Associate Dean Identifies Pandemic-Related Nursing Student Challenges

Dr. Kimberly Petrovic, Associate Dean for the WNMU School of Nursing & Kinesiology, and her statewide colleagues in nursing education recently saw their article “Nursing Student Challenges During the COVID-19 Pandemic From 2020-2021” published in the journal, Teaching and Learning in Nursing. “This particular article demonstrates collaboration between New Mexico’s Associate Degree in Nursing programs and Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs as we work to retain students who will become registered nurses in the state’s workforce in the near future,” Dr. Petrovic said. The New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium, a consortium of eleven state-funded nursing schools, asks that students complete end-of-term surveys with the goal of evaluating programs. In Spring 2020, a question was added to the survey to elicit challenges experienced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic: “What was the biggest challenge that you had in completing the semester/term?” This...

WNMU Pilots Interdisciplinary Workshops for Pre-Nursing Students

To facilitate more students’ entrance into Western New Mexico University School of Nursing programs, the university is taking steps to improve the pass rate of the entrance exam by offering workshops in disciplines especially essential to the career track. The content of the workshops is also designed to improve the success of nursing students by equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary for their progression through the program. As the WNMU School of Nursing implements its newly developed and now state grant-funded holistic student success model for pre-nursing & pre-licensure nursing education, students are completing workshops in communication and math. “We’re piloting these workshops as one way to better support nursing students through the completion of their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees and their ultimate entry into the workforce,” said WNMU School of Nursing Associate Dean Dr. Kim Petrovic. To strengthen writing skills for pre-nursing...

Educator-Approved Thanksgiving Book Recommendations

“The history of Thanksgiving was not all happy encounters and smiles everywhere,” says Dr. Alexandra Neves, who is Chair of the Teacher Education Programs in the WNMU College of Education. “Of course, there is nothing wrong with celebrating and being thankful during this time or year, but we can learn and expand our knowledge when we include indigenous perspectives.” When sharing the story of Thanksgiving with children, Dr. Neves suggests starting with what children already know about the holiday. “They might have heard of the history and traditions before. We then give them a chance to see that there is a different side to the story they might have heard,” she says. “It’s also important that children understand that Native Americans have not disappeared.” A great way to learn together is by reading indigenous-authored picture books that talk about the holiday from a Native American perspective rather than from the European colonists’. “There are plenty of...

Social Work Major Evaluates Student Academic Experiences During Pandemic

“Everything I’d always been in interested in was the social work trajectory,” said senior Jia Rowland, who made her way to WNMU from Indiana and was recently accepted to the university’s Master of Social Work program. “I like improving systems in order to improve the human experience, which is why I did this project.” She is referring to the research she conducted over the summer thanks to a stipend and support received through the WNMU Student Research and Professional Development program. Rowland had previously worked as a research assistant to WNMU sociologist Dr. Dara Naphan-Kingery. “I did all the dirty work, helped her code data and analyze the findings. I said, ‘I could do this on my own, on a smaller scale.’” Specifically, Rowland wondered if other students were having the same negative experiences she was during the pandemic. “When the pandemic began, I didn’t have a home to go to and was the only person in the dorms. I was working graveyard...

Eight Southwest Pots See the Light

The Western New Mexico University Museum recently gained ownership of the Hoffman Collection, which was transferred from the Roswell Museum and Art Center last month. “Roswell received the vessels in 2011, and they sat in storage,” said WNMU Museum Director Danielle Romero. “Since our focus is Southwest pottery, the Western New Mexico University Museum was chosen to be their new home.” The Hoffman Collection includes two Gila Polychromes, a Kayenta Black-on-White, one Mimbres Style III-Early, a Four Mile Polychrome, one Casas Grandes, an Acoma (historic) and a Santo Domingo (historic) vessel. The Four Mile Polychrome is the first of this type that WNMU Museum claims. The collection of eight vessels is on display as a whole right now, then visitors will be able to view each vessel alongside like pieces in other WNMU Museum collections. “The Hoffman Collection will eventually be incorporated into our existing pottery displays,” Romero said. Get the WNMU...

WNMU | Deming Learning Center Construction Underway

University and community leaders broke ground on the WNMU | Deming Learning Center this morning. Residents of southwest New Mexico can look forward to having a healthcare-focused training facility in their backyards. With the goal of enhancing current WNMU | Deming offerings and expanding the programs available to students in Luna County, the WNMU | Deming Learning Center will provide learning spaces for the WNMU School of Nursing as well as general education courses, according to a capital projects transmittal reviewed by the board of regents. On property within walking distance of Mimbres Memorial Hospital and Deming High School, the WNMU | Deming Learning Center has the potential to increase student enrollment, especially in healthcare disciplines, and meet the needs of students who are dual enrolled in high school classes. In addition to classrooms, offices, and a conference room, the 8,600 square foot facility will include skills and simulation labs, an observation...

Lab Rat Eyes Ph.D. in Chemistry

“I like knowing with certainty whether something is right or wrong and being able to prove it,” said Nick Arnold, a Silver City native who is double majoring in cell/molecular biology and chemistry at Western New Mexico University. He’d had set out to enter the university’s forest/wildlife program because he’d worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the past. But he discovered his preference for the science classes with definite answers. Also partial to working in a lab, Arnold liked taking a hands-on approach to his work. The WNMU senior completed a New Mexico INBRE summer experience focused on biomedical research. Arnold looked as the mutant variant of the DUSP5 protein, which “is related to cancer,” in particular. “I spent time expressing the protein and isolating it so we could send the protein to get its crystal structure. My mentor was a theoretical chemist who wanted to create a computer model and simulate the action of both the mutant and wild type...

Psychology Major Grows By Leaving Her Comfort Zone

Psychology major Jazmin Castillo applied for a summer research experience thinking it would boost her application to graduate school. “Plus, it was a good opportunity to get out of my comfort zone,” said the Silver City native. As part of the BUILDing Scholars program in El Paso, she researched addiction psychology in animal models, focusing on how dietary intake impacts drug sensitivity. “We focused on a diet similar to the ketogenic diet,” she said. “On experiment days, we administered morphine in 15-minute increments. Then we’d put the rats’ tails in warm water and see how long they’d leave their tail in the water.” It was her responsibility to feed the rats daily, weighing them and their food to see how much they consumed. “I didn’t want to work with animal models but I met with my mentor and she said it could be a good experience for me,” she said. “I’d didn’t expect to pick it up so quickly.” At the closing symposium, she presented...