The Sandia Women’s Connection Math and Science Awards honored 26 female high-schoolers, including a handful from the Tri-Valley, for their accomplishments in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“Women often bring a different and important perspective to their work, and we all benefit from that,” State Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) said during the online award ceremony. “We will continue to need your bright minds to join the ranks (of STEM fields) and help solve some of society’s hardest challenges.”
The host of the award ceremony, Sandia Women’s Connections, holds the annual awards program to help introduce female students to careers and STEM opportunities through the Sandia internship program.
“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.
"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," Hoover added.
Award recipients in the Outstanding Achievement in Mathematics included Ekaterina Osipova (Amador Valley), Lilly Jiang (Dublin), Andrea Cheng (Foothill), Tida Ngov (Granada), Kiara Kelly-Montoya (Castlemont), Cristina Pineda Carranza, (Lathrop), Paige Felkins (Lincoln), Nevaeh Thompson (Merrill F. West), Emma Brown (Millenium Charter), Jaquelen Gómez, (Oakland), Christy Ko (Oakland Technical), Samantha Ivey (Skyline) and Natasha Rodriguez-Zanuto (Tracy).
For Outstanding Achievement in Science, the recipients were Jocelyn Zhu (Amador Valley), Audrey Kwan (Dublin), Pooja Mehta (Foothill), Emily Macias (Granada), Manvitha Nandamuri (Livermore), Tricia Mae Albano (Lathrop), Isabella Costigliolo (Lincoln), Shannon Le (Manteca), Zeenat Entezar (Millennium Charter), Sahityasree Subramanian (Mountain House), Mia Pollard (Oakland), Samantha Ivey (Skyline) and Mysha Mamsa (Tracy).
Award winners are paired with female scientists, engineers and mathematicians at Sandia who fulfill a mentorship. Following the award ceremony, recipients had the opportunity to connect one-on-one with their female mentors to discuss academic plans and careers in STEM.
Due to COVID-19, the award ceremony was held online rather than a physical event. Despite this change, the ceremony included prerecorded remarks from elected officials, including one from U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Livermore).
“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,” Swalwell 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.”