In October, about 85 of the students who go to Cuba Middle School visited the University of New Mexico for a day of learning about scientific research and careers in science. The visits were sponsored by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) to UNM from the National Institutes of Health. The SEPA program provides students and their teachers, families, and rural communities with opportunities to learn about science and health outside the classroom.
On October 13, sixth-grade CMS students met with students in UNM’s Earth and Planetary Sciences Department. With help from the college students, the middle schoolers compared geologic features on Earth and Mars, identified meteors, and created a story about meteorites. They also met Zachary Gallegos, a UNM student who is one of only 100 people from around the world chosen to help establish a colony on Mars.
CMS seventh graders toured UNM’s Health Sciences Center on October 14 to learn about careers in health care. At the Department of Dental Medicine, the students were given dental care kits and a lesson on the effects of chewing tobacco. They then went to UNM’s “BATCAVE” to try out some of its computers and other machines, including human-like electronic dummies. Medical students use this equipment to practice doing an operation, using a stethoscope, and delivering babies.
UNM’s Civil Engineering Department hosted the eighth-grade students on October 16. The students learned about the role of civil engineering in maintaining water quality, especially in rural areas like Cuba. Engineering students described underground water tables and water-filtration systems. They also said that they were happy to find a career that is creative and involves solving problems.
CMS students’ comments about their visit showed thought and enthusiasm. An eighth grader asked, “How can engineers help change global warming?” While in the BATCAVE, a seventh grader commented, “Wow, our organs are huge!” A sixth grader said, “I can’t wait to come to college, I really want to come to UNM.”
These trips were made possible with the help of Lynn Vasquez, CMS principal, and the following teachers: Lana Wimberly, Scottie Fox, Kathleen Lujan, Joseph Brondo, Richard Armentrout, Patrick Harris, and Rachel Kelly. Thank you to everyone who supports the work of SEPA at UNM.