Sandia Labs News Releases

Two Sandia student interns named Goldwater Scholars

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories student interns Hattie Schunk and Julian A. Vigil have been named 2016 Goldwater Scholars.

Julian A. Vigil

Sandia National Laboratories student intern Julian A. Vigil is a Goldwater Scholar who already has co-authored six technical publications. He hopes to research and teach at the university level. (Photo courtesy of the University of New Mexico) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

The undergraduate scholarship, established by Congress in 1986 to honor former Sen. Barry Goldwater, annually pays tuition, fees, books and room and board for 250 college sophomores and juniors pursuing research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering.

Vigil, a chemical engineering major at the University of New Mexico, researches electrochemical catalysis related to energy conversion and storage. The work is done under the supervision of Sandia researcher Timothy Lambert, with whom Vigil has co-authored six peer-reviewed publications, including three as first author. His latest, appearing in early 2016 in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, is about development of nanoparticle bi-functional electrocatalysts that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The prolific student researcher has another paper in preparation and has been contributing them since high school, says Lambert, mentor of Vigil since the summer following his junior year. Vigil’s work has been funded by Sandia’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program, and he hopes to research and teach at the university level.

Sandia National Laboratories student intern Hattie Schunk is a Goldwater Scholar who plans to help develop better medical diagnostics, devices and therapies. (Photo courtesy of Texas Tech University) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

Schunk, a chemical engineering major at Texas Tech University, plans to earn a doctorate in bioengineering with the ultimate intent of improving medical diagnostic capabilities, devices and therapies. She worked last summer under the mentorship of Sandia researcher Hongyou Fan to assemble functional nanoparticles and co-authored with Fan a peer-reviewed publication last November in the Materials Research Society Bulletin. Her projects were funded through Sandia’s LDRD program and the Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Science office. Her current work researches methods to control nanoparticle structure and composition, the intended subject of another technical article to be completed during the 2016-17 school year. She’ll return to Sandia this summer to work further with Fan.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact:  Neal Singer,, (505) 845-7078