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New Mexico State University

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Science, mathematics program receives national recognition

The Southern New Mexico Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SNM SEMAA) recently received several national awards for program innovation.

The national SEMAA office named SNM SEMAA as the Most Innovative Program for making the program effective for all students. The program also received the Group Achievement Award from NASA for being the most innovative and effective program for students in the NASA community.

Within the last year, SNM SEMAA was recognized by the U.S. Congressional Record for having one of the most innovative and effective programs in the nation for students in kindergarten through 12th grade in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program also was recognized by Harvard University as a finalist for the Innovations in American Government Awards.

SNM SEMAA is a collaboration between the New Mexico State University Colleges of Education and Engineering, NASA, the Gadsden Independent School District and Las Cruces Public Schools.

"The purpose of the program is to use the unique resources of our community to engage historically underrepresented youth, such as Hispanics, Native Americans and young women, in activities in the fields of science, engineering, mathematics and technology," said Susan Brown, director of STEM Outreach for the Institute for Excellence in Math and Science Education in the College of Education.

Students in the program participate in eight-week sessions of curriculum emphasizing science, engineering and mathematics with an overarching theme of aerospace education. Two of the sessions are held at NMSU's Aerospace Education Laboratory.

"The program is making a difference in the lives of students, educators and families. Quantitative data shows that SEMAA students in the GISD and LCPS are scoring higher on the science portion of standardized tests. Students are becoming comfortable in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields," Brown said.

SNM SEMAA serves more than 3,000 students a year. It receives funding through state, federal, foundation and NASA grants.