Partnerships, Policy & Promise
As an education partner and advocate, the nonprofit Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Foundation has hosted STEM Day at the New Mexico Legislature to showcase programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This year, recognizing the significance of the inclusion of creativity, design, and art in immersive education and learning experiences, the focus evolved to become STEAM Education Day, with the addition of the A for the arts. This event at the New Mexico State Capitol Roundhouse in Santa Fe was held during the first week of the 60-day session on Thursday, January 17, just two days after Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham gave her opening State of the State address that focused on her commitment to education.
STEAM Day brought together more than 30 nonprofit organizations, schools, and programs from throughout the state with hands-on learning displays and promotion of educational opportunities. In addition to providing exploratory STEAM-related activities for learners of all ages, the goal also was to educate community members, leaders, advocates and policymakers about STEAM in formal and informal learning environments, promote the relevance of STEAM careers and economic development, support the newly adopted STEM Ready! Standards and advocate for education, so all students have access to quality curriculum and instruction.
Doris Rivera, Professional Development Coordinator for the LANL Foundation’s ISEC inquiry STEM program in 44 elementary schools, coordinated the event and its exhibitors, the number of which more than doubled this year.
“The growth of this event shows the important role STEAM education and career development play in shaping the future of New Mexico. We thank everyone working in education and all those who support teachers, students and life-long learning,” said Rivera. “LANL Foundation is proud to host so many outstanding partners, and we look forward to further collaborations.”
A press conference focused on education advocacy and policy was also held that day in the Rotunda. Speakers included Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales, Cabinet Secretary for Department of Workforce Solutions Bill McCamley, New Mexico State University Chancellor Dan Arvizu, Air Force Research Lab NM Technology Engagement Director Matt Fetrow, NM Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, LANL Director of Community Programs Office Kathy Keith, Explora STEM Education & Workforce Development Center Director Allison Brody, and LANL Foundation CEO Jenny Parks.
“We all know the potential for our state to fully embrace science, technology, engineering, math, healthcare, and the arts as part of the future economy we want to build in New Mexico,” said Parks. “We are blessed to have the critical bastions of science right here in our state: the Air Force Research Lab, Sandia National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Very Large Array, the Space Port, Descartes Labs and many more. We have an opportunity to transform the state in a way that will impact the children, our families, and our economy for decades to come.”
Science and technology fields offer some of the highest paying jobs and the largest number of employment opportunities in the country and locally, with an average annual salary of $87,000 for STEM-related jobs in New Mexico.
Lt. Gov. Morales, also speaking on behalf of Gov. Lujan Grisham, expressed excitement toward being part of new partnerships and seeing potential for positive change in New Mexico’s education culture.
“We are actually raising the bar because we’re giving students opportunities to find things and explore areas that they’re interested in and then meet that student achievement goal … and continue to improve,” Lt. Gov. Morales said.
Sec. McCamley shared the excitement for opportunities of students to engage in STEAM and related jobs and to build the economy in New Mexico. He added that the Public Education Department and Department of Workforce Solutions are looking to fund science coaches at every middle and high school with the goal to increase student engagement and create a unified high school STEM championship across the state with the same high-profile recognition as athletics.
“This is important because data shows that every students that’s involved with a club, with a competition is much more likely to engage in a class…. And when you engage in classes, you’re much more likely to go to college and get a degree and therefore go out and get a job,” said Sec. McCamley.
Streamed Video Coverage Provided by Local Students
One of many highlights of the day was the live video streaming provided by True Kids 1 youth journalists in collaboration with UNM-Taos.
Watch videos: The press conference and a series of interviews may be seen on the LANL Foundation’s Facebook page and, in part, on the True Kids 1 YouTube channel.
Additional Photo Highlights: