Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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In other news

School drive results; New Mexico Middle School Electric Car Challenge; Española Valley Teen Biz Challenge
September 1, 2014
A San Ildefonso Day School student selects from a mountain of backpacks collected during this year's backpack and school supply drive.

A San Ildefonso Day School student selects from a mountain of backpacks collected during this year's backpack and school supply drive.


  • Community Programs Director
  • Kurt Steinhaus
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Lab school drive helps get the school year off to a good start

Each summer, Los Alamos National Laboratory employees, subcontract personnel and business partners invest in the education of northern New Mexico elementary and middle school students by participating in an annual backpack and school supply drive, and this year again showed a great turnout and spirit of generosity.

Altogether, 875 elementary and middle school children received backpacks filled with school supplies—115 more backpacks than in 2013. The donations were distributed equally among the school districts in Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Taos Counties.

“The Laboratory is glad to be able to help northern New Mexico-area students return to school with most, if not all, the supplies they need to have a successful year,” said Ed Vigil of the Laboratory’s Community Programs Office and coordinator of the backpack and school supply drive. “In addition, we distributed 234 new pairs of shoes to school districts participating in the Laboratory’s LANL Laces program.”

Business partners included Smith’s MarketPlace, Del Norte Credit Union, CNSI, Cray Computer, Technology Integration Group (TIG), Staples and Navarro, Inc. this year.

New Mexico Middle School Electric Car Challenge invites students to compete on November 22

The New Mexico Middle School Electric Car Challenge (formerly the New Mexico Hydrogen Fuels Challenge) allows middle school students grades 6 through 8 to develop enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects at a crucial stage in their development. Building a battery-powered car requires skills in both science and math.

This year’s middle school event will take place on November 22 in Albuquerque, but half-day teacher workshops on September 13 in Albuquerque, Española and Roswell will provide teachers with a hands-on opportunity to understand the operation of a hydrogen fuel cell and receive overview information and tips from successful coaches.

The New Mexico Middle School Electric Car Challenge is sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory’s management company, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, along with Sandia National Laboratories, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Intel Corporation and the Albuquerque Public Schools system.

Middle school entrants will be limited to the first 50 teams that register by the final deadline of November 3.

Española Valley Teen Biz Challenge fosters innovative ideas

Seventeen business-savvy teenagers pitched their business ideas to members of the business community during the Española Valley’s Teen Biz Challenge on August 6 as family and friends looked on and cheered.

The teens presented so many innovative business ideas during the first phase of the event that the judges had a difficult time picking the top concepts for the participants to work on during the rest of the day. In the end, five teams were set up to develop business, marketing and finance plans for a clothing company, an online wedding planning company, a wireless Bluetooth earphone company, a recycling company and a mobile small engine repair service.

By afternoon the "Quality Mobile Small Engine Repair" team, which consisted of team members Alejandro Atencio, Xena Martinez and Joshua Lopez, emerged as the day’s winner and received a $500 cash award. The “New Age Technology” group—Ann Marie Atencio, Jose Ortega and Maria Roybal—won second place.

Both the lucky winning team and second-place winners will compete in the regional Entrepreneurial Teen Grand Challenge on September 8 during the Los Alamos Science Fest (see this issue's For your calendar section for details).

“Participating teens walked away with an experience that will allow them to get a jump-start into business,” said Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Atencio. “The event was a tremendous success.”

The Teen Biz Challenge was sponsored by the Española Valley Chamber of Commerce; Rio Arriba County; Los Alamos National Laboratory; Los Alamos National Security, LLC, the Laboratory’s management company; Northern New Mexico College; the Rio Grande Sun; Valley National Bank; the New Mexico Small Business Development Center and Gino’s Atlas Fitness Center.

Local small business owners and community leaders served as judges and mentors. 

“This event has been in the making for some time,” Chamber Executive Director Kelly Duran explained. “Jeff Atencio wanted to hold some type of youth leadership event and, one year later, we were approached by Los Alamos National Laboratory to see if we would be interested in serving as the local champion for a youth entrepreneurial event in Española.”