New Funding Allows for Expansion of K–12 STEM Education, Teacher Growth and LANL Scholars Programs
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Foundation’s mission to “inspire excellence in education and learning in Northern New Mexico through innovative programming, collaboration and advocacy” has received a major boost with a $599,600 grant from Los Alamos National Laboratory operator, Triad National Security, LLC.
“The investment by Triad in education in the region allows LANL Foundation to help teachers achieve certifications that strengthen their practice and increase their pay, to increase academic success for more college students, and to grow a STEM ecosystem in Northern New Mexico that improves STEM education, collaboration and job opportunities,” said Jenny Parks, LANL Foundation president and CEO. “We are thrilled to be entrusted with this partnership with Triad and will work hard to make positive change for our students and their families.”
With the grant, a comprehensive status report on challenges, gaps and opportunities in the teaching profession is being conducted. In the interest of growing and retaining local teachers, LANL Foundation is funding National Board Certification for Teachers (NBCT) in Northern New Mexico school districts and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Certification for classroom paraprofessionals and educational assistants. Career and Technical Education (CTE) Certification needs and teacher training options are also being researched for possible support.
Above: Melisha Martinez, TESOL certification candidate, builds skills to better serving dual-language students at La Tierra Montessori School. Read feature story »
The Foundation is assessing and filling gaps in the LANL Scholars program, increasing scholarship funding for applicants with financial need, as well as initiating a pilot program to provide on-campus and online support services for LANL Scholars throughout their college careers.
Above: LANL Scholar, Caitlyn Cruz, creates sustainable environmental change for her community. Read feature story »
Work to increase interest and opportunities in STEM involves the creation of a Northern New Mexico STEM Hub to boost collaboration among local and statewide programs, inclusion in the national STEMx™ Network, career pathway mapping, funding for high schools teams to participate in the New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge, and grant funding for high-impact STEM programs in the region.
Above: Coronado High School STEM Challenge team conducts research along the Rio Chama and works to engineer a real-time aquatic detection system. Read feature story »
University of California (UC) President Janet Napolitano made the Triad grant announcement at a community event on September 12. UC is a partner in the Triad consortium, along with Texas A&M University and Battelle Memorial Institute.
“Throughout our long affiliation with Los Alamos, the University of California and our partners have always recognized the importance of giving back to the communities surrounding the lab. After all, vibrant, thriving and resilient communities and workers are essential to the lab’s future work and success,” Napolitano said at the event.
The grant was one of two announced during the event as part of Triad's Community Commitment Plan, which leverages direct community investments in education, economic diversity and philanthropic giving. The Regional Development Corporation (RDC) also received $200,000 to support workforce development at six regional colleges and universities in Northern New Mexico.
“The LANL Foundation has provided robust education and learning opportunities in Northern New Mexico for more than 20 years,” Napolitano said. “Their focus on expanding K–12 STEM education, building the leadership and capacity of local teachers, advocating for excellence in schools and supporting college access for New Mexico students remains a vital asset to this community.”
Los Alamos National Laboratory Director and Triad President Thom Mason explained that Triad’s Community Commitment Plan builds on the positive impact in the region that comes from the Laboratory’s support for education and economic development projects, and from its own procurement and hiring
“There are some things that we can’t do with federal funds, and these contributions are part of our Community Commitment Plan. As Triad, as the contractor that manages the lab. It’s a corporate commitment to do some of the things you can’t do with federal funds, and that includes things like the Scholarship Program that the LANL Foundation runs, and the RDC activities on workforce development. They’re tied to diversifying the regional economy and, in some cases, may be supporting things that are kind of outside the areas where the lab is working, so we can’t use our federal funds for that. But as a corporate citizen in the community, Triad can use our corporate resources in a philanthropic mode to help round out the story.”
New Mexico Lt. Gov. Howie Morales spoke on behalf of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham at the event.
“The Regional Development Corporation and the LANL Foundation have long been champions for building stronger communities right here in Northern New Mexico. For that we are grateful,” Morales said. “As key partners in educational development with LANL, I believe that today’s financial commitments to bolster these community outreach activities will yield real success, not only with student achievement, but, more importantly, with student engagement.”