STEMarts Apprenticeship

The STEMarts Apprenticeship is a STEAM opportunity for girls ages 14-19 from Northern New Mexico

The STEMarts Apprenticeship program designed for girls (14-19) was made possible through the LANL Foundation Education Enrichment grant. Apprentices discover and develop their creative interests and gain valuable work skills. They experience cutting edge science and technology as part of professional STEMarts events. Apprentices will become part of the international Space Messengers team and receive a $1000 stipend and customized training in STEAM areas including; programming, webdesign, XR/Metaverse design, projection mapping, data visualization, interactive design, and ArcGIS storymapping. Apprentices will develop leadership skills through opportunities for teaching, presenting and team collaborations. Women in STEM fields will provide mentorship and share valuable work experiences. Apprentices will develop science literacy in the fields of particle physics, astrophysics, environmental science and space science to become informed, creative and empowered global citizens.

2023 Apprentice Winners

Congratulations to the five Apprentices for the apprenticeship program in 2023. Claire LeGate (ABQ), Destiny Prescious Jaramillo (MesaVista), Serina Martinez (Chimayo), Selina Quezada (Chamisal), Sophia Bates (Taos). Photos by Kyle Julinski.

Alyson Martinez

Alyson Shannon Martinez has joined the STEMarts Lab team as a Director's Assistant Apprentice, funded through the Taos Pueblo Education and Training Division Apprenticeship program. Now in her second year she is serving as Apprentice Mentor, Ambassador and Workshop Instructor for the Apprenticeship program. 

"Coming from Taos, New Mexico, I am half Native American and half Spanish. Growing up in this beautiful town surrounded by not only a family of artists, but a town of creative and imaginative minds, I learned the value of art and how much power it holds. I graduated from an online high school called Pecos Cyber Academy. I will be attending a couple years in the Taos branch of UNM and transferring to Highlands in Las Vegas, New Mexico to pursue counseling, psychology, and art therapy. As an artist I look for new ways to help youth understand their mind in order to help better themselves and their community."

Sophia Bates

My name is Sophia I am a freshman at Taos high school. Growing up in Taos has given many interests as diverse as my community. I particularly enjoy art and expressing myself through as many mediums as possible. On the other hand, I also have a passion for science and answering questions that haven't been asked yet. The intersection of these two ideas is my main interest because science and art are more intertwined than most people know. I hope to gain experience and new perspectives on the world from this program so I can go and show the world all the wonders of STEM and arts.

Serina Martinez

My name is Serina Martinez, I am a junior at Pojoaque valley high school. I live in Rio chiquito, Chimayo. I do Woodworking and weaving. I love learning to code and working with anything technical. In my church I am learning to work the sound system while putting the words on the screen for the praise and worship team. I have also won a lot of awards for my weaving. I have 2 sisters and 6 brothers. 5 of my brothers are older than me and one of my sisters is older than me. In my free time I play games and work on my carvings.

Sirena Quezada

My name is Sirena Quezada, I grew up in Espanola New Mexico. I am currently a freshman at Espanola High School. Growing up I have always wanted to be someone who inspires others. Currently I am a part of the student council and am a part of two other programs to better my future and the future of those around me. I enjoy, playing my keyboard, drawing, animating, writing stories, reading, roller skating, and swimming. My interest are mainly engineering, astrophysics, computer science, and chemistry. I hope to meet more fantastic people and develop more skills.

Destiny Prescious Martinez Jaramillo

Hi! My name is Destiny Precious Martinez Jaramillo, I am one of the 2023 Apprentice. I am from a small town (El Rito) in northern New Mexico. I love science and art and growing up I loved astronomy and always doing DIY science experiments. Now that I have this opportunity it will help me grow in STEM and the arts.

Claire LeGate

My name is Claire LeGate and I am a senior at Cibola High School in Albuquerque. I have a deep interest in science and the arts. I have had a love for space since I was little and love learning new things about the stars. I enjoy playing video games and have been interested in the science behind VR for a long time. I love the experience it gives and what you can do for the experiences in it. I have always loved the art work that’s been able to be done in video games.

2022 Apprentice Winners

Below are the five Apprentices that won and participated in the apprenticeship program in 2022 and are now serving as mentors and instructors.

Dominique Vigil

My name is Dominique Vigil and I grew up in Taos, New Mexico. As a student, I hold a state Speech and Debate championship title, participate in several extracurriculars, and represent the Native American student body as the IEC student representative. In addition, I have helped engineer various systems to help combat climate change, including an anaerobic digestive system that manages waste production and reduces hydrocarbon emissions. I enjoy participating in volunteer programs, developing my musical technique specific to the violin, and playing softball. My interests include astrophysics, neuroscience, oncology, regenerative medicine research, engineering, astronautics, mathematics, epidemiology, and computer science. I hope to build upon my moral excellence, academic maturity, and artistic talents.

Megan Odom

My name is Megan Odom and I am a freshman student at New Mexico School for the Arts. As a young female in STEM and a theater major, I have a strong passion for both the arts and sciences alike. Growing up in Santa Fe, the artistic community has been a constant influence in my life and has shaped my artistic personality and outlook. Another amazing thing Santa Fe has had to offer is a massive sky full of stars which sparked my love for astrophysics. This lead me down a discovery for passions within other fields of science. In my free time you'll often find me hanging out with friends, skiing, and stargazing. With a particularly strong interest in community building and upcoming advancements in technology I plan to work hard to achieve something great with this wonderful team and program.  Megan Odom website

Svetlana Backhaus

My name is Svetlana Backhaus and I am a high school sophomore from Hernandez, New Mexico with a deep interest in mathematics, particle and quantum physics, programming, and Flamenco. I currently work at Moving Arts Espanola in Ohkay Owingeh as a dance teaching assistant in both Folklorico and Flamenco, and tutor mathematics for students from Northern New Mexico College. I also take Dual Credit classes from Northern New Mexico College, studying higher level mathematics and programming.

Svetlana Backhaus website

Amelia Martinez

 My name is Amelia Martinez from Questa, New Mexico and I am a freshman attending Taos Academy. I thoroughly enjoy working with machines and learning how to code, and living in Taos means that I've also seen many great examples of art that have shown me how people can use science and art to create beautiful STEAM based projects. Other examples of STEAM I've done is working as a Space Messengers student ambassador in 2021, participating in Tech Trek New Mexico, and going to several science fairs. In my free time I like to play video games and draw.

Amelia Martinez website.

Feliciana Mitchell-Gonzales

My name is Feliciana Mitchell-Gonzales (she/they). I am a Hispanic/Latina that lives in Peñasco, NM and go to Peñasco schools. I enjoy doing activities outside, such as biking, hiking, skiing, climbing trees, roller skating and swimming in the river. I like playing video games, reading graphic novels and manga, theater/acting, drawing, and baking. I plays the vihuela, run cross country, make murals, do aerial fabric, stilts, trapeze and the lira. I am interested in coding, VR, chemistry, and digital art. I am an activist for gender, race and climate change.

Feliciana's website

Zelo-Jade Rael

APPRENTICE MENTOR: My name is Zelo-Jade Rael and I am a tribal member of Picuris Pueblo and a high school graduate from the Santa Fe Indian School located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Now attending UCLA, the University of California - Los Angeles, I am majoring in Human Biology & Society. I strive to educate others on the connections between mental wellness and creative expression with the intentions of enabling struggling youth to take control of their initiatives. Sponsored by Taos Pueblo Education and Training Division.

Zelo-Jade Rael website

Program Agenda 2023


STEMarts Lab Orientation

In this virtual workshop you will learn about the  Space Messengers project. You will see how we work together virtually and how each creative member has their unique role and contribution. You will learn about the technologies and software that we use with the opportunity to learn more in the areas that peak your interest. We will take you through the history of the project and fill you in on the timeline for the upcoming events and countries, where we will be presenting the Space Messengers installation, and what your role will be in each phase of the project.

STEMarts Bootcamp: Apprentices pave the way!

This STEMarts Bootcamp at UNM-Taos HIVE is the kick-off event for the STEMarts apprentices who will meet for the first time for the full day hands-on workshop with in-person and virtual guest instructors.

Introduction to history and future of VR technologies followed by a hands-on training with Oculus Quest headsets (how to use it, proper use and care of Oculus headsets). Digital Ant Media will cover principles of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR) technologies. There will be a hands-on portion of the workshop where apprentices will get to experience various applications of these technologies.

Apprentices, Alyson Martinez and Amelia Martinez, will lead a one-hour session on how to paint in 3D with Multibrush inspired by the science activities from earlier sessions. Plus guest visit by astrophysicist, Dr.Nicole Lloyd-Ronning.

Create your own website/portfolio

This workshop will guide you through the steps of building your own website using Weebly. We will help you make the decision of what to include in your site to represent your interests and strengths, and we will share tips on how to update your site as you grow and develop new skills and interests. Your new website will be linked to the STEMarts Lab GIS Storymap as a STEMarts Apprentice.

Space Messengers Design Challenge

As apprentices you become part of the STEMarts Ambassador program, go through the Space Messengers curriculum, and participate in the Design Challenge. You will learn to create science visualization video cips that are entered into the Space Messengers Design Challenge with opportunities to win prizes and travel awards.

ArcGIS Storymapping

This workshop led by John DiRuggierro, Community Learning Network, will teach you how to create interactive data driven maps using the ArcGIS software. You will then apply this skill to work with the new Space Messengers Storymap which will track all the people, places, stories and events of the Space Messengers project as it travels around the world. Upon successful completion of this workshop you will be eligible for ArcGIS internships and job placement.

VR 360video Creation Storytelling

Digital Ant Media will lead a 2-hour VR content creation workshop on the principles of VR filmmaking and animation. You will create a VR video using NASA video and images, and will learn how to stitch together assets for creating VR content. There will also be a second follow up session via Zoom to complete the training.


XR/Metaverse Design

This STEMarts Bootcamp will introduce you to the STEMarts Metaverse, Oculus VR software and VR platforms which we will use for the VR station for the Space Messengers Global VR event. You will learn how to set up and maintain The STEMarts VR station for our public events and how to moderate Space Messenger events as an Avatar. In this workshop you will also learn to use software such as Real Player Me to design your own custom Avatars and VR objects for the Space Messengers, and then teach younger students how to do it, how to join the VR platform and how to interact with the live audience at the Festivals.

Space Field trip

In the summer, we will take an exciting full day field trip to visit the Q Station, a space tech incubator in Nob Hill, Albuquerque. We will get a private tour led by Director, Randy Trask to learn about career pathways in the space industry. Afterwards, we head to the Frontier restaurant around the corner for breakfast together, and then drive out to the Very Large Array in Socorro. There we will receive a private tour led by Summer Ash, Astrophysicist and STEAM Coordinator who will also lead a STEAM activity. We have a snack before heading back home! On the journey, all apprentices and chapearones will be together in a private shuttle so we can share experiences and journal.


Space Messengers: Design and Build

During this time the STEMarts creative team will be working on finalizing the design for the Space Messengers installation which will be presented at events in Guadalajara Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico and Taos, New Mexico. We will assign you to training and tasks based on your developing skills to deepen your knowledge in these areas.

This STEMarts Bootcamp is a full day hands-on workshop to train apprentices and new ambassadors on how to install and man the VR Station at our fall festivals.

Space Messengers Install@Festivals

In these months we are planning and coordinating with the festival/museum directors to bring the Space Messengers installation to the venues. You will be working in the focus area you have chosen i.e. VR station, Space Messages/Silhouette creation, social media/web development, interactive art, etc. During the festival event, you will serve as "experience guides' if in person at the projection site, at one of the VR Stations, or virtually as Avatar moderators if the festival or VR Hub is outside of your city.

Reflect on what's next

The final month of your apprenticeship will focus on one-on-one meetings that guide you through the process of reflecting on your experiences and exploring what you would like to do next. We present opportunities for continued internships and/or job-placement that focus on your areas of interest. You are also eligible to continue with STEMarts Lab team in year two and as a mentor to the new apprentices.

Space Messengers is made possible in part by the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund for U.S. Alumni; an opportunity sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by Partners of the Americas. This project is supported in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts

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