Director, STEM Initiatives
Dr. Cindy Achat-Mendes has joined URA to provide vision and leadership in URA’s mission to “foster innovation and promote the education of future generations of scientists”. She serves as the new Director of STEM Initiatives with a joint appointment at URA’s Sandia Site Office in Albuquerque, NM, where she offers technical support. At URA she strives to engender innovative STEM initiatives that are driven by national security R&D needs.
Before joining URA, Dr. Achat-Mendes served at the Department of Defense (DoD) as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow, where she worked on DoD’s STEM programs and policies as well as multi-sector research collaborations, including the Air Force’s new University Affiliated Research Center, Research Institute for Tactical Autonomy at Howard University and DoD STEM’s Regional Community College Consortium Cooperative Agreement Program.
Prior to her science & technology policy experiences, she served on the Biology faculty at Georgia Gwinnett College, contributing to systemic change in STEM education and providing authentic research experiences for students. Dr. Achat-Mendes was trained as a neuroscientist in the field of drug addiction and psychiatry, earning her Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and conducting her postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School.
She is committed to growing robust STEM research ecosystems and is a champion for inclusive STEM practices as a means of harnessing all the much-needed STEM talent within our nation.