Ripken Foundation and Devon Energy Open New STEM Center in New Mexico

May 02, 2024

The Ripken Foundation and Devon Energy have teamed up to open a brand new STEM Center at Lovington Sixth Grade Academy in New Mexico. Students and school staff joined us with much excitement to celebrate the new Center with a ribbon cutting.

At the ribbon cutting, students and teachers had the opportunity to test out all of their new STEM products, like Bee-Bots, Snap Circuits, and Ozobots. Heather Garcia, sixth-grade teacher at the academy, helped two of her students build a working radio from one of their new STEM kits. "I've never done anything like this before," said Mallory, 11. "It's exciting you can make a radio out of all this stuff and it connects" to live radio stations. Classmate Jezarae, 12, was also excited to use these new tools, saying it was "really cool that all these little gadgets can make a radio."

These Centers create an exciting new way for students to engage with STEM concepts like coding, programming, and physics, and learn a whole new set of skills. "We needed more hands-on activities for our students for sure," said Garcia. "It gets them out of the classroom and it gets them to where they can actually build things and make real-world connections."

The new lab will feature 20 unique tool kits, ranging a variety of STEM concepts for the students to learn. "The STEM Centers are really to help them build their confidence and the STEM identity so when they're looking at career paths they've already found something here that starts their passions," said Shannon Johnson, Ripken Foundation Vice President of Resource Development. "I think when you bring project-based learning opportunities it's always fun. Everybody loves to tinker and understand how things work."

To date, the Ripken Foundation has opened 467 STEM Centers to at-risk youth across the country. To learn more about our STEM Center initiative, click here.