Mariachi Plata de WNMU Takes Second Overall

Mariachi Plata de Western New Mexico University has long been the state's only competitive collegiate mariachi, but now the group is also officially the region’s sole award-winning collegiate mariachi. The group was the only New Mexico collegiate mariachi participating in the 30th Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque — a conference offering arts education through lectures and workshops and promoting New Mexico’s vibrant artistic, cultural and ethnic heart. The conference concluded with a showcase that, according to the event’s website, “provides an opportunity for musicians from around the country who have attended the three-day Mariachi Spectacular Conference to perform for the people of Albuquerque and to compete for the opening slot in the Mariachi Spectacular Concert scheduled for the following evening at Sandia Casino Amphitheater.” Groups were limited to seven-minute performances. The categories were to include Elementary School, Middle School, High School,...

Mariachi Plata de WNMU Aims To Improve, Showcase Musical Skill

Mariachi Plata de Western New Mexico University, the state’s only competitive university mariachi, is participating in Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque this week. This group of students will be attending musical workshops, competing in the collegiate category of the showcase competition, and finally performing for the public on Friday night. The 17 WNMU student musicians on their way to the regional conference for mariachi and folklorico performers are majoring in other fields while minoring in music and carrying on our region’s cultural identity with traditional tunes. “These students grew up in the Hispanic tradition and learned to play mariachi in their hometowns. The Western New Mexico University mariachi program allows them to continue expressing themselves artistically,” said Mariachi Plata Director Bryant Chaffino. Mariachi Plata de WNMU is a past winner of the collegiate category at Mariachi Spectacular, and the group is aiming for another top-notch...

Post-Bac Ceramics Student Concludes First Year With Solo Show

Making pottery was just a fun, creative outlet for Susie Meskill until she found a friend and mentor who was making a living working with clay. After years of working full-time while hawking wares crafted with a borrowed wheel and kiln and also teaching elementary clay classes on the side, Meskill decided it was high time to figure out how her hobby could become her career. Having studied psychology in undergraduate school, Meskill didn’t have the formal art training that other aspiring professional potters might and needed not only the skills but the guidance down her chosen path. Applying for a post-baccalaureate experience seemed the most logical step, and through a ceramics website, Meskill learned that Western New Mexico University offered one that suited her tastes and needs. She applied and was accepted to study with WNMU Assistant Professor of Ceramics Courtney Michaud. She is the first artist to do a post-baccalaureate in ceramics at WNMU. Since beginning at WNMU...

Freshman Lands Fellowship, Earns Continued Internship

Western New Mexico University freshman Rechelle Gutierrez completed a paid fellowship in communications on Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s re-election campaign this spring and was invited to continue full-time with the campaign over the summer. Gutierrez is in the newly established political science bachelor's program grew up in Silver City and has always had her sights set on attending WNMU, where her mom earned a degree while raising her and her three siblings. Gutierrez said she was introduced to politics and social movements at a young age. “Both of my grandfathers are Latino rights activists.” The longtime participant in the National History Day competition at Silver High School explored her own interest in politics through creating exhibits and documentaries based on historical events. The research process, which included conducted interviews with primary sources, helped her understand how legislation develops and ultimately how various pieces of legislative...

Writer-In-Residence Wins Award

WNMU writer-in-residence wins 2021 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year for novel “Nazaré.” The magical realist story inspired by the Arab Spring of 2010-11 was called “rare and ground-shaking” by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe...

WNMU Students Provide Free Tax Preparation Services for the 40th Year

The Western New Mexico University Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program ensured $702,633 were refunded back to the community in spring 2022 as a result of student volunteers providing provide free income tax preparation assistance to low-income, elderly, disabled, and limited English-speaking taxpayers at no cost to the community and surrounding areas. The program, commonly known as VITA, has been facilitated by WNMU for 40 years. This season, it was operated as a drop-off/pick-up service and ran from January 31, 2022, through April 18, 2022. Nine WNMU School of Business students prepared and filed tax returns including state, federal, and paper returns and were overseen by the student manager. There was a total of 413 federal returns and 412 state returns electronically submitted. The state returns were from various states including New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, and Utah. Federal refunds totaling $575,589 were refunded back to the community. State refunds...

Student Research and Professional Development Summer Program

Western New Mexico University Student Research and Professional Development (SRPD), funded through a student fee, has sponsored student research assistants and scholars this summer. The WNMU Scholars program, started in the summer of 2017, allows student to pursue their own research projects. The WNMU Research Assistant program, started in summer of 2019, allows faculty to recruit students to collaborate on their ongoing research projects. Throughout their summer experiences with individual faculty mentors, the students are invited to come together by Zoom to share in their experiences. The first of three virtual gatherings took place on Thursday, June 9, when participants offered these reflections about the program and their experiences so far. “What a great steppingstone to the future of research and to the field of social work!” reflected Brandon Broussard, a Master of Social Work student and summer scholar in Louisiana, who is preparing to contribute to his future...

Angling for Answers

Forestry-wildlife juniors Xavier Kirker and Kade Evans studied the effectiveness of different baits on different fish species as part of their WNMU Natural Sciences coursework. Over three days, the anglers tested spinners, crank baits and worms (both live and rubber). They discovered that worms increased their chances of catching a fish — a finding that they discovered relevant across all species. “It’s important to know what fish enjoy,” Evans said, “and now we do.”   Zoology junior Tori Pulliam and science/business marketing senior Danielle Barba Zoology junior Tori Pulliam and science/business marketing senior Danielle Barba both like to fish. They were experienced wish a rod and reel and guessed at some best angling practices. But they wanted to formally determine whether they’d have more success with live bait or fake bait. A #WNMU natural sciences project was just the ticket. Hypothesizing that the fish would prefer actual worms to fake...

Novel by WNMU Writer-In-Residence Named Foreword INDIES Book of the Year

“Nazaré,” a novel by WNMU writer-in-residence JJ Amaworo Wilson has won the 24th annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year. “Nazaré” is a magical realist story inspired by the Arab Spring of 2010-11. The novel was called “rare and ground-shaking” by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, who said, “I celebrate Nazaré for its power, tenderness, and transcendence.” Amaworo Wilson is the author or co-author of over 20 books. His 2016 novel “Damnificados” was named a Top 10 book in “O” magazine and also won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Independent Publisher Book Award, the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, and the Prix Révélation de Traduction for the French translation. Two of Amaworo Wilson’s non-fiction books saw him honored at Buckingham Palace in 2008 and 2011. The Foreword INDIES awards recognize the best books published in 2021 from small, independent, and university presses. For this year’s competition, over 2,700 entries were submitted...