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Volunteer Advances STEM Fields Among Grade Schoolers

Volunteer of the Month: Leonard Duda.

December 2, 2016

Albuquerque- Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry recognized Leonard “Len” Duda for dedicating the past 20 years of his life to volunteerism as the City of Albuquerque Volunteer of the Month.

After Duda completes a full day’s work at Sandia National Laboratories, he then spends his time enriching the lives of the children in our community. As part of Title I Explora Science Nights, Duda goes to schools to spark the students’ interest who then encourage their families to attend Science Night. He conducts two to three assemblies doing exciting demonstrations for the students, as well as teach them some basic science, twice per week at 30+ schools.

Duda also brings 18 activities for students, parents, and siblings to learn and explore to the 50 schools that participate in Sandia National Laboratories’ Family Science Nights. These two and half hour, hands-on exploratory activities leave the students truly amazed and eager to learn more.

Since his daughter was in middle school 22 years ago, Duda judged middle and high school science fairs. Fairs he has judged include numerous local schools fairs, the Central New Mexico Regional Science and Engineering Challenge, and the New Mexico State Science Fair. For many years, Duda has also served as the host as well as one of the Grand Awards Judge for Physics and a Finals Judge to pick the top three winners for the INTEL International Science Fair. When Duda serves as a judge for the Science Olympiad Regional and State competitions, he writes the actual competition by following a set of rules set forth by the National Science Olympiad Committee.

Duda has also been active in moderating and coordinating Department of Energy (DOE)/Sandia National Laboratories Science Bowl competitions. These competitions consist of middle and high school student teams that rapidly answer questions which cover topics from several disciplines, including math and biology.

Duda’s special ability to inspire and educate our community’s future STEM scientists is the reason why Leonard Duda was chosen to be the City of Albuquerque’s Volunteer of the Month for the month of December 2016.