UNM STEM Mentoring Program

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What is the UNM STEM Mentoring Program?

The UNM STEM Mentoring Program helps UNM STEM undergraduate students build a supportive relationship with a scientist or engineer from Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) or Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). 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/

What is the Sandia National Laboratories?

Sandia’s mission is developing advanced technologies to ensure global peace and providing technological, scientific and engineering solutions to the nation’s national security problems. Sandia’s main sites are on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico and in Livermore, California.

As a multidisciplinary national laboratory and federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), Sandia accomplishes tasks that are integral to the mission by drawing from deep science and engineering to do the following: anticipate and resolve emerging national security challenges, innovate and discover new technologies to strengthen the nation’s technological superiority, create values through products and services that solve important national security challenges, and inform the national debate where technology policy is critical to preserving security and freedom throughout our world.

Sandia focuses on four core programs: Nuclear Weapons, Defense Systems, Global Security, and Energy and Climate. Sandia’s primary mission is ensuring the U.S. nuclear arsenal is safe, secure, and reliable and fully supporting the nation’s deterrence policy and its nuclear weapons program. Sandia’s science and engineering capabilities include: Bioscience, Radiation Effects and High Energy Density Science, Computer & Information Sciences, Geoscience, Materials Science, Electrical Engineering, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Nanodevices & Microsystems (failure analysis and reliability physics, modeling and simulation, component engineering, testing and packaging) and Engineering Sciences.

Defense Systems & Assessments supports our nation’s military by applying engineering, science, and technology solutions to deter, detect, defeat, and defend threats to our national security.

Sandia’s programs in Global Security range from nonproliferation and global threat reduction to homeland defense and critical asset protection. Science and technology, innovative research, and global engagement are used to counter threats, reduce dangers, and respond to disasters.

For Energy and Climate, Sandia’s Secure and Sustainable Energy Future Mission Area seeks to support the creation of a secure energy future for the U.S. by using its capabilities to enable an uninterrupted and enduring supply of energy from domestic sources, and to assure the reliability and resiliency of the associated energy infrastructure.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-mission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.

More information at http://www.sandia.gov/missions/index.html

How do I register for the program?

We are recruiting UNM undergraduate students for the Fall 2017 cohort of mentees. Sign up for the program HERE before September 5th, 2017 at 7 PM.

AFRL employees can sign up to be a mentor by completing this MENTOR INTEREST FORM. Email completed forms to stem@unm.edu by September 5th, 2017 at 7 PM.

What documents are required if I want to visit AFRL or SNL?

The Air Force Research Laboratory and many of Sandia’s buildings are located on Kirtland Air Force Base, which is considered federal property. Any student interested in visiting AFRL or SNL 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.

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.

Fall 2017 Schedule

Registration Deadlines
Mentor and mentee interest forms are due by September 5th, 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 by Friday, September 8th, 2017.

Student Orientation Session (all mentees)
New 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: Tuesday, September 12th during the Introductory Mixer
Location: STEM Collaborative Center (STCC) Offices

Introductory Mixer (all mentors and mentees)
Tuesday, September 12th 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 Fall  2017 tour will be held on October 12, 2017. Sign up for the tour before September 19, 2017 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, AFRL, and SNL)
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, AFRL, and SNL 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: November 30, 2017. Drop in any time between 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Location: STEM Collaborative Center (STCC) Offices
Light refreshments will be served

Who should I contact if I have questions or concerns?

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