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...

WNMU Student Presenting at National Diversity in STEM Conference

One of the first Western New Mexico University students ever accepted into the selective Undergraduate Pipeline Network paid summer internship, Devon Hatcher studied traumatic brain injuries in mouse models at UNM between the spring and fall semesters. The senior cell/molecular biology major’s research was awarded as the top project of the summer. As a result, Hachter was invited to present at the National Diversity in STEM Conference in Puerto Rico this month. They also won a full travel scholarship to attend. Mentored by Dr. Jennifer Johnston in the WNMU psychology program and Dr. Tres Camacho in the WNMU cell/molecular biology program, Hatcher wants to pursue biomedical research in neuroscience. “I’ve always liked psychology and biology and I’ve tried to find a way that would create a degree plan that would allow me to do both and look at psychology from a biological perspective,” they said. So when Dr. Camacho mentioned to Hatcher the research opportunity in...