Education standouts

Luna Community College’s Jake Taylor went into the Wolves Den earlier this month at New Mexico Tech — and won the competition.

The Wolves Den, modeled after the television show Shark Tank, is a competition for inventors and entrepreneurs and open to New Mexico college students, both in the four-year universities and two-year community colleges. Taylor and five other competitors delivered a five-minute PowerPoint presentation pitching their invention ideas to several patent attorneys and investors from all over the country. Taylor’s idea centered on a way to cut down prep time for a soil test.

Taylor, a sophomore at Luna majoring in pre-engineering and computer science, brought home $5,000 for winning first place.

This is the second year in a row that a Luna student has won the Wolves Den. Jessica Webber won the competition last year.

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The New Mexico’s Governor’s Mansion Foundation and the New Mexico Film Office have announced the 2020 State Ornament Design Contest finalists.

All five finalists in the contest, with the theme “New Mexico Films, the Great American West,” will receive an educational grant.

The finalists are Cheyenne Garcia of New Mexico State University; Robert Cantu of Pojoaque Valley High School; Carrie Dada and Leroy Grafe of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe; and Leslie Bello of the Public Academy for the Performing Arts in Albuquerque.

The first-place entry will receive a $2,500 scholarship with $1,000 for second place; $500 for third and fourth places, and $250 for fifth place.

The winning design will be unveiled at a red carpet release party in September.

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Amelia Kirkland of Los Alamos recently was initiated into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society. Kirkland is pursuing a degree in chemistry at Oklahoma State University.