US Army Corps of Engineers
Albuquerque District

Area students get hands on experience in STEM education at Science Olympiad

public affairs
Published Feb. 17, 2017
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Steven Johnson and Brianna Ulibarri, both with the Albuquerque Area Homeschoolers, watch their plane as it flies around the gymnasium during the Wright Stuff event, Jan. 28, 2017.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Steven Johnson and Brianna Ulibarri, both with the Albuquerque Area Homeschoolers, watch their plane as it flies around the gymnasium during the Wright Stuff event, Jan. 28, 2017.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Cottonwood Classical Prep School student Liza Cardinale prepares to launch her plane during the Wright Stuff event at the 2017 Central New Mexico Science Olympiad, Jan. 28.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Cottonwood Classical Prep School student Liza Cardinale prepares to launch her plane during the Wright Stuff event at the 2017 Central New Mexico Science Olympiad, Jan. 28.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Wright Stuff event judge Reginald Bourgeois, right, gives last minute instructions to Cottonwood Classical Prep School student Ty Webster, before he launches his plane, Jan. 28, 2017.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Wright Stuff event judge Reginald Bourgeois, right, gives last minute instructions to Cottonwood Classical Prep School student Ty Webster, before he launches his plane, Jan. 28, 2017.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Steven Johnson and Brianna Ulibarri, both with the Albuquerque Area Homeschoolers, make a final check of their plane before competing in the Wright Stuff event at the 2017 Central New Mexico Science Olympiad, Jan. 28, 2017.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Steven Johnson and Brianna Ulibarri, both with the Albuquerque Area Homeschoolers, make a final check of their plane before competing in the Wright Stuff event at the 2017 Central New Mexico Science Olympiad, Jan. 28, 2017.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Brianna Ulibarri, with the Albuquerque Area Homeschoolers, measures her plane to ensure it qualifies for the Wright Stuff event, Jan. 28, 2017.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Brianna Ulibarri, with the Albuquerque Area Homeschoolers, measures her plane to ensure it qualifies for the Wright Stuff event, Jan. 28, 2017.

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.