STEM-UP Center Helps Students Pursue STEM Degrees
"Our main program goals are to increase the number of Hispanic and other low-income students attaining degrees in STEM Fields and to develop a model for credit transfer agreements between two-year associate degree institutions such as CNM, and four-year bachelor's degree universities such as UNM," said STEM-UP program coordinator Lisa Paton.
UNM is currently developing a STEM-UP Transfer Center of its own. As next-door neighbors, the two institutions are well positioned to guide students toward a seamless transfer through term-by-term academic advisement and a clear roadmap that will take the student from freshman and sophomore level classes at CNM through the upper level classes at UNM.
"UNM does not currently have their Transfer Center up and running," Paton noted. "However, the UNM STEM program has staff and peer mentors that are available by appointment to work with CNM STEM transfer students.
"CNM students who have completed the necessary coursework to transfer to UNM will be paired with a UNM Peer Mentor, who will guide them and assist them through the transfer process to UNM. They will provide mentoring to the CNM student. For example, they'll show them around the UNM campus, help them obtain a UNM parking permit, introduce them to the advisor in their department, and continue to help them with any questions they may have during their transition. Our goal is to make this transition as smooth as possible and for the student to be successful at UNM."
The STEM fields have been designated for special attention for a number of reasons. At CNM these include students in one of the following majors: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, or Nutrition. At UNM these students transfer into one of these fields: Astrophysics, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Environmental Science, Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Nutrition & Dietetics, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Construction Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, and Computer Science.
There is a significant need in the New Mexico economy for more graduates in these areas. This is also true nationwide, where the production of degrees in science, technology, engineering and math have been deemed inadequate to meet the needs of modern and emerging industries and scientific development. Along with numerous state and federal agencies, the White House has signaled that strengthening this component of higher education is one of its highest priorities.
As part of this educational emphasis, Hispanic and low-income students — both significant demographic groups at CNM — have been identified as particular target groups for encouraging greater STEM program participation. For these reasons, along with the College's longstanding commitment to technology and basic science education, CNM is perfectly positioned to take full advantage of the STEM grant programs.
"We currently have four full-time STEM math tutors, and one chemistry/bio-chemistry tutor" at the STEM Center, Paton said. "They are based out of the Student Resource Center and are available for drop-in tutoring, or STEM majors can schedule individualized tutoring with them at specific times. This individualized tutoring will take place at our Transfer Center in L-200.
"This is a great service for CNM STEM majors, as they don't have to wait during drop-in hours, and can have one-on-one attention from our tutors in a quiet setting," Paton added. "We hope that CNM STEM majors take advantage of this service, and make individualized appointments with our tutors. We have a full-time STEM advisor, Reyes Coca. We encourage all STEM majors to make an appointment with him to be advised."
The CNM community is invited to drop by the well-equipped and ably-staffed STEM-UP Transfer Center to look around.
For more information on the STEM-UP Transfer Center or degree pathways in the STEM fields, call Lisa Paton at ext. 4-3253 or email firstname.lastname@example.org