Sandia Labs News Releases

Students to visit Sandia for firsthand look at STEM careers

Ken Armijo, in protective equipment, adds chile to the solar chile roaster.

Sandia National Laboratories engineer Ken Armijo installs a chile roaster on top of the solar tower above a field of mirror heliostats. (Photo by Randy Montoya) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A group of students from Gallup, Miyamura and Grants high schools will visit Sandia National Laboratories on March 30 to see firsthand some of the Labs’ research and technology that career paths in science, technology, engineering and math can lead to.

The students will tour Sandia’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility, Structural Mechanics Laboratory and Experimental Impact Mechanics Laboratory and take part in career conversations with experts.

The solar tower is one of the few places in the world where the power of the sun is harnessed to test advanced materials, perform research and occasionally bake cookies or roast chile.

Students will see how materials perform in a vibration lab, a shock lab and a climate lab. They will also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Sandia experts to ask questions.

Grants High School, winners of 2022 Sandia National Laboratories Award, at the Governor’s STEM Challenge. (Photo courtesy of NMSU) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

Thirty-two of the students are part of the STEM Core program at Gallup and Miyamura high schools, which exposes them to advanced math classes, introduction to technical courses, skill development, intern preparation and employer visits. STEM Core is part of the Successful Training and Effective Pipelines to National Laboratories, or STEP2NL, program, a partnership between Minority Serving Institutions and national laboratories to increase STEM degrees among minority students and ensure a sustainable pipeline to employment at national laboratories.

Ten students from Grants High School will also join the tour. They were the winners of the 2022 Sandia National Laboratories Award at the Governor’s STEM Challenge in December.

The students designed and developed a project model in response to the prompt “Imagine New Mexico as a state known for sustainable and green manufacturing.”

Details for media representatives who would like to attend:
Area high school students visit Sandia facilities to learn about careers in STEM.
Thursday, March 30, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
10:00 a.m. – Welcome/badging
10:30 a.m. – Board bus to solar tower
10:45 a.m. – Solar tower tour
12:00 p.m. – Career conversation lunch
12:50 p.m. – Testing complex tour
Innovation Parkway Office Complex, 1611 Innovation Parkway SE (near the intersection of Eubank Boulevard and Innovation Parkway)
Contact Kim Vallez Quintana at or 505-537-3294 by 3 p.m. Monday, March 27, to attend.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.

Sandia news media contact: Kim Vallez Quintana,, (505) 537-3294