The University of New Mexico offers free events for students considering majors in science, technology, engineering and math, called the STEM program.

These events, part of the STEM University summer program are free and designed to help students explore different STEM degrees and career possibilities.

STEM University is a collection of free activities designed to help students connect with STEM research, scientists, technologies and leadership.

STEM Summer Schedule

Light it Up! Solar and LED Tech (Free full-day workshop)
Registration deadline: June 3; Start date – Thursday, June 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Solar and LED technologies are lighting the way for a sustainable planet. Participants will explore the science, implications and applications of solar energy and LED light sources.  Together, they will utilize spectrometers, prisms, solar panels, micro-inverters and wafers to better understand the potential and limitations of these exciting technologies.


Exploring Careers in the Health Professions (Free multiple day event)
Registration deadline: June 6; Start date: Mondays and Wednesdays in June and July, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Considering a career in the health professions? Thinking about being a doctor but not quite sure if that's the right fit? Attend these short, 8 sessions to learn about opportunities available in various health professions and program admission requirements at UNM. Each session will feature speakers from a different health sciences program as well as a student panel. 

STEM Space

Launchpad New Mexico: Tour Spaceport America-Home of Virgin Galactic (Free full-day trip)
Registration deadline: June 10; Start date: Tuesday, June 21

Students will learn about the latest technology within the space industry and be given an up-close look at the world's first commercial spaceport located in southern New Mexico. The tour includes

  • access to hands-on, interactive space exhibits;
  • experiencing the G-Shock simulator that subjects the would-be astronaut to rapid acceleration comparable to what an actual astronaut might feel in flight;
  • interaction with crewmembers in the Spaceport Operations Center (SOC); and
  • a look at a state-of-the-art fire station and the iconic URS/Foster + Partners structure, Gateway to Space terminal/hangar. Students will be given an opportunity to take a photo in front of the hangar.

Departure Podcast: Episode #2 Gender and Identity (Free multiple day project)
Registration deadline: June 10; Start date: June 13 - July 30

Departure is a podcast that juxtaposes science with art.  It is an exploration of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). For the departure project students will interview local scientists, professionals, and artists. The podcast will showcase innovation occurring regionally and at the University of New Mexico. The podcast will also showcase local Albuquerque music. This project will culminate in a release party at City Lab. 

The podcast will look into the topic of gender and identity. What is gender? How does gender affect the way individuals identify themselves in the world? What is the science behind gender? How do artists deal with gender? 

Field Parasitology and Museums: A Day in the Life of a Parasite (Free full-day project and trip)
Registration deadline: June 13; Start date: June 24, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This event explores the diverse ecosystems of land, water, plants and animals and exposes students to the unseen diversity of parasites. Parasites have evolved independently in numerous animal (and plant) lineages, and now make up a considerable proportion of the biodiversity of life. Students will gain field and laboratory experience by collecting snails at the Rio Grande Nature Center and examining, processing and cataloging the sample parasites into the Museum of Southwestern Biology’s Division of Parasites for preservation and for future work. Students will be provided a field book for note taking.

Through this event, students will learn about one group of parasites, their hosts, their environment and how they persist over time. They will also learn how to collect them in the field, find them in the lab, identify them and process them for future study as a museum specimen. The laboratory experience will broaden students’ knowledge and understanding about the ecosystem from which the snails were collected – what arthropods, mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and frogs are present even if they are not seen. 

STEM Chaco

Science and Serendipity: The Recovery of Cacao in Chaco Canyon (Free workshop)
Registration deadline: June 22; Start date: June 22, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Interested in Southwestern archeology or anthropology? Curious about the scientific method or chocolate? Hear a research talk from Dr. Patricia Crown, UNM's Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, and a hands-on seriation exercise.

The recent recovery of cacao residues in ceramics from Chaco Canyon came about because of a combination of scientific breakthroughs and serendipitous events. This research talk explores the recovery of cacao in Chaco Canyon and the connection to the Chacoan cylinder jars. It discusses why Chacoans might have consumed chocolate drinks and what this might mean for our understanding of Southwest-Mesoamerican interaction.

Stick around after the talk for hands-on practice conducting a seriation exercise, which is a method archeologists use to determine the date of recovered artifacts. During this activity, participants will learn how to use the number of particular cacao artifacts to generate curves that indicate the artifacts' time period of origin. This is a great introduction to archeological practices in the lab, especially for those who have not taken an intro anthropology class yet.

Cyanotype Workshop : Science and Photography (Free full-day project and trip)
Registration deadline: June 23; Start date: June 24, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cyanotye is a photographic alternative photographic process known for it's vibrant cyan coloration. The process was invented in 1842 by John Hersheal, an astronomer who wanted to use the process to copy his notes. The process was than popularized by Anna Atkins who used the cyanotype to document plants. Cyanotypes use light sensitive salts instead of silver to produce an image and are sometimes referred to as blue prints. The process is still used today often in photographic proofing, while modern transparencies have made a old process contemporary.

Michael Gomez will guide students through the Cyanotryping process. This workshop will provide students with a background in the chemistry involved with the photographic process as well as an understanding and appreciation for the medium. 

Tintype Workshop : Photography and Science (Free full-day project)
Registration deadline: June 23; Start date: June 25 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tintype is a photographic process imploring a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal. The process dates back to the 1850's. Tintype made photography more assessable to the general public by being much quicker and easier to use than the Daguerreotype. Tintype cleared the way for street photography and was the primary tool used to document the American Civil War. 

Aziza Murray will be teaching the workshop. Murray is a recent graduate of UNM's MFA photography program, and creates Tintypes from her Instagram feed. 

STEM Health

Proactive Planning: Applying for a Program in the Health Professions (Free multiple day workshop)
Registration deadline: July 1; Start date: Mondays and Wednesdays in July 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Convinced that a career in the health professions is right for you? Thinking about applying to health sciences programs such as med school, nursing, medical lab sciences, pharmacy, physical therapy, or occupational therapy?

The application process for degree programs in the health professions are very different than applying for other kinds of work. Besides a strong academic record, many programs are also looking for evidence that you, the applicant, understand both the nature of the work and your suitability for it. This is something that an applicant can begin to demonstrate by accruing a variety of work, volunteer, and other life experiences.  But you must also be able to talk about your experiences insightfully.

Creating a strong application can take months to years of preparation.  Join STEM for a series of sessions designed to help you understand both the process and the skills that you need to develop in order to maximize your chances of success.

This session is great for first and second year students. 

Cutting Edge Sustainability: UNM At Los Alamos (Free full-day trip)
Registration deadline: July 4; Start date: July 15, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At the New Mexico Consortium Lab in Los Alamos, UNM researchers are exploring new technologies to shape a better world.  Included in their research: sustainable energy production through biofuels, global food security, climate change, bio-analytical techniques, novel materials and exascale computing.

Join us as STEM tours the Bio Lab and the PRObE Computing Center to learn more about their exciting research. Transportation and lunch will be provided free.

Drones and 3D: Filming a Colorado Ghost Town (Free multiple day project and trip)
Registration deadline: July 18; Start date: July 27, 28, 29 and 30

This event explores ways to take virtual reality beyond video games. Students will learn the basic skills of connecting 360-degree camera systems and quadcopter drones to produce a short 3D video that provides an immersive experience to viewers. This event includes a 1-day field trip to fly quadcopter drones, equipped with a 360-degree camera, to capture aerial views in Animas Forks, Colorado (ghost town). 

Students will participate in 4 sessions with the first 3 sessions focused on strengthening understanding of the technology behind quadcopter drones and optical sensors for 3D imaging using Google Cardboard glasses. Session 4 will be a trip to Animas Forks, Colorado. Students are required to attend all sessions.

Santa Fe STEM + Art Trip To Meow Wolf (Free full-day trip)
Registration deadline: July 21; Start date: July 22

Take a trip with to Santa Fe to experience interesting STEAM (STEM+Art) projects happening in New Mexico. Start the day at the exhibition the Mouse In The Machine at the Thoma Foundation and then go to the immersive Meow Wolf exhibit to experience the ways in which art can blend with STEM. STEM also be taking a tour of the makers space at Meow Wolf where students will get to see the tools which have made their exhibition possible. Transportation will be provided.

STEM Summer events are great for first- and second-year students who are interested in exploring different STEM disciplines or learning more about research and emerging technologies.

For more information visit the STEM Collaborative Center or call (505) 277-0878.