•Professional Achievement - Level II•

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Steven M. Trujillo, Ph.D.


Nuclear Weapons Systems Analysis Department

Sandia National Laboratories

Education: Ph.D., mechanical engineering, University of Texas at Austin; M.S., mechanical engineering, University of New Mexico; B.S., aeronautical and astronautical engineering, Purdue University. 



For Dr. Steven M. Trujillo, the day he got his first pair of eyeglasses changed the course of his life.   Since he was a child, he dreamt of becoming a pilot, and rather than despair at losing that dream, he just found a new one.  In his mind, engineers wore glasses, so he turned his early aptitude for math and science into the life-long pursuit of knowledge that has led him all the way to his current position leading the nuclear weapons systems analysis department at Sandia National Laboratories. 


His work to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of America’s nuclear weapons stockpile is a massive responsibility.  Dr. Trujillo is a key researcher managing system analysis studies that inform Sandia’s leaders on the execution and technical performance of the nuclear program.  His department one of six in Sandia’s systems analysis group that work together to form insights that shape decisions relating to nuclear weapons and other national security issues – often working in concert with partners inside and outside the Laboratory.


Among his crucial responsibilities, Dr. Trujillo must ensure the knowledge necessary to maintain and improve these systems is passed on to a new generation of engineers.  


It’s a role that requires extensive knowledge of national security, including the stockpile, technical and business knowledge, and experience in policy, strategic planning, and partnerships in high-tech industry, government laboratories, and federal agencies.  Experience with interpretation and application of legal frameworks and regulations 


Dr. Trujillo’s path to this pivotal role runs from his childhood in New Mexico through engineering degrees at Purdue University, the University of New Mexico, (where he earned a full scholarship to pursue his Master’s degree), and the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his Ph.D. While initially contemplating an academic career, an offer to join a postdoctoral research program close to home at led to his nearly two-decade tenure at the Sandia National Laboratories.


Soon after joining Sandia, Dr. Trujillo’s performance impressed his colleagues so much that he was appointed to the Defense Programs Science Council at the National Nuclear Security Administration.  In this important post, he acted as the lab’s technical advisor and liaison, and his work supported interdepartmental decisions about the direction of the nuclear weapons program that were ultimately briefed at the White House.


Despite the demands of his career, Dr. Trujillo has never forgotten the importance of community.  He serves and volunteers on a number of local non-profit boards and committees. In honor of his mother, he volunteers for the Cancer Foundation of New Mexico, which provides non-medical services to people receiving cancer care in Santa Fe. He’s also a member of the Sociedad de Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos, originally a Hispanic worker protection society founded in the early 1900s. Although its mission has evolved, the SPMDTU still serves small communities in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado as a sort of Hispanic cultural protection society. 

-By Vinnie Longobardo