STEM UP gives Science, Technology, Engineering and Math students a leg up.

By Jamison Wagner, Staff Reporter

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Undergraduate Pathway program, or STEM UP, is a collaborative effort between CNM and UNM to assist stu­dents in STEM majors, said Susana Sarmiento, Program Coordinator.

For CNM, those majors are: Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Physics and Nutrition, she said.

The goal of STEM UP is to help students suc­cessfully get their associ­ate degrees in one of the STEM fields at CNM, and then to assist the transi­tion over to UNM so students can continue on and get their bachelor’s degree, she said.

STEM UP helps stu­dents by providing tutors and peer mentors for the STEM fields, she said.

The peer mentors are current CNM stu­dents enrolled in one of the STEM fields who are paired up with new stu­dents to mentor them through the degree pro­gram, she said.

“The mentors will help by guiding the students as they take the same classes with them. The mentors hold study sessions; the mentors help them with getting connected with resources for STEM stu­dents. Since the mentors are very much involved in the program and knowing what STEM UP is doing, they can help students find resources out in the community they might otherwise miss,” she said.

The mentors con­tact the students on a bi-weekly basis to check on progress, whether it is by email or by inviting the student to a workshop, or even just sitting down with the student for coffee between classes, she said.

“Since the mentors are students going through the same challenges as the members of the program, they can help the students by guiding them through the problems they may face,” she said.

Students in an eli­gible program of study who want to get involved can contact one of the program’s two academic advisors, Douglas Atler or Nina Gardea, she said.

“The advisors will then meet with them so they can fill out our application. They will be given a passport which says the student will meet with an advisor reg­ularly, meet with their peer mentor, meet with a tutor and attend dif­ferent workshops. What we do from there is sign off items as the student fulfills them so they can show active participation and be eligible for a last semester scholarship at CNM,” she said.

The program got started through some talks between CNM and UNM on wanting to collaborate more in getting students to UNM for their four-year degrees, she said.

“The grant oppor­tunity was offered by the U.S. Department of Education and we got that grant two years ago,” Sarmiento said.

When the program started, peer mentors did a lot of study groups, said Alex Cordova, Physics major and peer mentor. The program now offers individual tutoring but overall the study groups have been more beneficial for the students, he said.

“My experience as a peer mentor has been awesome so far. I have had a lot more one-on-ones with my mentees this semester and I think as word gets out about the program, more people will be interested in meet­ing with us as peer men­tors,” Cordova said.

Sarah Thompson, Physics major, said she is optimistic about the pro­gram’s ability to help her get through her degree programs and transfer to UNM when she is ready.

“I think I should prob­ably have been more involved in the last few semesters as this pro­gram will likely help me to save my Math degree,” Thompson said.

This program is also a great opportunity for getting Native American students not only through their degrees, but to help prepare the students the professional environment, said Dorothea Bluehorse, co-advisor for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

“I really do encourage that the student organiza­tions continue with their study sessions. The Math League, the Chemistry Club, I think those are really great opportunities for our students to engage and be proactive in extra-curricular activities and I am hoping to collabo­rate with STEM UP and the Math, Science and Engineering department to make things happen,” Bluehorse said.


Academic Advisors:

Douglas Atler

Located in the Academic Advisement Office in the Student Service Center, Main Campus.


Nina Gardea

Located in the L Building,

Room 200, Main Campus

Upcoming Events:

  • Fri. June 28: Workshop Financial Literacy 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. MS Building, Room MS 301
  • Wed. July 3: Montoya Campus 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Fri. July 12: UNM Walkabout 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Wed. July 26: STEM UP at CNM Westside 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

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