Udall, Heinrich Announce Over $18.6 Million for STEM Education at Hispanic-Serving NM Universities

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that five New Mexico universities will receive more than $18.6 million to support Hispanic and low-income students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The University of New Mexico Valencia Branch Campus, New Mexico Highlands University, Eastern New Mexico University–Roswell, New Mexico State University–Carlsbad, and Eastern New Mexico University-main campus will receive grants through the U.S. Department of Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM Program. The schools will receive $3.7 million in total funding this year, and it is anticipated that each grant will be renewed for the next four years, for a total of $18.6 million over the next five years.

Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories expect to hire about 5,000 people in the next five years, and Udall and Heinrich have emphasized the importance of filling those vacancies with New Mexico applicants, and building a pipeline from New Mexico universities to the labs that ensures students are prepared for these positions.

"This funding will help our universities across the state strengthen their STEM programs and services, and attract more students to pursue their degrees in STEM fields," said Udall, a longtime advocate for investing in STEM education opportunities and curricula in New Mexico. "Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories are expected to hire about 5,000 people over this next five years, and this five-year investment in STEM education will help ensure that more Hispanic and low-income students graduate well-prepared to land good jobs at our labs or one of our state's growing high-tech businesses. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I'll continue fighting for resources to strengthen education programs that prepare New Mexico’s students to compete in the global economy and help develop our state's next generation of leaders." 

"With thousands of jobs opening up at Los Alamos and Sandia over the next five years, we need to make sure we’re leveraging every resource to prepare New Mexico students to fill them. By investing in Hispanic-Serving Institutions and supporting students to excel in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, we will create a new generation of innovators that graduate ready for these in-demand, high-tech jobs," said Heinrich, who convened a roundtable recently with university and college presidents and representatives from LANL to discuss increasing job training opportunities. "Encouraging scientific discovery and technological innovation will benefit our students and the nation’s future as we tackle the significant challenges of the 21st century . I will continue to work with New Mexico's national laboratories and Hispanic-Serving Institutions to create partnerships and job training opportunities so that students from all backgrounds see the opportunities the STEM fields have to offer."

Hispanic-Serving Institution STEM grants are intended to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students attaining degrees in STEM fields, and to promote coordination between two-year and four-year institutions. Awarded funding may be used for improving academic STEM programs, developing research opportunities for students in STEM fields, providing or improving student services, encouraging secondary students to pursue STEM degrees and careers, and improving STEM facilities and equipment. 

The following are awarded grants by university, anticipated to be renewed at the level indicated for a total of five years: 

University of New Mexico Valencia Branch Campus: $1,092,572

New Mexico Highlands University: $555,884

Eastern New Mexico University–Roswell: $764,564

New Mexico State University–Carlsbad: $911,854

Eastern New Mexico University–main campus: $413,088

Udall and Heinrich both cosponsored the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Resolution to designate a week recognizing the achievements and goals of the many Hispanic-Serving Institutions in New Mexico and the nation.