UNM Rainforest Innovations

Chair, UNMRI Board of Directors
Researcher, Sandia National Laboratories


BS – Civil Engineering, UNM
MS – Structural Engineering, Stanford University

Business/Research Background

Ms. Begay has worked for Sandia National Laboratory as a Researcher beginning in 1992 and she is Sandia’s subject matter expert (SME) on American Indian and Alaska Native tribes working towards renewable energy development.  In 2019, Ms. Begay took a special leave of absence from Sandia to serve as Mayor Keller’s former Director of the Environmental Health Department for the City of Albuquerque.  Prior to this, she worked at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories and at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Particular Knowledge and Skills

Ms. Begay is a former Executive Director of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), former chair of the AISES Board of Directors, and the recipient of the AISES Lifetime Achievement Award.  The mission of AISES is to substantially increase the representation of American Indians and Alaskan Natives in STEM studies and careers.  Ms. Begay received the 2020 Indigenous Excellence Award from AISES for her substantial and impactful work to advance programs and opportunities for Indigenous students and professionals in STEM education and careers.

Ms. Begay was the recipient of the Stanford University 2000 Multicultural Alumni of the Year Award.  Other honors and awards include the Alumni Circle Award from the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) for her lifetime contributions to the advancement of Native American students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers; and the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Women from the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women.  She has served two terms as a UNM Board of Regent.  Ms. Begay serves as an advisory to the New Mexico Tribal Entrepreneurship Program, administered by UNMRI.

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