CSU grad earns top Hispanic science and engineering honors

Posted: October 17th, 2016


The technical achievements of a Colorado State University alumna and Sandia National Laboratories innovator were recognized with a 2016 Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) Award. The award was from Great Minds in STEM, an organization supporting careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Chemist Bernadette “Bernie” Hernandez-Sanchez, (Ph.D. ’04), won for outstanding technical achievement and is the first woman at Sandia to receive this award. She grew up in an impoverished area of Albuquerque, attended an underserved public high school, started at Sandia as a high school intern, and was the first in her family to go to college.

Hernandez-Sanchez and a Sandia colleague were recognized at the 28th Annual HENAAC Conference in Anaheim, California, during National Hispanic Heritage Month.

HENAAC honors Hispanic researchers who have made significant contributions to the nation’s technical community. Awardees are peer-reviewed and come from a wide range of private industry, academia, military, and government organizations.

Advanced materials

“The first time I ever met a scientist was when I started my internship at Sandia,” said Hernandez-Sanchez, who is from Albuquerque’s south valley, where few people she knew went to college.

Today, she’s an accomplished chemist. Hernandez-Sanchez’s technical achievements focus on the morphology, structure, and properties of nanomaterials for real-world applications that range from renewable energy to homeland security.

As the principal investigator for Sandia’s Marine Hydrokinetic Advanced Materials program, she has made important contributions to studies of corrosion and other materials challenges for underwater devices that aim to harness clean energy for electricity. In one project, she is developing nano-engineered copper-silver coatings to keep microorganisms from growing on underwater equipment. She said the coatings come from techniques she has spent more than 10 years developing in Sandia’s Advanced Materials Laboratory (AML).

Through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program, Hernandez-Sanchez is helping a Santa Fe company, bioLime, improve the chemistry of stucco, a staple material in Southwestern homes that is prone to cracking as it ages.

In addition, she has contributed to Sandia’s NanoCRISPR genetics project, Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program, and to improving the chemistry of lithium-ion batteries and ferroelectric perovskite materials.

Read the full article at SOURCE.