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k-12 STEM challenge
"There is no issue more important to me than making sure every child in every classroom gets a great education… We are also working to ensure that we give our students the skill sets require to succeed in [Neavda] industries, with STEM education begin more important than ever before."
– Governor Steve Sisolak, State of the Sate Address, January 16, 2019  


Announcing the 2019 Nevada K-12 STEM Challenge!

DRI has been researching and designing solutions to environmental challenges in Nevada for 60 years. Join them and the STEM Advisory Council in developing innovative solutios to Nevada's challenges.   

About the Challenge: The Nevada K-12 STEM Challenge is about engaging students and teachers to use STEM concepts to solve some of Nevada’s biggest challenges. Desert Research Institute (DRI) is partnering with the STEM Advisory Council for this year’s challenge. In honor of DRI’s 60th anniversary of improving Nevada’s communities, every student, group of students, or classroom in Nevada is invited to research and design solutions to Nevada’s environmental challenges. We look forward to seeing how Nevada’s students use STEM concepts and innovative technology at two regional student recognition events taking place in May 2019. Teachers and students will also have the opportunity to speak with DRI scientists and visit DRI science labs at the recognition events!


Challenge Topics (reflective of some of DRI's fields of research): 

  • Air Quality
  • Water Quality and Availability
  • Ecosystem Sustainability 
  • Drought
  • Wildfire
  • Climate Change
  • Public Health and the Environment
  • Smarter Communities and Autonomous Systems
  • Big Data and Cybersecurity


Recognition Event Details: There will be two recognition events, one at DRI's Las Vegas location, and one at DRI's Reno location.  Students will have the opportunity to showcase their projects.  Industry professionals, including DRI's scientists, will be invited to view the projects and ask the students questions about their solution.  Please be prepared!

Southern Nevada Recognition Event- Hosted by Desert Research Institute

Date: May 3rd, 2019

Time: 4:00 - 8:00pm

Address: 755 E Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89119

Northern Nevada Recognition Event- Hosted by Desert Research Institute

Date: May 15th, 2019

Time: 4:00 - 8:00pm

Address: 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, NV 89512


RSVP by email to OSIT STEM Program Manager Tracey Gaffney ( by April 26th, 2019 so that we have an accurate headcount.  Include in your email:

  • Teacher's name
  • School
  • Students' names
  • Project title
  • A brief description of the project



My students completed a STEM project, but it doesn't fall into this year's topic. Can we still participate?
Yes, we welcome any project on any STEM topic at the events.  Our ultimate goal is to recognize and celebrate students that have used STEM to solve real-world problems and learn about STEM careers.

My students cannot attend the evening recognition event. How can we get involved?
     -If your students are unable to attend one of the events in-person, we welcome you to attend and bring pictures, video, or other artifacts showcasing what your students learned and accomplished.  

Is this event open to the public?   
Yes! We invite the community to help us celebrate our K-12 students and ask them questions about their work.

What should we bring if we are participating in the recognition event?
     -The recognition event is structured like a showcase. Students will create a display to present their work, and visitors will roam the area, stopping at the various presentations. In the past, this has been done with a tri-fold ("science board"), a movie shown on laptops, or via a table displaying artifacts of the work. We encourage you to be creative within the confines of a roughly 4'x4' space, and remember that student work should be the emphasis of the presentation. Please email us for more information or with specific questions. 

Do students stay the entire night of the event?
     -We do ask that students attend the entire event but understand if that is not possible.

What else will be going on during the recognition event?
     -This year's event coincides with DRI's open house event. Participants and guests will be invited to explore DRI's facilities and speak with DRI's scientists. Participants are also encouraged to view other projects.

How can I spread the word?
     -Please share this web page and tag @sciNVtech and @DRIScience #NVSTEMChallenge