One of New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering’s core missions is to improve the lives of young women by empowering them to see themselves as future participants in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers. We provide innovative experiences for girls in grades 5 through 12 that allow them to meet and interact with female adult role models and participate with their peers in high-quality hands-on STEM activities. With chapters across the state of New Mexico, NMNWSE is able to support local regions with STEM outreach. Since 1980, more than 25,000 students and their teachers from hundreds of schools across the state have attended NMNWSE-sponsored STEM conferences, typically at no cost. The ultimate goal of the conferences is to motivate young girls to become innovative and creative thinkers that are ready to meet 21st-century challenges.

One of our goals is to increase the representation of minority populations within STEM fields. Our events and conferences are highly inclusive and encourage diversity. More than 50 percent of the students attending are from underrepresented minority groups. 

One of New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering’s core missions is to improve the lives of young women by empowering them to see themselves as future participants in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers. We provide innovative experiences for girls in grades 5 through 12 that allow them to meet and interact with female adult role models and participate with their peers in high-quality hands-on STEM activities. With chapters across the state of New Mexico, NMNWSE is able to support local regions with STEM outreach. Since 1980, more than 25,000 students and their teachers from hundreds of schools across the state have attended NMNWSE-sponsored STEM conferences, typically at no cost. The ultimate goal of the conferences is to motivate young girls to become innovative and creative thinkers that are ready to meet 21st-century challenges.

One of our goals is to increase the representation of minority populations within STEM fields. Our events and conferences are highly inclusive and encourage diversity. More than 50 percent of the students attending are from underrepresented minority groups. 

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“The best reward of being a part of this Network is being able to see how your work directly affects young girls in New Mexico. I think it’s important to be present in young girls’ lives and show them real-life examples of successful women in science. It is important to show young girls that there is a wide diversity of careers in STEM, from doctors and nurses to nuclear physicists, to plant biologists, to astronauts. Science is fun and exciting, and I want to share that excitement with the next generation.”

-Dr. Haylie Lobeck, Board Member At Large

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Many girls lose interest in STEM between the 5th and 8th grades due to several factors, including explicit and implicit bias toward women in those fields, a lack of awareness of the careers available and of the potential to positively impact the world through those professions, as well as self-doubt about their ability to achieve success in those fields. Studies indicate that young women underestimate their STEM performance compared to boys even when they receive the same scores.  Young women also tend to believe that boys are “getting” the concepts more quickly than they do.

Research shows that engaging with female role models and STEM activities outside the classroom doubles the likelihood of those young girls choosing STEM classes in high school, feeling creative through STEM activities, understanding STEM job options and feeling empowered to make an impact in the world through STEM. These conferences communicate the excitement and challenge of STEM-related fields by providing “hands-on” career workshops, panel discussions and interactions with professional role models. Each conference creates a discovery zone for young women that supports ongoing participation in STEM activities. They encounter role models they can emulate, learn about career options, build self-confidence about their STEM skills and meet peers with whom they can share their passion for STEM. 

According to a National Science Foundation study, hands-on experiences helped increase girls’ interest in science, so workshop activities are designed to be hands-on. Girls might explore 3D holograms and projections, build LEGO® robots or learn to code, become a “Disease Detective” investigating an outbreak, learn how to track a hurricane, make glow-in-the-dark slime, design and build a beaver dam or engage in any number of exciting activities. Conference participants often report a renewed interest in STEM careers, feeling empowered by the experience and being inspired by strong female leaders in their fields. Many alumnae say that their attendance at an EYHC was instrumental in their eventual choice of a serious STEM career. Each contact during the conferences emphasizes the initial engagement to spark a girl’s imagination and transform her image of what is possible and who she can be.

“I’m connected to the Supercomputing Challenge again as a mentor this time around. It is still thrilling to see one of our girls who is now post PhD giving TED talks! And the sixth-grade girls in my current group are excited about what they are doing. It is impressive to see their energy and grit in the context of their zoom classroom!”

-Betsy Frederick, Member

NMNWSE also supports several STEM awards for young women, including our Supercomputing Challenge Award, the Girls IMPACT BEST Robotics! Award and several awards at the New Mexico State Science & Engineering Fair. Although participation in events like these has increased over the years, we are working to counteract a noticeable drop off in the junior and senior categories. Awards like these boost recipients’ confidence and enthusiasm for participating in STEM. 

“I love judging science fairs & especially the Regional ones such as in Grants, N.M. There is such a purity of the student researcher when they have little access to sophisticated equipment as some kids do in areas with National Labs. The impact of inspiring a young person, and especially a young girl, is magnified in these environments. You can feel their excitement and hear it in their questions about what you do and how you got there.”

-Dr. Yolanda Jones King, Board Member At Large

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for these events. We have adapted to online activities but are concerned about the negative impact on low-income populations who may lack a computer or internet access to participate. We will continue to look for creative solutions to these issues. 

Annual conferences are held in the following cities and seasons:

Fall 

  • Carlsbad

Spring

Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all conferences have been postponed or are virtual until health conditions improve. 

Additional STEM Outreach Events and Partnerships:

NMNWSE supports several other events across New Mexico to provide STEM-related outreach. 

Our Sponsors

We want to thank the following sponsors for their continued support to New Mexico’s STEM conferences!

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