Looking to the future

By Shakir Farid Abdullah, Staff Reporter

Education is an economic imperative that every American family should be able to afford and not just a luxury, said Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, in his State of the Union Address on January 20 2015.

“The most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July 2015,” said President Obama.

A great investment in education would be beneficial for our country, said Katrina Taylor, Instructor and Program Coordinator for the Department of Political Science at CNM.

“Eighty-two percent of Constitutions around the world say that education is a right. Our founding document is in the minority of countries that do not guarantee education to their citizens,” she said.

It is sad that the U.S. burdens its college students with such debt while students in other countries enjoy more support, she said.

Corporations receive a better loan interest rate than students and the working class is being priced out of a college education, she said.

“This is very bad for our country and the world,” Taylor said.

There are such brilliant, creative, and innovative thinkers in our great country, and to truly be the “Land of Opportunity,” access to a higher education in America is essential, she said.

“So personally, I think the President is right on the money with this proposal,” she said.

Higher education has to be made a higher priority in the States’ budgets and the tuition tax credit extended– then middle class families can be saving thousands of dollars, Obama said.

College and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down, he said.

“CNM has done its part to keep students costs down,” said Brad Moore, director of Communications and Media relations for CNM.

Considering the state’s economic conditions and the decline of state funding for higher education, CNM has always made efforts to keep tuition low while being a fiscally responsible steward of taxpayer money, he said.

Tuition at CNM is one-fifth the cost of state universities, he said.

Throughout its 50-year history, CNM has kept tuition rates low, he said.

“To put it in some perspective for the current budget situation, as to how CNM meets its obligations in producing a balanced budget every year, while keeping low tuition rates – the college will receive $1.5 million in state funding for the year ahead. Meanwhile, CNM’s fixed costs will rise by $5 million in the coming year,” Moore said.

Young people can get the chance to earn their way through college with the doubling of the number of work-study jobs in the next five years, Obama said.

CNM would welcome an increase in work-study jobs, because the program is great for students and the college, said Lee Carrillo, senior director of Financial Aid and Scholarship services.

“CNM highly values its student employees and the contributions they make to the CNM community,” he said.

However, all work-study jobs are funded by the federal government, state, and institutional college – as a result, CNM would need an increase in federal funding to add work-study positions, Carrillo said.

Students would be less financially burdened by tuition, and able to have more guidance and insight while achieving a higher education, Taylor said.

“This means my students will have better opportunities for success and will enjoy the benefits of living in a more educated society, of which there are many,” she said.

New transfer options for CNM students

By Whitney Oliphant, Staff Reporter

CNM will be partnering with Western New Mexico University to offer online bachelor degree programs for its students that are seeking to continue their education at a four year institution, said Roberto Vasquez of Academic Affairs at CNM.

Beginning fall of 2015 CNM students will be able to transfer some of their associate’s degrees from CNM to Western New Mexico University to continue their education and obtain their bachelor’s degree in certain fields, he said.

“They are building this bridge that is just going to streamline the ability to transfer,” said Vasquez.

In all there will be at least ten programs offered through distance education with WNMU and CNM will be announcing all the names of the programs at a later date this summer, Vasquez said.

Some of the online programs that will be offered through WNMU will include Interdisciplinary Studies, Criminal Justice and Social Work, he said.

The approved associate programs will transfer directly over into one of the adjoining online bachelor’s programs at WNMU, said Vasquez.

Some students worry that certain classes may not transfer over to another four year institution and when a class does not transfer that student is faced with taking a similar course over, which can take away from the amount of time it takes a student to graduate, he said.

The partnership with WNMU will help ease those concerns, he said.

Western New Mexico University is also locking their tuition rates for their students, Vasquez said.

What this means is that CNM students who transfer to WNMU can keep the same tuition rates that WNMU offers from the beginning of their program to the end of their program, he said.

This is something that students should be aware of if they are planning on transferring to one of WNMU’s online programs, he said.

There are a few exceptions and guidelines in regards to the locked tuition rates but CNM will have more information available for its students on this as they finalize everything with WNMU, he said.

CNM is also in the process of building a transfer website from the ground up, he said.

What this means is that once the website is up, students will be able to access more information on CNM’s partnership with WNMU and many other universities, Vasquez said.

Students will be able to view the universities that CNM is currently partnering with and what associate programs at CNM will transfer to those universities, he said.

To make the stress of transferring to a new institution easier for students, CNM hopes to have someone from Western New Mexico University available at the CNM campus, he said.

CNM is hoping to have the advisor from WNMU at the CNM campus at least twice a month in order to answer any questions that may arise regarding WNMU, he said.

They will also be available to answer any questions students may have about transferring into one of their programs, Vasquez said.

“CNM is moving in a neat direction as far as transfer,” Vasquez said.

The new transfer website will be accessible through CNM’s web page as soon as they finalize everything and are able to launch the newly developed website, he said.

In the meantime if there are any questions about transferring to WNMU regarding the tuition rates, appointments can be scheduled with academic advisors, Vasquez said.

To schedule an appointment with one of CNM’s academic advisors on Main Campus call 505-224-4355.

The hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. according to the CNM website.

CNM fitness program offering internships to students

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

CNM’s Fitness Technician Certification Program has an internship experience unique to other programs offered on campus said Dr. Vanessa Mikan, director of the Fitness Technician Program Health, Wellness and Public Safety.

The internship program is the last step in the certification process in which the students will need to complete 135 internship hours, said Instructional Technician, Coren Anderson.

The students can fulfill the internship requirement by teaching three fitness classes on campus at CNM or by teaching two classes on campus and one class at an outside location, Anderson said.

The internship program requires the students to write and teach ten exercise routines for the semester, as well as obtain two student clients who are volunteers from class, she said.

The intern will devise a training plan and advise the student clients so that they can meet their fitness goals, she said.

The CNM Fitness program allows students to obtain outside experience at Sports & Wellness, Anytime Fitness, YMCA, Planet Fitness, JCC, and Elevate: PHW, Mikan said.

The program has also established educational partnerships with America Council of Exercise (ACE) and Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), she said.

“By giving the Fitness students the opportunity to work within our FITT courses, they are helping our CNM students become stronger both mentally and physically,” Mikan said.

CNM has also partnered with the YMCA this summer for the AFAA Primary Group Exercise Certification that would nationally certify students as Group Exercise Instructors, she said.

The Fitness Tech. Certification Program’s purpose is to better educate students who want to teach group exercise classes and become personal trainers, Anderson said.

The fitness classes are not only available to students wanting to enroll in the Fitness Tech. Certification Program, Debbie Romero said.

Fitness classes are program approved electives for science majors, criminal justice, and other degree programs, Debbie Romero said.

“The interns have excellent instructors to help guide them in their fitness career paths,” Mikan said.

Having a knowledgeable staff of instructors is what makes the program, she said.

Two instructors who have been with CNM since the fall of 2002 are Elias Romero and Debbie Romero.

“The internship program is a great opportunity for Fit Tech. majors to gain experience before getting a real job, it’s hands on experience,” Elias Romero said.

Travis Holt who is currently enrolled in the Fitness Tech. Certification Program is in the internship part of his certification, said that he was not very happy with his health and appearance so he decided to take a fitness class.

He enjoyed it so much he switched his focus to fitness training and enrolled in the program, he said.

Student Jeffry Chalan who is disabled and confined to a wheelchair due to a car accident is enrolled in Debbie Romero’s Physical Fitness 1 class.

He relies on public transportation to get from home to school, he said.

Debbie’s class will not only help him obtain his degree, it will help get and keep him in shape Chalan said.

He does not let his disability keep him down, he said.

Chalan is one of many examples that anyone can take these classes and you do not have to be a fitness buff to take a fitness class, Debbie Romero said.

“We are not just a P.E. class!” Mikan said.

The Fitness Lab is located in Ted Chavez Hall, rooms 113, 115, and 141, Anderson said.

There is also a locker room with showers for students’ convenience, she said.

To learn more about the Fitness Technician Certification Program, go to cnm.edu and select Health, Wellness & Public Safety under Programs of Study.

CNM providing opportunities for CNM’s refugee and immigrant students facing difficulties

By Shakir Farid Abdullah, Staff Reporter

CNM refugee and immigrant students
encounter new difficulties when trying to
have their degrees recognized or transferable
in America.

There are standards that have to be met for
evaluating credits to be transferable for students,
said Brad Moore, director of Communications
and Media Relations for CNM.

CNM always looks for ways to assist students
and verify credits that are transferable, he said.

Yosef Bader, nursing major, said that no
one will recognize his bachelor’s degree in
Chemistry from the Mutah University in Jordan
or give him a job.

“All of us are the same. The new immigrants
and refugees are facing the same situation,”
Bader said.

Beatrice Villegas, program director for
the Center of Refugee Settlement and Support
at Catholic Charities, said that this is a system’s

Whatever the United States education system
standards are at this time requires looking at
them from a macro level and figuring out what it
requires from refugees and immigrants seeking
transferable degrees, she said.

“Things cannot change immediately, but we
can extend our concerns to the governor and our
state representatives,” she said.

This will enable them to figure out ways
to provide resources, which will assist clients,
some of which who are CNM students, in
achieving transferable degrees and successful
employment, Villegas said.

Catholic Charities clients often become frustrated
with the difficulties they face, she said.

“We say, Look, we live in this system, let’s work
with what we can change, and focus on the little steps
in order to achieve the bigger goals in attaining higher
education, degrees and securing employment opportunities,”
she said.

Their hope is to build a solid connection between
CNM antheir education director Kris Degenhardt
at Catholic Charities in order to assist refugees and
immigrants to become successful in completing ESL
programs, Villegas said.

“Ours is at a very base level, and if our clients are
able to attend CNM’s ESL courses, then I believe we will
have a 50 percent increase in the success rate of our clients
finding employment, achieving a higher education,
degree, and a better quality of life in America,” she said.

CNM has many programs established to help curb
the difficulties for many of the students, Moore said.

CNM Connect is a program engineered to assist all
students find efficient ways to develop and build a solid
approach in achieving desired degrees, and be on the
path towards a productive and successful career, he said.

Advisors and achievement coaches at CNM Connect
has programs such as the Competency Based Education
program, Credit for Prior Learning program, and ESL
Nursing Assistance program which are established to
assist students, he said.

Competency Based Education, provides a program
tract where a student advances forward in the program at
his or her own speed, he said.

Credit for Prior Learning program’s goal, is to
increase student retention and reduce time for completion
of degree and it is an academic credit awarded towards
a Certificate of Associates Degree program, Moore said.

Those who can use this program, are those
who completed AP or CLEP exam, have military
transcripts, have license or certification, pass
challenge exams, and uses course substitution or
waivers to achieve their degrees quicker, Moore

The ESL Nursing Assistance Program, is a
new option funded by CNM’s Integrated Basic
Education Skills Training (I-BEST) Grant, he said.

It provides an extra class, where students can
build and strengthen their communication skills,
medical vocabulary, receive extra help with class
content, and test preparation, he said.

Bader said that this program will make it
possible for him to get a job soon.

“There is a higher cause here at CNM and we
know that refugees, immigrants, and any of the
lives of CNM students can improve if they can get
into CNM, take classes, and earn a degree, and
people here are very passionate about this,” he said.

The Center of Refugee Settlement and Support
at Catholic Charities is a non-profit agency of five
centers in the Albuquerque metropolitan area that
provides housing, community support, GED/ESL/
Civics courses, and assistance to immigrants, refugees,
and citizens in Albuquerque, Villegas said.

Job Connection Services

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

CNM continues to offer services to students who
have graduated through Job Connection Services
(JCS) and the Alumni Association.

CNM alumni have access to lifetime services with
Job Connection, said Amanda Rubio, student services
technician at Job Connection Services.

According to Rubio, Job Connection helps students
obtain certificates and degrees, which is a service
that begins before graduation.

Rubio said that students can call and speak to a
career advisor and get help over the phone.

“Sometimes a little pep talk is all that is needed,”
she said.

With 339 jobs currently listed on their website,
students who have recently graduated are likely to find
a great job, she said.

These jobs are entry level positions that correlate
with CNM programs, she said.

Job Connection also help students find and attain
paid job internships, she said.

Rubio said that JCS has data analysts that contact
graduates to see where they are working and to find
out how much money they are earning.

This is just one of many ways that JCS stays on
top of what fields are hiring at competitive rates in
order to have data to show other students going into
that same field that they can find a job and earn good
money too, she said.

Another way is by using outside resources to find
out what employers might be hiring, she said.

Job Connection Services is not a placement center,
but they do help find job leads and have access to outside
resources, she said.

Other services offered by Job Connection include
help with cover letters and resumes, and practice
interviews, one on one, with a career center advisor,
she said.

She also said that alum have access to free paper
copies and faxes.

Job Connection Services is so much more than just
technical help, she said.

Once students have registered with Job Connection
Services they can utilize the website from wherever
and whenever, she said.

Students’ success is so important to Job Connection
Services that they even have a clothing exchange to
help students attain the necessary attire to go into job
interviews with confidence, Rubio said.

These exchanges usually happen once a year, but
if a student poses a need before or after the exchange
happens then all the student needs to do is give Job
Connection Services a call and they are willing to help
to the best of their abilities, she said.

When classes are in session, Job Connection
Services will see about 30 to 50 students per day,
Rubio said.

JCS is open five days a week Monday through
Friday from 8am to 5pm and closed for winter break
and national holidays, she said.

There are computers at JCS for students to conduct
job searches and offer a hot cup of Joe while conducting
searches, she said.

According to Roberta Ricci, CNM Director of
Development, there is also an Alumni Association that
was created in 2008.

Throughout the years the Alumni Association has
honored and recognized alumni with the Association’s
Distinguished Alumni Award, Ricci said.

Every year, an alum is chosen and celebrated
for their accomplishments at the CNM Foundation’s
annual Donor Appreciation Dinner, Ricci said.

Ricci also says that the CNM Alumni Association
is launching its first ever Brick Program.

“Alumni, students, faculty, staff, friends, and
family can create a lasting legacy and a permanent way
to show support for CNM by purchasing a personalized
brick in the beautiful Alumni Courtyard on main
campus,” Ricci said.

A person’s name, or the name of a loved one, can
be forever etched into CNM’s history, she said.

The donations are 100% tax deductible and is designated
for the CNM Foundation to upkeep college
programs and scholarship initiatives per Ricci and the
bricks cost $100 per brick, she said.

According to Ricci, alumni can become part of the
CNM Alumni Association by filling out an online application
at http://www.cnm.edu/depts/foundation/alumni,
membership is free, and once an alum becomes a
member, they will receive a monthly e-newsletter.

For more information about the CNM Alumni
Association, feel free to contact Roberta Ricci,
Director of Development, CNM Foundation, (505)
224-4641 or rricci1@cnm.edu.

The best way to register for Job Connection
Services is to go to http://www.cnm.edu, Rubio said.

Under the Jobs tab click Job Connection Services,
then click Look for Jobs under Students, Graduates,
and Staff, she said.

The student will then be directed to Suncat Career
Connection where an account will need to be created
and once this is done the previously mentioned benefits
will be accessible, Rubio said.

Pavement Poet: Student spotlight on Chantelle Sanchez

By Enos Herkshan, Staff Reporter

Eighteen year old English major, Chantelle Sanchez, shares her passion for poetry with Main Campus inhabitants whether they like it or not.

Sanchez said that her love for poetry came when she was in the seventh grade.

Ever since, writing has been a major presence in her life, resulting in hundreds of poems written about both personal and second hand experiences with love and relationships.

Love is the focus of most, if not all, of her poems, she said.

“I like writing about other people more than myself,” she said.

Not all of the content of her poetry comes directly from her life, she said.

When asked why she was writing poetry in chalk around campus, Sanchez said that it began back in April as a tribute to Poetry Month.

She said she had a desire to give life to her creation, art is meant to be experienced and she wanted to give her art that opportunity.

“I wasn’t doing shit with my poetry. I wanted to do something with it, something that people would enjoy…I wanted to do something that people were really going to see. Like, ‘what the fuck am I stepping on?’” she said.

Sanchez said that chalk written poetry was not her only effort in delivering her work to the public.

She once painted and wrote a poem on a stretched canvas and left it on campus with instructions written on the back for whom ever finds it to take it home or pass it on to someone who may enjoy it, she said.

This move was inspired by her favorite poet and author Ian S. Thomas after reading his book I Wrote This for You, she said.

Sanchez also spoke about Christmas tree ornaments that she painted, wrote poems on, and hung on trees around campus.

Sanchez shared a story about a classmate, who saw her writing the poetry on the sidewalk, coming up to her and asking if she were alright.

Based on the sadness of the poem a classmate of Sanchez’s felt the need to make sure that she was ok, she said.

“She was about to cry…I was like, ‘No, I’m fine,” she said.

However, not all responses have been of this nature, she said.

She recalled an experience where she felt appreciated for her work when a fellow student found out that she was the author of the poems seen around campus.

“I felt like a celebrity, for a moment, in an awkward way,” she said.

Being recognized for her writing motivated her to keep going, she said.

Chantelle said that even though her poetry can be sad at times, or seem a bit depressing, she is happy as any other person and the work that she does adds to that in a way that a creative outlet should.

If you have walked around Main Campus recently and seen words of love and emotion written in chalk on walkways or parking lots then you have most likely seen the work of Ms. Sanchez.

She attends and serves CNM Main Campus like a literary vigilante, a poet’s Batman, giving hope to creative souls searching for a means of exposure in the vast Gotham that we call CNM.

By offering her poetry at no one’s demand, simply for the love of her craft, Sanchez is putting her words, her art, her creativity and heart on display, open for judgment and consumption by complete strangers, for no personal gain.