On Friday-Saturday, March 15-16, nearly 500 middle and high school students will exhibit their science fair projects and compete for nearly $50,000 in prizes and scholarships at the 53rd Annual Central New Mexico Science & Engineering Research Challenge at Johnson Center at the University of New Mexico.

"This event provides UNM a great opportunity to showcase the University, recruit from a pool of excellent future student candidates, and promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in the state of New Mexico," said Karen Kinsman, director, Central NM Science & Engineering Research Challenge, an outreach programs managed under the UNM STEM Center for Outreach, Research & Education (STEM‐CORE).

The Public Open House takes place Friday, March 15, from 4 to 6 p.m.

The Grand Awards Ceremony is set for Saturday, March 16, from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Union Building Ballroom on UNM's main campus.

Special Event at Grand Awards – There will also be a public signing ceremony for a new Memorandum of Agreement making official a partnership/collaboration between the University of New Mexico and the US Army Corps of Engineers – Albuquerque District. Leaders from both organizations will be in attendance to sign the agreement.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to see the positive side of New Mexico's youth, encourage younger children to participate in science, math, engineering, and/or technology education, and celebrate the efforts the participants have put forth in order to be part of the Central NM Science & Engineering Research Challenge," Kinsman said.

This year, the programs' institutional sponsor is UNM Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. Other UNM support comes from the School of Engineering, Health Sciences Center and Communications & Marketing. Major private donors/sponsors include NAIOP‐NM, Lockheed Martin ‐ Sandia National Labs, PNM Resources, Albuquerque Journal, Lavu Inc., NM 529 Plan, NM Biomechanical & Biomedical Association, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems and SAIC, along with a large number of student/teacher awards donors.

For more information, call the STEMCORE office at (505) 277‐4916 or email, kkinsman@unm.edu.