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STEM challenge to answer engineering problem

SANTA FE, N.M. — The first-ever New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge, a competition to test students’ ability to use science, technology, engineering and math to solve real-world problems, will take place Saturday, Dec. 7, at Los Lunas High School.

Forty-six teams, each of 10 students, from public, private and charter schools around the state, are expected to participate. The teams, using a computer simulation or prototype, will attempt to answer the question posed by Los Alamos National Laboratory: “How can you use science and technology to make the world safer?”

“New Mexico has absolutely unlimited potential, and this competition is an incredible showcase of the ingenuity and passion of so many bright, talented New Mexicans,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a news release. “It’s a reminder to all: New Mexico’s best and brightest are on the cutting edge of the science and technology advancements that will define our shared future.”

The challenge is a collaboration between the Office of the Governor, the Public Education Department, the Department of Workforce Solutions, Los Alamos National Laboratory and 18 other STEM employers in the state.

Each of the 19 employers will award a prize of $5,000. Participating students will also earn a varsity letter from the New Mexico Activities Association.

Los Alamos National Laboratory provided coordination and support through its Community Partnerships Office, which emphasizes economic development, STEM education, and volunteerism. The LANL Foundation coordinated STEM employer contributions and provided funds for travel and other resources to eligible school teams.

“The work of these students and their teacher leaders is inspiring,” said New Mexico Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart. “I’m also excited to see high numbers of students from rural communities and female students taking part in the program. Historically, these groups have been underrepresented in STEM career fields.”

Judges are from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Boeing, Chevron, Descartes Labs, Deloitte, El Paso Electric, Facebook, Freeport McMoRan Inc., Intel, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Meow Wolf, N3B Los Alamos, Pattern Energy, PNM, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, RS21, Sandia National Laboratories, Urenco, and Virgin Galactic.

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