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STEM Outreach Center at NMSU receives funding to continue STEM programs

The STEM Outreach Center at New Mexico State University has received $224,000 to expand STEM programs for K-8th grade students in Hatch, Gadsden and Las Cruces schools.


The STEM Outreach Center, housed in the NMSU College of Education, recently received a $176,000 grant from the New Mexico Public Education Department’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, and $48,000 from Hatch Valley Public Schools. The funding will allow the center to provide its programming to students after regular school hours.

“I feel like we’re shaping the future of so many students who will continue their excitement for learning and know that their future is bright through education,” said College of Education interim Dean Susan Brown. “We engage children K-8th grade in the world of STEM in our out-of-school programs that also provide a safe environment for children. We are excited about this opportunity and thank NMPED for this opportunity to serve more students, families and educators in southern New Mexico. The end result will be more students choosing a career in STEM and affecting the future STEM workforce for our state and nationally.”

With the recently awarded funds, the STEM Outreach Center will serve more than 6,500 children a year in southern New Mexico, along with families and educators through the 21st Century CCLC grant and other funding sources.

The grant will allow the STEM Outreach Center to implement its suite of programs, including Digital Media Academy, or DiMA; Readers Theater; Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy, or SEMAA; Creating Opportunities Using Numerical Thinking, or COUNT; and the Science Brain Battle, in elementary schools served through these grants in each district. STEM Outreach Center director Nicole Delgado said the schools have to be a C, D or F school, and have to be schoolwide Title 1 holding indicating a high socioeconomic need for such after school services.

“Currently, we provide programming to 46 schools in southern New Mexico, 23 of which are funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program in Doña Ana County,” Delgado said. “It is incredible to see three unique districts, 350 teachers and school staff, and thousands of students and families served in this unique way. A huge majority of students are unsupervised after school which leads to at-risk behavior. We are working together as a community to do our part to ensure our youth are on a positive track that will lead to great things in their futures through the out-of-school-time programs.”

According to a recent study, the STEM Outreach Center has had an overall economic output of $15 million since 2009, generating more than 200 jobs, saving $5 million a year in child care costs and contributing positively to Doña Ana County.