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The STEM Outreach Center at New Mexico State University has been awarded a five-year $26.5 million grant to continue and expand support for after-school programs in school districts in Doña Ana, Grant and Hidalgo counties and beyond.
The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) grant, offered through the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED), increases the number of learning centers the STEM Outreach Center serves from 26 to 47, NMSU said in a news release. As part of the grant, Hobbs Municipal Schools (in Lea County) will receive funding from the center for its out-of-school-time programs, serving an additional 17 schools.
“This grant speaks to our history of providing good quality systems and programs,” said center Director Wanda Bulger-Tamez. “Our team looks forward to expanding after-school programs across southern New Mexico. These programs provide a safe place for students to participate in after-school programs that provide an array of enrichment opportunities.”
“We are so delighted to be able to broaden our outreach and touch so many more students in different parts of the state,” said Henrietta Pichon, interim dean of the NMSU College of Health, Education and Social Transformation, where the center is housed. “Programs such as these create lifelong learners who see learning as another great adventure.”
Programs offered by the center provide academic support and enrichment opportunities to support literacy and science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning designed to reinforce topics introduced during students’ traditional learning day. Students participate in activities such as robotics, photography, coding, engineering design, dance, cooking, crafts and sports.
Each participating school chooses the after-school programs that match the interests and needs of its school community.
The center will partner with participating school districts and organizations such as Ngage New Mexico, Cruces Creatives, STEAMing Ahead for Success and La Semilla Food Center to provide a wide range of community resources with the grant funding.
The STEM Outreach Center is the largest consortium in the state receiving 21st CCLC funding and is among the largest in the nation to receive a 21st CCLC award. The U.S. Department of Education offers the grant through its national 21st CCLC program by partnering with state education departments.
The center is located at 1520 Stewart St. on the NMSU campus.