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About the STEM Mentoring Program


The UNM STEM Mentoring Program is open to all UNM STEM students, regardless of academic achievement. The program helps UNM STEM undergraduate students build a supportive relationship with a scientist, engineer, or other relevant professional from Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), or other local companies and organizations. Students in the program are matched with a mentor who is a STEM professional and the two of them collaborate on various informal activities to enhance their schooling experience and professional development.

(Note: We do not match with Medical professionals. For students interested in the clinical medical fields, you would like to build relationships with a health professional, or explore health-related careers, visit the Office for Pre-Health Professions at, or the HSC Office of Diversity Programs at

Learn more and APPLY TODAY!!

SPRING 2020 1ST PRIORITY DEADLINE: Friday, February 21, 2020.

UNM Undergraduate Student Information and Interest Form & Letter to Potential Mentees

Professional Mentor Information and Interest Form & Letter to Potential Mentors

Join us for our:

  • UNM STEM Mixer - Wednesday, Febrary 26, 2020. 4 - 6 pm. CEC STAMM Room (1044). More info HERE.
  • UNM STEM Celebration - Friday, May 1, 2020. 3:30 - 5:30 pm. CEC STAMM Room. More info HERE.
The AFRL's mission is leading the discovery, development, and integration of warfighting technologies for United States' air, space and cyberspace forces. Two of AFRL's eight Technology Directorates have headquarters on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM: Directed Energy and Space Vehicles.
The Directed Energy Directorate focuses on four core technical competencies: Lasers Systems, High Power Electromagnetics, Weapons Modeling and Simulation, and Directed Energy and Electro-Optics for Space Superiority. Scientists in this Directorate typically have educational backgrounds in physics, engineering (aeronautical, electrical, computer, mechanical, controls, optical), computer science, mathematics, chemistry, and astrophysics.
The Space Vehicles Directorate's foci include Space-Based Surveillance (space to space and space to ground), Space Capability Protection (protecting space assets from man-made and natural effects), and other defense-related programs such as space power, space environmental effects, and satellite flight experiments. Scientists in this Directorate typically have educational backgrounds similar to that of the Directed Energy Directorate with more emphasis on chemistry and mechanical engineering.
More information at
Sandia’s mission is developing advanced technologies to ensure global peace and providing technological, scientific and engineering solutions to the nation’s national security problems. Sandia’s main sites are on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico and in Livermore, California.
As a multidisciplinary national laboratory and federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), Sandia accomplishes tasks that are integral to the mission by drawing from deep science and engineering to do the following: anticipate and resolve emerging national security challenges, innovate and discover new technologies to strengthen the nation’s technological superiority, create values through products and services that solve important national security challenges, and inform the national debate where technology policy is critical to preserving security and freedom throughout our world.
Sandia focuses on four core programs: Nuclear Weapons, Defense Systems, Global Security, and Energy and Climate. Sandia’s primary mission is ensuring the U.S. nuclear arsenal is safe, secure, and reliable and fully supporting the nation’s deterrence policy and its nuclear weapons program. Sandia’s science and engineering capabilities include: Bioscience, Radiation Effects and High Energy Density Science, Computer & Information Sciences, Geoscience, Materials Science, Electrical Engineering, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Nanodevices & Microsystems (failure analysis and reliability physics, modeling and simulation, component engineering, testing and packaging) and Engineering Sciences.
Defense Systems & Assessments supports our nation’s military by applying engineering, science, and technology solutions to deter, detect, defeat, and defend threats to our national security.
Sandia’s programs in Global Security range from nonproliferation and global threat reduction to homeland defense and critical asset protection. Science and technology, innovative research, and global engagement are used to counter threats, reduce dangers, and respond to disasters.
For Energy and Climate, Sandia’s Secure and Sustainable Energy Future Mission Area seeks to support the creation of a secure energy future for the U.S. by using its capabilities to enable an uninterrupted and enduring supply of energy from domestic sources, and to assure the reliability and resiliency of the associated energy infrastructure.
Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-mission 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.
The program recruits UNM undergraduate students on a rolling basis. To join the program, students must complete an orientation session and short interest form. Students will not be introduced to a mentor until both items are completed.
Undergraduate student orientation session. Various orientation dates are available. Sign up for a student orientation at If you cannot attend one of the scheduled orientation sessions, but would still like to join the program, contact Yadéeh Sawyer at To speed up scheduling your orientation session, please provide 2-3 times, Monday-Friday, between 9 AM and 4 PM, that work for your schedule in this email.
Undergraduate student interest form. Complete the student interest form by clicking the “UNM UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT” button at the top of the Mentoring for Students/Mentees webpage.
(Note: We do not match with Medical professionals. For students interested in the clinical medical fields, you would like to build relationships with a health professional, or explore health-related careers, visit the Office for Pre-Health Professions at, or the HSC Office of Diversity Programs at
The program recruits and accepts mentors on a rolling basis. STEM Professional can sign up to be a mentor by completing the electronic mentor interest form by clicking the “PROFESSIONAL MENTOR” button on the Mentoring for Professionals/Mentors page.
Mentors and mentees meet for about an hour a week (preferably an in-person meeting). Meeting times and activities are arranged by the mentors and mentees. Mentorships last approximately a semester, unless both mentor and mentee wish to extend the partnership.
Students are encouraged to work with their mentor on a long-term goal, such as exploring different college majors or STEM fields, applying for internships, getting involved in research, meeting other scientists and engineers, and more.
Engineering Student Success Center (ESS) staff help students identify a goal to work on during orientation. Then, students and their mentors determine which weekly mentoring activities will help students’ achieve their goal(s). A typical activity includes talking over coffee or touring the mentor’s workplace. Meeting times and activities are arranged by the mentors and mentees.
ESS provides support, including check-in emails and optional activities throughout the year. Upcoming activities, such as laboratory tours and networking mixers, are posted on, and students can register for these events with their netID and password. Mentors are notified of sponsored events via email.
Students must be a US citizen to be matched with a mentor from Air Force Research Laboratory or Sandia National Laboratories. If you are not a US Citizen, you can be matched with mentors from other organizations.
The Air Force Research Laboratory and many of Sandia’s buildings are located on Kirtland Air Force Base, which is considered federal property. Any student interested in visiting AFRL or SNL with the STEM Collaborative must produce proof of U.S. citizenship at least one month prior to the scheduled visit. Further directions regarding base access are provided closer to the scheduled tour dates.
ESS is is located on the 2nd floor of the Centennial Engineering Center in suite 2080.
For more information, contact Yadéeh Sawyer at or Nada Abdelhack at