Raised by missionary parents in Mexico,
Sara del Valle was driven to make a
positive impact in the world from a young age.
“They’ve always instilled in me the importance
of caring about people and making sure that
whatever I do is for the good of the world,”
she says. Through studying infectious diseases
for a living, she feels she is continuing her
Today, she is principal investigator for the
Modeling of Infectious Disease Agent Study
(MIDAS), covered by a National Institutes of
Health (NIH) grant. The purpose of her role is
to develop, integrate and analyze mathematical
models for the spread of infectious diseases
such as smallpox, anthrax, malaria, HIV and
influenza on a pandemic scale. She also
models potential effects of mass casualties
on the Healthcare and Public Health Sector.
She studies the role of social behavior on
disease dynamics by using social media and
Sara del Valle
National Institutes of Health grant
Modeling and Infectious Disease Agent
Los Alamos National Laboratory
“What I’m doing has an impact on making sure
we come up with models and policies that can
eventually save lives,” she says, adding she is
passionate about increasing the number of
underrepresented minorities in STEM, particularly
in math fields.
She envisions more women and Latinas taking
charge in tackling world problems.
Del Valle moved to Brooklyn, New York, when
she was 16 years old.
“I was two years from graduating high school
and I knew I wanted to go to college so I had to
study very, very hard to make sure I learned
English,” she recalls.
Her determination carried her through
her bachelor and master’s studies at New
Jersey Institute of Technology, and in earning
her doctorate in applied mathematics and
computational sciences from the University of Iowa.
She was awarded the highly competitive
grant in 2010 and has worked as a scientist at
Los Alamos for 11 years. Prior to taking on the
role of principal investigator, del Valle supported
the Department of Homeland Security after the
anthrax release in 2001.
She briefed White House science advisors
about H1N1 in the mid-2000s and the federal
government knows they can depend on del
Valle team’s knowledge when it comes to
implementing health-related policies.
She was keynote speaker for an Expanding
Your Horizons function, gives lectures in
northern New Mexico and is adjunct professor
at Arizona State University with the aim to increase
diversity in the sciences.
Dr. Monica DeZulueta
Data Architect and Computer Scientist
“My family would always tell us to, ‘Make sure
your heart is full of good deeds and your
brain is full of good knowledge,’” Dr. Monica
DeZulueta says. “If you marry those two things
you are safe. I was instilled with that at a young
age.” Her Cuban roots taught her that life can
take one’s home and business but not one’s
education or good deeds.
Today, she is data architect and computer
scientist at Microsoft, where she has worked for
18 years. De Zulueta, Ph.D., has over 30 years of
computing and scientific research experience. She
joined Microsoft in 1999. She has architected AI,
IoT, database and middleware solutions for
the federal government and large Fortune 500
Dr. DeZulueta began working on the commercial
side of Microsoft, where she oversaw big accounts
in Florida, including Office Depot, Royal Caribbean
and Burger King. She completed technology
roles in the South and in the East Coast before
moving on to the federal chain. She worked on
Veterans Affairs in 2006 where she was part of a
team that created an application that would
14 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle Vol. 24, No. 4, 2018