IMG_9788
UNM STEAM-H student participants from across New Mexico explore careers in the science, technology, engineering, arts, math and health fields. Photo courtesy: UNM Health Sciences Center Office for Diversity.

Science, technology, engineering, arts, math and health – STEAM-H – took center stage last weekend as more than 1,000 middle and high school students flocked to the University of New Mexico for a free event showcasing potential careers in these fields.

The Second Annual STEAM-H Career Exploration Extravaganza, held June 10-12 on the UNM campus, included simulation-based training on full-body mannequins, disaster preparedness experiences, motivational speakers, artists and hands-on activities to help students understand the latest technologies being used to further innovation and creativity. Other event highlights included robotics, raffle prizes, community and statewide STEM resource guides, nutrition and physical health education.

This year's extravaganza was coordinated by the UNM Health Sciences Center Office for Diversity, with partipation by Sandia National Laboratories, TriCore Reference Laboratories, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Raytheon Co., the Explora Museum, the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, Engineering for Kids and others.

Students engaged in hands-on learning and play activities to enrich their opportunities for identifying potential career pathways as scientists and health professionals. Food, lodging and transportation from outlying locations throughout the state were provided to ensure that resources were not a barrier to participation.

Teachers, parents, community leaders, educators, constituents and other adults who accompanied students groups from around New Mexico participated in a STEAM-H Community Learning Academy, an all-day program designed to advance STEAM-H programming through community assets and collaborations.

The academy featured STEAM-H-focused workshops, guest speakers in STEAM-H fields of study and activities meant to forge regional hubs of excellence and support networks for early and continuous high-quality exposure to STEAM-H curricula, careers and initiatives.

“This event embodies what lies at the core of our outreach,” said Valerie Romero-Leggott, MD, vice chancellor for diversity at the UNM Health Sciences Center. “Promoting inclusivity and diversity is achieved in part by exposing students from across New Mexico to opportunities within the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, math and health. We hope each participant left with a revitalized excitement about their potential.”