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Governor’s STEM Showcase

Governor’s STEM Showcase 2019-09-16T13:55:17-06:00

2019–2020 New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge & Showcase

Los Alamos National Laboratory works to find solutions to challenging national problems in the following topic areas (click for larger image).

Los Alamos National Laboratory works to find solutions to challenging national problems in the following topic areas (Click to enlarge image).

















The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NM DWS), New Mexico Public Education Department (NM PED), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) invite NM high school students and teachers to participate in the 2019–2020 Governor’s STEM Showcase on December 7, 2019 in Los Lunas, NM. Students in New Mexico high school STEM classes statewide are invited to imagine, design, and develop a project model to address the following question formulated by Los Alamos National Laboratory: Keeping the World Safer Using Technology.

Schools accepting the Challenge will utilize LANL’s question as a co-curricular learning toll and case study in their STEM class curricula; though all STEM classrooms may participate, schools will choose one team of up to ten students working with up to two mentor teachers to submit a proposed solution. Schools may register their team without identifying and naming all 10 student team members. This is a recent change to accommodate schools who are still recruiting. The Challenge will recognize student achievement in STEM and help NM’s diverse student population recognize the potential that STEM jobs have to address local, state, and global challenges. Students will practice their collaborative problem solving and presentation skills while learning how to use engineering design and the science and engineering practices to construct project models to present information and evaluate solutions.

Mentor teachers will incorporate the project into their classrooms and work with a team of up to ten students on the project. Mentor teacher will receive support in the form of a two-day weekend workshop in September about the STEM Showcase criteria and how to incorporate the required NM STEM Ready! Science Standards. Technical mentors through a partnership between New Mexico State University and Northern New Mexico College will be available for student teams. Weekly online support will be available as well as reimbursement for materials. Mentor teachers will receive a stipend of $500.

Participating NM industry employers will judge team’s project models based on quality and degree to which the answer reflect skills required for careers with NM STEM businesses. Winning teams evaluated and chosen by NM STEM employers will be awarded $5,000 ($500/student) and invited to present at the Statewide STEM Showcase before all companies, alliance participants, and other school teams. All participating team students will be eligible to letter, as recognized by the New Mexico Activities Association.

Important Dates:
  • Teams must register by Friday, August 30, 2019. The school principal must approve the team’s application.
  • Prototypes/plans must be submitted to the Statewide STEM Showcase Coordinator, Anjeli Doty at by 11:59 pm on Friday, November 22, 2019. A group of industry representatives will select projects to invite to the showcase in December.
  • Selected projects will participate in statewide STEM Showcase on Saturday, December 7, 2019 in Los Lunas.
Plan and Model Specifications:

The student team will prepare and submit to the Statewide STEM Showcase Coordinator a one-page executive summary, a written plan (not to exceed 10 pages) and presentation (a slide deck/pitch stack around 10 minutes long were it presented in person) on their model solution. The model and plan should identify the problem; communicate the collaborative problem solving process; include a computational model, a computer simulation, or a physical prototype; and share the strengths and weakness, modification, test results, and effectiveness of the model.

The Governor’s STEM Challenge & Showcase project must include the HS-ETS1-1 Engineering Design science standard and at least one of these suggested high school NM STEM READY! Science Standards:

HS-ESS3-3 Earth and Human Activity (Biology, Integrated Science I)

HS-ESS2-4 Earth’s Systems (Biology, Integrated Science I, Chemistry)

HS-LS1-2 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes (Biology, Integrated Science II)

HS-LS2-1 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics (Biology, Integrated Science I)

HS-PS3-3 Energy (Physics, Chemistry, Integrated Science I)

HS-PS4-2 Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer (Physics, Integrated Science II)

  • Encourage students and teachers to incorporate and utilize NM STEM Ready! Science Standards in classrooms
  • Recognize students in STEM statewide and emphasize local job potential
  • Encourage diverse participants from underrepresented populations in STEM
    including minorities and girls

  • All students grades 9-12 from NM high schools including public, charter, and private; home educators may participate by joining a public school team
  • Though all students in STEM high school classrooms may participate, schools will select 1 team of up to 10 students and teacher mentors to represent the school and submit a proposed solution in the form of a written plan (10 pg. max) and 10-minute presentation of proposed solution


  • To participate in the STEM Challenge, each team will develop 1) a prototype/rough model of their solution, and 2) a proposal packet that outlines their prototype and presents a compelling plan for its usage.

    1) the prototype:

    • Could be a computational model, computer simulation, or physical prototype
    • Smaller = usually better (needs to be transportable to the Statewide Showcase)
    • Can be made from reused and repurposed items
    • Can be made in a fab-lab or makerspace, but not a requirement
    • Does not need to be functional but ideally will be
    • If not functional, students need to explain how it could work

    2) the proposal packet:

    • Due by November 22, 11:59pm
    • Submit online to Statewide Showcase coordinator Anjeli Doty (
    • Needs to include:
      1. A one-page executive summary
      2. A written plan outlining the prototype design, development process, and usage plan; this document should identify the problem, convey the collaborative problem-solving process, demonstrate strengths and weaknesses, modifications, test results, and effectiveness
      3. A slide deck/pitch stack with photos, diagrams, etc.


    Understanding how the judging process works

    Once the proposal packet is submitted, judges from partnered employer sponsors will review the projects and assign 50% of the score.

    The judging system/rubric for the will be made available so that participants understand how teams will be evaluated and what it takes to be competitive.

    The second 50% of the score will be evaluated through in-person demonstrations and team interviews at the Statewide Showcase on December 7 at Los Lunas High School, NM.

  • Two-day weekend workshop on September 14–15, discussing Showcase criteria and how to incorporate project into classrooms using required NM STEM Ready! Science Standards
  •  NM STEM Mentor Network to request an undergraduate mentor from institutions across the state (coordinated through New Mexico State University)
  • Co-curricular resources to use Challenge question in classrooms as problem-solving tool
  • Professional development and supplies/materials through the NM Public Education Department
  • $500 stipend for teacher mentors
  • Weekly virtual support with NMPED and LANL

  • Winning teams receive $5,000 ($500/student) education award sponsored by NM STEM employers, and invitation to present at Statewide STEM Showcase before all companies, alliance participants, and other school teams
  • All participating team students eligible to receive varsity letter recognized by the New Mexico Activities Association for college admissions
  • Students will use and learn: teamwork, problem-solving, innovation, breakthrough technologies, STEM development, and presentation skills

Q: Can my school have more than one team?

A: Each New Mexico high school is eligible to register one (1) team for the STEM Challenge.

Q: How many students can participate on a team?

A: All STEM students may participate, but teachers will choose 10 students from their classes that show interest and ability over the semester to comprise the official team and submit the final project proposal for a chance receive award funds and present at the Statewide STEM Showcase.

Q: Does the STEM Challenge follow NMAA eligibility rules?

A: As an official activity, students must meet NMAA standards for participation.

Q: Do schools need to provide budget statements?

A: There will be no budget statement requirement for the 2019 year. The STEM Challenge rules dictate a monetary cap of <$500 spent on prototypes, and the judging panel is aware of all spending guidelines and rules.

Q: What is the maximum length of the project proposal’s written portion?

A: The written piece should be 10 pages maximum, although citations and acknowledgements may be included on an additional page(s).

Q: How does the mentorship part work?

A: Teams will register through a website to be matched with an undergraduate student mentor coordinated through New Mexico State University, Northern New Mexico College, and the University of New Mexico. You can request an undergraduate student mentor through the NM STEM Mentor Network.

Q: Is the teacher training workshop mandatory?

A: Attending the teacher workshop is not required although we highly encourage participation, even if only one of two teacher mentors on a team can attend. Travel will be reimbursed for those commuting 60+ miles. Schedule conflicts understandably arise, and we will do everything to accommodate.

Q: When and where is the teacher training workshop?

A: It is currently scheduled for September 14-15 in Albuquerque.

Q: Do the students on our team need to be all the same grade?

A: No, we encourage teachers to build teams with diverse ages and abilities.

Q: When will mentor teachers receive the stipends?

A: Teachers will receive $500 stipends after their teams’ project proposal submission on Nov. 22.

Q: What are good resources for brainstorming project ideas?

A: The STEM Challenge Question Resources/Research Backgrounder is a great starting point to explore research and technological solutions making the world safer. We will also distribute a forthcoming document outlining the research and work of our industry employer partners, to inspire students and spur creativity in developing their own projects.


If you have further questions regarding the Governor’s STEM Challenge & Showcase, please contact Shafiq Chaudhary at the New Mexico Public Education Department, Math and Science Bureau, or Anjeli Doty at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Community Partnerships Office.


Page last updated September 16, 2019