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New Mexico State University

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NMSU’s STEM TECH Lab expansion impacts local students, teachers

The New Mexico State University Jack & MaryLou Davis STEM TECH Lab has expanded with more equipment to enhance the ability of children and youth to apply hands-on learning in 3D environments.


Two female students looking at computer screen.
Local middle school students use flight simulators to learn STEM concepts in the Jack & MaryLou Davis STEM TECH Lab at New Mexico State University. The lab recently expanded with new equipment. (NMSU Photo by Daphne Griffin)

The new equipment added includes zSpace, which delivers a stunning interactive experience by integrating the latest 3D technology in an all-in-one computer. New 3D printers can be used to teach students about the kind of technology they will need in future careers such as mass customization, fast manufacturing and prototyping. Graduate assistant Stella Oatoo manages the 3D printing efforts.

Virtual reality is one of the students’ favorites. It provides kinesthetic, auditory, visual and sensory experiences with oculus rift. Program specialist Laura Martinez leads the sensory experience.

The lab operates under a partnership between the College of Education and College of Engineering along with NMSU’s STEM Outreach Center. It is located in O’Donnell Hall.

“We are working hard to arrange for all eighth grade students in our community to visit and have knowledge of the center. Our hope is to influence K-12+ students to pursue careers in STEM. We also want to encourage more pre-service teachers to engage in the use of the Tech Center. The staff at the STEM Outreach Center would love to see the Tech Center have long-term sustainability to ensure these positive experiences for all,” said Sara Morales, associate director of the STEM Outreach Center.

Since the lab opened in 2017, it is considered to be one of only a handful in the country that uses high-tech simulation and other gadgets to teach STEM.

The lab is available for schools and students in the southwest, as well as NMSU undergraduates, and for professional development for pre-service and in-service teachers. Historically, K-12 students from across New Mexico have been impacted through outreach and fieldtrips.

In total, the lab has served more than 24,000 students and has hosted professional development programs for more than 2,000 teachers statewide. Program coordinator John Church guides students and teachers on visits to the lab.

For information on the Jack & MaryLou Davis STEM TECH Lab, contact Church at jchurch@nmsu.edu or Morales at smorales@nmsu.edu.