High School and Middle School Science Olympiad Students To Compete on Campus

About 400 middle school and high school students from two dozen schools in southwest New Mexico will compete during the Southwest Regional Science Olympiad Competition at Western New Mexico University on Saturday, January 25, 2020. The defending champions from Socorro High and Socorro’s Cottonwood Valley Charter School will be returning to defend their titles. The Southwest Regional Science Olympiad Competition runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in the Fine Arts Center Theatre at 4 p.m. All of the events are held on campus in the Intramural Gym, Harlan Hall and the Phelps/Dodge-Martinez building. “The active events in the gym are likely to be the most interesting, and the public is invited to spectate at any of them,” Southwest Regional Science Olympiad Tournament Director Eric Casler said. The Science Olympiad teams compete in categories such as Earth and Space Science; Physical Science and Chemistry; Technology and...

Faculty Exchange With Universidad de Oviedo

Dr. Alexandra Neves, WNMU Professor of Bilingual/TESOL Education, spent the fall 2019 semester on a faculty exchange program with Universidad de Oviedo (UNIOVI) in Spain. She and Dr. Mónica Herrera, a UNIOVI faculty member, co-taught a class that involved training student teachers in delivering science content to elementary children in English. Student teachers taught the lessons they created during that class in a local school. During this intervention, Dr. Neves and Dr. Herrera collected data that will be analyzed in further research. While in Europe, Dr. Neves also presented at two conferences: Congresso Internacional de Enseñanza Bilingüe in Granada and the International Association for Intercultural Education in Amsterdam, Holland....

WNMU Artist in Residence João Galera

From Sao Paulo, Brazil, João Galera is the current WNMU Artist in Residence. “I am here for a year to do a project, exchange knowledge and go to the local art events,” he said. João’s project contains three main parts—the land, the people, the conflicts or differences. “The idea is mainly to work with different groups of Silver City that live here but sometimes they don’t talk between each other: the hippies, miners, ranchers, the students. They are here but sometimes you don’t see the people together,” he says. “The main line is the memory.” To depict the land, João is painting 100 watercolors of objects he finds in nature and will sew them together. “I call it the quilt of land,” he says. “I’m trying to get these small objects and things I’m seeing and finding here to try to describe what Silver City is for me. It’s my point of view.” For the people component, João plans to hold clay workshops with many groups in the area, starting...

WNMU Board of Regents Approve New Degree Programs, Accept Property Donation, and Hear From Campus Leaders

A Western New Mexico University Board of Regents approved the possible addition of 20 new degree programs, accepted a donation of property, and passed the mid-year budget adjustment request, the first quarter financial certification, and a revised version of the Five-Year Capital Outlay Projects document, also hearing updates from campus leaders during their meeting on Thursday, December 12, on campus. Dr. Jack Crocker, WNMU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, presented the five-year degree plan, which includes three new master’s programs, baccalaureate degrees in outdoor leadership studies and political science, five new minors, several certificates and Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences degrees. WNMU Vice President for Business Affairs Kelley Riddle presented the Mid-Year Budget Adjustment Request for Fiscal Year 2020, Fiscal Year 2020 Quarter 1 Financial Certification and Revised Five-Year Capital Outlay Projects and Institutional Capital Projects and...

WNMU Biology Student Interns at NASA

Western New Mexico University biology student Nicolas Farley interned with the NASA Earth Science Division this summer. “I definitely didn’t realize how prestigious the program was when I applied. There were 28 students from across the U.S., most of which came from Ivy League schools,” he said. Farley worked in a flying laboratory made from a retrofitted DC-8 aircraft and collected air samples from over southern California. “As part of the Whole Air Sampling Crew, I would open and close vacuumed out stainless-steel cans then take the samples back to lab and plug them into spectrometer to figure out what was in the air. We measured around 100 different chemicals that affect air quality,” he said. Beyond that, Farley networked with scientists involved in world-renowned projects and discoveries, getting his foot in the door with an organization known for space exploration — one of Farley’s biggest interests. “One the things I want to get into is movement into...

Former WNMU Dean of Students and Mustang Basketball Coach James R. Smith To Address Graduates

Western New Mexico University will graduate 267 of its students this fall. Of those, 173 graduates will walk across the Fine Arts Center Theatre stage during the fall commencement ceremony on Friday, December 13, 2019, at 2 p.m. They will receive their diplomas then shake hands with WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard and with former WNMU Dean of Students and Mustang basketball coach James R. Smith, who is the fall commencement speaker and will be presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Doors to the Fine Arts Center Theatre will open at 1 p.m. Overflow seating will be provided in the Global Resource Center auditorium and in Light Hall Auditorium. The program will be streamed live at both locations for the benefit of fall WNMU graduates’ extended family members and friends. Diplomas being granted at the fall 2019 commencement ceremony include those for 23 associate degrees, 125 bachelor’s degrees, 117 master’s degrees, 22 certificates and 46 graduate...

Summer Research Experience Step Toward Med School for Aspiring Orthopedic Surgeon

Cell molecular biology and chemistry senior Brenda Dominguez participated in the New Mexico Idea Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Summer Experience this year. Her poster presentation, Antimicrobial properties of bacteria isolated from NMSU Intramural Fields soil samples, earned her the Outstanding Undergraduate award at the program’s concluding symposium. “I want to do med school. Usually having some sort of research experience helps you stand out,” she says of why she applied for this summer research project. “This program introduced me to Ph.D. programs and the different possibilities out there.” Brenda was trying to find new antibiotics in soil, specifically ones that would treat infections picked up in hospitals. “That’s how the first antibiotic was found by accident. We were trying to see if anything else we isolated would have antibiotic properties,” she says. Learning new techniques and tools was a challenge, Brenda says, and so was the...

Student Contributes to Pioneer of Cell-Based HIV-1 Mutant Studies

Christian Topete is conducting research that could aid in vaccination development studies for what is classified today as untreatable HIV-1. He is in his senior year under a partnership that allows biotechnology students at Glendale Community College to earn bachelor’s degrees from Western New Mexico University. Since being admitted to the program, Christian has taken at least one WNMU-based class each semester, also starting summer classes through WNMU. “I’m taking immunology now, and what I learned in my previous classes is coming into play,” he says. This summer, he took a research internship at CSU. “The main goal of the lab was to characterize drug resistance in HIV Type 1,” he says. “My project was working with clinically isolated protease mutants. These were from patients who had untreatable HIV. This is a pioneer of cell-based HIV mutant studies.” Because this is one of the first cell-based protease mutant research projects ever, there are no other...

Drawing I Students Make WNMU Museum Their Studio

At Western New Mexico University, which is the state’s only Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences university, students learn to ask fundamental questions like: Where did we come from? What is our purpose? How should I live? Now, in a collaboration between a beginners’ drawing class and the WNMU Museum, they are learning to ask another question: What is art? In keeping with the Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences philosophy, students are exploring the answer through connecting with artifacts that may be religious, scientific — and depending on the perspective — creative. After getting an overview of the WNMU Museum collections, they each chose a piece or grouping of pieces to draw, setting up their easels on site and bedding down in the museum, their studio for a few weeks. “This interdisciplinary project has students engaging with another discipline while developing their drawing skills, a combo designed to encourage critical thought and provoke amazement,” instructor...

Dr. Benjamin J. Cline To Present at National Communication Association Convention

WNMU Associate Professor of Speech and Communication Dr. Benjamin J. Cline is traveling to Baltimore next week to present two items at the National Communication Association Convention. He’ll discuss how he went about creating a communication program at WNMU when there was not one. And, he’ll present a paper on how Paul the Apostle used rhetoric to create a notion of “soul” that has been important in Western thinking. The information Dr. Cline will share as part of the panel could almost be boiled down to “Launching a Communication Minor in Ten Easy Steps.” He was hired for a one-year position in 2010. While his sole duties were to teach freshman public speaking, he proved himself in that role and then recruited enough students to fill communication courses that were accidentally left in the course catalog, demonstrating the market for those classes and moving to offering the whole minor online, where growth was possible. He made friends with his colleagues, who began...