AFRL hosts STEMY Awards

A fast moving snow storm early Friday evening on Feb. 22nd seemed only to heighten the excitement of the Air Force Research Lab’s Tech Engagement Office sponsored STEMY awards.

That evening the winners of the Second Annual 2019 Excellence in STEM awards otherwise known as STEMYS were honored at a banquet held at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The awards recognized those students, teachers, volunteers and other New Mexicans doing extraordinary work in science, technology, engineering and math education.

“We had a great evening recognizing our amazing STEMY award winners,” said Matt Fetrow, Director of the AFRL Tech Engagement Office. “The interest and support from across New Mexico in growing the state’s STEM program is remarkable. The Air Force Research Laboratory is proud to be a partner with many others in the community in working to make that happen.”

“It is our hope that through events such as this others will join in and our youth will choose STEM related education and career paths,” said Fetrow.

$16,000 in cash awards were given out from the sponsors that supported the event. Each of the 13 awardees was presented a trophy inscribed with their achievement and individual winners also received cash awards. The 2019 STEMY award winners were:

  • Student Kindergarten – 8th grade – Isabella Lundhal and Grant Staten both of Desert Ridge Middle School who tied, Albuquerque
  • Student 9th – 12th grade – Sky Harper, Navajo Prep, Farmington
  • Elementary Teacher – Cecilia Lujan-Pincomb, Monte Vista Elementary, Las Cruces
  • Middle School Teacher – Ashley Stroud, Berrendo Middle School, Roswell
  • High School Teacher – Alan Daugherty, Melrose High School, Melrose
  • Advisor/Coach – Dr. Shelly Gruenig, N.M. statewide
  • School Kindergarten – 8th grade – St. Mary’s Catholic School, Belen
  • School 9th – 12th grade – Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos
  • Higher Education Program – Northern New Mexico College, Espanola
  • Non-Profit – American Association of University Women Tech Trek NM – N. M. statewide
  • Business – Navajo Transitional Energy Company, Farmington
  • Lifetime Achievement – Dr. Len Duda, Albuquerque

The guests were entertained by Dr. Arthur Benjamin “Mathemagician” who gave a keynote address and science demonstrations. Benjamin performed several mathematical feats such as rapidly squaring numbers with up to five digits and correctly identifying the day of the week on which audience members were born based on their birth dates.

Eddie Garcia, KOB-TV Meteorologist, emceed the awards presentation that showed videos narrated by Garcia of each of the awardees in their STEM environment. Recognized as the Kindergarten through 8th Grade winner, St. Mary’s Catholic School video showed the students making a 3-D print cobalt blue chalice.

“AFRL is grateful to all of our STEMY award sponsors who also strongly believe in growing the New Mexico STEM outreach program,” said Fetrow. “We would like to especially recognize Deloitte, New Mexico Tech, Bernalillo County, and ATA Aerospace for their generous contributions in making this year’s STEMY event a huge success. Our guests and honorees numbered over 400 this year, more than tripling our response from 2018.”

Friday night’s STEMY event was a prelude to Super STEM Saturday the following day, which also took place at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Over 65 hands-on experiments and demonstrations from exhibitors throughout the state were available to a crowd of over 4,000 attendees. “We were overwhelmed at the community’s response to Super STEM Saturday as well as our STEMY awards event – it was astounding and once again proves the passionate interest of Albuquerque and communities across the state in promoting STEM to our children,” said Fetrow.