photo of leslie phinney

Manager, Sandia National Laboratories

B.S. ASE 1990, The University of Texas at Austin
C.P.G.S. Eng. 1991, Cambridge University
M.S. ME, UC Berkeley
Ph.D. ME UC Berkeley

Leslie Phinney is Manager of the Thermal Sciences and Engineering Department at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Phinney received her B.S. degree in aerospace engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and her M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. She also studied a year in England with a Churchill Scholarship, earning a C.P.G.S (Certificate of Post-Graduate Studies) in engineering from Cambridge University.

Phinney’s professional career began in 1997 when she became the first woman Mechanical Engineering Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). After six years at UIUC, Phinney joined Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a Technical Staff Member in the Engineering Sciences Center. After over 16.5 years as a technical staff member and thermal subject matter expert, she was promoted to Manager of the Thermal Sciences and Engineering Department in December of 2020.

Phinney’s research contributions are in the areas of heat transfer, thermosciences, and microsystems with an emphasis on microscale heat transfer, thermal analysis and simulation, thermal microactuators, experimental techniques, thermomechanical effects, laser processing, adhesion in microsystems, and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) reliability testing. To date, she has co-authored 2 book chapters, 49 peer-reviewed journal articles, and 52 papers presented at national and international conferences. She was in a rotational position in the SNL Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Programs Office Department focusing on improving the research environment and interactions between mission and research efforts at SNL from Jan. 2012 – May 2013.

Phinney is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and a recipient of the Society of Women Engineers’ (SWE) Prism Award in 2017 and WE Local Legacy Award in 2021. She received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award from 2000-2004. Phinney has been serving as a member of the UT Austin ASE/EM Department External Advisory Committee since 2020 and was a member of the UT Austin ME Department External Advisory Committee from 2013-2019. She is a strong champion for women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) engaging with girls and women from K-12 to professionals including being active in SWE and Sandia Women’s Action Network (SWAN). Phinney has spoken to multiple student groups at universities including being an Industry Mentor for five Women Changing the World Events for UT Austin women engineering students.

Phinney lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and she enjoys reading, solving puzzles, and visiting family and friends.