April 16, 2007

Inaugural High School Homeland Security Conference to be held in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories will host the inaugural High School Homeland Security Conference April 20-22 at the AmeriSuites Hotel in Albuquerque.

The High School Homeland Security Program is designed to enhance the critical thinking skills of high school students using homeland security and emergency preparedness.

Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez is scheduled to welcome the students during a kick-off dinner Friday, April 20 at the National Atomic Museum, 1905 Mountain Road NW. During the conference’s working sessions, student participants will discuss the results of their most recent full-scale exercise and will receive a new problem to work. Tours of selected Sandia homeland security facilities and the National Atomic Museum and a presentation by Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White will also be included.

Lyn Parker, a high school teacher from Needles, Calif., and John Taylor, a Sandia manager, started the program in 2005. Since then, the program has been expanded to include students from Arizona and New Mexico.

Program participants were challenged to plan for disruptive incidents in their own communities. At the conclusion of their planning, a table-top exercise challenged their skills as they confronted a complex emergency situation in near-real-time. Participants have had to deal with catastrophic dam failures, a major chlorine release, and a terrorist-caused hazardous material explosion.

Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) laboratory.

After being briefed about the program last year, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense Paul McHale said, “This program should be a part of the curriculum in every high school in the country.”

The program is sponsored by the International Technologies and Systems Strategic Management Group and the Sandia Homeland Security and Defense Strategic Management Unit.

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Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Technical Contact: John Taylor,, (505) 844-8207

Sandia news media contact: Iris Aboytes,, (505) 844-2282