“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...

Math Faculty Member Earns 2021 Excellence in STEM Award

Since she started teaching in the Western New Mexico University Math and Computer Science Department in 2013, Tanya Rivers has worked to engage the whole community in math, working at the legislative level and empowering learners at the family level. During a ceremony on Thursday, June 10, Rivers will be presented with an Air Force Research Laboratory New Mexico Tech Engagement Office award, meant to honor a New Mexican dedicated to fostering the love of STEM in local kids through meaningful interaction. Rivers is being recognized for her dedication to fracturing stereotypes about math and improving access to education by introducing math and computer programming to young girls through Expanding Your Horizons workshops and leading events at Science Olympiad — both youth STEM education events at WNMU. The award also demonstrates the region’s appreciation of Rivers’ efforts to facilitate successful Family Math Learning nights in conjunction with math and computer...

WNMU Circle K Chapter Serving the Southwest, Welcoming New Members

The WNMU Chapter of Circle K International is made up of Mustang leaders with hearts for service. These students belong to the 12,600 member-strong network, which is sponsored by Kiwanis International, and are active locally and also involved with the organization at a regional level. Immediate Past President Ariana belonged to Key Club, the high school iteration of Kiwanis, and continued her habit of volunteering through the college club, successfully recruiting many of the chapter’s current members. “As a double major in nursing and rehab services, I’ve always had a love and passion for giving to others,” she said. Now current Chapter President Jozette “Zoey” Jarrott is holding the club together during a period of virtual meetings and sparse community events. “We’re trying to focus on service projects,” she said. “This spring, we held an officer appreciation event, delivering care packages to departments around southwest New Mexico.” They were...

School of Education Hall of Fame Inductees Serve Students Across Southwest

Four outstanding educators were selected to be included in the Western New Mexico University School of Education Hall of Fame and inducted during a virtual ceremony this spring. The 2020-2021 WNMU School of Education Hall of Fame inductees are Monica Ortiz Baca, Cindy Murphy Lee, Leland D. Miller and Mr. Darwin K. Bleak. Baca is a three-time graduate of WNMU. She earned a bachelor’s in elementary education in 1983, a master’s in counseling in 1996, and a master’s in interdisciplinary studies in 1998. WNMU recognized Baca for her 38 years of dedication to teaching elementary and special education and for service to her community of Chandler, Arizona, where she both lives and teachers. Her nomination read, “Mrs. Baca provides a safe and supportive place for her students, a place of refuge from the storms of life.” Lee graduated from WNMU with a bachelor’s in botany in 1981 and a master’s in secondary education in 1993. The WNMU School of Education recognized Lee for...

EMNRD Grant Funds Proposed Disc Golf Course Development

Western New Mexico University earned a $141,000 New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resource Department grant to fund Youth Conservation Corps internships for WNMU students, who will design and construct a proposed frisbee golf course. The interns will work closely with GIS professor Dr. Corrie Neighbors and Dr. Kathy Whiteman, who is the Natural Sciences Department Chair and also Director of the WNMU Center for Sustainable Futures and Outdoor Programs. In line with this grant award, WNMU is working to develop a partnership with the State Land Office to lease nearly 140 acres in Maudes Canyon of Silver City, which is near the intersection of Highway 180 the 32nd Street Bypass Road. According to the proposal, this property would be used to construct an 18-hole disc golf course and parking area, meeting community demand and fulfilling some residents’ dream. Only the most minimal improvements necessary would be made in the development of the course, which includes the...

Business Woman Earns Bachelor’s Just Ahead of High School Diploma

T or C native McKenzie Rose Luna began homeschooling in 7th grade and enrolled at WNMU in 8th grade. She placed in Math 102 and English 101 and continued taking online classes, ultimately choosing to major in business and completing her bachelor’s, walking in last week’s hybrid commencement ceremony just ahead of her local Hot Springs High School graduation. While middle schooler McKenzie was a little uneasy about how students and professors would treat her at WMU, she said that the professors had faith in her and having other dual credit learners in classes made her feel more comfortable. “I got to meet so many kind and helpful people, and it’s a really good environment,” she said. The three-time local pageant queen, President of FFA, State 4H Officer and New Mexico Beef Ambassador has remained active in the community and with other youth throughout her teen years. “I feel there’s a lot of adults who say, ‘You shouldn’t have rushed this. You should have gone...

Nearly 250 Walk in Graduation Blending Virtual and In-Person Participation

More than 350 students earned degrees from Western New Mexico University in spring 2021, and the Mustang community celebrated through a hybrid commencement ceremony on Friday afternoon. Of the graduates who received diplomas from WNMU this spring, about 250 chose to participate in the commencement ceremony, with 150 walking in person at Ben Altamirano Stadium and 97 turning their tassels over Zoom. The university awarded 37 associate degrees, 121 bachelor’s degrees, 152 master’s degrees, 68 graduate certificates, 10 applied technology certificates, six fast-track certificates, and five high school equivalency diplomas. Recognized as new inductees in the WNMU Student Hall of Fame were Taylor Allison, Kelli McGhiey, Harry O’Callaghan, Samantha Starr-Sullenger and Laruni Witty. “The WNMU Student Hall of Fame is the highest recognition that can be earned by students at the university and is reserved for those students who have demonstrated integrity and achievement through...

Dual Enrolled Student To Graduate With Associate Degree Before Receiving Her High School Diploma

Seventeen-year-old Keirston Bloomfield will technically graduate from college before she graduates from high school. Having taken prerequisites for the WNMU nursing program since her freshman year of high school, Keirston has earned enough credits for an associate degree, which also happens to be enough credits to graduate from high school — one year early. When she was younger, Keirston thought she wanted to be a vet and pursued some opportunities to explore that field more. “I didn’t like it much so I thought maybe instead of animals, I could help people,” she said. She started taking dual enrollment classes at Western New Mexico University and will walk in this week’s commencement ceremony, earning an associate degree in liberal arts. (Her Silver High School graduation isn’t until May 20.) But this won’t be the end of Keirston’s educational journey. “I’m planning on finishing the rest of my prerequisites for the WNMU nursing program and applying...

Special Assignments, Class Guests Inspire Students During National Poetry Month

Jasmine Chambers In celebration of National Poetry Month, Western New Mexico University Professor Heather Frankland’s English 099 morning class completed a special assignment and worked with Silver City and Grant County Poet Laureate Eve West Bessier, who led the students through an image prompt that used N. Scott Momaday’s poem, “Delight Song of Tsoai-talee,” as inspiration. Bessier published and featured three of the student poems in her poet laureate blog on the Southwest Word Fiesta website. Jasmine Chambers’ poem is an example of the outstanding work these students produced.   “I am Alive” By Jasmine Chambers I am the pen that writes my story I am the sun that gets up everyday I am the hands that work hard I am the water within every stream I am the ink on the paper I am the pixels on the screen I am the color of the picture I am the emptiness in the room I stand in good relation to my family I stand in good relation to the guides I stand...

Regents Approve Budget, New Degree Programs, Capital Project Priorities

The Western New Mexico University Board of Regents whizzed through a lengthy agenda Friday, approving the upcoming fiscal year’s budget, agreeing on proposed new degree programs and ensuring the university is poised to capture anticipated Federal funding for infrastructure projects. After receiving general updates from faculty and staff senate presidents, student body president and also university president Dr. Joseph Shepard, the board members addressed 17 action items, tabling just one and unanimously passing the rest. Discussing the $50-million 2021-2022 fiscal year budget, Vice President for Business Affairs Kelley Riddle said, “For Instruction and General, we’ll be budgeting a carryover balance of $5.4 million. This includes a temporary budget for the Road to 4k Initiative previously approved by you,” she said. Dr. Daniel H. Lopez, one of the newest members of the board who was President of New Mexico Tech for two decades, said he asked a lot of questions about...