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NMSU program manager and alumna named among New Mexico Women of STEM

Rebecca Galves and Patty Lopez are among 17 women across the state honored this month for their contributions in motivating young women to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.


A group of women standing side by side
New Mexico Women of STEM pictured left to right: Diana E. Northup, Cristina Montoya, Mia Kalish, Nina Lanza, Phyllis Baca, Rebecca Galves, Turtle Haste, Teri Roberts, Mary Jemin, Jill Wick, Norie Liebrock, Jeri Timlin, Janeen Anderson and Healther Yazzie-Kinlacheeny. (Not pictured: Jill Hruby, Patty Lopez and Diane Oyen) (Courtesy Photo)
Woman and girl at computer screen
Rebecca Galves, Young Women in Computing program manager, teaches a middle school girl Scratch Animation, as she plans what video game she wants to design at a YWiC summer camp at NMSU. She is one of 17 women chosen to be in the New Mexico Women of STEM calendar. (Courtesy photo)
Head and shoulders of woman
Patty Lopez, an NMSU distinguished alumna is was among the 17 women named as New Mexico Women of STEM. (Courtesy photo)

The group received awards at the Aug. 1 event in Albuquerque, which included a photo shoot.

The women will be featured in a 16-month calendar distributed to public schools around the state. The calendar will feature the biography of each woman’s accomplishments to encourage young women to make STEM choices for their own careers.

Galves, manager of NMSU’s Young Women in Computing program over the last five years, and Lopez, a senior platform applications engineer with Intel who earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from NMSU, were selected along with women from a variety organizations including universities and colleges across the state as well as Albuquerque Public Schools and Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs.

“I am honored to be included with this group of outstanding women in NM,” Galves said. “But my inclusion is a mere representation of the phenomenal work performed by our entire YWiC team. This group, including the founders, helped to establish the highest level of service and creative programming that isn't found anywhere else in the country.”

Lopez, who has seven patents in software and hardware and was among the first women to earn a Ph.D. in computer science at NMSU, has received numerous honors for her volunteer work. She is also a founding member of the international Latina’s in Computing organization.

“As a distinguished alumna of New Mexico State University, it’s been a privilege to work with Rebecca Galves, and the YWiC program,” Lopez said. “I’ve mentored several of the YWiC alumna, who are now stepping up as leaders and mentors for the next generation of young women. I look forward to meeting the rest of the honorees and continuing to provide opportunities for these young women to engage and excel in STEM.”

Galves has watched the numbers of women enrolled in computer science at NMSU triple since the program began in 2006, due in large part to the pipeline of middle and high school girls who have participated in various YWiC programs.

“Informal education programs like YWiC provide specialized, hands-on training in computing and STEM fields that allow young women the freedom to impact and own their learning,” Galves said. “By providing a solid base to grow from, YWiC alumni are empowered to embrace their interests and continue building on their fantastic ideas to be developed into next-level projects and research experiences. That is what keeps young women interested in computer science and STEM. That is why it's critical to provide this opportunity for young women.”

The cover of the New Mexico Women of STEM calendar will feature Jill Hruby, who was recently appointed manager of Sandia National Labs, and is the first woman to hold that position. Each month will feature a different “STEM Sunflower.” The theme symbolizes the spreading of seeds to a younger generation of female STEM professionals.

The calendar was the brainchild of Supercomputing Challenge program manager Patty Meyer who said of project, “It will show all young women, regardless of race or background that they can succeed in STEM careers too.”

The Supercomputing Challenge, one of the main sponsors of the calendar, recently wrapped up its 25th year of introducing middle and high school students across New Mexico to the combined power of supercomputers, modeling and problem solving.