Lybrook Students Visit San Juan College

Lybrook Students Visit San Juan College San Juan College astronomy professor, David Mayeux, presented “Navajo Legends of the Sky”. The constellations commonly talked about in textbooks and movies, like the Big Dipper or Orion’s Belt, are based on mythology of ancient Rome or Greece. But Navajo ancestors, too, observed and told stories about the night sky. Students watched the projected stars on the dome as they heard traditional Navajo stories. They heard how the Holy People (and Coyote) placed stars in Father Sky and about specific constellations, including Monster-Slayer who revolves around the North gate to protect us.

Next, Lybrook students ate lunch with several San Juan College faculty, staff, and students. One local graduate, Joslynn Lee, used video calling to talk with the Lybrook Students from her home in New York. Joslynn is both Navajo and Keres Pueblo and raised in northwest New Mexico. She attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO and studied chemistry. As a child, she was fascinated by the plants, animals, and land that surrounded her and this inspired her to study biology and chemistry in college. Now Joslynn has a PhD (the highest college degree) and teaches about how to use data in science research.

Lastly, Lybrook students visited the Sherman Dugan Museum of Geology, part of San Juan College’s School of Energy. At the Dugan Museum, students learned about the history of mining in New Mexico and saw lots of samples of different rocks, fossils, and petrified wood. One of the students’ favorite parts of the museum was a skull and jawbones of an ancient relative of the rhinoceros, a 35-million-year-old Brontothere. The museum named the Brontothere “Bob” which the students thought was funny.

If you know a student in 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th grade at Lybrook School, be sure to ask them some questions about the stars over our heads or the rocks under our feet! Isn’t it wonderful how science really is all around us! We know that the Lybrook students who stay in school and continue to study hard could have a bright future ahead of them at San Juan College or one of the other colleges in the area! The Science Education Partnership (SEPA) team at the University of New Mexico is happy to have partnered with the excellent faculty, staff, and students at SJC. We’d especially like to thank David Mayeux, Byron Tsabetsaye, and Johnathan Dobbs at SJC. We also know that the field trip wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of Ms. Darlene Chiquito, Ms. Marietta Hoodless, Ms. Raenell Montoya, and Nurse Debbie Vigil. For more information, please contact Kathryn Peters at or 505-272-4462.


Prevention Research Center

The mission of the (UNM) Prevention Research Center (PRC) is to address the health promotion and disease prevention needs of New Mexican communities through participatory, science-based, health promotion and disease prevention research. We fulfill this mission through collaboration, training, dissemination and evaluation activities.