, Lathrop High School, and Ivy Tang, Livermore High School.

Preparatory school girls who were recognized for mathematic achievements were;
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, and Gabrielle Arrieta, Tracy High School.

High school juniors honored for outstanding achievement in science were:
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, and Ariel Kenfack, Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory.

Also, 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, and Kiana Soeung, Tracy High School.

Sandia 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’s Livermore laboratories have major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness. Its main facilities are in Albuquerque.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Photos above, by Dino Vournas, are (from top to bottom) April Chen, Amador Valley High; Makenzie Melby, of Amador, with her parents, and Peggi Li, Foothill High..
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