Department of Energy

Teams Will Design High-tech Prototypes to Make the World Safer During 2019-20 New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge

September 13, 2019

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New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge

In the last year, Lab scientists used computer simulations to predict the spread of HIV; released a powerful new software to predict space storms that could harm spacecrafts; and published research on using millions of tiny foreshocks to forecast impending earthquakes. This fall, local high school students will create their own technology solutions to make the world safer.

From rural to urban: students statewide take on challenge

Reaching all corners of the state, 65 New Mexico high schools will participate in the New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge. The challenge asks students to solve real-world safety problems. The perks include presenting at a Statewide Showcase and receiving a varsity award letter in STEM. The winning projects win $5,000.

Teams of 10 will design prototypes that demonstrate "Keeping the World Safer Using Technology," a theme the Lab formulated. Partnered New Mexico employers will evaluate the proposals. 

This weekend, teachers championing STEM Challenge teams will get help from scientists and technical experts to strengthen their students’ projects. Lab scientists are among the panelists for an interactive Q&A round table that will bookend a professional learning workshop for these teachers.

Developing the workforce of the future

“Los Alamos National Laboratory is excited to support the STEM Challenge,” said LANL Director Thom Mason. “The competition is a win-win that both encourages New Mexican students in STEM fields, and will help meet future workforce needs of the Laboratory and the state.”

At the heart of the STEM Challenge is a mission to recognize achievement and develop potential in the state's diverse students. This includes encouraging participants from underrepresented populations in STEM, like minorities and girls. The students represent over 30 school districts from Raton to Albuquerque to Las Cruces to Deming.

Participating schools will use the STEM Challenge project as a co-curricular learning tool and case study in their classes. They will also integrate the Next Generation Science Standards, which are redesigned and improved curricula for teaching STEM.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is excited to support the STEM Challenge

Undergraduate students, New Mexico organizations come together with support

“We are thrilled to see schools participating from around the state, giving the STEM Challenge a diversity that is absolutely necessary to accomplish our mission of showing students that if they study hard in science, technology, engineering and math, they can get great jobs right here in New Mexico,” said Secretary Bill McCamley from the NM Department of Workforce Solutions.

Undergraduate mentors from across the state will advise and support student teams, a network coordinated by New Mexico State University. The New Mexico Public Education Department is also providing teacher funds for materials, stipends, and professional learning.

Want to get involved?

A number of open opportunities include team mentoring, reviewing project submissions, and evaluating at the Statewide Showcase event held Dec. 7 in Los Lunas. Email adoty@lanl.gov for more information.

The 2019-20 NM Governor’s STEM Challenge is coordinated by the NM Department of Workforce Solutions, the NM Public Education Department, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.