• Explore Membership
  • Career Development
  • Student Services
  • SPIE Member-Only Content
  • Corporate Membership
Print PageEmail Page

Martha Sanchez

Senior Engineer/Scientist
IBM Research - Almaden, USA

Martha Sanchez

Country of Birth: USA
Country of Residence: USA
Educational Background: BS in Chemical Engineering, University of Maryland; MS in Chemical Engineering, Stanford University
SPIE Senior Member


I have always loved science, from astronomy to geology to chemistry, and enjoyed the elegance of math. I wanted to make things to help people, which is what I thought engineers did. So I combined my favorite subjects and decided to major in chemical engineering. Neither of my parents were technical, but they were both very supportive, though none of us knew what I was getting myself into.

Improvements to high-performance computer chips are often achieved by printing smaller features allowing higher density circuitry. I work on new polymeric materials to assess whether their properties meet the next generation requirements, characterizing them using microscopy, spectroscopy, and physical analysis.

The biggest challenge I have faced in my career is to recruit and maintain more women in the science field. I have spent many years visiting K-12 classrooms doing science demos to encourage young children to take math and science. I organize networking opportunities at work. Regrettably, our numbers have changed very little over the years. I continue to persist, regardless.

When I was just starting my career, I wish that someone had encouraged me to not only take risks, but understand how to deal with failures. I did not really do that until much later in my career and I think it would have helped me accomplish even more.

For those of you considering a career in STEM, just do it! Once you start, find other women in your area, then encourage and support each other.

View more 2019 profiles