UNM & Air Force Research Laboratory Mentoring Program

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What is the UNM & AFRL Mentoring Program?

The UNM & AFRL Mentoring Program helps UNM STEM undergraduate students build a supportive relationship with an Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) scientist or engineer. Students in the program are matched with an AFRL mentor and the two of them collaborate on various informal activities to enhance their educational and career experiences.

More information about the UNM & AFRL Mentoring Program can be found in the AFRL Mentoring Program Handbook.

What is the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)?

The AFRL's mission is leading the discovery, development, and integration of warfighting technologies for United States' air, space and cyberspace forces. Two of AFRL's eight Technology Directorates have headquarters on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM: Directed Energy and Space Vehicles.

The Directed Energy Directorate focuses on four core technical competencies: Lasers Systems, High Power Electromagnetics, Weapons Modeling and Simulation, and Directed Energy and Electro-Optics for Space Superiority. Scientists in this Directorate typically have educational backgrounds in physics, engineering (aeronautical, electrical, computer, mechanical, controls, optical), computer science, mathematics, chemistry, and astrophysics.

The Space Vehicles Directorate's foci include Space-Based Surveillance (space to space and space to ground), Space Capability Protection (protecting space assets from man-made and natural effects), and other defense-related programs such as space power, space environmental effects, and satellite flight experiments. Scientists in this Directorate typically have educational backgrounds similar to that of the Directed Energy Directorate with more emphasis on chemistry and mechanical engineering.

More information at http://www.wpafb.af.mil/AFRL/

How do I register for the program?

The Spring 2017 application cycle is closed. Check back in August 2017 for the new call for UNM students and AFRL mentors. AFRL personnel can email Tara Hackel at tshackel@unm.edu to indicate that they want to receive the “call for mentors” email in Fall 2017.

What are the program's student eligibility requirements?

Any currently enrolled UNM undergraduate student who is also a United States’ citizen can participate in the program. Students do not need to produce proof of citizenship for the Mentoring Program. Proof of U.S. citizenship is only necessary if the student wishes to visit AFRL. However, students should know that not possessing proof of U.S. citizenship may limit their options for visitation with their mentor.

How long is the program?

Mentors and mentees meet for 1-3 hours a week over a semester-long period.

What kinds of activities will I do with my mentor?

The world is your oyster! The STEM Collaborative Center sponsors three activities: an introductory mixer, a tour of AFRL research laboratories, and an end of program celebration. All other meeting times and activities are picked by the mentors and mentees. More details on the schedule are below.

Spring 2017 Schedule

Registration Deadlines
Mentor and mentee interest forms are due by January 30th, 2017. (links to the forms are at the top of this page)

Match Introductions
If you are matched with a mentor/mentee, introductions are provided by email. If you are not matched with a mentor/mentee, you will be notified by the email. Pending unanticipated circumstances, these notifications will be sent on Friday, February 3rd, 2017.

Student Orientation Session (all mentees)
Students are required to attend an orientation session or otherwise meet with STCC program staff within one month of being introduced to their mentor. If you cannot attend the orientation session, email Tara Hackel at tshackel@unm.edu to schedule an appointment.

Orientation Session: Wednesday, February 8th, 3:30-4:00 p.m.
Location: STEM Collaborative Center (STCC) Offices

Introductory Mixer (all mentors and mentees)
Wednesday, February 8th - Drop in any time between 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Location: STEM Collaborative Center (STCC) Offices
Light refreshments will be served

STCC is located on UNM’s Main campus in Room 211 of the Education Classroom Building, which is north of the SUB and north of the tan fountain. Our doors are signed as “STEM Collaborative.”
UNM Campus Map (bldg. 67)
Directions to the STCC

AFRL Tour (open to UNM undergraduates)
The Spring 2017 tour will be held on March 29, 2017. Sign up for the tour and learn more here.

Students need to provide official documentation of citizenship for security check ahead of time. Details on this process forthcoming.

End of Program Celebration (open to all UNM and AFRL)
Take a break from studying for finals and let us celebrate all of your hard work in the mentoring program. This mixer is open to the entire UNM and AFRL communities. So, invite a friend! This is a great opportunity for those thinking about joining the program to meet past mentors/mentees, and to otherwise learn more about the program.

Mixer: Thursday, April 27th, 2017. Drop in any time between 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Location: STEM Collaborative Center (STCC) Offices
Light refreshments will be served

What documents are required if I want to visit AFRL?

The Air Force Research Laboratory is located on Kirtland Air Force Base and is considered federal property. Any student interested in visiting AFRL with the STEM Collaborative must produce proof of U.S. citizenship at least one month prior to the scheduled visit. Further directions regarding base access are provided closer to the scheduled tour dates.

Who should I contact if I have questions or concerns?

For more information, contact Tara Hackel at tshackel@unm.edu.