Surprise! You’ve graduated Student recieves degrees without applying

emilyBy Jamison Wagner, Staff Reporter
Students may find it difficult to get a degree in their majors, because of how at least one student so far has been graduated early with degrees that had not been applied for, nor was the student notified of graduating with 2 degrees and a certification, having nothing to do with her major until after graduation was over on May 5.
Emily Sarvis, Biology major and President of the Executive Council of Students said that one day after spring graduation she received an email for a post graduate survey. The email seemed strange to her since she had not applied to graduate, she said. Sarvis inquired with the records office, and the person she spoke to said she had in fact graduated as the records department had run a program that found she qualified to graduate under a different degree program than her major, so the school then graduated her without any notification, she said.
“This was after graduation so I lost my chance to walk the line. Not only did they not tell me but I then found out that I had been graduated with two associate’s degrees and one certificate,” she said.
Student records did not give her a clear answer as to why they did this in the first place, she said.
Repeated attempts to contact someone in CNM administration regarding this program have not been successful, resulting in referrals to individuals in the administration that have not responded to the Chronicle’s requests for information.
“I was considering filing an appeal on my financial aid because I have reached my maximum time frame but since I have now graduated with a degree the financial aid program will not grant my appeal,” Sarvis said.
There are a lot of scholarship programs out there that require a student not to have a degree and those programs are not an option either now, she said. Sarvis plans to transfer to UNM in the fall of 2014 and does not think this will affect her ability to do so but it will delay her timeframe since she now has to pay for classes and books for the rest of the year out of pocket, she said.
“I think what I am most upset about is that I never graduated from high school as I got my GED instead. I have never graduated from anything and CNM took that moment away from me and my family,” she said.
There is no information on with regards to this proactive graduation program, and instead, the website lays out the steps for a traditional application to graduate from CNM.
According to the CNM website, “Students must apply for graduation to receive a certificate or degree from CNM.”
The Graduation process stated on CNM’s website lists a three-step procedure that then breaks down to a total of 17 steps that must be completed in order for a student to graduate from CNM.
According to the website, students must: “Click the ‘Apply to Graduate’ link in the ‘Graduation and Change/Update Your Major’ channel of myCNM”, before the student can graduate.
There has been no explanation forthcoming from the administration in regards to the proactive graduation program. Any students that want more information about graduation will have to contact the student records department directly.

Weighing the benefits Fast-track classes speed students toward graduation

By Nick Stern, Staff Reporter | Photos by Nick Stern


This summer, CNM has started offering a variety of accelerated courses for students to take advantage of this semester. Confident students are now able to gain more free time during the summer by signing up for these quicker courses, which last for only eight weeks as opposed to the average 12 week courses offered over the summer.
Although the eight-week courses start later and end earlier in the term, the courses cover the same amount of material as the 12 week classes. These courses are a great opportunity to knock out some credits quickly and still squeeze a vacation into the summer if students can handle the condensed work load. Students and faculty have various perspectives on the pros and cons associated with the fast-track courses.
According to President Katharine Winograd’s blog, one-fifth of the courses offered this summer are eight week courses and meant to demonstrate whether or not the experience is an overall good one for students and faculty alike. If responses to the courses are positive, President Winograd is considering offering the fast-track courses during the fall and spring terms as well. “In the fall and spring terms, which have 16 weeks allotted, a student could conceivably complete four terms of coursework in two terms if we offer select classes in eight-week segments,” Winograd said.
English professor, Rachel Pratt teaches two accelerated English 1101 courses and is very content with how well her students are doing in courses that are scheduled Monday through Friday, she said.
“As far as students’ learning has gone, I’ve noticed a faster improvement because they get time to practice every day,” Pratt said.
Pratt’s class schedule allows for her and her students to form a tight-knit relationship by seeing each other every day which makes for excellent open discussions in the classroom, she said.
She also teaches a regular course and said that in the eight-week course she is able to maintain a better connection with students because they have an easier time remembering what was done during the last class.
Her students come to class consistently and have great attendance because of the daily repetition that helps showing up to classes become a habit for students, she said.
Students also tell her that despite coming in to class four consecutive days a week, “the shorter classes are right within their attention span limit,” she said.
On the other hand, Pratt says she is glad her roster is not completely full because it would be difficult to grade everything from a full class of students.
“You have to do more grading in a shorter period of time,” she said.
Pratt makes sure her students are able to write a proper research paper by the time they finish her course, so it is imperative for her to prioritize and be picky about what is covered and assigned in her 8-week courses, she said.
Alisha Garrett, education major, is currently enrolled in an accelerated online Biology 1110 course and her belief is that accelerated courses are not for everyone, she said.
“If you’re a student and you’re interested in taking an 8-week class, you really need to evaluate what kind of student you are before you sign up for it,” Garrett stated.
Her observation is that students who are good at time management and motivated can easily make the fast paced schedule work for them, but if they are just the opposite or have busy lives, or are in and out of school, it could prove to be too much for them, she said.
Fine arts major, Caleb Stump is taking a total of three accelerated classes in Spanish, Sociology, and English 1102. He thinks they could be manageable if he had only chosen one at a time and wasn’t juggling his job as well, he said. Stump goes to each of his three classes every day, Monday through Thursday, and holds down a steady job as well, he said.
“I am doing pretty well but I’m afraid that I have slipped too far in some of my classes. Slipping a little bit is a much bigger deal than it seems because the work is so fast paced and tedious,” he said.
To find out more information about the new fast-track eight week courses, students can call to make an appointment with an academic advisor at 224-4321.

Editorial Issue 10 Volume 19 : Unwanted Degrees

The whole goal and bigger picture of going to school is finally finishing and getting a degree or certification to be able to move on to a stable career or a four-year college for a Bachelors. Most students at community college never got to walk the graduation line in high school and most students look forward to being able to celebrate earning a degree.
Since Emily Sarvis (see front page story, Surprise, you’ve graduated) was graduated without her knowledge she lost her financial aid and has to pay out of pocket for the rest of her classes and books this year to be able to move onto a four year college in her field.
Sarvis unfortunately had the privilege of walking the line stripped away from her, without being notified until after graduation of this last spring semester. She is going to school for a degree in biology, and because she was forcibly graduated early, she will have a hard time this next year finishing her intended degree.
Sarvis could have attempted to reverse the degrees she was given, but said she would rather try to pay out of pocket for her classes than try to file for a financial aid extension, which can be tough to get because approval is at the discretion of school administrators.
To get a financial aid extension one has to file for continuing federal funds and grants, and usually must have impeccable grades or GPA to even be considered for an extension. Also students have to wait a considerable amount of time to be approved, and because it is up to the discretion of administrators ones fate at school can be taken away in the blink of an eye, and students who are not prepared cannot continue unless they can afford classes on their own, which is usually rare during this post-recession time.
The insensitivity displayed by the records department in these matters is an injustice to students that work hard to earn their degrees and deserve to be able to walk the line at graduation just like everyone else.
The student records department really needs to take into consideration how a forced graduation and unsolicited degrees that are not being applied for are going to affect a student’s goals in college, and if students are even capable of being able to succeed without the help of financial aid.
Walking the graduation line is the final leg of college that students most look forward to at the end of their careers as students, and if students are having that moment taken away from them by being forced to graduate it defeats the purpose of celebrating getting a degree altogether.
At the very least, there should be notification emails set-up for instances such as this, and students should have the option to get degrees in a chosen, specified field before being forced into graduation.
Students that go above and beyond, such as Sarvis, who is president of the executive council of students and was a STEM-up peer mentor for students, that are worthy of better treatment from the departments of CNM’s main campus.

Beloved Westside icon says goodbye

By Nick Stern, Staff Reporter | Photo By Nick Stern4

Cheryl Downs, Supervisor at the Westside campus café will be leaving her career at CNM after six years of dedicated food services provided to students. The cafe Downs supervisies has been at the westside campus for more than seven years in the Michel J. Glennon building.
After Downs’ mother beat cancer twice, she is suffering from cancer once again, and Downs has decided it is time to go back home so she can help provide support for her mother, she said.
She is leaving the state on August 15 to be with her family who will all be together for the first time in thirty years, she said.
She is happy to go home but she will miss the Westside campus and all the faculty and students, she said
“I enjoy doing what I do. I enjoy the students. I enjoy the staff. I love my job and I couldn’t ask for a better company,” Downs said.
Downs makes each customer’s food with love and she always makes sure her snackbar is stocked with all the food that everyone likes, she said.
Downs not only serves good food that is healthy, but she is always there for her customers who she considers to be friends and family, she said.
Students have cried on her shoulder, asked her for advice, asked her for hugs, and students know that they will always be treated with much love by her, she said.
If students have a test, Downs reminds them to chew gum five minutes before class and to drink some water, then she lets them know that they are going to be just fine, she said
Downs has also recruited and trained everyone that has worked at the café and made sure to teach her values to each new employee, she said
Chad Willis and McKinley Smith both work with Downs at the café and will miss her dearly, both said.
“Cheryl has built a very interesting relationship with students and employees. She treats customers she does not even know like they’ve known each other forever and they soon become friends,” Smith said.
Willis and Smith both agree that working with Downs has been a great experience, and that the way things were with her in charge, will never be the same once she is gone.
“Everyone will know she is gone either through the food they are tasting, the day they are having, or walking inside and not seeing her,” Willis said.
Willis is positive that wherever she ends up going, the people she meets will be lucky to have her in their lives, he said.
Education major, Sonnita Baird, is one of the many students who feel that Downs’s departure is a sad one as she will be missed greatly by everyone, she said.
When Baird began going to CNM she met Downs and they became close friends quickly, she said.
Baird said that she cannot see the Westside campus the same without her and had nothing but nice things to say about Downs.
“She is incredible. She is loving, giving, and everything beautiful about the Westside campus. No one says, ‘let’s go eat at the café.’ They say, ‘let’s go see what Cheryl’s got today’, she is just that iconic,” Baird said.
Baird believes wholeheartedly that the campus will not be the same without Down’s presence, she said.

Math: what is it good for? Students ponder why math classes are needed

By Deborah Cooper, Staff Reporter

Having to take college mathematics can be challenging for some students, and many do not know about what resources are available to help them better succeed in math classes at Main campus.
Linda Martin, Associate Dean of Math, Science and Engineering said personal finances can affect choices in terms of political decisions such as voting in elections, as well as medical decisions, because percentages and probabilities can come into play.
“Beyond basic math there’s some more advanced mathematics that run into your everyday life. Just in terms of working with percentages and working with probabilities has some pretty complicated concepts behind them and you face that stuff every day in stores and in dealing with loans,” she said.
Developing aptitude with numbers takes time, and students’ progress into learning variables, number and graphs and the ability to analyze numbers seen out in the world, she said.
“As humans we measure things, there’s numbers everywhere and so as you develop that facility, you develop the ability to make predictions and to do analysis, of what’s going on. You see trends and you’re able to make predictions that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to make,” she said.
Martin said that what degree one is getting is what really matter into how high one needs to go in math courses.
“If you’re looking for an Associate Degree in something not math related, it’s probably just math 1210 or above. Then you have all the choices that you want. If you’re going to an algebra based degree, you would have to take an algebra class. Whether it’s an Associate‘s or Bachelor‘s degree will determine how high on the level you need to take,” she said.
As far as Martin knows all Associates Degrees require some college mathematics, and that there is no opting out of required math courses for students, but that there is different types of math classes students can try, she said.
“So we have algebra classes and people who like to follow set processes and like a lot of structure, do very well in algebra even if they think they don’t, a lot of times, they do. People who are freer and like to think outside the box, we have problem solving, the math 1210 and that satisfies the requirement for most degrees at CNM even though it does not include much algebra,” she said.
Here expectations of students coming to a 1210 class when she was teacher, is to have passed the pre-requisite 930 math class and to have grasped the concepts in those courses, she said.
“I assume the students are proficient with basic operations, addition, multiplication, division and fractions. I assume they have used percents before and that they’ve solved linear equations , done some really basic algebra,” she said.
If students hope to move onto a four-year college for a bachelor’s degree people will have to take college Algebra, she said.
“If you’re an algebra enthusiast, then we have statistics which is really an applicable class. It doesn’t involve much algebra, but there are some formulas you use. You run into statistics in your everyday life all the time and it gives you the tools to understand the statistics you see,” she said.
Martin said that there is also the 1320-survey of math class that is the artistic side of mathematics and playing with ideas.
Ms. Martin offered knowledge of many resources for the challenges of Math such as pulling up lectures on line, tutors, and for additional practice problems by getting amazing software that gives hints and links to lectures of the books author. There are so many different options of how to learn in the best way.
Math tutoring services are available at the main campus in the SRC room 203 Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“It seems like a lot of people who are afraid of it think that they can’t learn it and it is something that doesn’t make sense and they just have to memorize. In my mind, math makes sense. Nothing is going to be done in the math class that you cannot make sense of and every student here has the ability to understand what’s going on in their math class. So if they’re hitting that frustration that there is so many crazy rules that they’re memorizing, then they might want to step back and realize that they’ve got the ability to understand and figure out,” Martin said.

From streets to success Student conquers personal obstacles

By Daniel Montaño, Staff Reporter | Photo Provided by Letisha Busatmante

Every homeless person has a face, and behind that face there is a story, that has a past and a future, and Letisha Bustamante, Digital Media major, said that she is working to change the future of those stories through volunteer work and activism.
Bustamante is currently accepting donations of hygiene products, granola bars and water bottles, with which she will make care packages that will be donated to homeless shelters and distributed to people in need, she said.
Anyone wishing to make a donation can reach Bustamante via email at
“I’ve met a lot of unique people in my life. I’ve been to funerals for friends that committed suicide. I’ve seen a lot, and I want to make things better for people who are in a bad situation,” Bustamante said.
Bustamante’s motivation to help out the homeless with this project is a simple one, and is one of the many volunteer and activist works with which she has been involved, she said.
Bustamante herself has been homeless off and on, ever since she was 12 years old, sometimes with her family and other times on her own, she said.
“For some reason we were always on the streets in the winter. Being in the cold when we didn’t have jackets, I ended up in the hospital a lot. I only told one friend what was going on, but some people noticed,” she said.
Bustamante will graduate in the spring of 2014 semester and now has a roof over her head, food in her fridge and a plan for the future; to go along with her job, school, volunteer work and her two-year old son, with whom she fills most of her time, she said.
While at the Youth Build charter high school, now called the Academy of Trades and Technology, Bustamante said that she decided to take steps to change things for herself by looking for a job and enrolling as a dual credit student at CNM while still in high school.
“Just out of the blue one day, I said ‘This has to stop; I don’t want to be like my parents’. They have bad credit, and they can’t afford to support us. We were always struggling and wondering how much longer we would have a roof over our head, and what we were going to eat the next day. I was tired of it and I didn’t want to go through it anymore,” she said.
Bustamante would eventually find both jobs and success in school, where she became involved in building student morale and increasing attendance and participation as a member of student government, she said.
“I would talk to them. I would tell them my life story, what I had gone through, and talk to them to find out what they were going through. We’d just have a conversation, like counseling,” she said.
Bustamante’s high school administration took notice of all the work that she had been putting into helping students, the amount of which went above and beyond the call of her office, and was chosen to attend a leadership conference in Chicago, she said.
“It was my first time being on the plane, so I was living the good life,” She said.
Upon graduating from high school, Bustamante was given an award for the work she had done in her school, and said that she took her experience in high school and used it as a motivation to continue helping people to this day.
Bustamante has been involved with volunteer projects at CNM with the executive council of students, but said that she has been focusing on her work on, which is an online non-profit organization that assists with a variety of causes.
“Helping people makes me happy. It does make me feel happy, but it also makes me feel sad because I realize that there are not that many people truly involved with trying to help the community out, especially here at CNM,” she said.
After graduating from CNM, Bustamante said that she plans to attend UNM to finish her Bachelors’ degree in Digital Media, but she also plans to continue pursuing a career in her dream jobs, which are acting and modeling.
She plans to make use of the active student body and resources at UNM to continue helping out her community, and wants to focus her leadership skills once there, she said.
“I want to motivate people who are in the same sort of situation I was—there is a way out. I would like to motivate more people—all of Albuquerque if I could—to help, to feel for those people who are in a bad situation. I got to live in both worlds and it’s sad to see them both. It’s not a pretty picture,” she said.
Although her life has been chock full of strife, struggles, and sadness, Bustamante said that it is those negative experiences that have led her to success today, and what motivates her to help other people.
Having dealt with depression herself, Bustamante said that she knows how a hard life can cause people to make bad decisions, which serves only to continue the cycle of poverty.
“You have two sides of you; the good part that needs to come out, and the bad part that will just pull you down, ultimately towards death. I see that in many people, and I just want to help bring out the good,” she said.
Bustamante said that recalling specific memories of sexual assaults, asking for money, or going weeks without solid food had oftentimes proved difficult to cope with earlier in her life.
Bustamante has now been working on a book that will chronicle her journey, from growing up in the small town of Gallup, through homelessness and up until today, when she has finally been able to find happiness and success.

Step into the living room and onto the stage

By Daniel Montaño, Staff Reporter | Photo By  Daniel Montaño

6 pic
After one writes a song, practices singing and plucking their guitar, that person has to take a crucial and often terrifying step before making it as a paid musician and Daniel Snow, former Fine arts major said, actually all anyone needs to do is just get on stage.
For most people that step is a tricky one, and Snow said he is looking to make that transition easier for aspiring musicians with his monthly showcase of local musical talent, Live in the Living Room, which takes place on the second Friday of every month at the Satellite Coffee at 8405 Montgomery Blvd. NE.
“It helps you become a lot more comfortable with being on the stage, because the hardest part—or at least it was for me—is moving from the bedroom to a real performance. People can get scared and need a place in between, and that’s usually when they’re relaxed in their living room in front of their family and friends,” Snow said.
Live in the Living Room gives musicians a stage, where they can hone their talents and get used to a performance setting, as well as the relaxed atmosphere of being at home, which can help them to overcome stage fright, Snow said.
Musicians interested in performing at Live in the Living Room can reach Snow via email at
Snow said that he is happy to welcome any students, whether they want to become professionals or just feel like sharing a few songs, all people need is to have enough material to cover the hour long set.
“That’s the hardest part for me, finding people. I am really open to a lot of different styles, not just singer/songwriter. If someone has an experimental-electronic thing going on, as long as it’s a good performance and it’s an hour long, I would love to hear from them,” Snow said.
Paul Hunton who is a local musician and actor has played at Live in the Living Room twice, once with his former band and most recently as a solo act, who said that the atmosphere at Satellite Coffee, makes performing a pleasant experience, as opposed to the noise and chaos of a restaurant or bar.
“At some of the bars you need to be loud and rowdy to hold people’s attention. This is a good spot for a solo acoustic kind of person. Literal living rooms are my favorite place to play. With just a couple of people it’s a lot more intimate, and this is just a broader version of that,” Hunton said.
Live in the Living Room started in April of 2012 after months of meetings with Satellite Coffee’s management, marketing and advertising teams, but Snow said that it first existed in his mind long before the first act ever sat next to the coffee shop’s fireplace.
Now, almost a year and a half later, the showcase has become a community centered event where musicians can show off their talents and the audience gets exposed to new local artists, Snow said.
“I can’t say that it’s mine anymore. It started as my idea, but it’s not just my idea anymore. It’s very community driven. Everyone who is a part of it really wants to be a part of it,” Snow said.
Live in the Living Room is so community centered in fact, that when Snow thought about shutting the show down he found that acts would call on their own to get booked and things would naturally fall into place without much help from him, he said.
“Between this, being a bean-slinging-barista and working on my musical projects—I’m working on my third album right now and a collaborative album with a local rapper—I just got kind of burnt out, but it had somehow developed a momentum of its own. Even without me feeding it, things would just seem to continue,” he said.
Michelle Roth, Political Science major, has been to five events and said she likes Live in the Living Room because being up close and personal with the artist exposes her to local music she would otherwise have never heard in a bar or club.
“I think they should do more of this stuff around town actually. I like how artists are doing things that aren’t completely club tracks anymore. I’m tired of electronic stuff at Imbibe, which I hate places like that. So this is really cool,” Roth said.
Hunton said that he thinks people who are even mildly interested in sharing their music, should be open to the idea of playing on a stage.
“It’s really important to just believe in your songs. When you can do that you’re half way there. If you have a gift I think you have an obligation to share it. That sort of overcomes the insecurities and the stage fright. You just realize that you’re doing a service,” Hunton said.
For more information email Daniel Snow at, or to hear previous shows check out the website:

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…. a Comic Art gallery!!!

By Jamison Wagner, Staff Reporter | Photos By :  Christopher Uminga and Billy Fowler


The Metropolis Comic Art Gallery is working to bring comic artists; comic writers and other cre­ators of art that are comic-derived altogether said Jody Masters, gallery owner.

The gallery is going to become a meeting place for the different groups that are comic-related, such as Sketch-a-holics a group that does drawings and 7000 B.C. an organization that does comic writing.

“This is exciting because Albuquerque has never had anything like this and some artists are now coming out of the woodwork as a result,” she said.

There is a Lego artist that has creates Lego sculptures and has entered the Lego championships, which he will be doing workshops on Lego art here at the gallery, she said.

For the Japan Invasion event in September the Lego artist is going to do a workshop on anime swords and attendees will be able to make their own Lego anime sword, she said.

“We have guys that will be doing workshops on comic book writing, inking and layouts, how to do digital inking and drawing. We have some people that do their own graphic novels that are going to come in and read them and I am really excited about all of this,” she said.

The dates for the workshops are still up in the air but the gallery hopes to have the information up on their website soon, she said. The art gallery is making plans to get the local schools involved as well along with the business up and down the street, she said.

“We are talking with the bike store downstairs and thinking of maybe getting together bike tours and a parade event with comic book heroes on bikes. I think it will be really fun,” she said.

The gallery is working towards becoming more than just a place for art but it is also a gallery where artists can showcase their artwork said Mike Borin, gallery co-owner.

Borin said, he want to have a venue for where these artists can put up their art on display when right now the artists have to wait for a convention to happen so they can display and sell their art in person.

“I was slabbing comics (a process where comics are graded professionally and then sealed in plastic) for a while and my father-in-law said ‘why are you even doing that when you cannot read them any­more?’ because he enjoys reading comics. I thought about it and realized that what I most enjoy about comics is the artwork and I like the cover artwork the most,” he said.

Because Borin and Jody own the building, the two of them were able to set up the gallery space for artists rent-free, he said.

“As far as the two of us know, no one else is doing anything like this. There are a ton of websites that sell comic book art but I have not found any other brick-and-mortar spaces that do what our gallery does,” he said.

When the gallery was first being set up, the six artists who are on display right now and had flown out from the East Coast for the Albuquerque Comic Expo were amazed, as they had never seen anything like the gallery before, Borin said.

“The six artists we have started with said they have all traveled around the country to the different comic expos but they have never seen anything like this before, and they found it to be incredibly excit­ing,” said Masters.

For upcoming events at the Metropolis Comics Expo visit