Career Connections That Keep People Smiling

Story by Angela Harrington

Staff Reporter

Photo provided by Dental Wellness. Pictured: Leyra Leyva (CNM graduate), Viridiana Murga, Dr. Fielfer Murga, Zoila Murga, Gladis Sanchez (CNM graduate), Jorge Gastelum

The CNM Dental Assisting Program has a positive impact for students and dentists alike.

When Dr. Fielfer Murga bought his practice, Dental Wellness, he knew that the staff he would be hiring would need to be a good fit for the team, so he reached out to CNM to help him.

“When I purchased the practice, the previous doctor told me that he had some connections with CNM. Then a graduate of the program came in to apply and we liked her and her work, so we contacted CNM that we wanted to work with their students,” Dr. Murga said.

One such student is 2018 CNM graduate Leyra Leyva. She said that it wasn’t until after she started attending CNM that she decided to enter the Dental Assisting Program.

“Once I started the program, I really realized how important it is to take care of your teeth,” Leyva said.

Leyva was sent to Dental Wellness for her second clinical assignment, and she has been employed there since that time, she said.

Dr. Murga said, “That’s why I like the program, because sometimes you can tell if a potential employee is a good match for you. Every dentist is different, so sometimes there is a match for me and sometimes not. If it is definitely a match, we will hire them on the spot!”

2019 CNM graduate Gladis Sanchez, said she knew before she started taking classes that she wanted to complete the Dental Assisting Program.

Her first clinical assignment brought her to Dental Wellness, and she was hired.

“I have learned a lot here. I love it!” Sanchez said.

Dr. Murga said that the people he likes to hire are those that love to ask questions and who are curious. 

CNM graduate Jennifer Medina received her certificate just a couple of weeks ago and is happy to be a part of the team at Dental Wellness, she said.

“Once I took the dental science class at the beginning of the program, I thought it was really interesting and I knew that this was the program for me,” Medina said.

When it comes to staffing his practice, Dr. Murga said that CNM has been, and will continue to be, a great resource for him.

A Celebration with Sol

Story and Photos by

Angela Harrington

Staff Reporter

CNM’s first ever post virtual graduation ceremony celebration was a success!
Graduating students and their friends and families lined up in their vehicles to make their way through the Smith-Brasher parking lot on Saturday May 1st, and patiently waited to be cheered and revered for the successes they have accomplished.
Sol the Suncat was there to make sure it was a lively time!
The route was lined with faculty and staff, clapping and waving, as each graduate rolled up and got out of their vehicle to be presented with a beautiful diploma cover and other school memorabilia.
As the traditional Pomp and Circumstance March played over the loud speaker, Dean of Students Chris Cavazos busily coordinated the announcement of each graduate’s name as they arrived.
CNM President Tracy Hartzler greeted the graduates and happily posed for quick photos with them as they made their way around the stage area, where CNM Board Members and additional faculty were waiting to congratulate them.
There was no shortage of enthusiasm or elation at the socially distanced and masked celebration.

See slide show below

Graduate and Celebrate!

Story by Angela Harrington

Staff Reporter

Photo by the CNM Chronicle

To accompany this year’s virtual graduation ceremony, CNM will host a graduation celebration, according to Dean of Students, Chris Cavazos.

The celebration is scheduled to take place on May 1st from 2-4 pm, and students are welcome at any time during this window, said Cavazos.

Cavazos explained that the event would be a parade style route through the Smith Brasher parking lot on CNM’s Main Campus.

CNM faculty and staff will be lining the route to cheer and celebrate the graduates, said Cavazos.

CNM is encouraging only one vehicle per graduate, and family and friends will be asked to remain inside of the vehicles due to COVID-19 restrictions, Cavazos said.

“There will be a stage area where graduates will be allowed out of their vehicles for a photo opportunity,” stated Cavazos.

Members of the Executive Team and CNM Board Members have also been invited to be present on the stage, Cavazos explained.

In addition to CNM diploma covers, Cavazos said, “We will be giving away some CNM swag for our graduates.”

The staff will attempt to move the parade along fairly quickly, but with enough time to allow for students to have their moment, said Cavazos.

Pre-Recorded Graduation Ceremony – Take Two

Story by Angela Harrington

Photos by CNM Chronicle

Staff Reporter

This year’s CNM graduation ceremony, scheduled for May 1st at 12 noon, will be virtual again, according to CNM Dean of Students, Chris Cavazos.

“A lot of factors played into the decision to go virtual” said Cavazos.

Cavazos said that the decision to hold a virtual ceremony had to be made in advance due to the need to procure vendors and the venue.

He said that normally they use Tingley Coliseum or Expo New Mexico to hold in-person ceremonies, but due to the pandemic these venues were not an option.

“Obviously we didn’t expect to be doing another virtual ceremony a year later. Last year was kind of a spur of the moment, let’s put something together and go for it [situation]” he said.

Due to timelines and the need for planning, the decision to remain virtual was made in late February, and confirmed in the middle of March, according to Cavazos.

“We are aware of other schools, especially APS, who are holding in-person ceremonies; but we had already at that point decided to do virtual for planning purposes” he said.

There is still some chance for an in-person drive-through recognition celebration, on the same day as the virtual ceremony, said Cavazos.

The proposed celebration may consist of a drive-through diploma pick-up in front of the Student Services Center, according to Cavazos.

He said, “The celebration that we’re hoping to plan is going to be more about fun and recognition. Kind of like when you walk out of the ceremony and you start cheering and clapping. That’s what the celebration piece will be.”

It may be a chance for graduating students to put on the cap and gown, if they choose to, and celebrate at a distance, according to Cavazos.

He said that this has not been fully approved yet but that he hopes to have a decision and final details pertaining to this in the next week or so.

Cavazos said, “Cap and gown are not required for the virtual ceremony. However, graduation items are available to purchase through Jostens.”

What is for certain though, is that the virtual graduation ceremony will be available to family and friends from anywhere in the world, by attending online, according to Cavazos.

“There are some pluses, some positives, to a virtual ceremony” Cavazos said.

Cavazos encourages graduates to participate in the virtual ceremony. If a student believes that they are eligible to participate, but they have not received an email with instructions, please contact the Student Activities office or email

According to Cavazos there are some deadlines for signing up. To have your name appear in the program, you must sign up by April 9th. To be part of the recording and have your name read out loud, the deadline is April 16th.

“I would definitely encourage participation, although it’s not as ideal as an in-person ceremony, such as previous graduates and future graduates will be able to experience” said Cavazos.

Students have earned the opportunity to participate in a ceremony and it’s their day, he said.

“Everyone is going to remember this time forever. So why not say, I graduated during a pandemic? That makes it an even bigger accomplishment, if you ask me” Cavazos said.

He said that the school wants the students to be recognized for their accomplishments.

“CNM is doing the best we can with what’s available now and what we’re allowed, to make it a memorable day” stated Cavazos.

Additional information about the proposed accompanying drive-through celebration will be made available as soon as the decision is finalized, said Cavazos.

He said, “For all our students, graduating or not, just to be successful in their education during this time of crisis, is really something to recognize and be proud of.” The Chronicle will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Graduation Issue 2018

Story and photos by Audrey Scherer,

staff reporter

Ashley Shickler,

Staff Reporter


Daniel Sanchez

Daniel Sanchez



Plans after graduation

His dream job is to become an ER nurse and he would like to write a book about his experiences in the ER, he said.

“I’m really excited at this moment. All at the same time extremely nervous,” he said.


Advice for students

Do not give up. Keep trying and anyone can eventually succeed, he said.

“Once you do, it will be one of the best moments of your life,” he said.


Experience with CNM

CNM provides students with an individualized experience which makes them feel like the whole school is supporting them, he said.



Monica Prince

Monica Prince



Advice for students

“As I got older, I understood that education is really important,” she said.


Reason for college

She wanted to further her education not just in cosmetology, but academically to have a back-up plan for providing a better life for her son, she said.



Kailyn Aragon


Kailyn Aragon

Child Development Certificate


Advice for students

The long hours get hard, especially if you work full-time and have children, but if you keep going it is worth it in the end, she said.


Experience with CNM

She loves the teachers; she loves how they work with students, she said.

“They understand that we have lives outside of school, that we don’t take our education for granted,” she said, “They understood us.”



Amanda Martin

Amanda Martin

Integrated Studies


Plans after graduation

She is going to UNM in the fall for a bachelor’s and ultimately a Master’s in Management Information Systems. She wants to make sure everyone and their information is safe, secure, and protected, she said.


Experience with CNM

“Teachers are always there to help, it’s been a great experience,” she said.


 Alexander Little

Alexander Little

Computer Information Systems


Advice for students

Look for jobs and internships before you graduate because it can take a while, he said.

Doing something at the same time can make school a little less disparaging, he said.


Experience with CNM

He really liked the small classes, he said.

“It was really neat to have 1-on-1 time with my professors,” he said.



Antonio Downie

Antonio Downie

Integrated Studies and Network Administration


Plans after graduation

“I figured I’ve been doing it for so long and fixing all this different stuff, it’s good to have the education behind it because it makes you remarkable,” he said.


Experience with CNM

“Teachers really give you a chance,” he said.



Esteban Garcia

Esteban Garcia

Associates in Welding Technologies


Advice for students

“Just work hard, man. It’s all about what you put into it,” he said.


Experience with CNM

“The instructors from the welding program are awesome. They really care about the students and want you to go forward. They really care about your future,” he said.



Nicole Gutierrez

Nicole Gutierrez

Associates in Welding


Plans after graduation

She is looking for a job in town and after she has saved some money she is going to fix up her truck and take it across country to work in the piping industry and see the country, too, she said.


Advice for students

“Just work really hard and stay at it and the rewards will come,” she said.


Experience with CNM

She loved her welding program and instructors, she said.

“They are amazing; they put in way more time and effort than any other instructors,” she said.



jennifer langdon
Photo provided by Jessica Langdon

Jennifer Langdon

Degree- Accounting, Associates


Advice for students attending CNM?

“Do the work, go for whatever your passion is, I changed my major four times. Even if you don’t find something right away that works, keep trying, there’s something out there that you will fall in love with,” she said.



 kellei schear

Kellei Schear

Degree- Culinary Arts, Associates  


What was your favorite thing about taking classes at CNM?

Every instructor seemed like they really wanted the best for their students and that they were there to help in whatever way possible, she said.



hannah gajeton

Hannah Gajeton

Degree- Business Administration, Associates


Plans for the future?

“I want to follow in my dad’s footsteps, he’s got a million master’s degrees, he’s got a really good job and I kind of want to follow in his footsteps with school. I want to learn as much as I can,” she said.



marissa gonzalez

Marissa Gonzalez

Degree- Biology, Associates


Advice for students attending CNM?

“Don’t do something that you’re going to be unhappy with because I have seen so many people who have done things that they’re not happy with and they are just miserable at their jobs,” she said.




Patrick Hurtado

Degree- General engineering, Associates


What led you to this career path?

 He has been driving race cars since he was eight years old, so racing played a major role in his life, as well as working on cars and doing automotive engineering, he said.




Graduating with flying colors

By Nick Stern, Copy Editor, and Daniel Johnson, Inves­tigative Reporter | Photo by Daniel Johnson


CNM’s spring graduation cer­emony was held on Saturday, May 3 at Tingley Coliseum where, for the first time in the college’s his­tory, students involved with the brand new dual-credit College and Career High School walked with the rest of the graduates.

A total of 659 students from all the schools at CNM partici­pated in the graduation ceremony, 85 were GED graduates and nine were College and Career High School graduates.

The CCHS graduates were the very first students to be enrolled in the new program which gave them a chance to finish their high school diploma while simultaneously earning a college certificate, two-year degree, or credits toward a bachelor’s degree, which would place them ahead of the game the following college semester in their college careers.

The ceremony also imple­mented the use of new massive flat screen projectors of the event that lined each side of the stage, and allowed for a much better view of the proceedings, since Tingley Coliseum is such a large venue.

Director of Communications Brad Moore said that the addition of the new rear flat screen pro­jectors where audience members could see loved ones close up for the first time at graduation was a fruitful decision and improved the view for everyone, especially the family members of graduates.

“Adding the video boards was a way for CNM to provide family members and supporters much better views of the graduates and the ceremony on stage. The video boards were a great addition to the ceremony,” Moore said.

A local celebrity was also cre­ated when dual schooled student, Emily Watson graduated with her associate’s in liberal arts and studio arts degrees alongside her parents, and doing so before even finishing her high school diploma.

Emily Watson walked with her mother, Kelly Watson who received degrees in general studies, liberal arts, history and fine arts, and her father Jarrod Watson who received a degree in drafting, liberal arts, and a certificate in general studies, she said.

Emily Watson and her par­ents were pleasantly surprised and excited when they realized they were so close to graduating at the same time and decided they would make the plans which eventually put all three of them in their caps and gowns at the exact same time, Kelly Watson said.

“It is kind of amazing that it worked out that way. We did not have any idea it was going to track like that until the last year and we started planning our final year and were like ‘I think this is going to happen,’” Kelly Watson said.

As a family of mostly stu­dents, they had to sell one of their cars and soon after, while Emily and Kelly Watson wound up carpooling with the second car, Jarrod Watson made use of the CNM bus pass to get to his ATC courses, Emily Watson said.

Jarrod Watson even made a color-coded spreadsheet which was used to figure out how to make everyone’s school sched­ules fit together with the rest of their time and transportation, Kelly Watson said.

“She and I would try to schedule 95 percent of our classes together and online whenever possible. It actually worked out alright,” Kelly Watson said.

Roughly two weeks after the CNM graduation ceremony, Emily Watson also walked with her fellow high school students at the graduation ceremony for the SAMS Academy where she was the student speaker.

Emily Watson plans on going to UNM to study art education with the hopes of getting a job teaching children with disabilities, she said.

Emily Watson’s advice to any and all CNM students who may need it was to make sure to persevere no matter how rough the road may seem to be.

“Do not give up. It is not easy but as long as you just keep going you’ll make it —every day just start over fresh,” Emily Watson said.

Kelly Watson also had simi­larly wonderful advice for stu­dents, which was to encourage them to stay positive and take smaller steps towards the larger goal by not obsessing over the uncertainty of the future, she said.

“Every day is just one day closer to the end so you just have to do it one day at a time, sometimes when it gets rough,” Kelly Watson said.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony was the Honorable Judge Willow Misty Parks, who on top of being a CNM alumna, was also voted in as the distinguished CNM Alumna by the Alumni Foundation.

Parks’ speech involved a recol­lection of her remarkable and inspi­rational story of her journey from the pursuit of her education to her induction as Bernalillo’s one and only probate judge.

The student speaker was computer information systems major Regina Thompson, whose speech seemed to not only cap­tivate the audience, but also suc­ceeded in capturing quite a few laughs from the crowd.

In her speech, Parks talked about her challenge of summing up everything she had gone through with just 500 words and ended the speech by jokingly saying, “500 words!? I can’t do that.”

The speech’s ending seemed to almost poke fun at the first feel­ings of hesitation that she and many others have undoubtedly had about being able to get through college, and like her speech, she and 659 stu­dents were able to graduate after all.

Graduates encouraged to walk in ceremony

By Angela Le Quieu, Staff Reporter | Photo by Angela Le Quieu


The Student Activities office is working to help more students be able to walk in the Spring 2014 graduation ceremony, and in past semesters only a fraction of students receiv­ing degrees or certifica­tions participated in the ceremonies.

Brandon Seber, Student Activities Coordinator said there are a few steps that students eligible for gradu­ation need to take in order to participate in the gradu­ation ceremony, but that the first step is to go on line and apply for graduation, and after that, Seber said he can help students with concerns that they may have about the ceremony.

The graduation cer­emony for the Spring 2014 semester will take place at Tingley Coliseum on May 3, 2014 and graduates must arrive between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to check in and then the ceremony will begin promptly at 12 p.m., Seber said.

“Generally speaking I think that all students who receive an Associate degree or certificate should walk in the grad­uation ceremony to cele­brate their academic suc­cess since they put a lot of effort, time, energy, and sacrifice into get­ting the degree or cer­tificate,” Seber said.

The deadline for stu­dents to apply for gradua­tion who want to walk in the ceremony is March 28 by 5 p.m., but if a student does not want to walk they have until May 1, Seber said.

Seber and his office want to get more students to participate in the gradua­tion ceremony, he said.

In the Fall 2013 semes­ter there were more than 2000 students awarded a degree or certificate and only 500 students walked the line in the graduation ceremony, Seber said.

“It’s nice to walk on stage, celebrate with the family, but also I try to persuade the students who don’t want to walk that maybe they should if they have younger kids or cous­ins, so that way they can be the role model to inspire the younger generation to want to complete high school and college,” Seber said.

Student concerns include economic issues like being able to afford their cap and gown, or mobil­ity impairment for disabled students, but there is help if a student has notified the Student Activities office, Seber said.

If a student has economic concerns about their regalia for g r a d u a t i o n , Seber said stu­dents can work with him to make sure that they can still walk.

There is also a system in place that can help stu­dents with mobility and other impairment issues, Seber said.

“Since I’ve been on board on the team and working with the gradua­tion, there has not been a problem we were not able to assist with,” Seber said.

Diana Myklebust, Administrative Technical Assistant is in charge of organizing assistance for students, she said.

After a student has filled out a graduation applica­tion, if students indi­cate that they have an impairment issue, their information is sent to her and she calls stu­dents to see what assis­tance they might need in order to walk in the graduation ceremony, Myklebust said.

“The biggest part of the process is letting us know that there is an impairment that we need to assist them with,” Myklebust said.

Myklebust has helped students walk who have had mobility problems, students with diabetes and blind and hearing impaired students, she said.

After a student is called by Myklebust, she will ask about what their needs are, if they can walk up stairs or ramps, if they have trouble sitting or standing for long periods of time, and then she will make an arrangement for that student, she said.

“We try to accom­modate all spectrums of impairment, so that we can make sure they can still be a part of that process,” Myklebust said.

There are volunteers at the graduation cer­emony that help students with these needs from the moment they arrive to check in until the end, Myklebust said.

On the occasion that a student cannot make it up the stairs or ramp Myklebust’s group will inform the dean of that student’s school and CNM president Dr. Katharine Winograd so that they can come down from the stage and shake the student’s hand, Myklebust said.

“The goal is to have them involved in as much of the process as pos­sible and make it easy and comfortable for them,” Myklebust said.

There are other con­cerns which students have about participation in the graduation ceremony and this includes students who receive an invitation to be in the graduation, but have not applied under their declared major, Seber said.

Two offices handle graduation and because of this the gradua­tion process is in two parts; the first office is Enrollment Services which oversees grad­uation applications, and the second is Student Ac t i v i t i e s which runs the gradu­ation cer­e m o n y i t s e l f , S eber said.

Enrol lment services has begun “farming out” people who are qualified for different degrees or cer­tificates regardless of a student’s program of study, Seber said.

“We in the office of Student Activities have been encountering lots of questions as to why they are being invited to the gradu­ation ceremony, because they are still pursuing their declared major,” Seber said.

Seber’s offices will run a report of each graduat­ing term that is created by Enrollment Services based on the information that the office generates and then send out graduation invita­tions based on that, he said.

“And that’s been challenging for us in Student Activities, but it’s confusing for our students because we’re having to answer all of these questions,” Seber said.

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.