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Gallup-McKinley students represented in STEM Challenge

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New Mexico challenge confirms 600+ participants

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Sixty-five New Mexico high schools have created student teams to imagine, design, and develop a technological solution for the 2019-20 New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge. These 600+ students capture a geographic diversity that reaches all corners of NM. Over 30 school districts are represented, both urban and rural, including Albuquerque, Belen, Capitan, Chama, Deming, Eunice, Farmington, Gadsden, Gallup-McKinley, Grady, Las Cruces, Los Lunas, Raton, Roswell, Santa Fe, San Jon, and Silver City.

The STEM Challenge structure is simple. Over the course of the semester, each ten-person student team will create a prototype/model that solves a real-world problem in response to the Challenge theme, which is, Keeping the World Safer Using Technology. Partnered NM industry employers will evaluate the proposed solutions based on quality and demonstration of skills required for STEM careers in N.M. The top teams will receive $5,000 and present at the Statewide Showcase held December 7 at Los Lunas High School.

“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,” N.M. Department of Workforce Solutions.Secretary Bill McCamley said.

Teachers championing the teams will integrate the Challenge theme with the NM STEM Ready! Science Standards as a co-curricular learning tool for everyday classroom activities. These mentor teachers will also receive funds for materials, a stipend, and professional training through the N.M. Public Education Department. Each participating student is eligible to receive an NMAA Varsity letter, the same award given to student athletes on a varsity sports team.

“Los Alamos National Laboratory is excited to support the STEM Challenge. 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,” LANL Director Thom Mason said.

New Mexico State University has coordinated undergraduate mentors from its institution as well as Northern New Mexico College and the University of New Mexico to advise and support student teams.

“STEM education is so meaningful for our students, not only because it provides a high skill set, the ability to think critically and work collaboratively in teams, and engage in relevant work, but because of its bond with workforce and economic development,” NM Public Education Department Deputy Secretary Gwen Perea Warniment said. “I am thrilled by the numbers of schools and districts participating. Students and educators across New Mexico have answered the call for purposeful, engaging, and challenging learning that is called for by the Next Generation Science Standards.”

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.

Sponsoring companies partnered with the STEM Challenge include:

Chevron, Descartes Labs, Deloitte, El Paso Electric, Facebook, Freeport-McMoRan, Intel, Meow Wolf,  N3B, Pattern Energy, PNM, Presbyterian, RS 21, Virgin Galactic, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Boeing, Air Force Research Labs, URENCO