The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) announced that Sandra Begay, the UNM Rainforest Innovations Board Chair, has been awarded the 2020 Indigenous Excellence Award. Sandra Begay is the Sandia National Laboratories R&D Researcher – Principal Member of the Technical Staff, Board Chair of UNM Rainforest Innovations, and a Regent of the UNM Board of Regents.
The annual AISES Professional Awards Program recognizes the significant contributions of Indigenous innovators and professionals in six different categories. The Indigenous Excellence Award is a high achievement, only awarded to those who have done substantial and impactful work to advance programs and opportunities for Indigenous students and professionals in STEM education and careers.
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. Recognized by WEPAN (Women in Engineering Programs & Advocates Network), she has served on its national Board of Directors. In 2003, Ms. Begay was awarded the Women of Color Emerald Honor for Community Service during the Third Annual Women of Color Research Sciences and Technologies Awards Conference. In 2000, Ms. Begay was the recipient of the Stanford University 2000 Multicultural Alumni of the Year Award. She has also been selected as a recipient of the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Women from the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women.
Ms. Begay recently received 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.