Pop-Up Gallery Features Student Work Inspired by Realities of Living Through Pandemic

Western New Mexico University advanced painting and drawing students are exhibiting their work in a pop-up gallery in a storefront at the corner of Bullard Street and Broadway Avenue downtown. The rotating installment of WNMU expressive arts student work is themed “We All Build Narratives” and is viewable from the outside of the building, as the art hangs in the windows and is displayed on easels just inside the building at 116 N. Bullard Street. “Having WNMU students involved in downtown through their art is something I have been wanting to do since I started teaching at WNMU last year,” said Assistant Professor Jennifer Douglass, who teaches Painting II and III, Advanced Painting, and Foundation Drawing in the WNMU Expressive Arts Department. The work being featured in “We All Build Narratives” was inspired by the realities of living through a pandemic and was the culmination of an exploratory process Douglass and her students underwent. “Our current...

Alumna Named New Mexico’s 2020 History Teacher of the Year

Alumna Amy Page, ’16, was named New Mexico’s 2020 History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lerhman Institute of American History. A nontraditional student who had spent a dozen years as a stay at home mom before returning to earn a bachelor’s got involved with her children’s Moriarty-Edgewood School District’s National History Day even though she was in school for elementary education. Once Page got into a classroom, her passion only grew. She eventually over the district’s We The People program and the honors programs. “But in order to teach dual credit classes, I needed a master’s degree,” she said. After entering the WNMU Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program, Page was accepted for a James Madison Memorial Foundation Fellowship, which provided $24,000 for her graduate school experience. “I wanted something in state yet online, which I felt was going to be conducive to the flexibility and the rigor I wanted. A lot of people don’t expect...

WNMU Fall Graduates Honored Through Virtual Commencement

More than 90 fall graduates of Western New Mexico University participated in a live virtual commencement ceremony on Friday afternoon. The virtual ceremony was streamed live at wnmu.edu and on the university’s Facebook page, where thousands watched and commented as their loved ones received their symbolic diplomas. Opening the ceremony, WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard said to participants, “I salute you for your dedication to your courses and your perseverance.” He went on to honor members participants who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and acknowledge the families who supported graduates along their educational journeys. “I’d like to recognize those who are the first in their families to receive a college degree. About 1 in 2 of our students are first generation college graduates,” Dr. Shepard said. President of the Associated Students of WNMU Brenda Hernandez, who also sang the national anthem at the start of the ceremony, addressed her fellow...

Regents Take Pulse of Students, Faculty as Hybrid Semester Concludes

During a virtual public meeting on Thursday, the Western New Mexico University Board of Regents made inquiries into student engagement through transitions in course delivery, discussed current and future programs, and passed proposed changes to the student handbook, and approved a pair of financial documents. WNMU President Dr. Joseph Shepard reported that, following the Thanksgiving holiday, the university administered virus tests to faculty, staff and students who remain on campus. The testing resulted in just three positive tests. “We were able to isolate those three, and we fogged campus,” he said. Reminding board members of the spring semester plans, the university president said, “Our faculty, staff and students will have a week extra in winter break. The first two weeks will be online. In the meantime, we’re pursuing how we can get the vaccine. Having it readily available would go a long way to getting us back to business as normal.” Dr. Shepard said that...

SRPD Enables Master’s Student To Produce Documentary

Katherine Nelson, who teaches English at Eastern New Mexico University-Ruidoso, is a WNMU alumna who graduated with Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies English and Writing. She became interested in the Gila River while researching a paper on it for her environmental writing course, and she was inspired by the way the local community came together to protect it. “I was overwhelmed by how many young people got involved,” she said. As an eastern New Mexican, she was less aware of the river and its complicated history and disputed future than residents of the western side of the state. So she concluded that she needed to make a film that could provide information about the Gila River and the proposed diversion project. She proceeded to take screenwriting courses and jumped into the realm of film-making. And, in order to carry out the project, the obtained a summer research grant from the WNMU Student Research and Professional Development fund. Without any previous...

Alumna Meeting Pandemic’s Demand for Anesthesiologists

WNMU alumna and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Camille Hawkins recently became an anesthesiology resident physician in Ohio. “I love taking care of patients of all ages in an acute setting, providing critical care, doing procedures, and working in the operating room atmosphere,” she said. Now meeting the increased demand for anesthesia providers worldwide, Hawkins also works with for COVID-19 patients. “As anesthesiologists, we’re extensively trained in providing critical care and ventilator management inside and outside of the operating room and there was an increased need of our services outside of the operating room this past year,” she said. Hawkins said her path to medicine was unique. She started college wanting to teach physical education then changed her major to biology for secondary education at a state university in northern Arizona. “My mom passed away suddenly at the end of sophomore year and had me reevaluate my life goals. Shortly after, I transferred...

Graduate Student Creates Classroom Culture of Awareness and Respect

“I am an Intensive Global Support Level 1 Special Education teacher at an inner-city middle school where 99% of students come from low-income and poverty-level homes. I consider my students to be a very unique, diverse, and vibrant group. Our classroom culture has taken on a true awareness and respect for all individuals, despite any differences,” WNMU graduate student Hannah Cothran said. Working toward a master’s in special education plus an endorsement in TESOL (gifted), she is one recipient of PFLAG Silver City’s Nancy Kailing Memorial Scholarship, which through the WNMU Foundation is given to students who have demonstrated work toward securing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. “As an ally of the LGBTQ movement and individuals involved, it is my sincere hope to continuously uphold the values of awareness, respect, and equality in all my current and future years of teaching,” Hannah said. In Albuquerque, the first-year teacher works...

WNMU Acquiring PCR Testing Capabilities

Western New Mexico University purchased 1,500 Curative Labs, Inc. COVID-19 PCR tests to offer its faculty, staff, students and Mustang athletes for collection under trained supervision on the WNMU campus. On the leading edge of keeping its community safe, WNMU now has more testing options and will be able catch the COVID-19 virus more quickly, thereby minimizing the spread of the virus. In addition to making PCR tests and on-site antigen testing available, the university’s health partnerships with Hidalgo Medical Services, Gila Regional Medical Center, and Walgreens ensures a variety of options to help the university maintain the health of the entire WNMU community. “One of the key objectives for our university is to identify an infected person as quickly as possible so we can isolate the virus and prevent spread in the community,” said Dr. Joseph Shepard, President of WNMU. “With the backlog in testing locally and having to wait five days to receive test results, the...

Comrade Advancing Fellow Veterans’ Lives Through Education

Laura Kubik is the university’s veteran education benefits liaison. She served 11 years in the Army, doing a year-long tour in Korea and two tours in Iraq. She had been in the process of enlisting in the military on September 11, 2001, and was sent away in case the facility was also a target. When she returned on September 12, she knew the environment was different, that she’d be serving through war. “I looked around the room and said, ‘These are my comrades,’” Laura remembers. “I felt even more empowered to want to go.” While both of her grandfathers were in the Navy and she’s from “essentially a military family,” Laura did not enlist right out of high school. “I joined when I was 30 to get myself further ahead, get my education for free and get my son his braces when he needed them. I was willing to sacrifice,” she said. As a signal support system specialist, Laura installed communications technology — radios, computers, phone wiring, and blue...

A plate fit for adventure

Earlier this year, voters selected a revised Western New Mexico University collegiate license plate design. Winning by a landslide was The Overlander, a theme fit for journeys on high-mountain roads and trips off the beaten path. It’s available through the MVD right...