ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Sixteen high school level teams from area schools, including the winning team of home-schooled students, participated in the Wright Stuff event at the 2016 Central New Mexico Science Olympiad at the University of New Mexico, Jan. 30.
Albuquerque District employee Reginald Bourgeois, head of the District’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) outreach program, judged 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.
Each team consisted of two or three students. Before the Science Olympiad, the students designed and built small planes powered by propellers that met specific weight and size guidelines. At the event, they demonstrated how well their planes could fly; the longer they stayed in the air, the better the team did in the competition.
“This is the essence of engineering: have a problem, design the answer, build your answer inside constraints, test your answer and then test your answer before others,” Bourgeois said, describing the event.
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.
In 2013, the District signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the University of New Mexico. Each organization pledged to work together to enhance opportunities in STEM education and career paths - especially for minorities and women.
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 2016 New Mexico Science Olympiad state tournament will take place Feb. 20.