Georgia Sandoval has risen above the odds to become an engineer at Intel. The stats for the field of technology is that only 1 in 13,000 engineers are a Native American or Alaska Native woman.

Sandoval, Dine’, was raised in Tuba City, Arizona, in the Navajo Nation. Sandoval says she was a young single mother attending community college determined to be a positive role model for her daughter.

“My parents encouraged me to love mathematics at a young age and find a way to succeed as a Native American woman,” says Sandoval. “After high school, I attended the local tribal college, then another community college before finding my way back to mathematics. I had my daughter at a young age and eventually became a single mother. Becoming my daughter's role model pushed me to finish my bachelor's degree in computational mathematical sciences and seek out a career in STEM.”

Sandoval then pursued her career in engineering and completed internships with such companies as Raytheon and Boeing. 

But despite her skill in the field, Sandoval says she faced discrimination, often being told she was just a “diversity hire.”

Sandoval says this motivated her to find a workplace where she could be accepted and appreciated for her engineering skills, which she says she has since found at Intel. Sandoval is now also involved with the Intel Native American Network, Intel’s employee resource group, and AISES.

“Currently, my role at Intel is HPC (High-Performance Computing) Performance Architect working on future exascale supercomputers. These are supercomputers capable of performing 10^18 floating-point operations per second, which is the computing power necessary to solve modern-day problems such as extreme climate modeling, brain mapping, and physics simulations.”

“My masani told me that the way to succeed in this new world of technology is to use your brain, study, and always walk on dirt to remember where you came from. I believe that being #NativeIn2019 means finding that balance between culture and modern society, without sacrificing your core identity.”

About Native American Heritage Month

President George H.W. Bush signed a joint resolution in 1990 designating November as Native American Heritage Month. Each year the president has proclaimed the day after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day.

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Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling and Instagram - @VinceSchilling

Email - vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com