Opening Doors at Intel
The annual Children’s Carnival invites elementary schoolers inside headquarters for a day of exploration.
Every year, Intel chooses a few lucky schools to see behind the scenes at their technology hub. The event is called the Children’s Winter Carnival, and judging by the awe and joy on students’ faces, it’s a STEM rendition of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory tour.
“We want them to know we’re not a secret company on the hill,” says Raquel Chavez, Intel’s Public Affairs Director. “We’re a company where they could work in the future.”
This year, 50 students stood wide-eyed in front of the gleaming glass doors of Intel headquarters in Rio Rancho. They were welcomed inside, paired with an Intel employee, given gifts from their Christmas wish list, and taken through hands-on STEM activities. For many employees at Intel, it’s one of the most rewarding and heartwarming days of the year.
We asked Intel why the Winter Carnival is such an important outreach event, and what it means for STEM education statewide.
Intel New Mexico
What kind of activities do you plan? How do the students enjoy them?
We have partnered with Explora for many years in supporting Winter Carnival, as well as the Natural History Museum, and Nuclear Museum. Maker tables included electric circuits, natural history, and nuclear chemistry. We also had health and wellness tables such as dental hygiene, and a physical fitness station. There is also a cookie decorating, face painting, card making, and a prize wheel. Each organization plans and brings their own STEM activities tailored towards elementary students.
A big hit this year was the electric engineering activity. Our Intel sponsors helped the students create a functional simple circuit with LED lights. The complete kit was designed to be a robot with blinking eyes.
What kind of role does this event play in changing students’ ideas about STEM?
It bridges a gap for children who may never have the ability to leave their neighborhood or school. Intel becomes less intimidating. When partnered with an employee, they get to see what an engineer looks like…like an everyday person. There may be a change in what they think STEM is while engaging in fun activities. We hope that experience will increase their interest in STEM education in the future, building a pipeline for STEM careers.
Winter Carnival Sponsor
What was your experience like as a sponsor this year?
It was a lot of fun spending the morning with my child, he seemed to be really grateful for the experience. The child seemed to really enjoy the activities we provided.
How do you think the day affected your student?
The student seemed to be really happy after the event. When he first arrived he seemed a little timid and shy but after some time he really opened up. He really loved the air tunnel activity. He said it was one of his favorite events he’s been to all year.
Why is this event important for you?
This event was important to me because it gave me a chance to both give back and engage with the community. Sponsoring a child was a really rewarding experience.
The Winter Carnival is an exemplary event that showcases the cross-sector partnerships made possible by STEM NM. Bringing together students, educators, museums, and industry leaders, Intel’s Winter Carnival shows how impactful our state’s collective STEM ecosystem can be.