Sandra K. Begay

Board of Regents Member
University of New Mexico-Main Campus


Sandra Begay, the daughter of a Navajo tribal leader and a public health nurse, is a member of the Navajo Nation and she has been an engineer for 32 years.

Sandra has worked at Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) for 29 years, where she is a research and development engineer. Before Sandia, Sandra worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Sandra serves on the University of New Mexico Board of Regents as the Board’s Secretary / Treasurer.

Sandra earned an Associates of Science degree in Pre-Engineering, a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico (UNM) and a Master of Science from Stanford University in Structural Engineering with an emphasis in Earthquake Engineering.

Sandra has enjoyed 18 years of unique work focused on providing technical assistance to U.S. tribes. Sandra is featured in the American Society of Civil Engineers book “Changing Our World: True Stories of Women Engineers”, where she is included in the chapter "Women in Power," describing her research in providing electricity through solar panels to hundreds of Navajo members.

Sandra is proud to have mentored 42 technical American Indian and Alaska Native college students, which included 24 women interns (60% of the total were women) and the former interns have become highly regarded technical staff members and leaders within tribal organizations, industry, academia, and non-profit groups.

Conference Topic:

Diversity and Community Building: The Importance of Diversity at UNM


Based on my experience as a Native woman researcher and serving as a UNM Regent, I will emphasis the importance of diversity and the necessity to build partnerships with communities. I have built an internship program at Sandia National Laboratories which provides hands on experience for technical American Indian students. I have served on the Board of Regents from 2000 - 2006 and I was re-appointed in 2019. I will describe my goals and actions to keep UNM diverse in reflecting New Mexico and with its collaborative ideas.