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New Mexico Tech — Water Resources Education Program

The Water Resources Education Program is designed for teachers and K-12 students interested in the science of water.

Magdalena  Teen Science Cafe present a poster
Middle school students from the Magdalena Teen Science Café present a poster about their work determining well water quality during the New Mexico Tech Student Research Symposium. The students’ poster and judge’s review follow on the next pages. Nicole Hurtig, assistant professor of geochemistry in the EES department and grant co-PI (black t-shirt,) helped the students design the poster. Also shown, Jim Sauer, director of the teen science café (tan shirt); Bonnie Frey, Bureau of Geology ACL manager and grant PI (center left); and Sturgis (far right).
Laila with students
WREP team member Laila Sturgis (far left) shows middle school students with the Magdalena Teen Science Café how to take field water measurements from a well in the Alamo Navajo community. Sturgis is the Aquifer Mapping program manager at the Bureau of Geology.

August 2023: Year 3 of the Water Resources Education Program (WREP) begins!

What do we do? Take middle and high school students into the field and laboratory to determine the quality of water in their communities. For more information, see the poster: "Magdalena Science Café Water Resources Science Project".

Why is this important?

  1. As our climate changes, water resources will become more scarce. Training the next generation of water resource leaders is critical to the well being of our communities.
  2. Communicating how water data is used can help students understand their role in future jobs, even if they aren’t the ones generating the data.
  3. Understanding how water data is generated can help them make decisions whether they work in the water industry, hold government office, or want to decide how water resources effect their home water usage or livelihoods that depend on water.

National Science Foundation Award 2054299 provided funding to establish the Water Resources Education Program (WREP) for middle school and high school students, especially of underrepresented groups in STEM. The main purpose of the award was for the purchase of a new instrument for the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources Analytical Laboratory – an inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES). A broadening impact component was allowable under the grant.

For more information, contact:

Bonnie Frey
Geochemist / Analytical Laboratory Manager
New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources
New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology
801 Leroy Place
Socorro NM 87801-4796
(575) 835-6333 fax


Johanna Blake speaking to NACA students
Johanna Blake (with sunglasses) joined the WREP team in February 2023 to show high school students from the Native American Community Academy (NACA) how to sample water from the Rio Grande in Albuquerque. Blake is a research hydrologist with the USGS in Albuquerque.
Hannah Han
Hannah Han (tan jacket) is in her second year working with the WREP team. She is a research scientist at the Bureau of Geology who was hired after completing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Bureau of Geology. This is Han’s second year working with WREP, previously demonstrating the use of the new ICP-OES in the Bureau of Geology Analytical Chemistry Laboratory (ACL).
Shari Kelley
Shari Kelley (white shirt) collaborated with the Water Resource Education Program (WREP) team in the Fall of 2022 during a field trip to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Kelley showed Hot Springs High School students how to take in-situ water temperature measurements from a geothermal well in their home town. Kelley is a senior geophysicist with the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (Bureau of Geology).
Mark Person
Mark Person used a Hele-Shaw model to demonstrate how groundwater moves in an aquifer to Hot Springs High School students during their visit to New Mexico Tech in December 2022. Person is a professor of hydrology in NMT’s Earth and Environmental Science (EES) Department.
Hannah Juan Han with students
Hannah Juan Han, a postdoctoral fellow who was recently promoted to research scientist at the Bureau of Geology, describes the operation of and theory behind an Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer to students from Hot Springs High School (Truth or Consequences, New Mexico).
Piper diagram

A piper diagram provided to the NACA students to help them visualize chemical differences among the water sources they sampled (surface water, well water and city water).