Tech News

Five Sandia Labs Scientists Win 2024 Black Engineer of the Year Award


Dissecting doorbells, exploring music, mastering retail software, a love of the arts and old-fashioned hard work were the first paths that led five Sandia National Laboratories engineers to their calling and recently earned national Black Engineer of the Year awards. .

The awards, recognizing outstanding achievements in engineering, science and technology, include Science Spectrum Trailblazer, Modern Day Technology Leader, Most Promising Engineer in Industry and Senior Investigator Award.

Each Sandia Award winner has made significant contributions to creative, innovative, science-based systems engineering solutions to help solve our nation’s most challenging national security problems.

Pioneer of the scientific spectrum

Michelle Collins was in seventh grade building a doorbell when she decided to become an engineer. And that’s exactly what she did.

When Collins started at Sandia seven years ago, she was one of two electrical engineers who helped define the complete architecture of the system her group was developing. Today, she is a product delivery team leader in one of Sandia’s systems engineering groups. During his time at the Labs, Collins and his teams earned NNSA Defense Program Excellence Awards and two Employee Recognition Awards.

Much of Collins’ education came through opportunities and programs that helped young women and minorities develop their potential as future scientists and engineers, and Collins is committed to contributing to pave a similar path for future generations. She plays an active role as a mentor and helps with recruitment to universities and colleges.

Long-time music lover, Antoine Sanders was drawn to engineering while learning how to record and produce music. He learned concepts like dynamic range, clipping, and quantization while creating digital recordings.

Sanders has been with Sandia for 16 years, working primarily in testing and integration of space and ground systems hardware in various roles, from test engineer to manager of the Advanced Space Systems department. He developed a predictive statistical performance model that is used today to support ground and on-orbit analyzes and to resolve anomalous behavior.

Today, Sanders works as Sandia’s Academic Partnerships Manager for the Labs’ Academic Diversity Partnerships, using his technical experience to help develop and foster key relationships between Sandia and Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other institutions serving minorities. Sanders also provides educational support to disenfranchised and underrepresented youth in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Leader in modern technology

Sean Harris was working at Best Buy in high school when his interest in information technology was sparked. It was there that he discovered an Oracle-based point-of-sale and back-end system.

A few years later, Harris was working with the Oracle Middleware team at Sandia as a summer intern. He has now been with Sandia for nearly 20 years, working in various capacities in enterprise technology systems and cybersecurity efforts supporting the intelligence community.

From 2016 to 2020, Harris served on the board of directors of the Community Association for Information Systems Security Working Groups, which helps advance the professional understanding and capabilities of cybersecurity within the intelligence community.

Harris currently serves as deputy director of the Field Intelligence Element and senior director of Sandia’s high-security operations cyber and IT organization. His work has been instrumental in leading efforts to support the cybersecurity mission of the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.

Outside of her technical work, Harris is committed to helping create opportunities for women and minorities in the cybersecurity field and supports several nationally diverse recruiting efforts for labs.

Most Promising Engineer in the Industry

Nicole Jackson’s mother was an avid supporter of the arts and encouraged her to participate in various media, from painting to dancing to cello lessons. Jackson credits this early exposure with helping her connect the dots and find new solutions – problem solving that has been essential to her work at Sandia.

Jackson’s job as a senior technical staff member is to find ways to help communities adapt to climate change while sustainably developing and managing their natural resources. His research focuses on natural hazards that have occurred in the past, what is projected in the future, their impact on infrastructure, and how we can improve decision-making around these outcomes.

During her nearly five years at Sandia, Jackson has built an exceptional professional reputation both within the laboratory and industry. In 2023, she was appointed by the U.S. Global Change Research Program to the Integrated Hydro-Earth Modeling Coordinating Group for federal and non-federal scientists, managers, and their partners. This federal program coordinates research and investments to better understand the forces that shape the global environment, both human and natural, and their impacts on society.

Jackson is dedicated to making the field of civil engineering more diverse and inclusive by mentoring STEM students at all levels, from high school to undergraduate and graduate interns working at Sandia.

Principal Investigator

Rigo Tibi joined Sandia in 2016, bringing with him impressive experience in academia and industry for his research on seismic event discrimination and local and regional distances, advanced processing of seismic data for automatic generation of bulletins events, seismic waveform denoising, and machine learning applications in seismology.

As a core member of Sandia’s technical team, Tibi researches and develops techniques to improve monitoring of underground nuclear explosions. Its research covers several levels of technical preparation, ranging from fundamental research to that which can be used in exploitation.

During Tibi’s seven years at Sandia, he authored an impressive 11 peer-reviewed publications and two technical reports. He is highly regarded and recognized within the international and national treaty monitoring and seismology communities.

In addition to his technical accomplishments, Tibi is a champion of minority communities who encourages students to pursue careers in national laboratories.

BEYA is a program of the national Career Communications Group, an advocate for corporate diversity, and is part of its STEM Achievement Program. These awards recognize the nation’s best and brightest engineers, scientists and technology experts each year.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button