Sunday, May 17, 2015

PLF Spotlight: Graduating Seniors

Just last weekend, 16 of our PLFs graduated with bachelor’s degrees from the University of New Mexico! We love our student employees and are so proud of their accomplishments. In this month’s PLF Spotlight, STEM Gateway would like to give a shout-out to some of our graduating PLFs and share a little about their plans for the future.

Patrick Roney is a graduate of Eldorado High School. He worked at STEM Gateway as a PLF for three years. Patrick believes the PLF program is important to the University because, “The PLFs and students build relationships. It is important for students to have someone they feel comfortable approaching and asking questions.” In addition to working as a student employee and keeping up with a challenging course load, Patrick is also a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. This last weekend, he successfully completed his degree requirements and received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics.  Patrick was accepted to the Critical Skills Master’s Program at Sandia National Laboratories and will be intermittently working as an intern at the institution while pursuing a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mariel Garcia is originally from Belen, New Mexico and graduated from Belen High School. She has served as a PLF in gateway chemistry courses for five consecutive semesters. Of her experience at STEM Gateway, Mariel said: Being a PLF allowed me to give back to the learning community. I was able to help students figure out their roadblocks and work towards bettering their understanding. My experience as a PLF helped me in my teaching as well as increased my capacity for empathy.” Mariel was an outstanding addition to the PLF team but was also an extremely high achieving student. With a cumulative GPA of 3.9 and membership in the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, it is clear that Mariel worked hard to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry with minors in Biology and Chemistry and an emphasis in Pre-Medicine/Pre-Pharmacy.  Mariel currently shadows at First Choice Community Healthcare but is looking for a paid healthcare position while applying to Physician’s Assistant graduate programs.

Katy Sears was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She graduated from Eldorado High School in 2011. Katy served as a PLF in Math 121 classes for several semesters. She had the following to say about her work: The PLF program was one of the highlights of my undergraduate career at UNM.  I think the program has a great mission and the people involved in the program are equally remarkable. The program itself is important because of the opportunities and the academic and moral support that it provides to both the students and the PLFs.  I have observed numerous instances where students surprise themselves by succeeding in a college math class and, consequently, feeling more confident about their ability to successfully pursue a college education.” On Thursday, May 7th, Katy walked in her departmental graduation ceremony and received a Bachelor of Arts in Art History with a minor in History. With a final GPA of 3.7, she was a cum laude graduate and also received departmental honors through the completion of an undergraduate thesis project. Katy will be leaving the state this fall to pursue a Master’s in Art History at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

This is merely a snapshot of our amazing graduates but all of our PLFs have bright futures ahead. One of our graduates will begin a career as an educator; another will be starting dental school, and a great many will be applying to graduate programs in the medical field during the next application cycle. We are sad to see them go but are so very happy for their success. Congratulations UNM Class of 2015!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Advice from our graduating STEM students

Here are a few WORDS OF WISDOM from the graduating STEM students:

·        Good luck

Self-management skills:
·        Do your best and forget the rest
·        Don’t get too overwhelmed, it’ll work out
·        Find a balance between life, friends, heath, relationships, and school
·        Time management and stress relief practices
·        Study, Study, Study!
·        Don’t wait until the last minute
·       Be persistent, organized and above all, communicate efficiently and completely

·        Always get involved in campus events!
·        Remember you are here to develop a skill-set, not to hunt grades
·        Senior year has been the hardest year, but I have learned that all the stress and all-nighters were worth it. Believe in yourself and work hard for what you really want
·        4 red bulls @ 4 am the night before finals…totally worth it!
·        Get involved on campus, join clubs/activities
·        Go on vacation

Navigating the University and your major:
·        Get to know your professors
·        Get to know your classmates
·        Make lots of study groups
·        Don’t take O. Chem online
·        Take Biology classes with Scott Collins
·        Go to office hours
·        Take PE classes
·        Get supporting math/science done early, don’t wait to do Calc, Chem, and Physics. Get done early so you can focus on your core classes and not stress senior year
·        Get your pre-recs done early so you have time to get into departmental honors
·        Take some fun classes to balance your schedule, it’s OK to relax!
·        Don’t give it up if you fail calc

Monday, April 27, 2015

STEM Gateway celebrations National Student Employment Week

STEM Gateway staff surprised the hard working S-cubed and Peer-Learning Facilitators with a small celebration and token of appreciation on April 17th during their weekly professional development training.

We could not be happier with our students hard work and dedication. THANK YOU STEM Gateway facilitators!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mock Finals!

Join us for the Spring 2015 Mock Finals event!

Pre-registration (HERE) is highly encouraged.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

PLF Spotlight: Marshall Brandenburg

STEM Gateway is so proud of the Peer Learning Facilitator program but it would be nothing without our awesome PLFs. These student employees are some of the most passionate, hard working, and skilled on campus. We are so excited to brag about them every month in our newly created PLF Spotlight. April’s segment is devoted to the brilliant Marshall Brandenburg!


Marshall has been with the PLF program since 2013 and has served in Math 116 Topics in Pre-Calculus, Math 121 College Algebra, Math 162 Calculus I, and Math 180 Elements of Calculus courses. Needless to say, Marshall is obviously a math gateway course wiz! (Check out the PLF office hours sheet on our blog for Marshall’s office hours schedule - hint, hint!!)


PLFs support student learning in their assigned STEM courses, which typically include helping with in-class work, grading low-stakes assignments, proctoring exams, and holding office hours. As evidenced in classroom observations, Marshall’s strengths as a PLF include patience, professionalism, and compassion. It is clear to anyone who watches Marshall work with students that he truly cares and makes their success a priority. However, Marshall’s self-proclaimed greatest memory on the job comes from his work in office hours. He tutored a struggling student who ultimately received a 100% on a calculus test. This is no easy feat for a student, and Marshall considers this to be a significant accomplishment for both the student and in his position as a PLF.


Although Marshall personally contributes a great deal to the PLF program, it has developed through the interactions with professional role models he has met through STEM Gateway. UNM Mathematics faculty member, Derek Martinez, inspires him with his noticeable passion for the subject mater. Marshall similarly admires former PLF Program Specialist, Mary Cianflone, for her devotion to the success of students in STEM fields and compassion as a leader.


Aside from being an awesome student employee, Marshall is also a STEM student himself. Majoring in Applied Mathematics, he hopes to go on to graduate school in the field and one day accomplish his personal goals of being published and working at one of New Mexico’s National Labs. He is well on his way to accomplishing great things. Marshall has already toured and watched a presentation from the Center for Non-Linear Studies at Los Alamos National Labs. He was also accepted to the Mentoring through Critical Transition Points (MCTP) Mathematics Summer Camp 2015 at UNM. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

AEON Mixer and Celebration!

Join us for the final AEON event of the semester! Relax, eat food, meet Lobo Louie, and network with your fellow students and professionals in STEM.

Friday, March 13, 2015

PLF Spotlight: 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