UNM STEM-H Center for Outreach, Research & Education

The UNM STEM-H Center advances STEM-H teaching and learning through outreach, research and education activities.

Office of Research/Government Relations, University of New Mexico
Established: 1959


Profile submitted by Karen Kinsman, MS

Vision and Goals

  • We are a recognized leader in the STEM-H teaching & learning community in New Mexico and beyond.
  • We serve as the coordinating body for University of New Mexico STEM-H education activities in order to support the University community in its efforts to collectively reach key system-wide STEM-H education goals including significantly increasing the recruitment, retention, and graduation of STEM-H majors.
  • We provide a comprehensive center for STEM-H education resources, outreach programs, and support services.
  • We are a hub for STEM-H teaching and learning best practices and innovation.
  • We facilitate the cultivation and support of strategic STEM-H education focused collaborations/ partnerships.

Center/Program Structure

The UNM STEM-H Center for Outreach, Research & Education is an independent unit operating currently under the UNM Health Sciences Center Office for Diversity. Internal and external collaboration and partnership is expected on an ongoing basis as is the cultivation of strategic STEM-H collaborations/partnerships internally & externally outside the Center. The STEM-H Center is run by administrators/staff with an external Advisory Board that has existed for many years (key stakeholders as members). Currently, we operate with a full time Director, a full time Program Specialist, a part-time Administrative Assistant 3, a part-time Graduate Assistant, on-call events staff, and have temporary funding for a specific statewide project requiring a part-time Programmer/Analyst.

Description of Programming

Our largest outreach programs which have been in existence longest are the Central NM Science & Engineering Research Challenge which is an Intel ISEF Affiliated Fair and the Central NM Science Olympiad. Central NM SERC is the largest middle/high school "science fair" in New Mexico hosting 500-600 students annually. Central NM Science Olympiad draws 400-500 students on 25-30 school teams. In addition, STEM-H Center manages the SW Region Junior Science & Humanities Symposium competition for high school students.

We also offer a strong STEM-H Educator Professional Development Series in the fall which currently focuses on implementation of inquiry-based student research projects into the classroom/school and includes Project Management for STEM-H Educators and a series on Ethics & Safety in Student Research. We are in the process of expanding the STEM Educator PD to become a year-round effort of both content and pedagogical offerings. Several of our face-to-face workshops are being converted into online courses which will be available free of charge to any educator (and some to students as well) via the NM STEM-H Connection statewide website (http://www.nmstemh.org).

The STEM-H Center offers a small resource center/lending library with equipment (LabQuest 2 Science Department Sets, iPad Mini's, microscopes w/ digital cameras, hand held GPS, multimeters, etc.) and curriculum materials (Vernier lesson plan manuals, etc.) that can be signed out on a short term basis free of charge to teachers, students, parents, community groups, informal STEM education providers, etc.

We work predominantly with the K-12 education community reaching many thousands of students, teachers, and family members throughout the year. Our main audience tends to be middle/high school right now. We are also working with UNM STEM faculty as requested to assist in the development of the outreach components of their research grant applications to ensure the broadest impacts and meaningful, data-driven implementation.

Successes and Impacts

The Central NM Science & Engineering Research Challenge which has been in place since 1959 has served tens of thousands of students, teachers, and families over the years. Our student participants have done exceptionally well at state and international competitions and our program has garnered a fantastic reputation in the community. Though we have probably not documented our successes as effectively as we could have, we do have annual reports, participation data, and publish results yearly via an annual report. We are working to determine how best to track our participants in the future, though this is an ongoing challenge.

Elements Contributing to Success

  • Location on campus.
  • Administrative support for the expansion of our organization to become the STEM-H Center.
  • Funding to develop the statewide STEM-H Education website as part of a statewide workgroup (NM STEM-H Connection).
  • Long history and excellent reputation built from existing programs...especially the Research Challenge.
  • Director's ability to develop strategic connections within and outside UNM to further the Center's mission.

Supplemental Materials

NM STEM-H Connection Website


UNM STEM-H Center for Outreach, Research & Education Website

NOTE: As of October 1, 2015, this website is in transition and being redesigned in a new platform. The new site should be operational sometime in 2016. The current (old) site will be active until the new site is complete, but may not contain completely updated information.