“These women represent the diversity of New Mexico. They were chosen for the grace and grit at which they pursue life and career.”
-The New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge
Marisol Gamboa, computer scientist and associate division leader for the Global Security Computing Applications Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), was selected to serve as a role model to young women and is prominently featured in the new 2018 “New Mexico Women of STEM” calendar, produced by the New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge.
The New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge is an annual STEM competition designed to get local students interested in STEM fields, while also getting local tech firms interested in New Mexico students. Since 1990, the challenge has attracted hundreds of students from around New Mexico, Gamboa included.
Gamboa grew up in New Mexico and was first exposed to computers at age 15 with the Supercomputing Challenge. The challenge introduced her to a whole new world of opportunities and provided the avenue to discover her passion -- developing software to solve problems. "When I felt the power, joy and fulfillment of solving a difficult problem, I was hooked," Gamboa said. "I still thrive on solving difficult problems and live for it."
After participating in the 2nd-4th annual Supercomputing Challenge, she received a four-year scholarship to the University of New Mexico, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
After working in industry for a few years, she joined the Laboratory in 2002 and now leads a team of software developers.
Gamboa is one of 12 women selected to represent New Mexico’s Women of STEM in the calendar that will be sent to middle- and high-school math and science teachers throughout New Mexico, which will be used as posters that model successful women in STEM.
The theme for this year’s calendar is the "Passion Flower," signifying the passion that guided these women to pursue their careers.
Other women featured in the calendar include:
Sandra Begay, Sandia National Laboratories; Karissa Culbreath, M.D., University of New Mexico, pathology; Anita Lee Gallegos, Leidos; Sara Hartse, Delphix; Angela Palacios James, New Mexico Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office; Rochelle Larson, CDM Smith; Hanna Makaruk, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Marie Reyes, Phytolea labs, South Valley Academy; Katie Richardson, Office of U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, State Science and Development; Valerie Romero-Leggott, M.D., University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center/Office of Diversity; and Lydia Tapia, University of New Mexico Computer Science Department.