New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering (NMNWSE) was conceived in 1975 through the vision and efforts of Jane Gillespie, assistant coordinator for microbiology at the University of New Mexico and her fellow faculty member Nancy Martin, associate professor of computing and information science. NMNWSE was formally established in 1978 with a core group of UNM faculty and staff. They began reaching out to women scientists, engineers, mathematicians, educators and others in New Mexico who might be interested in supporting the NM Network mission – – to encourage the entry into and career development of women in science and engineering professions.  

One of the fledgling organization’s goals was to counsel and mentor young women interested in science careers. NMNWSE successfully pursued funding from the National Science Foundation to help implement this initiative. Women from Albuquerque and Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (now Los Alamos National Laboratory) presented talks and served on panels at a Science/Engineering Career Conference in Albuquerque. NM Network achieved formal 501(c)3 status as an educational organization shortly thereafter.

New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering (NMNWSE) was conceived in 1975 through the vision and efforts of Jane Gillespie, assistant coordinator for microbiology at the University of New Mexico and her fellow faculty member Nancy Martin, associate professor of computing and information science. NMNWSE was formally established in 1978 with a core group of UNM faculty and staff. They began reaching out to women scientists, engineers, mathematicians, educators and others in New Mexico who might be interested in supporting the NM Network mission – – to encourage the entry into and career development of women in science and engineering professions.  

One of the fledgling organization’s goals was to counsel and mentor young women interested in science careers. NMNWSE successfully pursued funding from the National Science Foundation to help implement this initiative. Women from Albuquerque and Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (now Los Alamos National Laboratory) presented talks and served on panels at a Science/Engineering Career Conference in Albuquerque. NM Network achieved formal 501(c)3 status as an educational organization shortly thereafter.

In 1982, NM Network teamed up with the national Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) Network, an organization dedicated to inspiring girls to recognize their potential and pursue opportunities in STEM fields. EYH conferences, which centered on hands-on activities and engaging girls with female STEM role models, were NMNWSE’s focus for many years. Programs were first offered in Albuquerque and eventually state-wide, branching out to Los Alamos, Las Cruces, Silver City, Santa Fe and Carlsbad. NMNWSE was pivotal in sustaining the New Mexico EYH sites, providing support for close to 150 Expanding Your Horizons STEM Conferences in New Mexico. NM Network members have helped provide gateway experiences in STEM to more than 25,000 girls and young women in grades 5 through 12 from hundreds of schools across the state. More than 50 percent of these students are from underrepresented minority groups. 

By the 1980s, NMNWSE had added annual technical symposia to allow opportunities for our members and students to present technical papers in a supportive environment, in concert with our Annual Membership Meeting, NMNWSE has hosted more than 30 technical symposia, bringing together hundreds of women in science and engineering careers and those who support them. These meetings are held each fall at locations throughout the state of New Mexico, including the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, Valles Caldera National Preserve, the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, Silver City, Truth or Consequences, Clayton and Glorieta.  

In the 1980s, NM Network members coalesced into local groups or chapters, with the Northern Chapter primarily in Los Alamos and Santa Fe; Central Chapter members from the Albuquerque Metro area; and the Southern Chapter comprised of members from Las Cruces, White Sands Missile Range and Silver City. These chapters are now primarily engaged in STEM Outreach Conferences. 

In 2007, NMNWSE, in collaboration with the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women, established the IMPACT! Award to recognize a New Mexico woman for her extraordinary efforts to encourage and help women enter into and succeed in STEM fields and for her professional achievements. 

New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering continues its 40+-year vision of active engagement by New Mexico women in STEM and supporting women’s success in science and engineering careers. As the needs of New Mexican women entering and working in technical fields change, we will continue to evolve to meet those needs.

Our Sponsors

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

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