For Parents

A Message for Parents/Guardians

Congratulations! Your child wants to be a part of the Central New Mexico Science & Engineering Research Challenge. This is an experience that may change the course of your child’s education or perhaps their life!

You are here because your child did well in a local research competition and has been selected to advance to the regional event, the Central New Mexico Science & Engineering Research Challenge.

The Central NM Research Challenge is more than just a “science fair.” Held every March on the University of New Mexico Albuquerque main campus, it is the "next step up" for your child. The students in this Research Challenge come from the greater Albuquerque Metro Region.

What happens next?

  • Upon advancement from your local competition, your child’s teacher will submit his/her name and school to our office.
  • The teacher/project sponsor will help your child determine the appropriate category in which the project should be entered.
  • The student must complete the ONLINE REGISTRATION FORM. This online registration opens up December 1.
  • Each student is required to pay a Fee: $30.00 Per Student (6th - 12th) And $22.50 Per Student (4th & 5th). Check with your child’s teacher/school to see if the school will cover the student entry fees; if not, you (parent) are responsible for paying the entry fee by cash or check.
  • Parents and students must download and complete the SIGNATURE PAGE
  • If you have questions about the judging criteria, judging processes and how projects are allocated, please download our Judging Criteria and Processes PDF document. It details the point system, "to-state" qualifier selection, finalist selections and questions about the regional judging process

It is recommended that parents review the booklet of rules and forms from the ISEF International Rules & Guidelines . This booklet explains the rules and regulations, and the required forms the Central New Mexico Research Challenge.

What kind of science projects are there? Check out the Categories page for the types of projects that can be entered in an ISEF Affiliated Fair.

What about hazardous projects, or working with animals or even people? Like the real world of research and science, projects that involve humans, animals or hazardous substances will require that proper protocol is followed. Protocol means that the science project must be reviewed by a board or committee prior to any experimentation. Professional scientists deal with protocol regarding the humane treatment of animals, the handling of hazardous substances (like chemicals or bacteria), and also precautions necessary when using human subjects as part of the research project. Your child’s teacher will help each student determine which protocol forms will be used. Not every project will require protocol forms.

Prior Approval - why? It is important that you and your child understand that if their science projects involve humans, animals, microbiology, or hazardous substances, you must get PRIOR approval from the appropriate board or committee. These boards are made up of professionals in their respective fields, and their members are familiar with various federal, state and local regulations. This is for the safety of your student and their subjects --human or animal! While this may seem to be a lot of extra work for a simple research project, this is part of the learning experience that goes along with being a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) student and perhaps, eventually, a science professional.

What do the parents do? Your child's teacher/sponsor will assist the student with the paperwork in most cases. Parents need to sign at least one and possibly more of these forms. You should also be in contact with the teacher/sponsor to ensure that your student follows the rules and completes additional forms, if any are needed. Failure to do so can result in disqualification.

Need An Expert? High school students (grades 9-12) interested in participating in the Central NM Science & Engineering Research Challenge Consultant Identification Program must complete the following Research Project Consultant Request Application Form for consideration. While not all students are not guaranteed a match with a consultant, your student can get outside help on design or procedures for a project, or have an expert give you feedback, research advice or proper lab assistance. This requires a commitment from the student to interact with his or her expert in a professional manner. They will be expected to attend meetings with the consultant, do background research and be responsible. We encourage families that have limited access and experience with the scientific world to take advantage of this great opportunity. Simply fill out the Application Form and return it to us. We will do our best to help connect you with a STEM content area expert.

PLEASE NOTE: You can also search for a content expert interested in working with students on the NM STEM Connection website. Click here for the Volunteer Search page! Take a few minutes to explore the whole site while you're there. It is a growing, statewide collaborative project that is a one-stop shop for anyone interested in STEM education in New Mexico (with national resources listed too!). The site includes a Programs database, a People database, an online Resources listing, a Forums/Discussion page, a STEM Careers Exploration area (coming soon!), a STEM News area, and more!

STAY INVOLVED! It is important that you, as a parent are aware of deadlines, rules, dates of the fair, etc. Once your child is accepted into the Regional Research Challenge, he/she will be receiving both hard copy (snail mail) and email communications from us. There is important information in these communications about project set/up, when and where students are expected to report on Judging Day, parking, and much more. Please read this information carefully and make sure both you and your child understand it.

Who can I contact about all this? Our number is (505) 277‐4916.You can email us at: We are here to help your child participate in an exciting and fascinating world of science.

We look forward to hearing from you!