The Santa Fe NM Project Center
|Program Term:||A Term|
|Program Eligibility:||All majors eligible, Good academic standing (not on academic warning or academic probation), Sophomore at the time of application|
|Program Preparation:||1/6 PQP in the term preceding departure, ID 2050 in the term preceding departure|
Santa Fe is the oldest (1610 AD) and highest (7,200 ft.) state capital in North America. Nestled at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this quaint town of 70,000 is perched high above the Rio Grande in north-central New Mexico. In less than half an hour, it is possible to travel from downtown Santa Fe to the national forest, where skiing above 13,000 feet is available until April.
Santa Fe is a major center for Native American culture, a mecca for both active and retired scientists and avant-garde artists. Due to the proximity of the Los Alamos National Lab and the establishment of the world-renowned Santa Fe Institute, founded by George Cowan (WPI Class of ’41), the city has attracted world-class researchers, including several Nobel-prize winners, in the fields of physics, biology, economics, and political science.
The teams interact with the local community, especially with native tribes along the Rio Grande. WPI students live near the Santa Fe Plaza, in the downtown area, and travel to local sponsoring agencies by public transportation.
Despite its small size, Santa Fe is a sophisticated cosmopolitan and eclectic place where exciting opportunities for projects exist. Most projects are conducted with local pueblos (Santa Ana, Santo Domingo, Cochiti, Pojoaque, Jemez, Isleta, etc.), local native educational organizations (Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe Indian School, Indigenous Language Institute), for city and state departments (New Mexico Department of Transportation) or for local nonprofits.
Given the inter-ethnic history of this part of the United States, research collaborations are often established with local Native American institutions on important environmental, cultural, and societal issues.
- Renewable Energy – Evaluating the costs and benefits of installing solar panels at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA)
- Native Language Revitalization – Creating a digital resource directory to host up-to-date information on revitalizing endangered indigenous languages in Santa Fe, including a smartphone app called TewaTalk to preserve the Tewa language of the Pueblo of Pojoaque
- Water Conservation – Developing an irrigation plan to preserve water while maintaining traditional agricultural practices in the Pueblo of Santa Ana