Is English your second language? | ESL special

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

ESL is an acronym for English as a second language said Carol Culver, MA director of Adult Basic Education and the School of Adult & General Education.

The ESL program is under the umbrella of Adult Basic Education and has been at CNM for many years, Culver said.

“The students that go to the ESL program are generally not native speakers of the English language, and often English may be the third or fourth language that they speak,” she said.

The ESL department is located in the CNM Connect area of the SCC and anyone interested in ESL classes at CNM can sign-up for an orientation that is offered every three weeks Culver said.

Along with the orientation, the student will need to complete a placement test for proper class placement because the classes are leveled, she said.

Upon completion of the orientation process students can register for classes that they qualify for, she said.

“There is no tuition for classes offered by the ESL program since it is a federally and stated government funded program,  the books are free and provided by the program as well, but there is however a $10 registration fee,” she said.

The classes are non-credit classes, but the ESL program offers co-enrollment classes where the more advanced students can take non-credit and college credit classes, she said.

These types of classes are for ESL students interested in attending college, but might be worried that their English is not quite good enough to take college credit courses, she said.

CNM’s non-credit/credit class program offers a supplemental ESL non-credit class to accompany the college credit class to help support the student, she said.

IBEST which stands for Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training is another program offered by the ESL program;  the integrated basic education is the ESL part and the skills training part allows students to receive training in a specified skill, Culver said.

There are two participating programs currently, she said.

One in Early Childhood/Multicultural Education partnered with the CHSS department at CNM and the other is Nursing Assistant partnered with the School of Health, Wellness, & Public Safety at CNM, she said.

“These programs seem to be extremely popular with the students and have long wait lists,” she said.

Culver said they are hoping to expand these programs as well as offer programs in other areas in the future.

“Students who are not quite at this level can participate in a program called Life Skills English which is geared toward new immigrants that need more help with the basics of the English language,” she said.

Topics of this program cover things like how to function in the community such as shopping, renting an apartment, signing a lease, etc., she said.

“It gives the students opportunities to practice dialogue in these particular settings in the English language,” she said.

Other resources available to ESL students are specified tutors partnered with ACE, English conversational groups, ESL book club, and U.S. citizenship exam preparation, she said.

The ESL program also has a class available for non-native English speaking CNM custodial staff to help them improve their English for their job as well as to support them in becoming U.S. citizens, Culver said.

“The whole program of Adult Basic Education over 4,000 students walk through their door and about 60% of them are ESL students,” she said.

In Albuquerque the highest group of immigrants are Spanish speakers, but there is also a significant population of Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and Arabic speakers as well, Culver said.

“I have spent twenty-five years teaching immigrants – thousands of students who said please help me, I want to improve my English,” Culver said.

She said when there is a large group of immigrants there is a great need and desire to learn English.

Passion for language | Instructor Spotlight: Rodney Ulibarri

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

Rodney Ulibarri, faculty mentor, at CNM grew-up bi-lingual, speaking both English and Spanish at home.

He does translations for many of the academic departments of CNM as well as the CNM website, he said.

He is also an instructor for Spanish 101 and 102 level classes, he said.

“I find the differences and similarities of multiple languages very interesting,” he said.

Prior to accepting the Language Translator position at CNM he was primarily a Spanish instructor, but has also taught math courses at CNM as well, he said.

Ulibarri’s history with CNM also includes working as an achievement coach for a program called La Communidad and being a clerical specialist in the registration office, he said.

He has a bachelor degree in psychology and Spanish from the University of New Mexico as well as a masters in Linguistics, he said.

“I worked on a project of linguistic variance called a linguistic atlas which involved the history of Spanish and its relation to New Mexico,” he said.

Ulibarri said the project started in Mexico City, then went to Spain, and finally New Mexico.  He entered the project in 1991 and interviewed people from all over New Mexico.

He interviewed three different generations both female and male from the ages of 18-35, 35-65, and 65+ he said.

“The love for linguistics became evident to me when I was ten years old due to having a sister who is hearing impaired which gave me an opportunity to  learn sign language so I could communicate with her,” he said.

He began to notice similarities in Spanish and sign language in the way certain words related to each other, he said.

Ulibarri recalls his grandparents being literate in Spanish and taught him how to read in Spanish by reading the Bible and singing Spanish hymns with him, he said.

Originally from northern New Mexico, Ulibarri grew-up in the south valley of Albuquerque, he said.

He recalls as a student at Harrison Middle School, the thought of attending college did not even cross his mind, he said.

“Even though I earned above average grades, and made the honor roll, I did not think of college as an option,” he said.

Ulibarri graduated from Rio Grande High School in 1984 where many of his teachers expected him to go onto college and major in medicine or archaeology, he said.

Rodney Ulibarri working hard for students.
Rodney Ulibarri working hard for students.

Photo by Stephanie Stuckey

Online academic advisment

By Whitney Oliphant, Staff Reporter

Students who are unable to meet with an academic advisor in person can now do so online, through email, or they can request a phone call according to the CNM webpage.

There are still some things that have to be taken care of in person though according to CNM.

The online chat that is set up for students is available Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the last online request is accepted at 4:40 p.m. according to CNM.

To start an online session a student should go to the CNM main website and under the tab Student Resources click on the Academic Advisement tab and then click on Online Chat.

There are a few online advisement tips that CNM recommends: students should pull up their program in the catalog, and log into my CNM before connecting to online chat according to CNM webpage.

Students should note that if there is a long delay in response time like 2 or more minutes than the advisor may need to close the session due to other students who are waiting according to CNM.

Students can also speak with an academic advisor through email and emails will be responded to before the end of the next business day according to CNM.

Students can also request a phone call from an academic advisor by calling (505) 224-4321 and leaving a message for an academic advisor. An advisor should respond to the message before the end of the next business day according to the CNM.

Some things that the advisors can help with include: Career exploration and help when choosing a major, educational plans, graduation requirements, transfer information, advisement holds, course planning, and degree evaluations according to the CNM.

For more information or questions regarding academic advisement please call (505) 224-4355.

CNM’s food future | New food options available on campus

By Whitney Oliphant, Staff Reporter

CNM students, staff, and faculty might have noticed that the main campus cafeteria is now closed.

Phillip Bustos, Vice President of Student Services said that the new food trucks around CNM will be the permanent plan for food service options at CNM.

Grab-N-Go options are still available to CNM students at Main, Westside, and JMMC, said Bustos.

More vending machines have been added around campus to help with food options for students and staff, he said.

CNM will adjust the amount of vending options that are brought in to an as needed basis, he said.

“I hope students will be happy with the new offerings and services,” Bustos said.

If students have any questions regarding the changes being made to food services they can call (505) 224-5502 to express their opinions, he said.

The food trucks can be located in front of the SSC and MS buildings on main campus and will be available to students for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, he said.

Taren Archibeque, food truck vendor, said that there are three shifts that the food trucks are able to sign up to reserve a space for which are breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The breakfast shift is from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., lunch from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and dinner from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., she said.

“The trucks offer a variety of different food options at different prices and some even take credit cards,” she said.

Archibeque said that CNM set up the project to accommodate five food trucks.

If a food truck wants to park at CNM they must first pay a fee and then the trucks are able to schedule certain times to be at the campus, she said.

CNM provides electricity and water for the food trucks while they are on campus, she said.

The cafe inside the library on main campus has expanded the food options that it is offering to now include Dion’s sandwiches, various chips, snack cakes, and drinks, Bustos said.

CNM has been exploring different options to replace the use of the cafeteria, he said.

“The cafeteria might possibly be used for future blood drives, large meetings, events, and to even train caterers in the culinary program in the future,” he said.

The decision process to change concepts is based on data, such as surveys, point of sales data, amount of sales and comparisons to surrounding neighborhood eateries, he said.

CNM was losing between $200,000 and $250,000 a year on the cafeteria and CNM felt that the money could be better spent elsewhere within the institution, Bustos said.

CNM will continue to provide microwaves and eating spaces for student wherever possible, he said.

“Any changes you see in the future will be only to enhance what we have started,” said Bustos.

For more information or for questions regarding food services please call (505) 224-5502.

CNM Scholarships

BY Edgar Gonzalez, Staff reporter

In order to receive the most help everyone should fill out a FAFSA form which will indicate how much help you are able to receive, said Brian Melton at the CNM financial aid department.

If someone is unable to receive federal aid, there are still things you could do in order to receive aid for the year, he said

The school itself is able to give out scholarships from donors and although funds for these types of help are very limited it is very important to try and get these scholarships as soon as possible, he said.

Some of these include the PNM Renewable Technology Success Award, he said.

This award is for the school of applied technology students and awards $1000 for enrollment and books, he said.

Other types of scholarships include emergency scholarships like the RUST scholarship that can be awarded to students depending on the severity of the emergency situation, he said.

“If you get a cut on your finger you only need a band aid (little help), if you break your hand you need to go to the hospital (larger amount of help), and if you completely tear your arm off there is only very little help that they can give you.” Melton said.

These situations include paying for car repairs, and paying for necessities for a while until the student at hand is able to come up with an alternative solution, he said.

The situation that always comes first are living expenses such as rent because rent for the most part is a student’s greatest expense, he said.

This help is intended to make sure that students can continue to pursue their education goals, he said.

“These scholarships are available year round to students in order to further aid the students in their struggles,” he said.

There are other types of help such as the vet success programs in order to help veterans continue their education, Meltron said.

This program can help veterans by giving them materials that are needed for success at college like giving veterans laptops if needed, he said.

CNM also has counselors for vets and their families in order to deal with psychological issues they may face, he said.

There are also other veteran specific scholarships at CNM which include the Vietnam Veterans scholarship, he said.

Further information can be found at the schools website.

People with disabilities also have specific scholarships and emergency scholarships that can help them further their education, Melton said.

The emergency scholarships can give people in need with disabilities certain things needed to go about their day such as wheel chairs, he said.

“There are plenty more scholarships like this one but it varies from the needs of the student and how much funding there is,” he said.

In order to receive this help the person who is attempting to receive this scholarship needs see the DRC office in order to be classified as a special needs person, he said.

People who are returning to school or have attained a GED or both have several scholarships options as well like the Daniels Fund Boundless, he said.

“This is set up to help nontraditional students pursue their education goals and there is more information about this available at the CNM webpage,” he said.

Students can do an application on the CNM webpage called the General Scholarship which can actively enroll students to multiple scholarships at once, said Liberal Arts major, Jasmine Viramontes.

The school then decides which scholarships are more applicable to the student that has applied, she said.

I received two scholarships by doing the scholarship process this way and this application made the whole process of receiving scholarships way easier, she said.

This scholarship is applicable in all terms and it is recommended to apply every term in order to have the best chance of receiving the most scholarships, she said.

CNM Foundation Scholarships:

Amey P. Sanchez Scholarship Endowment

Minimum Criteria:

  • Students enrolled in Architectural/Engineering Drafting Technology

Ann and Peter Ziegler Scholarship Endowment

Minimum Criteria:

  • Female Liberal Art students with financial need planning to transfer to a four year institution

Barbara Silva Book and Tool Scholarship Endowment

Minimum Criteria:

  • Excellent CNM student who has completed at least two terms at CNM

CSI Construction Specification Institute Scholarship

Minimum Criteria

  • Student in Construction Technology or Architectural Engineering Drafting Technology

CVI Laser Photonics Scholarship

Minimum Criteria:

  • Assist students in the Photonics Program

For More Info go to

CNM’s new transfer website

By Stephanie Stuckey,Staff Reporter

A new website has become available  for students that are interested in continuing their education and transferring to a four-year institution, stated Roberto Vasquez, Transfer Articulation analyst for CNM.

He said the website will benefit students at all points in their academic careers.

It can be helpful for students to plan accordingly when looking ahead toward their futures, whether it be for their associate degrees or their bachelor degrees, Vasquez said.

The website also helps the student understand the courses that are required to earn their degree at CNM and how the degrees will transfer to four-year institutions and bachelor programs of their choice, he said.

According to Vasquez, the website is also available to students who have earned a degree and are already in the workforce; students will be able to become familiar with what opportunities are available to them if they should decide to continue their education.

“The website was developed with the intention of bringing light to the transfer process, not just from a four year admissions perspective, but also academically,” Vasquez said.

Having all the necessary information in one place was important in creating a seamless transfer experience for students, he said.

Another factor was to help students understand how degrees will transfer.

Because the transfer process involves two institutions it can get tricky in the information that the student receives from two different sources, Vasquez said.

Transferring to other institutions requires a lot of learning because it is an entirely new experience and process for the student, he stated.

“Aside from the process and the academic standpoint, we want to help students understand their options around the state, and what programs are offered,” Vasquez said.

Step up with Stem Up

By Whitney Oliphant , Staff Reporter

Students who are taking Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) classes and need help can join STEM UP in some of their Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions.

The SI sessions are open to all CNM students, students do not have to be attending STEM courses in order to attend the SI sessions, said Melody Walker, STEM UP Tutor Coordinator.

“The goal of the SI sessions is to not just help you with the one class but to help you with all future classes,” said Shaka Preston, Supplemental Instructional Tutor.

SI sessions are setup to be supplementary to specific CNM courses, according to STEM.

What this means is that each SI session correlates with a specific instructor’s class, Walker said.

Students do not have to be a part of that specific instructor’s class to join in on the sessions, however, students should know that the sessions are specific to each instructor and their class subject, Walker said.

So if students who do not have that instructor want to join in on the SI session they should note that their class may be in a different area of instruction, he said.

STEM UP also offers individual tutoring, Walker said.

The individual tutoring is only offered to those that have a declared STEM major, she said.

Students who have a declared STEM major can also receive mentor services and special advisement from STEM UP, Walker said.

Student Education Leaders through STEM UP are the individuals that offer the mentor services to students.

What the Student Education Leaders do is they try to find scholarships and events that pertain to the student’s major and help the students get involved, Walker said.

STEM UP’s main goal is to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation in STEM fields. Specifically the STEM grant is for Hispanic serving institutes, as well as low income and first generation, Walker said.

The main goal is to increase the amount of STEM individuals out there and to help them succeed, she said.

“STEM UP has offered mock chemistry finals in the past and they are hoping to offer more mock finals in a variety of STEM courses in the future,” she said.

STEM UP also offers walkabouts at UNM for students.

STEM schedules a time and will tour CNM students around the UNM campus to help students feel more comfortable about the transfer.

During the walkabout the guide will take the students to all of the major Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math buildings, Walker said.

Hit the Ground Running is another event that STEM UP offers students.

The event is held right before the semester starts and will also be held this January and right before the summer semester, she said.

The event is there to make sure students are prepared for their upcoming class and to help students get a good grasp on certain topics, she said.

The mock finals, Hit the Ground Running, and the walkabouts at UNM are for all CNM students. Students do not have to be in a declared STEM major to take part in these events, she said.

STEM UP also has a free application (APP) available to students.

The APP can help students in determining what classes will count toward a STEM associate degree at CNM and what CNM classes will count toward a STEM bachelor degree at UNM.

To download the APP students can search for “STEM UP” in the Google Play or iTunes store.

For more information or questions about STEM UP and the variety of services that they provide call (505) 224-3241 or visit the STEM UP center at Main Campus in the SSC building room 102.

Students who are interested in the SI sessions can go online to the CNM webpage at ( or they can contact STEM at (505) 224-3242 to find out when, where, and at what time the sessions are being held.

To set up an appointment for individual tutoring students must first make an appointment with their advisor.

Students can visit the STEM UP office on Main Campus in the SSC building room 102 and speak with Monique to schedule all of the necessary appointments, Walker said.

Students can also call (505) 224-3241 or send an email to for further questions or information.