By Elizabeth Lockyear
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Six teams comprised of two students each representing area middle and high schools competed in the Wright Stuff event during the 2017 Central New Mexico Science Olympiad at the University of New Mexico, Jan. 28, 2017.
Albuquerque District employee Reginald Bourgeois, head of the District’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) outreach program, was one of the judges for the event named for Orville and Wilbur Wright who designed and built the first successful airplane in the early 1900s. District employees have been involved with the Science Olympiad as judges and volunteers since 2013.
“As far as the Corps is concerned, we’re building for the future. The folks will remember these events and hopefully one day we’ll grab an engineer or two from the group here,” said Bourgeois.
The Wright Stuff was one of several events from many different disciplines such as genetics, earth science, chemistry, physics, and mechanical engineering.
Before the event, the students designed and built small planes powered by propellers that met specific weight and size guidelines. At the Science Olympiad, the students demonstrated how well their planes could fly; the longer they stayed in the air, the better the team did in the competition.
In this year’s Wright Stuff event, the Albuquerque Area Homeschoolers team finished first with a flight of more than one minute, followed by the Cottonwood Classical Prep. School team.
The Science Olympiad, a yearly event held in each state across the nation, brings together middle and high school students interested in pursuing opportunities or careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
STEM has a special place in the Corps of Engineers. Employees in STEM fields account for close to half of the Corps’ employees and six of the Corps’ nine mission-critical occupations are STEM-related.
The New Mexico Science Olympiad began in 1987 and is hosted each year by New Mexico Tech in Socorro, N.M. This academic interscholastic competition consists of over 32 individual and team events for which students prepare during the school year. Thousands of New Mexico students participate each year. The 2017 New Mexico Science Olympiad state tournament will take place Feb. 25.