Friday, March 13, 2015

PLF Spot Light: Sara Spear

In this blog post, STEM Gateway presents our very first PLF Spotlight! 

Each month, our Peer Learning Facilitator program will highlight the story of one of our current PLFs to demonstrate the profound affect the grant has had on students at the University of New Mexico. In the month of March, we are featuring Sara Spear.

Sara’s first interaction with STEM Gateway was in the fall of 2012 when she enrolled in a PLF-served Math 180 (Elements of Calculus) course. In this class, she was able to experience directly the support that PLFs provide. Sara excelled in the subject and was urged by her instructor at the end of the semester to apply for a position. After she spoke with her Math 180 PLFs about the opportunity, the rest is history!

STEM Gateway is fortunate to have had Sara with us for five semesters now. She has supported the grant’s mission of helping underrepresented students succeed in lower level STEM courses through service in MATH 116 (Trig/Pre-calculus), MATH 121 (College Algebra), and MATH 180 (Elements of Calculus). Even further, Sara has contributed to the STEM field by becoming a student of the discipline herself.

Sara began her undergraduate career as an architecture major. But after working as a PLF, she realized her true passion-- mathematics. Since then, Sara has changed her major with the intention of going on to graduate school and ultimately becoming a mathematics professor. Sara believes the most rewarding parts of her the job are when students thank her on test day and when she sees students finally connect with a concept they have been struggling to understand. These cherished moments have led Sara to realize her calling as a mathematics professor. She knows the skills gained as a PLF will serve her well in her future career.

As a math major, honors student and PLF; it has not been easy but Sara excels in all that she does. Moreover, she exudes a positive and enthusiastic attitude noticed by all, especially the students in her classroom. We are immensely proud of Sara and all she has accomplished.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Center for Academic Programs Support (CAPS)

Did you know that CAPS has a GREAT Pinterest page? They have field specific boards. This is just some of what they have to offer:

Check it out HERE!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Impostors at Sandia National Lab

Our very own Yadéeh Sawyer was invited to present on the "Impostor Syndrome" to a group of post-docs at Sandia National Labs on Wednesday, January 2015.

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Rochford, PhD

Friday, January 9, 2015

Initiatives to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) and Pathways are looking for scholars

Dear STEM, we are recruiting for IMSD, Initiatives to Maximize Student Development, and our Pathways Scholar groups.  IMSD has been at UNM for 40 years (previously as MBRS) and I have run the program for the past 11 years.  In that time, we have graduated  40 PhD students at UNM and around the country and have about 50 students in graduate school (a few in medical and other professional schools) around the country.  Here is a map showing where our students and some IMSD students who are faculty or working in industry are located (I’m not totally done with the map)

IMSD is for STEM students who have an interest in getting a PHD.  We accept students in a wide range of disciplines related to biomedical research, including CS, Chem Eng, Math, Physics, etc.  We do our best to encourage IMSD students to grow their math and/or CS skills because these are powerful tools for their futures.  Students participate in a mentoring program and work in laboratories and are paid up to $12K per year (it’s actually slightly higher than that).  IMSD is a diversity program, so students are typically underrepresented minorities or low income (Pell-grant eligible).  IMSD students will have 2 more years until graduation.  Eligible students should contact Lupe Atencio: and look at our webpage:

Pathways is for freshmen, sophomores, and transfer students.  We have two Pathway Scholars classes (Tues and Wed at 4:30).  I started this 3.5 years ago because the IMSD mentoring program was working so well and I wanted to understand what our freshmen and transfer students were experiencing and see if the mentoring program could help strengthen them.  We focused on Native American students but welcomed anyone who could use what we have to offer.  Our current estimates are that our 6-year graduation rates for Native Americans will be about 60% higher than UNM’s rates (21%) and about 33% higher for Hispanics.   If you know students in your classes, your dorms, etc. who can use community, mentoring, introduction to how to thrive in an academic situation, financial and math survival skills,  and who could blossom by knowing what their majors should be and moving forward towards a career, please have them contact Lupe or me.

Have a great spring semester. 

Maggie Werner-Washburne (
Regents Professor
Biology Department 
University of New Mexico

PI – UNM Initiatives to Maximize Student Development

SACNAS, past president

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Spring 2015 PLF Classes

Are Peer Learning Facilitators in your class this spring?  Check out the list and see!

Chem 121
001 - MWF 9 - 9:50
003 - TR 5 - 6:15
005 - TR 9:30 - 10:45

Chem 122
001 - MWF 10 - 10:50
002 - MWF 12 - 12:50
003 - TR 5 - 6:15
006 - MWF 12 - 1250

Chem 301
002 - MWF 11 - 11:50

Chem 302
MWF 9 - 9:50

Math 121
002 - TR 8 - 9:15
004 - TR 9:30 - 10:45
008 - TR 11 - 12:15
010 - MWF 12 - 12:50
012 - TR 11 - 12:15

Math 162
005 - MWF 12 - 12:50 and T 12:30 - 1:45
006 - MWF 12 - 1250 and R 12:30 - 1:45

Math 180
009 - MWF 12 - 12:50
012 - MWF 3 - 3:50

Math 116
051 - MWF 11 - 11:50 and T 2 - 3:15
053 - MWF 2 - 2:50 and R 2 - 3:15

EPS 101
001 - TR 9:30 - 10:45
002 - TR 12:30 - 1:45
006 - online

Monday, December 1, 2014

PLF Proposals for Spring 2015 now being accepted!

Hello instructors!

Are you teaching in a lower-level STEM course and are interested in having PLF support?  
We are now accepting proposals for the Spring 2015 semester!

Please submit a proposal to Mary Cianflone at by Dec 7th!

Download the Proposal here:  PLF Proposal Form Spring 2015


Not sure if your class is eligible for PLFs?  

Click here to see our detailed list