LANL Foundation  /  About  /  Stephanie J. Montoya

Stephanie J. Montoya

Communications Director

Stephanie joined the LANL Foundation as Communications Director in 2024. She has dedicated her career to promoting education and increasing access to opportunities for all New Mexicans via strategic communications, advocacy, and positive storytelling. Born and raised in Rio Rancho, NM with family roots in Mora and the South Valley of Albuquerque, Stephanie is a 13th generation New Mexican.

Previously, Stephanie served as Director of Communications for the New Mexico Higher Education Department, where she spearheaded the communications and outreach strategy to pass the Opportunity Scholarship Act, establishing the nation’s most progressive tuition-free college program in 2022, with a $959 million trust established in 2024. From 2022 to 2024, she also worked with the Office of the Governor to support communication and advocacy for legislative priorities, including key expansions to state loan repayment programs, tribal education initiatives, as well as initiatives addressing college food insecurity and student mental health.

Prior to the Higher Education Department, Stephanie worked as PR Specialist and Staff Reporter at Northern New Mexico College where she supported the advocacy strategy to successfully pass a local mill levy to fund career technical education in the region. She also supported recruitment and outreach campaigns that resulted in an 11% increase in college enrollment.

From 2015-2019, Stephanie worked as Public Relations Coordinator and College Readiness Coordinator for the GEAR UP college readiness program at the New Mexico Higher Education Department, coordinating outreach to 10,000 7th-12th grade and first year college students and their parents across seven school districts in Northern and Central New Mexico. She also supported the coordination of college readiness campaigns including increasing the FAFSA completion rates of high school seniors, coordinating college visits, organizing student leadership programming, college application campaigns, ACT preparation, and college & career signing day.

Stephanie holds a master’s degree in Communications Leadership from Gonzaga University and Bachelor’s degrees in Journalism/Mass Communications and Government from New Mexico State University.

When not working, she enjoys spending time with her fiancé, Clayton, rescue pup, Minnie, going on nature walks and hikes, reading about science, history, and culture, and doing arts and crafts.