Crownpoint, NM — Navajo Technical University’s Ke’yah Advanced Rural Manufacturing Alliance (KARMA) hosted its 2nd Annual Innoventure Product Challenge that gathered over 100 students from five regional Middle and High Schools from the Navajo Nation. The event featured students creating 3D Navajo HeadStart toy products that were judged on creativity and a business presentation that marketed their product. Students also received words of acknowledgment from the Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and impress upon the students to emulate the cultural readiness to meet the future challenges of the Navajo Nation.
“The students were responsive and it was very good to see the level of professionalism and expertise they displayed,” said KARMA’s Outreach Coordinator, Lavern Moore. “We want this to become an annual event and we look forward to bringing in more schools for our next challenge. This should also attract a variety of student designers with ideas and products.”
KARMA is funded by the Kellogg Foundation and consist of NTU partnerships with New Mexico State University Arrowhead Center, Emergence Group, Independent Platform, and Emerging Technology Ventures. The event was successfully held at the NTU’s Wellness Center. The KARMA partnership is working to stimulate the Navajo economy by creating career pathways from K-12 through College rooted in technological innovation and advanced manufacturing.
“We enjoyed being a part of the Innoventure Product Challenge over the past two years,” said Lydia Hammond, Deputy Director of Innoventure from Arrowhead Center, NMSU. “Our partnership with NTU and KARMA has been great and seeing the final products middle school and high school students created was very inspiring. This has been a great partnership and we look forward to what the future will bring.”
The regional and area high school and middle schools represented at the event were Crownpoint Middle and High School, St. Michaels Indian School, St. Bonaventure Mission School, and Little Singer Community School. Each schools also participates in KARMA’s 3D Summer Camp where they are introduced to advanced manufacturing technology and software like TinkCAD.
The Innoventure Product Challenge was strongly endorsed by the Navajo Nation President, Jonathan Nez, who welcomed the students and encouraged them to continue their educational journey. Shayna Begay, Advisory Board Member from Sandia National Laboratory, and Terry Dayish, Manager of Government Relations for Arizona Public Service, also shared words of inspiration for the students and the importance of participating in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic events.
The Innoventure Product Challenge was sponsored by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Navajo Transitional Energy Company, Navajo Arts and Crafts Enterprise, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Choice Wireless NTUA, Sacred Wind Communications, Emergence Group, Butlers Office Supply, McDonalds, Pizza9, and Sizzlers.
To learn more about the Innoventure Product Challenge or Keyah Advanced Rural Manufacturing Alliance (KARMA) at Navajo Technical University contact Keanu Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lavern Moore at email@example.com.