// Who We Are « Inquiry Facilitators | Enhancing STEM Education
Inquiry Facilitators | Enhancing STEM Education

Who We Are

(updated 7.22.15)

Our 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit Mission

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Enhance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education through academic competition, support of student research, and professional development for teachers

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Our History

As founding head of the SciMatics Academy at Rio Rancho High School in New Mexico from 1997-2005, former physics teacher Russ Fisher-Ives spread enthusiasm for science and math by engaging almost 1,000 students in pursuing their own interest-based research. The school’s Student Research EXPO’s  motto became: Any Interest Can Drive Research to signify the use of inquiry-based learning skills of Asking, Investigating, Connecting, Discussing, and Reflecting. These skills are a modification of the skills presented through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Inquiry Center.

He founded Inquiry Facilitators, a 501(c)3 corporation, in 2002 to leverage that experience. The nonprofit aimed to make research a core value – in New Mexico, in the U.S. and in the world. Since the incorporation, Inquiry Facilitators, has modified it’s mission to “Enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education through academic competitions, support of student projects, and professional development for teachers.”

Inquiry Facilitators held workshops for teachers so they could use research as a teaching method and guide students in conducting research.

IF, Inc. also provided support for students conducting research. It held an annual student research expo. In 2003, IF successfully bid for the 2007 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) which brought more than 5,000 international visitors to Albuquerque for eight days. Fisher-Ives served as co-host of the fair, managing a budget of about $2.2 million.

In 2001, Fisher-Ives along with two other teachers, Fabian Lopez and Chris Bandy, began the NM RoboRAVE robotics competition to provide workshops to train New Mexico teachers and students how to  design and program autonomous robots . RAVE stands for Robots Are Very Educational. From 2001 to 2007, NM RoboRAVE was held twice a year but with our success to attract students from New Mexico and others countries (Mexico being the 1st international participants). In 2008 the name was changed to RoboRAVE International and offered as an annual competition held the first weekend of May. This competition has grown to be New Mexico’s largest robotics event though not the only robotic competition in New Mexico. (See Robot Alliance).

In 2003, Fisher-Ives became the co-director of the New Mexico Host committee for the 2007 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in Albuquerque while concurrently serving as the co-director of  the RoboRAVE International. Then in 2007, he retired from the Rio Rancho School District to serve as the full-time president of Inquiry Facilitators and director of the RoboRAVE International.

Come be part of the RoboRAVE International and live the motto “Today’s Play, Tomorrow’s Pay”

Have questions? Contact Russ via email at russ@gotoif.org.