Donor Story

PNM Invests in Education and Innovation, UNM

In a time when budgets are tight and needs are many, companies must be strategic about spending their money and energy. When it comes to the best return on investment, educating future leaders tops PNM’s list.

The UNM Foundation connects PNM to programs aligned with the company’s philanthropic goals.

Diane Ogawa presents a check to Olga Lavrova and Sharen Hart of the UNM Foundation.

Diane Ogawa presents a check to Olga Lavrova and Sharen Hart of the UNM Foundation.

A long-time supporter of the Law School’s Wild Friends program, PNM believes introducing students to the legislative process helps young people find their voice and provides a bridge between academic learning and real-life experiences.

Students of the School of Engineering’s Solar Car Project use PNM donations to design and race a solar-powered vehicle in a national competition. With another donation from PNM, engineering faculty are inventing a residential-scale ice-storage system alleviating air conditioners’ demand for energy during peak periods.

“Investing in these programs is a natural fit for PNM’s initiatives in renewable energy and as a future investment for New Mexico,” said Diane Ogawa, executive director, PNM Resources Foundation.

The ten-student solar car team is putting classroom-learning to the test through the study, use and practical implementation of renewable energy, said Olga Lavrova, research assistant professor and leader of the team. They will compete with university teams throughout the nation in two races this summer in the North American Solar Car Challenge.

“These students are learning to optimize solar-cell operations, applying it in real life,” Lavrova said. “By interfacing with state-of-the-art solar power techniques while using limited resources, they’re learning all the applications they’ll use as future engineers.”

Steve Wood, an electrical and computer engineering student, sits in the partially completed solar car. Along with competing in the national races, the team travels to schools and events around New Mexico educating the community and the state’s children about renewable energy and its future.

Steve Wood, an electrical and computer engineering student, sits in the partially completed solar car. Along with competing in the national races, the team travels to schools and events around New Mexico educating the community and the state’s children about renewable energy and its future.

Andrea Mammoli, associate and Halliburton professor, is the lead researcher on the residential-scale ice-storage system. PNM’s gift will allow Mammoli to build the prototype and test it in a solar house the School of Engineering is building.

“The challenge will be to make it easy to integrate these units with standard refrigerant AC units or at least allow installation using existing construction techniques,” said Mammoli.

These projects are a sample of the many in which PNM has invested at UNM. With interests in a variety of disciplines, companies are finding UNM programs a great investment in the future. To give to any UNM program, call the UNM Foundation at (505) 313-7600, or visit unmfund.org.