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.
A Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering (India) and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Oklahoma, specializing in Engineering Project Management, Product Development, and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) with more than 17 years of industry experience. Arindam has been in the automotive industry for more than 9 years. Other areas of focus are complex analysis related to quality, risk assessments, and developing contingency plans for validating commodities and program development.
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.
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.
Indra Adrianto, PhD
Dr. Indra Adrianto is an Associate Scientist in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Henry Ford Health, Detroit, Michigan, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. He received his MS and PhD degrees in industrial engineering from the University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, in 2003 and 2008, respectively. He has over 15 years of research experience in machine learning and high-dimensional data analysis applied to biomedical research. He developed and implemented statistical and machine-learning techniques to elucidate the mechanisms of complex diseases, including hidradenitis suppurativa, colon cancer, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren’s syndrome, sarcoidosis, and multiple sclerosis. He has a track record of conducting fruitful and extensive research projects funded by the National Institute of Health to analyze large-scale, high-throughput genetic, genomic, and clinical data, as evidenced by his >60 peer-reviewed journal articles and 44 i10-index. He is also an Associate Editor for Computational Genomics of Frontiers in Genetics journal. He is honored to serve on the Engineering Advisory Board at Navajo Technical University (NTU) and share his expertise and experience with faculty members and students at NTU.
Robert K Whitman, Ph.D.
Bob is Diné (Navajo), originally from Church Rock New Mexico. He attended public schools in Church Rock and Gallup, New Mexico. Upon graduating high school, he enrolled at the University of New Mexico (UNM). At UNM he earned a BS in Electrical Engineering. He is the first in his family to earn a university degree. He joined the IBM Corporation in San Jose California. After working in California for a few years, he transferred to the IBM facility in Boulder Colorado. While working for IBM in Boulder, he earned a master’s degree (MSEE) from Colorado State University. In 1990, he left IBM to enter graduate school to pursue a doctorate in electrical engineering at the University of Colorado. In 1996, he earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, specializing in Digital Signal Processing. He is the first member of the Navajo Nation to earn a Ph.D. in an engineering discipline.
In 1996, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of New Mexico. With this appointment, Bob became the first Navajo to receive an assistant professorship of engineering in an R-1 university. He taught electrical and computer engineering courses at UNM, until his departure in June 1998.
He was appointed as an assistant professor at the University of Denver (DU) in August 1998. Bob taught electrical, computer and general engineering courses at DU until his retirement in June 2021. During his career at DU, he served as the associate chairman of the Department of ECE in 2007-2009, and director of ECE undergraduate programs. Additionally, he developed new courses which were incorporated into the DU engineering undergraduate curriculum.
In November 2014, Bob was elected Fellow of AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). He is a life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), IEEE Signal Processing Society, and the Acoustical Society of America. Bob is also a long-time member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). In 2010 he was awarded the Ely S. Parker Award from AISES. This award is the highest award given by AISES. Bob has served as science fair judge in the National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair (NAISEF) and International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). He is a Sequoyah member of AISES. Bob served on the AISES board of directors 1983-1986, and 2001-2005. He chaired the AISES Board from 1985 to 1987, and 2001 to 2005. Bob served as the president of the AISES Publishing Inc (2001 to 2005), which publishes the Winds of Change magazine.
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.