Sandia presented its annual Math and Science Awards to 31 girls from San Francisco Bay Area high schools, celebrating their academic accomplishments and potential.

Sandia vice president Marianne Walck, center, celebrates with Dublin High School student Alessia Stewart, one of 31 high school girls honored by Sandia for academic achievement in math and science. (Photo by Dino Vournas)

Sandia vice president Marianne Walck, center, celebrates with Dublin High School student Alessia Stewart, one of 31 high school girls honored by Sandia for academic achievement in math and science. (Photo by Dino Vournas)

“I want to congratulate each of you for your academic excellence and encourage you to continue your passion for math and science,” Marianne Walck, vice president of Sandia’s California site, told the students during the May 20 ceremony. “It’s frustrating that women are still underrepresented in many technical fields. At this event you will meet Sandia women working in math and science whom I hope will serve as inspiration and encouragement for what is possible for your future.”

Now in its 24th year, the Math and Science Awards program is designed to encourage high-achieving young women to continue studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects and create mentoring opportunities. Teachers from 17 California high schools in Livermore, Dublin, Pleasanton, Tracy, Lathrop, Manteca, Stockton, and Oakland nominated students they deemed outstanding in math and science.

Suhasiny Naik, a student at Foothill High School in Pleasanton collects her award for academic achievement in math at Sandia’s 24th annual Math and Science Awards. (Photo by Dino Vournas)

Suhasiny Naik, a student at Foothill High School in Pleasanton collects her award for academic achievement in math at Sandia’s 24th annual Math and Science Awards. (Photo by Dino Vournas)

The winners also were recognized by state and federal officials. State Assemblywoman Catharine Baker of San Ramon, California, presented certificates to winners from her district, as did representatives from the offices of Representatives Barbara Lee, Jeff Denham, and Eric Swalwell.

Those honored and their families learned about different careers in math and science by mingling with Sandia researchers. As part of the ceremony, Sandia mechanical engineer Myra Blaylock and technical editor and writer Emmeline Chen shared their personal stories.

Each winner was paired with a Sandia mentor, a woman working in a STEM field. “Our goal is that these introductions are the start of a long relationship,” said Cathy Branda, a manager in Sandia’s biological sciences program and chair of the Math and Science Awards.

Read the Sandia news release.