Newswise – ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Dissecting doorbells, exploring music, mastering retail software, a love of art and old-fashioned hard work were the first paths that led five Sandia National Laboratories engineers to their callings and, most recently, the national one earned the “Black Engineer of the Year” award.

Awards recognizing excellence in engineering, science and technology include Science Spectrum Trailblazer, Modern Day Technology Leader, Most Promising Engineer in Industry and the Senior Investigator Award.

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

Pioneer in the scientific spectrum

Michelle Collins She was in seventh grade and building a doorbell when she decided she wanted 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 overall architecture of the system her group was developing. Today she is a product realization team leader in one of Sandia’s systems development groups. During her time in the labs, Collins and her teams won the NNSA Defense Program Awards of Excellence 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 paving a similar path for future generations. She takes an active role as a mentor and helps with recruitment at universities and colleges.

A long time music lover, Anthony Sanders While learning to record and produce music, he became interested in technology. While making digital recordings, he learned concepts such as dynamic range, clipping and quantization.

Sanders has been with Sandia for 16 years and is primarily involved in testing and integrating hardware for space and ground systems in various roles from test engineer to manager of the Advanced Space Systems division. He developed a predictive statistical performance model that is used today to support ground-based and orbital analysis and to troubleshoot anomalous behavior.

Today, Sanders works as Sandia’s campus partnership manager for the Labs’ university diversity partnerships, using his engineering background to develop and foster important relationships between Sandia and historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions. Sanders also provides educational support to disenfranchised and underrepresented youth in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Modern technology leader

Sean Harris was working at a Best Buy in high school when he became interested in information technology. There he learned about an Oracle-based point-of-sale and backend system.

A few years later, Harris worked as a summer intern on the Oracle Middleware team at Sandia. He has now been with Sandia for nearly 20 years, working in various roles in enterprise technology systems and cybersecurity, 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 professional cybersecurity understanding and skills across the intelligence community.

Harris currently serves as deputy director of the Field Intelligence Element and is senior manager of Sandia’s High Security Operations Cyber ​​and IT organization. His work was critical in supporting the cybersecurity mission of the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.

Outside of his technical work, Harris is committed to creating opportunities for women and minorities in cybersecurity and supports several national lab diversity recruiting efforts.

Most promising engineer in the industry

Nicole Jackson’s mother was a strong supporter of the arts and encouraged her to participate in a variety of media, from painting to dance to cello lessons. Jackson credits that early encounter with helping her see connections and find new solutions—problem solutions that were critical to her work at Sandia.

Jackson’s work as a senior member of the technical staff focuses on developing opportunities to help communities adapt to a changing climate while sustainably developing and managing their natural resources. Her research examines what natural hazards have occurred in the past, what is predicted for the future, how these have affected infrastructure, and how we can improve decision-making based on these insights.

In her nearly five years at Sandia, Jackson has built an outstanding professional reputation in both the laboratory and industry. In 2023, she was nominated by the US Global Change Research Program to the Integrated Hydro-Terrestrial 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 human and natural global environment and their impacts on society.

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

Lead Investigator

Rigo Tibi joined Sandia in 2016, bringing an impressive academic and industry background to his research on seismic event discrimination and local and regional distances, advanced seismic data processing for automatic event bulletin generation, seismic waveform denoising, and machine learning applications with seismology.

As a principal member of Sandia’s technical staff, Tibi researches and develops techniques to improve monitoring of underground nuclear explosions. His research spans several levels of technical maturity and ranges from basic research to operational products.

During Tibi’s seven years at Sandia, he has authored an impressive eleven peer-reviewed publications and two technical reports. He is highly respected and recognized in the international and national contract monitoring and seismology community.

In addition to its technical achievements, Tibi is committed to helping minority communities encourage students to pursue careers in national laboratories.

BEYA is a program of the national Career Communications Group, which advocates for corporate diversity, and is part of its STEM Achievement Program. The awards annually recognize the country’s best and brightest engineers, scientists and technology experts.

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