Sandia LabNews

Anthony Medina and Angel Urbina named winners of prestigious awards for Hispanic engineers

HENAAC is a nonprofit organization promoting careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Anthony Medina

Anthony began his career in 1983 as a member of the technical staff in the Firing Sets Department, where he was codeveloper of a novel electronic safing, arming, and firing technology adopted by DoD for conventional weapons. He spent 17 years in Sandia’s Monitoring Systems & Technology Center 5700 as a manager, senior manager, and director. Anthony was instrumental in the research, development, production, and launch of more than 50 satellite sensor payloads and one Sandia-produced satellite.

Currently Anthony is the director of Energetic Component Realization Center 2500, where he manages the research, development, design, and production of critical nuclear weapon components. The center also leads metrology science for the entire nuclear weapons complex.

“It is a great honor to receive this recognition from HENAAC,” Anthony says. “I owe much of my success to Sandia for giving me the opportunity to work on interesting, important, and rewarding programs throughout my career.”       

Anthony grew up in Taos, N.M., but spent much of his time working on his family’s cattle  ranch in Black Lake, six miles south of Angel Fire. Ranch life meant hard physical work and long days.

 Anthony’s parents, Felipe and Anita, stressed the importance of education first. Each of them was the first child in their respective families to receive a college education. Anthony and his five siblings all earned college degrees.

Anthony received his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University, and his Master of Science in electrical engineering from Stanford University through Sandia’s One Year on Campus program.

Angel Urbina 

Angel has spent 12 years at Sandia developing methods for modeling physical phenomena using various modeling approaches, such as artificial neural networks and nonphenomenological models. He has developed and implemented methodology for uncertainty quantification and model validation of complex systems.

”I am honored to be recognized by this prestigious HENAAC award,” Angel says. “It is truly a team award and is shared by all who have been my inspiration and support.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Angel was raised by his mother, Rosa, his grandmother Ana, and grandfather Angel. Angel describes his family as having very humble beginnings but a hard-working nature. Angel’s grandfather assumed the role of a father figure for him. “My ‘father’ always spoke calmly, never raised his voice, but always commanded respect,” says Angel. “He taught me by example.”

Ana is the pillar of strength and the driving force behind Angel’s education. Raised in a family of 11 and living in poverty, Ana’s strong personality was necessary for survival as she strived for a better life. She believed that education and perseverance were the only ways to reach greatness.

With the help of Sandia, Angel recently received his doctorate. His 85-year-old grandmother was present to witness his PhD ceremony. “Her belief in the power of education to change lives and her trips to my high school teachers so long ago paid off,” Angel says.

Both honorees are involved in helping students. Anthony works with the NMSU Alliance for Minority Participation to help recruit minority students into pursuing a technical education. Anthony has also hosted a Hispanic Roundtable Forum for new hires and serves as Sandia’s campus executive to NMSU.

Angel is involved in teaching schoolchildren the joys of math and science through his participation in the New Mexico MESA Program (Math, Engineering and Science Achievement) and Sandia’s MANOS program. This year Angel added a new module to the program, earthquake engineering. He hopes it becomes a standing module for the next 10 years.