NMSU’s STEM TECH Lab receives major gift, new name

Students from a local middle school

Students from a local middle school use flight simulators to learn STEM concepts in the Jack & MaryLou Davis STEM TECH Lab. (Photo by Daphne Griffin) APR18

The STEM TECH (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Test and Evaluation Collaboration Hub) Lab at New Mexico State University will be renamed the “Jack & MaryLou Davis STEM TECH Lab” Saturday, April 21, in honor of the couple’s recent $500,000 investment to enable the lab’s continued positive impact on area youth and create scholarships in the Colleges of Education and Engineering. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. in the atrium of O’Donnell Hall on the NMSU Las Cruces campus.

NMSU’s STEM TECH Lab is one of only a handful in the country and uses high-tech simulation and other novel gadgets to teach STEM concepts. Since the lab opened in 2017, hundreds of K-8 students throughout the Las Cruces community have been positively impacted by its outreach programming. New data shows that its afterschool efforts have served more than 24,000 students in the community, generating $7.77 million in labor income and $4.95 million in child care savings for area families.

Jack and MaryLou Davis

Jack and MaryLou Davis recently invested $300,000 to support the Jack & MaryLou Davis STEM TECH Lab, equipped with computer centers and flight simulators that provide hands-on, immersive STEM experiences for K-8 students throughout the local area. (Courtesy photo by Eric Winters) APR18

Funded by a $900,000 grant from the Department of Defense, the NMSU STEM TECH Lab operates under a partnership between the Colleges of Education and Engineering and NMSU’s STEM Outreach Center.

NMSU College of Education alumna, MaryLou Davis, who is also chair of the NMSU Foundation Board and a former educator, along with her husband, Jack, NMSU College of Engineering alumnus and former CEO of Arizona Public Service, see the importance of STEM from both the business and educational perspectives. Their investment has created new opportunities for programmatic support and development, as well as funds to increase visits from local students.

“Jack and I both believe that proficiency in STEM is a must for the future, even if the student is not directly involved in a scientific profession,” said MaryLou. “We see NMSU’s STEM TECH Lab as a unique facility that we hope will challenge students from all grade levels. The university and the state will benefit from immersive student STEM experiences as they continue their studies and, eventually, enter the workforce fully prepared for their futures.”

Both college deans agree that continued support for the lab, along with the Davis’ new endowed scholarships, will spark both an interest in STEM at a younger age as well as an interest in NMSU as the prime pathway to pursue degrees in STEM fields.

“The STEM TECH Lab is an exciting new addition to NMSU that promises to provide students in our region with an excellent learning experience,” said College of Education Dean Don Pope-Davis.

As a supplement to their support of the STEM TECH Lab, the Davis’ endowed scholarships provide additional funding for students who wish to pursue degrees from either college. The Mary Lou Davis Endowed Scholarship for the College of Education will support high-achieving students pursuing degrees in elementary or early childhood education, and the Jack and MaryLou Davis Endowed Scholarship in the College of Engineering supports students who maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher and have expressed an interest in pursuing a career in the electric utility industry.

College of Engineering Dean Lakshmi Reddi said, “This gift is a great example of the commitment and dedication of outstanding NMSU alumni who want to ensure NMSU students are equally successful in their careers. We respect their generosity by making sure our STEM student recruitment and retention efforts are designed in a way that every dollar they contribute has the maximum benefit.”


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