ABOUT THEATRE AND STUFF: CNM Students on Stages Across Town

Story by Layli Brown, Staff Reporter

Featured photograph provided by Heather Ashley

Sociology graduate and actor Heather Ashley, speaks of CNM’s theatre program, its top notch instructors, and the Coal Avenue Theatre.

Heather says, that even though her degree is in sociology, she did a lot of theatre courses at CNM because they have a really good program, the instructors are well known around town and they know their stuff.

Suzanne Erickson is known for writing and she’s a director as well, “being trained by her has benefitted me as an actor”, even in a class of 20 students it wasn’t generalized information it felt like a one on one class, said Heather.

Chad Brummett actor on film and television is known for the private classes he does, and we have him as an instructor at CNM. Heather said, she knows people who aren’t in any program at the college and will sign up just to take a class with him.

The teachers at CNM are really strong, the staff is not isolated to the campus, they are active in the theatre community here in Albuquerque, and are able to use that knowledge and experience to help the students, she said. Leonard Madrid is involved at Blackout company, Martin Andrews writes and direct around town.

It’s a great place to learn if you want to be on the stage or in film, but even if you want to be a veterinarian you should still take voice and movement, it’s worth your time to have that experience. It helps with having a better sense of who you are, how you use your body, and how you’re feeling inside and out, said Heather.

Taking an acting class really helps with self-confidence and public speaking.  Heather said, she recommends the program even if you’re not a theatre major, even if you’re not interested in being on stage.

This is a small program which is really nice. Heather knows most of the instructors and said they work together which makes the program more cohesive, this has been a great way for her to get more acting training, she added “I know that the money I’m paying is going back into the school and the community.”

She said, the addition of the CAT has been huge for the program because its providing a space and lighting system for students to learn how to do the technical aspects of theatre, to perform and to act in.

Heather is stage managing this summer’s play Tragedy Plus Time at the Coal Avenue Theatre (CAT), she has been in three productions there. She did stage management in high school, and is having to relearn a lot of things but again, in her own words:

“I’m in a great program amongst friends, in a space that is very supportive and allows me to take risks, I felt comfortable taking this position because I know I’m amongst people that want me to succeed.” Said Heather.

Heather said, she appreciates the CAT because it does a lot of new plays and allows a lot of play writes to use this space as was recently done with the spring production Tortilla Sun which was adapted for stage by Leonard Madrid, and shown to the community casting CNM students.

Heather has been acting since she was eleven, she went to a performing arts high school in Minnesota. Getting the lead role in CNM’s play Trojan Women was her introduction to theater here in Albuquerque back in 2015. She added, it was directed by Joanne Camp Sobel who is fantastic and of high caliber, “she worked us as if we were professional actors.”

She said, even once you’ve graduated as a former student you are still included, the space is still available to us, the teachers still know and support our work. It’s such a caring environment, the teachers are there to support the students, and the students are there to grow and learn.

The point of art is self-expression and to connect with other people on an emotional level, and the best way to do that, is to be vulnerable and have space to feel safe enough to take risks and this program does that, said Heather.

She added her favorite quote, “I don’t want my life to imitate art, I want my life to be art.”

-Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia)

Heather Ashley will be on stage again at the Vortex Theatre in the fight cast of She Kills Monsters, which opens August 25th and runs through September 10th. She said, there’s a whole cast dedicated to the fighting because it’s a dungeons and dragons show. There’s hand to hand combat and sword combat, it has 19 instances of violence; which is a lot for a stage play.

Check out:

 CNM’s Theatre Program

CNM’s Film Technology Program


CNM’s Film Technician Degree and Certificate



What’s New This Year at the Balloon Fiesta

Story and Photos by Hilary Broman

Staff Reporter

The 45th annual Balloon Fiesta is underway and this year there are some new events taking place, according to Balloon Fiesta media officials.

This year’s theme is Desert Kaleidoscope, which describes Albuquerque’s perfect hot air ballooning climate.

The theme was chosen by Charles Goodman from Florida who won the 45th Balloon Fiesta theme contest.

Seventeen new special shape balloons are scheduled to make their debut at this year’s Fiesta.

Some of the new shapes scheduled to appear include: The Flying Gator from Brazil, the Cathedral from Dominican Republic, Mr. Clown from Germany and Mr. Fish from the United States.

During the Special Shape Rodeo and Glowdeo the balloons are set to be organized into seven themed categories; Pirate Ship theme, Love theme, Sports theme, Fireman theme, Police theme, Space theme and Ocean theme.

Over 500 balloons fill the Albuquerque sky during the mass ascension.

This is the first year that the U.S. Women’s National Championship is set to take place.

Sixteen women will compete in the championship.

The final flight of the championship is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 5.

This is the Dominican Republic’s first year participating in the Balloon Fiesta and they will be represented in the Flight of Nations on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 7a.m.

The 19 other countries that will be represented in the Flight of Nations include: Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain and more.

There are multiple ways to travel to the fiesta.

A free valet service will be offered to guests who ride a bike to the park as well as entry through an easy access bike trial and a safe bike storage area that will be staffed by volunteers.

Guests can also purchase a park and ride ticket that will cover the entry fee into the fiesta as well as a ride from a safe parking location to the park.

Park and ride tickets can be purchased online and cost $15 for adults (13-61), $12 for seniors (62 and older), $7 for children (6-12) and are free for children 5 and younger.

Guests can also purchase Rail Runner Express tickets on the weekends which include an all-day Rail Runner Express pass, shuttle to and from the Rail Runner station and the Balloon Fiesta park, and Balloon Fiesta event admission.

Tickets can be purchased on the Rio Metro website.

Tickets are $25 for adults (13-61), $20 for seniors (62 & older), $12 for children (6-12), and children ages five and under are free.

Events that are scheduled during the Balloon Fiesta include; Kids day, laser light shows, chainsaw carving demonstrations, special shape Glowdeo, fireworks shows, and more.

For a complete list of scheduled Balloon Fiesta events click here.

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The Route 66 balloon was one of the first to take off during the mass ascension. Leading the way with an American flag hanging from the basket.

CNM Veterans!




Improve your ACCUPLACECER Test Scores

  • Refresh your Math and English Skills
  • Review the Skills for Re-testing

Veterans Upward Bound Program

Central New Mexico Community College

Call (505) 224 – 4000 ext. 20282



  • You may qualify for FREE services & stipends
  • Veterans must have at least 180 days Active Service
  • National Guard/Reservists called to active duty for more than 30 days
  • Meet income eligibility guidelines or First Generation College Student

(From a family whose parents have not received a Bachelor’s Degree)

Stand Up for Your Right to Read

Story and Photo Credits By Hilary Broman

Staff Reporter

CNM libraries have set up displays to celebrate Banned Books Week from September 25 to October 1, said Varina Kosovich, CNM library outreach coordinator and reference specialist.

Banned Books Week is an annual event put on by the American Library Association which celebrates the freedom to read, Kosovich said.

Each year many books are banned or challenged in the U.S for various reasons ranging from anti-family to violence or graphic images, she said.

Some books at the main campus library display include: And Tango Makes Three, which was banned for being anti-family and having a possible homosexual agenda; Beyond Magenta, which is about transgender teens; and Bless Me Ultima, which is considered to contain satanist content, Kosovich explained.

Westside and Montoya libraries also have a banned books display, she said.

Many of these books are not banned from college or university libraries because they tend to encourage more open thought but these books are more likely to be banned from elementary, middle, and high school libraries as well as public libraries, she said.

“I think as a library our main priority is to offer as much information as we possibly can without censoring it,” Kosovich said. “If we censor one thing what’s to stop us from censoring another?”

School is about students learning, exploring and forming their own opinions, she said, and reading is a part of that process.

There have been many positive reactions from the book display so far, she said.

Many students have been curious and asking questions about banned books week which is what the display was intended to do, she said.

“We just want to bring attention to how sometimes people around the country don’t have a limitless freedom to read whatever they want,” Kosovich stated.

From 2000-2009, 5,099 challenges were reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom according to ALA.org.  Here are the top eight reasons and the number at the bottom represents the number of challenges for each reason.  Infographic credit: Heather Hay

Students can go to the American Library Association website to see this year’s list of banned books and reasons why they were banned as well as past lists, Kosovish said.

Students can also search #bannedbooksweek on Twitter and Instagram to view different displays around the country, she said.

Kosovich said that if a book is banned it is more likely to draw people in.

“If you tell me something is banned I’m going to read it,” she said.

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Student Council Elections

By Hilary Broman, Staff Reporter

Elections for nine open positions in the Executive Council of students will be held on Friday September 30, said Tisha Hudetz ECOS president.

The open positions include: budget officer, administrative officer, satellite representatives for Montoya, South Valley and other campuses and 4 council members, Hudetz said.

Students interested in joining the council can fill out an application form at the dean of student’s office or the student activities office on main campus, Hudetz said.

The commitment for all ECOS members is a 2-year term, she said.

The council are looking for students who are able to represent the diverse nature of the CNM student body, Hudetz said.

The requirements to become a member of the council are as follows: the willingness to be an active student representing on at least one CNM standing committee; have some degree of leadership experience including leadership on the job, volunteer experience, or involvement with other student activities; the willingness to be introduced to the student body in the form of an article written in the CNM Chronicle and the ability to maintain a 2.5 GPA minimum, Hudetz explained.

“As representatives of the student body, we are held to a high standard. Active participation and serious consideration are key,” Hudetz said.

A committee made up of one student from the current council, one student who is a member of another CNM student organization, one faculty member and the Dean of Students, Hudetz stated, will choose new council members.

Current council member Tim Turner is in the running for the budget officer position, Hudetz said.

“I am looking forward to what the future will bring,” she said.

Bookstore Saves Students $420,000

Story and Photo credit by Hilary Broman

Staff Reporter

The CNM bookstore helped students save $420,000 by offering rental options at all three bookstore locations last year, said Ann Heaton, CNM bookstore area manager.

This year the bookstore is offering to price match other major bookstore vendors to help students save even more money, Heaton said.

Book prices can prevent students from succeeding, Heaton said.

If a student is using financial aid to purchase their books then they either have to buy it full price at the bookstore or wait for their disbursement check to arrive in order to get a discounted price, which is already 3-4 weeks into the term, she said.

They decided to start offering the price match program to help students stay within budget, to make sure that they can help them prepare for success of their higher education career, Heaton stated.

Now students do not have to wait for the books to be shipped to them from Amazon or Chegg, she said.

“We are willing to price match for them right here, right now,” Heaton said.

The goal of the price-matching program is to help further drive the expense of course material down for students to give them a better chance for success, she said.

The price matching system was implemented in the spring term of 2016 but this term it has risen in popularity, Heaton said.

Many students have been excited about it.

“We had one girl who was literally in tears because we price matched for her,” she said.

The price match is given to students in the form of a CNM bookstore gift card, Heaton said.

The students pay full prices for the books and we give them back the difference, she said.

The gift cards never expire and can be used at all of the campus bookstore and café locations, she said.

“We really are committed to doing our best to try to save students as much money as possible because we only want to see them succeed,” Heaton said.

They have been seeing a lot of success from this across the board and Heaton foresees this being an ongoing thing, she said.

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Lights, Camera, Degree



By Wade Faast, Staff Reporter

CNM now offers an associate’s degree in film technology for working in the TV and movie industries, CNM film instructor Jim Graebner said.

The new Film Technology AAS degree is designed to get students ready for gainful employment in the motion picture industry, he said.

After graduation students will be ready to work in any department on a production such as directing, editing, writing, acting and producing, he said.

Students will also be eligible to continue on to four-year programs at many of the universities around the state, he said.

“It’s like working for a well paid circus,” Graebner said.

Flexibility, stamina and sociability are important factors for success in the film industry, he said.

A sense of adventure is a must as well, tomorrow you could find yourself shooting all over the state, the country or across the world, he said.

This is not a career with predictability, every day will present new challenges and tell different stories, he said.

First year film technician student, Fernando Bustillos is pursuing the degree so he can work as a Foley artist, he said.

A Foley artist creates all the sound effects and noises you hear in a movie such as a dinosaur roar from Jurassic Park, he said.

Bustillos was drawn to the program and industry because it is not a corporate job that does the same thing everyday.

“I worked in the corporate world, I never want to do that again,” he said.

Bustillos started taking classes in film technology this summer term and has already put them to use as a grip and gaffer on a film project for the 48 Hour Film Festival this past July, he said.

The project was “Meow Meow, You’re Dead” produced by the CNM Cinecats, he said.

He was able to take the lessons he was learning in class and directly apply them to the project, he said.

He eventually wants to move into writing and directing his own projects and feels confident the new Film Technician degree will put him on the right track, Bustillos said.

The new AAS degree is an expansion of the two semester Film Crew Technician certificate that CNM has been offering since 2005, CNM instructor Charlie O’Dowd said.

The certificate program prepares students for an entry-level position as a production assistant for movies, TV shows or live theater, he said.

It is great for persons wanting to get a quick start into the industry, for those that want to continue on to other programs either at CNM or a university, or people who want a fun side job, he said.

O’Dowd is still active in the industry and will be directing the behind the scenes videos for the upcoming season of Better Call Saul for AMC, he said.

“You get to meet and work with people you would only get to read about in magazines,” he said.

Actors Bryan Cranston and Jonathan Banks of AMC’s Breaking Bad both worked with the CNM film program to create multiple videos, he said.

New Mexico began offering tax credits and incentives to the film industry over 12 years ago, with one major stipulation, in order to qualify at least 60% of the crew had to be New Mexico residents, Graebner said.

At that time New Mexico did not have enough trained crewmembers to keep up with demand so CNM worked with the State of New Mexico to organize and build a program to train the crews, he said.

Intel, Eclipse Aviation, many of the good paying industries in the Albuquerque area are either closing down or shrinking their work force, but the film industry is constantly growing, he said.

Every year for the past three years the film industry has grown in New Mexico, and they need qualified crew members more now than ever before, he said.

                                    Photos by Wade Faast/CNM Chronicle

10 Ways to Conquer Stress


By Hilary Broman, Staff Reporter

Achievement coaches are actively working with students to help them reduce their stress levels and help them to see that there are healthy ways to manage stress, said Nicole Purkeypile, a CNM achievement coach.

The following is a list that was presented by CNM achievement coaches Nicole Purkeypile and Paul Fornell, and Engineering major Kaily Young to help students try to control stress.

  1. Attend a Test Anxiety Seminar

CNM holds a monthly seminar presented by Purkeypile and Fornell to help students who deal with test taking anxiety.

The seminar discusses different exercises that students can do before a test to help them focus.

“Stress can improve academic performance but too much of it causes strong anxiety and can even cause a complete meltdown,” Fornell said.

Students can find the seminar dates and times on the Calender of events on the CNM website or participate in the online seminar , Purkeypile said.

  1. Visit an Achievement Coach

The good news is that if a student cannot attend an in-person seminar or the online seminar they can always schedule an appointment with an achievement coach at their respective campus, Purkeypile said.

Coaches can help students who struggle with test anxiety or if they are feeling overwhelmed, she said.

There are achievement coaches at every campus, Purkeypile explained.

Students can visit the achievement coach webpage  to set up an appointment with an achievement coach

“You can reach out for help. We are here to help you,” Purkeypile said.

  1. Have a Support System

When a student is in college it is important that they have a support circle that they can count on, Purkeypile said.

“Make sure that you have someone who is in your corner, someone who understands all of these things that you’re juggling and is supportive of you,” she said.

It is also helpful to network with classmates and with the CNM community because they all understand the struggles, she said.

  1. Manage Their Time

It is important to teach oneself to efficiently manage time, Purkeypile said.

“Your planner is your best friend,” she said.

It helps to plan when, where and for which class to study, this can help eliminate a lot of stress and overwhelming feelings.

  1. Work hard at the beginning of the term.

This is a strategy to prevent stress in the long run, it allows more flexibility at the end of term when a student could be feeling burnt out, Young said.

Students should not be too hard on themselves, she said.

“Letting go of perfection is what works best for me,” she said.

  1. Take Breaks

“Don’t be afraid to take breaks.  If you exhaust yourself, you won’t be able to do as well,” Young said.

  1. Socialize

Socializing can help relax the mind, Young said.

“It’s great—necessary—to be prepared for exam material, but it’s amazing how much of a difference being relaxed makes in helping me think clearly,” she said.

  1. Utilize CNM Resources

There are many resources available to students including free tutoring, textbook rentals, online research databases, and more, Young said.

Take advantage of all of the resources that are available, she said.

For a complete list of resources available to students visit the CNM resources webpage.

  1. Talk to Your Professors

When Young experiences test anxiety she said listening to music helps her to focus.

Many instructors are willing to work with students and any needs they may have including listening to music during tests, she said.

Communicating with them will help them have a better understanding of any struggles and students will get a better understanding of their expectations, Young explained.

“Even the most intimidating teachers aren’t really that scary, overall,” she said.

  1. Remember That Stress is Normal.

Purkeypile is no stranger to school related stress, she said.

“It happened to me too back then,” she explained.

Having been an educator for 16 years, Purkeypile acknowledges that stress comes with the territory.

“It’s okay to have feelings of stress when it comes to school. And it’s okay to sometimes feel overwhelmed, but there are a lot of people in the world who support you and can help you get through it,” she said.

stress-photo Illustration by Hilary Broman/CNM Chronicle





Montoya Library to Host Wildlife Rescue Birds of Prey

By Heather Hay

Staff Reporter

Book display at Montoya campus library, photo by Heather Hay/CNM Chronicle.

Students will have the chance to see wild birds up close from the Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico and ask questions about volunteer opportunities at the Montoya campus in room 124 on September 27 from 1-2:30pm, said Marilyn Morain, a Rehabilitator and Educator with the Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico.

Across the hall from the room the lecture will take place, in the Montoya Library in room 123 where they have a display of over 24 visual guides and informational books on birds available to check out, said Library Reference Specialist Allyson James-Vigil.

The birds that will be at the event include a Great Horned Owl, an American Kestrel, a Red Tailed Hawk, and a smaller owl which will either be a Burrowing Owl or a Western Screech Owl, she said.

“All birds that will be participating in the event have permanent disabilities and cannot return to the wild; they live with their rehabilitators at their homes,” she said.

The educational program will cover specific information about the different species, what to do in case you encounter an injured bird or mammal, answer questions and general information about the raptors in our area, she said.

Educational programs are usually for schools and libraries but this program venue will be small enough to allow the students to see the birds at a closer level than those attending larger events, she said.

This is the first time she believes her organization has ever done this at CNM, she said.

Morain will also be happy to answer questions any students of the Veterinary Technician program or Biology students considering a career in wild animal care may have about how to volunteer with the organization, she said.

Students who wish to have experience working with wildlife and birds would benefit the most from this type of volunteering, she said.

Although Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico also has volunteer opportunities for all kinds of activities that may interest those with a general interest in wildlife, she said.

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Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico are also scheduled to have a booth at the Festival of Cranes.