Writer: Linda Fresques
New Mexico State University’s College of Engineering has launched the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network to deliver a range of engineering-based outreach programs to businesses, government agencies, teachers and K-12 students from across the state. The initiative is being led by Patricia Sullivan, assistant dean, and will focus on leveraging the college’s extensive resource network to advance the state’s economy.
“The Engineering New Mexico Resource Network is dedicated to providing professional development and continuing education for the engineering profession, access to faculty expertise that can advance business development, and support innovation and hands-on engineering experiences for middle- and high-school students,” Sullivan said. “As the state’s land-grant institution, we are expanding our engineering outreach efforts to advance economic growth statewide.”
During the past year, the College of Engineering reached more than 5,280 students who participated in K-12 STEM programs. More than 1,900 individuals were trained through professional development, certificate programs and short courses. Nearly 150 businesses received technical assistance.
Delivery of hands-on programs for K-12 students that support critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and innovation are a major focus of the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network. Robotics competitions, pre-engineering summer programs and specialized teacher trainings have been designed to expose students to real-world engineering challenges. In partnership with public schools and home-based programs across the state, the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network is focused on growing the number of high school graduates who are academically prepared to pursue STEM-based careers that will support the needs of the national laboratories and technology-based industries across the state.
Professional development programs have been designed to ensure a technically skilled workforce will be available to meet current and future needs. The Quality Concrete School and the Bridge Inspection Training Course are examples of courses offered earlier this year to a broad audience from across the state. Other workshops and short courses planned for the spring include water management for individuals involved in the design and operation of wells and pumping systems, programming and applications for Field-Programmable Gate Array nano-boards for high-tech industries, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and an intensive review for engineers preparing for the Professional Engineers (PE) Exam.
Another major focus of the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network is assisting New Mexico-based businesses through specialized training, and to provide creative and practical solutions to engineering and design problems, and manufacturing and prototype development.
Specialized training for businesses includes mechanical design, electronics and programming, and computer controlled manufacturing.
The college also provides prototype development and proof of concept assistance to New Mexico-based companies. One such example is FLITELite, a dual-intensity light that gives airplane pilots hands-free lighting in the cockpit by having the light attached to their microphone boom. M-TEC provided the company with mechanical design and prototyping of the injection molded plastic components of the device and adapters for the various headsets.
The College of Engineering has an extensive history in developing technology to improve productivity of New Mexico’s extensive agricultural community. Over the years, M-TEC engineers have developed a produce bagger, chile destemmer and chile thinner, herbicide roller applicator, cotton bug remover and methane gas digester, to name a few.
“The Engineering New Mexico Resource Network will combine the programmatic strengths of the College of Engineering and its faculty expertise, with partnerships that span state and local government agencies, industry, other academic institutions and national laboratories,” said Ricardo B. Jacquez, dean of the College of Engineering. “Our state’s economy will benefit from the growth of technology based business, but such growth is dependent upon a pool of qualified, skilled employees to support those businesses. We can make that happen.”
For more information about Engineering New Mexico Resource Network, contact Sullivan at 575-646-2913 or visit Engineering New Mexico Resource Network.