LANL Grants

Luna Community College students monitor the progress of a 3D printer as it finishes a chess piece. 

Luna Community College students and the local area stand to benefit from a pair of recent Los Alamos National Laboratory grants. 

“A makerspace grant and technology upgrade are in the works, said Francisco Apodaca, director of Luna’s STEM and Humanities department.  “These funds will go a long way in providing both our students and the community at large with an opportunity to learn and explore what the sciences and art have in common and what they have to offer to society.”

Luna has successfully secured grant funding from LANL and the Triad Partnership, who manage the national laboratory.  Luna Community College is grateful to LANL/Triad for funding the two initiatives within its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Department.

Both grants were authored by Apodaca.  In the last eight years LANL and its partners have contributed more than $150,000 in small grants that have been used for computers, math bridge programs and other initiatives that have had a significant impact on LCC and the larger Luna community.

The more recent grant will fund LCC’s planned community makerspace, a project that will expand hands-on learning and creative opportunities for community members. The grant amount of $7,200 will help pay for a ceramic kiln, a three-dimensional printer, a potter’s wheel, a CNC milling machine and various materials to include plastic, carbon fiber, steel and other metals.

The planned community makerspace would be under the auspices of the STEM and Humanities department. 

A makerspace is a place where community residents of various ages have an opportunity to explore their own interests, learning to use tools and materials – both physical and virtual – and develop creative projects. Luna’s makerspace would offer 3D printers, CNC steel milling machines, kilns and potter’s wheels, among other useful tools.  “The makerspace is not just for STEM studies, it lets students and members of the community use and understand the connection between the arts and sciences.  Sometimes, we forget about the fact that arts and sciences are closely related, we just don’t think about the connections” said Apodaca.

A previous LANL grant awarded Luna $20,000 for addition of software and equipment to the STEM and Career & Technical Education department.

Specifically, the acquisitions include computer-aided design and modeling software for 2D and 3D applications, large-format printers and plotters for reproductions of scaled engineering drawings, drafting tables, drafting chairs, drafting board covers, printer supplies.

The software and equipment allow Luna to add engineering drawing to its pre-engineering curriculum, strengthening programs in both STEM and CTE and increasing employability for students, thus potentially benefitting LANL and its workforce.  

“Engineering drawing is a fundamental course that is central to engineering,” Apodaca said. “LCC had offered it in the past, but the loss of a trained instructor and old equipment had resulted in the loss of the important class to students. This grant is very important, in that it will provide an opportunity to train an instructor in the latest CAD technologies and systems and to strengthen our Pre-Engineering degree offerings.”

For more information on Luna’s programs, please visit LUNA.edu.

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