Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

2019-20 New Mexico Governor's STEM Challenge

Recognizing achievement and developing potential in NM's diverse student population by exploring how STEM careers can address local, state, and global challenges


  • Statewide STEM Showcase Coordinator
  • Anjeli Doty
  • Community Partnerships Office
  • (505) 665-3922
  • Email
"Applying science, engineering, and technology to making the world safer is something we do every day, so this is a challenge that really resonates with us" - Laboratory Director Thom Mason
Theme for 2019-20 NM Governor's STEM Challenge
Los Alamos National Laboratory works to find solutions to challenging national problems in the following topic areas (click for larger image).

Scientific research and technology at Los Alamos National Laboratory is dedicated to protecting the security of our country and keeping citizens safe. In the 2019-20 NM Governor's STEM Challenge, the Laboratory invites participating students and teachers to help identify new national security solutions aligned with the goal of Keeping the World Safer Using Technology. 

Challenge Overview:

  • The NM Department of Workforce Solutions, the NM Public Education Department, and Los Alamos National Laboratory invite students in NM high school STEM classes statewide to imagine, design, and develop a project model to address the Laboratory's Challenge question
  • Schools accepting the Challenge will utilize the Laboratory's question as a co-curricular learning tool and case study in their STEM class curricula; though all STEM classrooms may participate, schools will choose a team of up to 10 students and teacher mentors to submit a proposed solution
  • Participating NM industry employers judge teams based on quality and degree to which answers reflect skills required for careers with NM STEM businesses, and award winning teams $5,000 ($500/student)
  • Winning teams will present at a Statewide STEM Showcase and student team members are awarded varsity letters in STEM recognized by the New Mexico Activities Association for college admissions 

Resources and Links

Register your school's team here
STEM Challenge Brochure
STEM Challenge White Paper Program Overview
STEM Challenge Question Resources/Research Backgrounder
New Mexico Public Education Department Website
New Mexico Activities Association Website
Challenge Purpose
  • Encourage students and teachers to incorporate and utilize Next Generation 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
Team Eligibility and Project Details
  • 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 a team of up to 10 students and 2 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
  • Model and plan should: identify problem; convey the collaborative problem-solving process; include computational model, computer simulation, or physical prototype; and demonstrate strengths and weaknesses, modification, test results, and effectiveness
  • The judging system/rubric for the STEM Challenge will be made available so that participants understand how teams will be evaluated and what it takes to be competitive
  • If selected as a winning submission, team will present at the Statewide STEM Showcase
Teacher Resources
  • Two-day weekend workshop in September, discussing Showcase criteria and how to incorporate project into classrooms using required NM STEM Ready! Science Standards
  • Subject Matter Expert mentors for student teams 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 and weekly virtual support
Benefits and Awards
  • 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