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.