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Two NMSU STEM Outreach Center staff members selected to attend leadership institute

  • By Adriana M. Chávez
  • 575-646-1957
  • Jul 18, 2019
Head and shoulders of a woman

Sara Morales, assistant director of the STEM Outreach Center at New Mexico State University, and center program specialist Kelsey Moore have been selected to attend the first New Mexico Out-of-School Time Leadership Institute.

The institute, which consists of three training sessions that will take place in September, November and January, is hosted by the New Mexico Out-of-School Time Network, a nonprofit collaboration of public and private organizations and community members seeking to improve access to and quality of out-of-school extended learning programs – before and afterschool, summer learning and youth development. The institute is supported by the Charles Steward Mott Foundation.

“It is an honor for two of our NMSU College of Education team members to be chosen to join this Leadership Academy,” said Susan Brown, interim dean of the NMSU College of Education, which houses the STEM Outreach Center. “We look forward to the information that they will share.”

The STEM Outreach Center provides outreach programs and professional development opportunities statewide in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. From 2009-2019, more than 32,000 students participated in the center’s out-of-school time programs. The center has also provided 1,147 professional development events benefitting 2,000 teachers each year.

“In today’s economy, more parents are working outside the home in order to ensure their living needs, meaning more and more youth are spending an increased amount of time alone and unsupervised,” Morales said. “In response to this crisis, educational entities, nonprofits, state agencies and school districts have collaborated to offer afterschool options for students. This provides an opportunity for academically focused activities through various forms of enrichment programs.”

Morales said the STEM Outreach Center is dedicated to providing support to regional school districts through quality out-of-school time programs, teacher professional development and family events.

Moore and Morales will join 24 leaders from diverse organizations at the institute. Participants in the institute have a passion to create more access to quality afterschool and summer learning programming for children in their communities, Morales said.

Among the benefits of out-of-school time programs are increasing student participation and achievement in STEM fields; engaging students, parents and teachers by incorporating emerging technologies; and socialization opportunities for students across demographic barriers. Out-of-school time programs also provide snacks and safe, secure locations for students, along with encouragement of academic success.

“I am very excited to be a part of the Out-of School Time Leadership Institute,” Moore said. “I look forward to collaborating with state leaders who have a similar goal in mind, which is to grow and strengthen these programs throughout our state. I hope to obtain a deeper understanding of system building and program planning as well as assemble a strong network of partnerships. I intend to use and share these skills with my colleagues at the STEM Outreach Center in order to deliver high quality programs to the students and families in our community. I am grateful for this amazing opportunity.”