Partnership with UNM creates new mechanical engineering program

Students can complete four-year degree at UNM-Los Alamos

By David Moore | July 8, 2021

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Thom Mason talks to the audience at the celebration of the mechanical engineering degree partnership with the Lab, UNM-LA and the UNM School of Engineering on June 7. David Moore

The Laboratory, the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) and the UNM School of Engineering have collaborated to expand an existing two-year pre-engineering program into a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering (BSME) program on the UNM-LA campus. The program was developed to meet identified workforce needs at the Laboratory, but will also provide local students new learning opportunities.

The collaboration was marked at a celebration at UNM-LA June 7, attended by Laboratory Director Thom Mason; Garnett Stokes, UNM president; New Mexico Secretary of Higher Education Stephanie Rodriguez; James Holloway, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at UNM; and Cynthia Rooney, chancellor of UNM-LA.

“Partnerships like this are essential to providing possibilities for our current workforce and for preparing the workforce of the future,” said Mason. “I thank the University of New Mexico and UNM-Los Alamos for recognizing the need to train new mechanical engineers for high-paying jobs that are in demand at the Laboratory and nationwide.”

Secretary Rodriguez noted that “innovation and collaboration are key to unlocking the potential of New Mexicans and our state in meeting the needs of the 21st century. Thank you to Chancellor Rooney, Director Mason, President Stokes and Provost Holloway for paving the way for students to access meaningful careers in their own community.”

Pilot began in 2020

A pilot program began last year, with the Laboratory’s Partnerships and Pipeline Office (PPO) and Community Partnerships Office (CPO) working with UNM-LA and the UNM-School of Engineering.

Even with the challenges of the pandemic, during the Spring 2021 semester, a total of 40 Lab employees were enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering program: 15 in the pre-engineering program through UNM-LA and 25 in the bachelor of science in mechanical engineering program taking upper division courses.

 “This new collaborative program with the UNM School of Engineering will increase the number of mechanical engineering graduates, meeting an identified work force need with LANL and providing area residents with increased access to education and career opportunities,” Rooney said. “This program serves as a model for innovation and cooperation where UNM-LA, a branch campus-community college, works with the School of Engineering on the UNM-Albuquerque campus to serve as partners to provide the academic preparation needed in the local workforce.”

Want to learn more?

If you are interested in the BSME program, you can learn more on UNM-LA’s site.