Engaging bright minds: Explora hopes to generate interest in STEM

Community Reports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Since the fall of last year, Explora has been holding weekly virtual STEM Nights where they partner with an organization in the community to discuss topics related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Monday, Jan. 25 Dr. Mostafa Hassanalian, assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology will discuss their research on drones and provide a live demonstration.

One of Hassanalian’s research areas of focus is drones. He’s worked with Explora in the past to present on drones and various other topics. He’s also seen a recent growth in interest from students of varying ages in drones. “The work that I’m doing is biomimetic and work with drones which means we look at the nature and how we can get inspiration from the nature to design some optimized robotic systems,” Hassanalian said.

He and his team look at different species of animals to draw inspiration from when working with drones, which is something he will go over during his presentation on Monday evening. He will also talk about the different types of drones and some of the practical applications they can have. For example, one of the design teams he works with is currently working on ways to detect COVID-19 using drones.

Working in academia has taught Hassanalian how important it is to ask questions, and he said no one does that better than children. “I’ve got a lot of interesting feedback and very interesting questions. Some of the questions need a lot of thought so I need to think about them before answering them,” Hassanalian said. “We have very bright minds in our state and I believe our education system is going in such a way that in our future, we’ll have much interest in this field of interdisciplinary fields, specifically the research we are doing here at New Mexico Tech.”

Hassanalian appreciates engaging with the different perspectives which is exactly what these events provide. “Since we live in an aerospace state, I believe having these types of events and talks specifically because we have a different range of ages, it would improve the STEM education in our state,” Hassanalian said.

These events are free, however, the learning center is asking those interested in participating to register for the event on their website.

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