Students Explore Research Opportunities at New Mexico Tech

Feb. 20, 2023

Research@Tech Day offers high school students a preview of academic life

Anita Montoya, Katie Neal, Livia De Viterbo
Senior civil engineering major Katie Neal, center, describes her experiences at New Mexico Tech over the past four years for the audience of 250 high school students and their 200 guests. At left are fellow students Anita Montoya, a junior studying electrical engineering, and at right is Livia De Viterbo, a senior pursuing a mineral engineering degree. 

SOCORRO, N.M. – Prospective students hoping to turn college experience into a career in industry, government, a lab, or continue their education in graduate school explored their abundant options at a showcase of student research on the New Mexico Tech campus. More than 250 students and over 200 of their parents and guardians attended Research@Tech Day Feb. 20, 2023, to learn more about the university’s hands-on research projects in science, technology, engineering, math, and other fields.

Physics lab tour
Physics graduate student R. Stetson Reger, left, shows Brody Duggin, center, and Caleb Smith, both freshmen at Rio Rancho High School, how lightning can be mapped in three dimensions.  The Physics Department tour at Workman Center was one of many academic department tours students participated in during Research@Tech Day Feb. 20 at New Mexico Tech.

Students and their guests began the day hearing from a panel of students who described how they landed on-campus jobs, summer internships, and job offers from tech companies, national labs, and research organizations with the assistance of New Mexico Tech faculty, staff, and alumni. 

Electrical Engineering demonstration
Dr. Rene Arechiga, left, associate professor and Electrical Engineering Department chair, chats with Wyatt Hickman, center, and his father, Chris Hickman, right, of Albuquerque. The Hickmans joined other students and their families watching a presentation about a national research project aimed at improving mine safety. New Mexico Tech and a handful of other universities received a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to design robotic systems, including drones and robots, and temporary wireless underground communication systems to assist first responders in mine cave-ins and fires. 

Katie Neal, a senior pursuing a civil engineering degree, described her capstone assignment – a research and design project building a concrete canoe her team will race against other universities in April.

“There’s lots of opportunities for hands-on experience,” she said. 

Gloria and Angelica Serrano
Gloria Serrano, left, a student at St. Michael's High School in Santa Fe, is hoping to study chemistry, biology, and chemical engineering at New Mexico Tech. Her mother, Angelica Serrano, right, is a New Mexico Tech alum with a degree in electrical engineering. "It's a great school," Angelica Serrano said of New Mexico Tech. "I'm interested in finding out what she thinks of it."

Neal told the audience she landed an internship at PNM electric utility last summer after attending NMT’s job fair, which featured practice interviews, resume advice, and a clothes closet. She also advised future students to join a club to meet others who share interests and can provide mentoring.

“Clubs were my really good way of meeting people outside classes,” she said. 

Loren Chase and Tia Howard
Loren Chase, left, and his girlfriend, Tia Howard, both of Gallup, visited Socorro for the first time Feb. 20 for Research@Tech Day. Chase is planning to transfer from the University of New Mexico and study civil engineering like his father. Chase said an engineer at his workplace recommended New Mexico Tech to him for its small class sizes and interactions with faculty.

High school students toured NMT’s departments, learning about cutting-edge research projects from both undergraduate and graduate students and faculty members. They watched demonstrations, checked out lab equipment, and viewed research presentation posters. Students and their guests also toured a drone room and on-campus housing, watched a robotics demonstration, learned about clubs and organizations, and got their admissions and financial aid questions answered. 

More information about admissions is available on the New Mexico Tech website: