October 17, 2014 by Amanda Bradford, NMSU News Center
New Mexico State University’s Innoventure program has again received a $10,000 contribution from AT&T to support its ongoing efforts to encourage middle- and high-school students to use science, technology, engineering and math to solve everyday problems and create a business around the solutions.
Innoventure is part of Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s economic development arm. The student participants, who come from around New Mexico, spend about seven months developing technology to address a specific theme and building a business plan to turn their idea into a marketable product.
The challenge this year is to create an innovative product using materials that are recyclable – a theme selected by the students in the program last year. Past themes have included timely topics like water conservation. Marie Borchert, education specialist at Arrowhead Center who oversees Innoventure, said more than 200 students in 60 teams are registered to participate this year.
The program, which is the only one of its kind in New Mexico, culminates in a competition May 1, 2015, at Corbett Center, when judges – including educators and members of the business community – will evaluate the teams on their final products and business feasibility, as well as the work that went into them.
Borchert said the continued support from AT&T allows Arrowhead to further expand student participation across the state and provide participants and their families with what is often their first college experience.
The contest winners are awarded high-tech prizes like cameras and tablet devices for first, second and third place. Winners at the high-school level also each receive a $350 NMSU scholarship – and Borchert said several of the students have gone on to enroll at NMSU.
“The funds generously given by AT&T are so important,” Borchert said. “It demonstrates support for what Innoventure is committed to – teaching entrepreneurial thinking. This is a critical aspect of education, as we need true problem solvers now and in the future to tackle real-world problems.”
Jerry Fuentes, president of AT&T for Arizona and New Mexico, said the company is pleased to support a program that prepares students to succeed in a global economy.
“AT&T is proud to continue our partnership with NMSU’s Innoventure program,” Fuentes said. “Inspiring entrepreneurial thinking is key to our economy and vital to the future of New Mexico.”