CNM Dual Credit Student Wins Four-Year Scholarship for Building Artificial Pancreas

Landon Flemming won the award during the Prestigious International Science and Engineering Fair
June 02, 2022

Landon Flemming is a high school student at Explore Academy who’s been taking STEM classes at CNM as a dual credit student. Earlier this year, after taking a biology class at CNM that inspired him to look more closely at the human body, he developed an artificial pancreas with built-in machine learning that he entered as his science project for the high-school section of the Central New Mexico STEM Research Challenge.

As you might expect, the project immediately drew a lot of attention. So much so that Landon went on to win the engineering portion of that competition and was immediately qualified for the International Science and Engineering Fair that brings together the brightest high school science students from around the world and awards up to $8 million worth of prizes and scholarships. 

At the international competition Landon brought home a special prize where Drexel University in Philadelphia awarded him a full-tuition scholarship for a bachelor’s degree if he chooses to attend that university. 

“It was all pretty amazing,” Landon says. 

Landon, who’s currently 17 and will be going into his senior year, says he credits CNM with helping him jumpstart not only his pancreas project but a general love for the STEM field. He took his first CNM dual credit class because it was a high school requirement, but found that he enjoyed the college environment at CNM and could take STEM classes that his high school didn’t offer.

“The biology class I took at CNM definitely helped me figure out how much I liked that field,” he says.

His pancreas isn’t ready for human use, but he says it spurred him to keep thinking about how he can put his STEM skills to use. He used a lot of electrical engineering for the pancreas and says he’s going to take those skills to the next level with the science project he’ll be submitting to the Central New Mexico STEM Research Challenge during his senior year. 

That project will be a CubeSat, or miniaturized satellite that he plans to build on a small budget but still equip with important technical features such as the ability to survive the environment up in space, communicate with earth even at great distances, etc. 

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of a CubeSat and this time around I’ll have more time to build my project,” he says.

In terms of college, Landon says he plans to visit Drexel, which has one of the best biomedical engineering programs in the country. But he’s also keeping his options open because he might also opt for an electrical engineering degree at another top-tier school. 

“I’m just excited,” Landon says. “I’m already looking forward to next year’s competition and I’m glad to have various options for college after that.”