Sandia Labs News Releases

Sandia’s Dream Catcher program sparks hands-on science learning

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Sandia National Laboratories’ annual Dream Catcher Science Program on Saturdays this month encourages middle and high school student interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and seeks to increase American Indian student interest in STEM fields.

The program was launched in 1991 by Sandia’s American Indian Outreach Committee, now led by Sandia researcher Aaron Niese. All of the teachers are volunteers from Sandia Labs.

The three-day program meets at Highland High School in Albuquerque on Saturdays in June for six hours per session, capped by a tour of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Students this year select one of four courses: biology, civil engineering, computer programming or robotics. Activities include building and testing bridges, writing and developing smartphone apps or video games, learning more about the biology of mammals, and building a LEGO robot and programming it to move on its own.

Media are invited to see the Dream Catcher Science Program student activities from 1:30-2 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, in Figge Hall at Highland High School. Contact Stephanie Hobby in advance at (505) 280-3905 to attend.

“Our goal is to show all students that STEM fields are accessible and rewarding careers, which will ultimately help inspire a diverse science and engineering workforce. National statistics show that American Indian students aren’t seeking those degree fields as much as others,” said Niese, coordinator for the program. “A lot of those students actually take the knowledge and experiences they’ve gained back to their pueblos and homes, which helps advance their local communities.”

This year, 120 students are enrolled in the Dream Catcher Science Program from the Albuquerque region. More information, including the program brochure, is available online.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact: Stephanie Hobby, (505) 280-3905,