Two Sandians win the 2024 Women in Technology Award

  • Two Sandia National Laboratories employees have received the 2024 New Mexico Technology Award from the New Mexico Technology Council.
  • The New Mexico Technology Council highlighted Mary Monson’s 25 years of management experience and her work in bringing lab technologies to market.
  • Mara Schindelholz has spent her entire career trying to prove the importance of women in tech.

In the high-tech, fast-paced, high-pressure world of IT, women have become a force not to be underestimated, and this force has changed almost the entire IT world. Now, some women are emerging, deeply integrated into the innovation and change of the digital age. Their good qualities fit the development temperament of the digital age and play a pivotal role in the IT world.
—-Fei Wang, BTW Reporter

Who is Mary Monson?

The story begins with Sandia‘s ambition to get involved in projects beyond the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department of Energy, so they recruited a group of professionals with marketing skills, including Mary Monson. However, Mary Monson’s role shifted when the National Laboratory received the passage of technology transfer legislation. Now, 25 years after that historic moment, Mary Monson’s leadership has helped expand Sandia’s reach and successfully bring technology from the lab to the market. Her team agrees that it is her work that has allowed Sandia to grow into what it is today.

“I thank the New Mexico Technology Council for recognizing the importance of leadership in deploying and commercializing technology. It is an honor to be part of such an impressive group of female leaders.”

Mary Monson, Sr. Manager, Technology Partnerships and Business Development at Sandia National Laboratories

Under Mary Monson’s leadership, the world has seen Sandia flourish. From an initial team of a dozen business development practitioners, it has grown into an entity with more than 130 employees in six departments, working in a variety of areas including business development, economic development, business intelligence, licensing and collaboration agreements.

Photo by DeAnna Vincent

“I’ve never met anyone with as much passion and drive as she has,” Joel Sikora a manager in intellectual property management and business development at Sandia National Laboratories, “She constantly challenges herself and others to make a bigger impact.”

Those who have worked with Mary Monson, including David Kistin, Sandia’s technology and economic development manager, have nothing but praise for her.”Mary was a pioneering force, not only in navigating the complex field of federal technology transfer, but in blazing a trail for others,” Kistin said.

Also read: 5 women that are changing the AI industry

Who is Mara Schindelholz?

“I love seeing new technologies created for the betterment of society, whether to enhance national security, increase economic competitiveness or address environmental challenges.”

Mara Schindelholz, principal research and development staff member at Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia’s Chief Research and Development Officer, Mara Schindelholz, is among this year’s awardees. With 15 years of experience in innovating and commercialising new technologies, Schindelholz currently serves as the Programme Director of the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Programme at the National Science Foundation. The project is part of the Technology, Innovation and Collaboration Council under the Chips and Science Act (2022).

Initially, Schindelholz joined Sandia for her experience in developing corrosion sensors and material aging models for the Ministry of Defence. Since joining Sandia, she has been involved in the surveillance of nuclear weapons and has led the development of new technologies such as sensors and digital technologies that are essential throughout the lifecycle of nuclear weapons. She has also been actively engaged in the Department of Energy’s Energy I-Corps programme and the National Laboratory Accelerator Competition, facilitating the commercialisation of some technologies.

Schindelholz has dedicated her career to advocating for the importance of women in technology. With a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering, she became aware of the disparities for women in technology early in her career. When it comes to Sandia’s efforts to address this issue, Schindelholz is encouraged. These efforts include a project led by fellow awardee Mary Monson.

Also read: Microsoft to train Philippine women in AI, cybersecurity

As part of her work at the National Science Foundation, Schindelholz is aware that less than 3 percent of venture capital funding in the United States goes to female entrepreneurs, so she is actively working to recruit more of them.

 Sandia’s tasks

Since 1949, excellence in service to the national interest has been Sandia’s core purpose.

As a multidisciplinary national laboratory and federally funded Research and development Center (FFRDC), Sandia accomplishes its mission, which is integral to the mission and operations of our grantmaking agency, in the following ways:

  • Anticipate and address emerging national security challenges
  • Innovate and discover new technologies to enhance national technological advantages
  • Create value through products and services that address important national security challenges  
  • Inform the national debate that technology policy is critical to maintaining security and freedom around the world.

Fei Wang

Fei Wang, a reporter at BTW media dedicated in Internet Governance and IT infrastructure. She is studying bilingual broadcasting and hosting at Communication University of Zhejiang. Send tips to

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