Heinrich Hosts NSF Director In Rio Arriba County, Highlights STEM Education And Community Empowerment Programs

(PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) with National Science Foundation Director Dr. France A. Córdova and Northern New Mexico College staff and students. August 22, 2016)

SANTA FE, N.M. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) was in Rio Arriba County today with National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Dr. France A. Córdova to promote educational investments in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and highlight training programs to prepare students for New Mexico's high-tech job industry.

Senator Heinrich and Director Córdova toured Northern New Mexico College to meet with students who participate in programs made possible by NSF investments, including a new award of nearly 1 million dollars to provide scholarships to students studying Biology and Environmental Science. Northern New Mexico College recently applied for NSF’s Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) program. INCLUDES supports efforts to develop STEM talent from traditionally underrepresented and underserved groups in STEM, including women, members of racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, and persons with low socio-economic status.

"New Mexico has immense talent and NSF dollars are helping our students access programs that develop their STEM skills,” said Sen. Heinrich. “It's important that students from all backgrounds see the opportunities the STEM fields have to offer. It was a pleasure to see the innovative work that these students are engaged in and their commitment to study STEM. I am proud to support this investment and cosponsor legislation to increase the number of women and minorities entering the STEM fields. By helping prepare students for New Mexico's lucrative high-tech job industry we can continue to create pathways toward a more diverse future generation of innovators."

“The work that we’re seeing in New Mexico demonstrates exactly the kind of capacity-building in STEM that NSF is committed to supporting,” said NSF Director France Córdova. “I’m proud to see dedicated NSF-funded researchers and educators providing not just top-notch STEM education, but the types of experiences that can lead students of all ages to careers in science and engineering. Importantly, these NSF award recipients are bringing scholarships, education programs and other resources to communities traditionally under-served in STEM.”

Senator Heinrich and Director Córdova also met with the Española YMCA Teen Center robotics team at Española Valley High School, viewed the robots in action, and encouraged students to continue in their study of STEM. In addition, they spoke with students about the Rio Arriba Community Empowerment Program at Española Valley High School. Project RACE helps at-risk youth develop professional skills and be successful adults. 

Senator Heinrich has consistently fought to increase NSF investments. He is also an original cosponsor of the Women and Minorities in STEM Booster Act, a bill to increase the number of women and minorities entering the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.