Dual Enrolled Student Co-Authors Two Scientific Papers Through WNMU

Western New Mexico University Deming student Lauren Paulk has co-authored two papers published in scientific journals. The 17-year-old is a senior in high school, who through the dual enrollment program is also working toward an associate degree. Learning through research experiences with Dr. Niccole D. Rech, who employs a teaching method known as cognitive apprenticeship, she has gained proficiency in lab practices such as collecting specimens and operating equipment. And she has learned to lay out her findings in writing and present them in a scholarly setting like the WNMU Academic Symposium. During her sophomore year, Lauren and a few other students studied Wolbachia in Africanized bees in Luna County and the surrounding area. Next, she participated in the study of Rhizobia in pinto beans—a project that was cut short due to the onset of the pandemic. And this past spring, Lauren again worked with Dr. Rech and a fellow student to identify seven previously undocumented...

WNMU Outdoor Program and Natural Sciences Co-Hosts of Youth Mural Program at City of Rocks

The Youth Mural Program, in partnership with the WNMU Outdoor Program and Natural Sciences Department, wrapped up a summer mural camp at City of Rocks on July 31. With Dr. Kathy Whiteman and artist Diana Ingalls Leyba leading, students from Cobre High School and Aldo Leopold Charter School engaged in field trips, discovery hikes with scavenger hunters, and Leave No Trace activities. They learned about southwest New Mexico’s natural history and environment, also gaining experience working collaboratively, managing a deadline and setting realistic expectations for themselves. The 23 young people then painted a 36- by roughly 12-foot wall on the state park’s visitor center, integrating Mimbres figures and native wildlife into their desert scene. Families of participants joined the teens for an overnight campout just ahead of the mural’s dedication. The two-week experience was made possible through New Mexico’s outdoor equity grant, which WNMU and the Youth Mural...

Daughter of WNMU Alumni To Headline Back Together Bash

Western New Mexico University is welcoming students and the community back to campus by hosting two nights of live music on Friday, August 20, and Saturday, August 21. The WNMU Cultural Affairs Back Together Bash celebrates the return of in-person events and marks the debut of campus’ new outdoor venue, The Fountain Stage at Regents Square. “The Back Together Bash is all about our continued efforts to host the community on campus,” said WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard. “This year’s fall kickoff is extra special because our community has patiently been persevering through a difficult time of isolation and hardship.” Headliner Bri Bagwell, who was named Texas Female Vocalist of the Year, will be joined by The Yarbrough Band on Friday night. Tejano favorites Elida Reyna y Avante with Lucky Joe take the stage Saturday. WNMU asked them to return after canceling their performance at ¡Fiesta Latina! 2020. While both concerts start at 7:30 p.m., the doors will open at...

WNMU Board of Regents: President Shepard Exceeds Performance Measures, Creates Progressive Campus Culture

The Western New Mexico University Board of Regents came together both virtually and in person Tuesday to approve measures that will advance the institution through the coming fiscal year and beyond, also sharing their evaluation of WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard’s performance. After hearing an informational report from Dr. Shepard, the board passed a change to the faculty remote work policy, which establishes guidelines for short- and long-term remote work assignments, which take into consideration technological advances along with market demand for online and distance education. “Some positions may be conducive to less traditional work site arrangements. In addition, remote work assignments may offer benefits such as the recruitment of diverse and quality candidates, as well as contributing to enhanced student learning and retention,” the policy reads. They reviewed and approved the requests for funding for fiscal year 2022-23 research and public service projects,...

Wildlife/Law Enforcement Student Completes Practicum at State Park With Alumnus

“I have always been passionate about protecting and preserving wildlife but was unsure what education to pursue to qualify as a game warden. When I found WNMU and the wildlife/law enforcement degree, I knew it was exactly what I wanted,” said senior wildlife-law enforcement student Jeff Bell. The native of Key West, Florida, said, “Growing up, I saw what could happen to an ecosystem if it is not properly maintained. After moving to New Mexico and seeing this beautiful land and the amazing animals, my desire to become a game warden and protect this place only increased.” For his senior practicum experience, Jeff chose to work at City of Rocks State Park alongside WNMU alumnus and Park Manager Gabe Medrano and a couple others, performing maintenance work, riding along with Gabe to enforce park regulations, and contributing to operate the visitor center. “One of the best experiences so far has been seeing all the wildlife that inhabits the park. I’ve seen barn owls,...

Art Major Draws on Muse for Successful Internship

“In my art pieces, subconsciously, I’d l put in elements of wildlife and nature,” said WNMU senior Yen Chu. Intertwining her artistic tendencies and her environmental concern, she now interns with Gila Resources Information Project — managing their social media channels and helping plan the group’s upcoming Gila River Festival, among other assignments which range from designing marketing materials to organizing photo shoots. “I never realized how much there is to do,” she said during her second week on the job. “Because it’s a nonprofit, everything is really self-propelled.” As an art major at WNMU, Yen has noticed many of her classes have touched on the environmental impacts on art, making her consider identity as it relates to place. “Creating art, I was once really focused on the network between people, but it’s broadened into how we relate to our surroundings as well as each other. “I want people to reconsider where they see themselves in the...

Senior Applies GIS Knowledge With Local Nonprofit

WNMU senior Nichole Bouvet once worked in corrections and was into conservation and hunting in her free time so dreamed of perhaps becoming a game warden. But her professors persuaded her to minor in geographic information systems. “I’d still love to work with the U.S. Forest Service,” she said, “but there are so many opportunities in GIS.” Having the course requirements behind her, Nichole sprung for a summer internship and senior practicum with the Silver City Watershed Keepers, a sister to GRIP. She started doing data collection in Pinos Altos Creek, San Vicente Creek and Silva Creek. Points of interest she was collecting include legacy trees—“the oldest, most beautiful ones”—around which the Watershed Keepers can work to minimize invasive species and allow local trees to flourish. She’s also marking homeless camps to help the Town of Silver City understand where people are staying and find somewhere safer for them to go. The organization's overall aim...

Forest-Wildlife Major Interns With Heart of the Gila

Grant County native Raquel Parga is finishing up a forest-wildlife degree at WNMU, doing her senior practicum with Heart of the Gila, and raising an almost two-year-old son. “I’ve overcome some obstacles in my life but I’m still going strong with my degree,” she said. Feeling fortunate to have been born in a place surrounded by forest, Raquel chose to stay in her hometown and pursue a bachelor’s in hopes of working in hydrology or ecology with the U.S. Forest Service. “I always loved being outside. The world seems kind of small at times, but when you’re out there, it’s so vast,” she said. Raquel opted to do eco-monitoring for Heart of the Gila “since the Gila River is one of our biggest assets here.” Over the past month, she has been in the field, testing the waters for PH levels, dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids and so on. The experience has opened her eyes to how much of the hands-on and classroom work she does at WNMU applies in the real...

Greenhouse Enables Student Research

The new greenhouse under construction outside Harlan Hall is thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture grant the university obtained last summer to build a research program in nano-enabled agriculture. The facility will enable WNMU undergraduate research experiences that explore solutions to global problems hindering the industry’s ability to sustain the growing population. But this grant also supports undergraduate students looking into ways to achieve food security and improve the sustainability of agriculture. In partnership with former WNMU natural sciences faculty member Dr. Illya Medina Velo, the university’s Dr. Bill Norris, Goyce Koeppl and Chala Werber are continuing to lead students in testing nano materials on local soil to improve agricultural practices....

“Ice Cream Girls” Pays Homage to Local Girl’s Sweet Memory

The newly installed bronze sculpture at The Gardens near Light Hall is a tribute to the many generations Western New Mexico University has served since 1893. A trio of WNMU alumni spent six months creating “Ice Cream Girls” to pay homage to one local child’s sweetest memory and to the spirit of community that this institution represents. One summer in the 1930s, sisters Martha and Charley sat outside Light Hall while their mother was in class. A professor walked by and acted on his regret that they waited in the hot sun without ice cream. That experience was integral to their eventual pursuit of education at WNMU and to their lifelong investment in the local community. Before becoming a middle school teacher, Martha went on to make a name for the Lady Mustangs on athletic courts across the region as one of the first inducted into the Women’s Athletic Association Hall of Fame. Charley first worked at married student housing on campus and later worked at a downtown...