Engineering Advisory Board
Associate Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Montana
Director, Indigenous Research and STEM Education (IRSE)
Dr. Thomas works closely with Native undergraduate and graduate students while establishing relationships with the tribal colleges and reservation communities in Montana in working towards better Native STEM education and STEM research collaborations. His research involves the study of gas separations on the macroscale and biological separations (DNA) on the microscale for lab-on-a-chip work. He has been working more towards Native STEM education and providing pathways for Native students in STEM fields. Before transferring to the University of Montana in January 2013, Dr. Thomas was an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Idaho for 11 years. He also was the director of the Idaho Space Grant Consortium and NASA EPSCoR during his time there.
Arvin Trujillo is the Manager for Government Relations at the Four Corners Power Plant and has held this position since 2010. Four Corners, which is owned and managed by Arizona Public Service Co. (APS), is a 1,540 MW coal-fired electric generation station located in Fruitland, NM. The Government Relations team works closely with Federal, State (both New Mexico and Arizona), local and tribal governments and their associated agencies. The team is also focused on community outreach with both tribal and non-tribal communities, organizations and industry partners.
Mr. Trujillo’s career started as a coal lab technician for Utah International, Navajo Mine. Following further education at Penn State University, Mr. Trujillo started his career as a mining engineer for Mobil Coal Producing, Inc. in Gillette, WY and later for BHP Billiton in Farmington, NM. In 1999, Mr. Trujillo joined President Kelsey Begaye’s Administration of the Navajo Nation as the Executive Director for the Navajo Division of Natural Resources. Mr. Trujillo also held an interim position as the Chief of Staff for President Begaye. Following two more terms with the Joe Shirley, Jr. Administration as the head of the Division of Natural Resources, Mr. Trujillo then joined APS.
Mr. Trujillo was a graduate of Kirtland Central High School in Kirtland, NM, just west of Farmington, NM. Mr. Trujillo did his undergraduate studies in Bio-chemistry from the Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, and did his graduate studies at the Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA in Mineral Engineering (Mineral Processing and Mining Engineering).
Some of the awards and recognition Mr. Trujillo has received include: 1) Northwest NM Council of Government’s San Juan County Regional Champion, 2) AZ American Indian Excellence in Leadership Award, 3) APS Chairman’s Award, 4) Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT) Mary G. Ross Award, 5) USDA Cooperator of the Year for initiating the Ag Census on the Navajo Nation, and 6) Letters of Commendation from the US Bureau of Reclamation, NM Governor Bill Richardson, President Kelsey Begaye and President Joe Shirley, Jr. of the Navajo Nation and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.
Calvin C. Pohawpatchoko, Jr
Calvin C. Pohawpatchoko Jr., a member of the Numunu (Comanche) Tribe, Quahada (Antelope) clan. He has a BS in Computer Science and Information Systems and a MS in Object Oriented Technology with Honors. His master’s thesis: Cultural Preservation through Technology. He is currently finalizing his PhD in Technology, Media and Society with a concentration in Computer Science Education at University of Colorado, College of Engineering and Applied Science in the ATLAS Institute, that would benefit the Native American community and possible teach at a College/University or Tribal College/University.
He has 25+ years in the CS/IT industry. He worked his way up through the ranks from operations to management, to consulting. He has work for corporations such as Fox-Meyer (now a part of Bristol-Meyer), National Foundation Life Insurance, Hertz Corporation, Midland/Met Financial Group, Information Handling Services Denver (IHS) and Jeppesen-Boeing Denver. As a consultant, he has implemented systems for government agencies such as Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), Department of Agriculture (USDA) and several associated agencies within USDA. As a consultant with EDS, he supported and maintained systems for GM, Buick, Chevrolet, IBM, Fujitsu, Storage Tek and Roll Royce Aircraft Engines. He has led special teams in system development for many clients. He duties also consisted of training new recruits in the consulting field. Most of his IT experience has been in financial system maintenance and development, system conversions, team leadership and project management.
He has served as a member of the late Multi-Cultural Engineering Program Advisory Council at CU-Boulder and is a current member of CU-Boulder Bold Center board. He’s is a member of AISES and was Vice President of the late Colorado AISES Professional Chapter. He’s a member of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) and has presented on projects and his work in 2005 & 2010 at the National Convention. He has also presented at the 2011 Cosmic Serpent Conference on Museum Interface Development for providing voice for the Native Community through Technology. He was a NSF GK-12 Fellow at the Colorado School of Mines and at the University of Colorado. He has presented at NSF GK-12 Conference in DC, SACNAS and AISES on his STEM work. He works with Native American communities in the greater Denver area. He has also assisted with Startup Micro-businesses in Kazakhstan with his economic development interest. He also received the Chancellor’s award for excellence in STEM education. He has a number of publications on the subject of integrating culture in Computers Science, Indigenous Computational Thinking (unpublished), Developing an Indigenous Digital Voice and co-author on Teaching Computational Thinking through Scalable Game Design. He was also a contributor to NSF GK-12. He has also taught middle and high school Indigenous students to build a computer through the University of Alaska, Native Alliance, Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) in Colorado.
He has served with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE), the College in Colorado Campaign and the pre-collegiate consortium strategic advisory committee. He has been a special speaker for IBM’s Native American Technology Journey Family Group. And he has provided technology assistance for the disadvantage seeking jobs at non-profit organizations. He has worked at Colorado non-profit Math, Engineering, Science, Achievement (MESA) as their Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Project Coordinator and has helped pass legislation for after school programs.
He has a strong interest in economic development, urban education, technology and how it can be used in Tribal Development, Tribal Colleges, K-16 Education, Business, Leadership and Research for Native Americans. He seeks ways to reach out to the Native American community and getting students interested in Computer Science and STEM education. He also looks for technological initiatives that can be applied to Native Leadership in Economic Development, Education, Policy and Innovative approaches for integrating Indigenous culture in technology, science, culture and art.
Dr. Phil Pohl
Dr. Phil Pohl was born and raised in Albuquerque, and studied risk of many types at Sandia and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories for 28 years, leading projects in software development for food defense (CARVER), building security (RAMPART), and has also worked in Controlled Environment Agriculture for water conservation, efficient food and biofuel (algae) production, Health Physics and gas separating membranes.
Since 9/11 he traveled to and spoke in Libya, Tunisia, El Salvador, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Holland, Jordan, Italy and Mexico, mainly waging peace with food and water. He graduated from UNM and UTAustin with degrees in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and Molecular Physics. He is on the Advisory Board for Museum of the American Military Family and volunteers at Holy Child Catholic Church, both in Tijeras where he resides with his wife of 33 years, Brenda.
Dr. Stan Atcitty
Dr. Stan Atcitty is a member of the Navajo Tribe and he received his BS and MS degree in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University in 1993 and 1995, respectively. In 2006, he was the first American Indian male to receive a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Virginia Tech University. He is presently a Distinguish Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in the Energy Storage Technology and Systems department. He leads the power electronics subprogram as part of the DOE Energy Storage Program and has gained international recognition for its state-of-the-art research and development under his leadership.
Five of his projects have won the prestigious R&D 100 award from the Research & Development magazine. His interest in research is power electronics necessary for integrating energy storage and distributed generation with the electric utility grid. Stan has over 50 publications and holds four patents and another two pending. In 2007, he received the American Indian Science and Engineering Society Technical Excellence Award for his American Indian community involvement and technical achievement.
He was recently featured in a middle school level children’s book titled “Energy Basics – Energized!” published by Sally Ride Science book in 2012. In 2013, he coauthored a book titled Power Electronics for Renewable and Distributed Energy Systems. In addition, President Barack Obama presented Stan with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers on July 31, 2012. This is the highest honor bestowed by the US government for outstanding scientist and engineers who show exceptional leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge during the twenty-first century.
Shayna Begay is a member of the Navajo tribe and grew up in Cortez, CO. Shayna is a recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship and attended the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) where she earned both a Bachelor’s (Magna Cum Laude, 2010) and Master’s (2011) degrees in Aerospace Engineering. During her time at FIT, Shayna served as a university tutor, developed a Nanotechnology Outreach Program for secondary students and spent a summer abroad at Oxford University. As a graduate student, Shayna interned at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, where she worked on the Mars Rover Curiosity Program. After the internship and graduating with her Master’s degree, Shayna accepted a full-time position with Sandia, where she has been working since 2012. Currently, Shayna is a Project Team Lead and Senior Mechanical Engineer in the Nuclear Weapon Systems Group, where she is responsible for leading a multi-disciplinary team of Engineers and Scientists and she oversees the design, testing, and production of over 50 components in a multi-billion-dollar program.
As a volunteer, Shayna is very passionate about encouraging young students to pursue STEM careers. She has taught several courses in Chemistry, Nanotechnology, Photovoltaics, and Rocketry through Sandia’s different community outreach programs. Additionally Shayna has been an active volunteer for AISES by serving as a science fair judge, national conference undergrad research poster judge, a scholarship reader, and has presented sessions on leadership development. She serves as a motivational speaker and STEM field advocate and has appeared as a guest speaker for several programs and schools including, the American Indian Graduate Center and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Education Forum.
Mr. Steve Grey is originally from Kayenta, Navajo Nation, Arizona. He currently serves as Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) Governmental and External Affairs Director. Mr. Grey served as NTEC Board of Director for three years prior to transferring.
For 27 years Mr. Grey was employed with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) a National Laboratory of the Department of Energy. While at LLNL he worked in the Directors Office within the Science and Technology Directorate. Mr. Grey also served on the Secretary of Energy staff for three years as Department of Energy (DOE) Director for Indian Affairs in Washington, DC.
Mr. Grey received his Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Arizona University College of Engineering. He also obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
Taku is honored to serve on the Engineering Advisory Board at Navajo Technical University (NTU). He has held the current position since 2015. He enjoys working closely with engineering professors and the other board members to craft a vision and a direction for NTU's School of Engineering that lead to its sustainable growth.
Outside of serving on the board, he is an entrepreneur that is passionate about solving energy and environmental challenges. Under his companies, he has had the opportunity to hire and work with NTU engineering students. Taku holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Petroleum Engineering and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, from Stanford, where he focused on modeling underground coal fires and subsurface methane flow in coal seams.
Outside of work, he enjoys meeting people, running ultramarathons, playing hockey with his wife and friends, skiing, reading, and coaching youth hockey.