News

Carol Adkins named UNM Distinguished Alumna

By Rebecca Brock

Photography By Randy Montoya

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Carol Adkins, director of Sandia’s Energy Technologies and System Solutions Center 6100, has been named a distinguished engineering alumna of the University of New Mexico’s School of Engineering. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Carol Adkins, director of Sandia’s Energy Technologies and System Solutions Center 6100, has been named a distinguished engineering alumna of the University of New Mexico’s School of Engineering.

She was honored as one of seven distinguished alumni this year who have made a significant impact on UNM’s School of Engineering. The award is the school’s highest recognition bestowed on individuals for outstanding lifetime achievement. Carol and the other honorees were presented their awards at a ceremony Oct. 15 in Albuquerque.

Joseph Cecchi, dean of the UNM School of Engineering, says, “Carol has made extensive technical contributions in her career, for example, her work on supercritical carbon dioxide cleaning of wafers, for which she received a Department of Energy commercialization award. She has led many organizations and programs at Sandia, including the Materials Science and Engineering Center and the Materials Science Foundation. She has also been a leader outside of Sandia by serving on various National Academy boards and review panels.  Her service to UNM as deputy campus executive and her dedication as chair of the advisory board to the department of chemical and biological engineering is also exemplary.”

As deputy campus executive, Carol helped author the Sandia-UNM Strategic Alliance Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by both institutions in July.

“The Sandia-UNM Strategic Alliance agreement would not have happened without her thoughtful and energetic stewardship,” Cecchi says.

Carol orchestrated the first joint recruitment and hire of a nationally recognized scientist and inventor, Fernando Garzon, to both Sandia and UNM.

 “I care a lot about UNM,” Carol says. “It is the university in our community. For that reason, I think it is important to give back to it. It is to all of our benefit to make sure that we have a strong, vibrant university.”

Carol grew up in Albuquerque and graduated from UNM’s chemical and biological engineering department. She received her BS in chemical engineering from UNM and earned her doctorate in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. 

It runs in the family

A love of engineering runs in the family. Carol’s father, Orval Jones, is a mechanical engineer and a former EVP at Sandia. She says that she knew early on that she wanted to be an engineer because he served as a role model. Her husband, Douglas Adkins, is a mechanical engineer and a former Sandian, her daughter Emily is a chemical engineer, and her son Jeremy studies mechanical engineering at UNM. Her niece, Sarah Blair, who also studies chemical engineering at UNM, nominated her for the award.

The UNM Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes both professional accomplishments and outstanding community service. In her leadership role at Sandia, Carol is dedicated to supporting women in their careers by volunteering as a mentor for SWAN, Sandia’s Women’s Action Network.

The awards were last presented in 2007. Other Sandia recipients have included retired VP Heinz Schmitt and researcher Sandra Begay Campbell.