About Us

The New Mexico Café Scientifique is a popular program that brings teens from all walks of life together to explore, discuss, and debate the latest ideas in science and technology. Stimulating conversations with experts working on the cutting-edge of scientific research take place in a social setting. It is a place where all teens are welcome and ideas are shared. Cafés take place in popular locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Española/Pojoaque, and Los Alamos.

Teen Leaders

The Café program is for, and is run by, high school age teens. Motivated teens from the four participating towns have volunteered to play a leadership role in organizing and running the Café program as members of the Teen Leadership Team. The Café Project Team is there to support them. This dedicated group of teens is the heart of the program, and the key to its success. Any teen is welcome to be on the leadership teams and to participate in the Café meetings.



Scientists chosen to be Café presenters are working on the cutting edge of an important scientific field and are dedicated to sharing their science with the public. Their presentations are designed to be accessible and relevant to a teen audience and to stimulate discussion and debate. They provide an engaging essay and biographical sketch for posting on the Café Web site in advance of their presentation.

Advisory Committee

The Café program is guided by a distinguished Advisory Committee, which meets formally twice a year and electronically as needed. It provides advise on potential community connections to enhance the program, helps to identify highly qualified speakers, and identifies sources of collaborations with existing initiatives in New Mexico. Members were chosen because of their experience working with young people and their expertise in building community programs.

  • Barbara Butler brings extensive knowledge of informal science learning and research to advise on effective implementation, evaluation and dissemination for strategic impact.
  • Judy Kass was Senior Project Director for Public Understanding of Science at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and brings a wealth of experience in informal science education, particularly in the museum world.
  • James Rathjen is a Pojoaque Valley High School science teacher has been an advocate of the Café program within his school and will be a strong voice for teen needs within the program.
  • Carol Rutten is Institutional Program Manager for Education in the Community Programs Office at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She has extensive experience in developing education programs associated with the laboratory and surrounding communities. She is a primary contact with lab scientists and mentors.
  • Anthony Sena is a biologist and the first Provost at Northern New Mexico College in Española. He has a 24-year career promoting science and higher education among minority teen of New Mexico. His extensive connections in the Hispanic, education and business community of Northern New Mexico will help guide our recruitment and retention efforts.
  • Aviva Sussman is Vice President, Los Alamos Women in Science, a research scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and community activist for STEM education for women and minorities. Her role is to increase access to highly qualified speakers and mentors in LANL.
  • Toney Begay is Executive Director for the Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) program in New Mexico. MESA is a significant partner in the program, connecting the thousands of students in New Mexico in the MESA program to the Café activities.

Lead Institution and Partners

The Café program is supported by diverse northern New Mexico institutional Partners.

Lead Institution

Science Education Solutions is a locally-owned company invested in promoting science and technology literacy. We have program development and management expertise in scientist-teacher partnerships, curriculum development, K-16 teacher professional development and experience providing science research experiences for science teachers and undergraduate students. Michelle Hall, Ph.D., the company's president, is a geophysicist who previously has worked in industry and academia.


Partners contribute significantly to the program through their volunteer programs, providing venues for meetings and helping us connect with local young adults.