Monday, June 2, 2014

UNM-Gallup Professors Reach out to Area Students

Dr. Yi-Wen Huang, Assistant Professor of English & Linguistics visited Tohatchi Middle School in April and provided Chinese Mandarin language and culture classes to the 6th and 8th grade students.  According to Dr. Huang, “The students were interested in learning Mandarin and asked questions about how to say ‘I love you,’ or ‘Navajo,’ or ‘fry bread’ in Mandarin.”

Serena Willie’s 5th graders and Chandra Touchine’s 3rd grade class from Jefferson Elementary School recently made a field trip to UNM-Gallup where they had the opportunity to experience some “hands on” science with UNM-Gallup professors.  Dr. Paula Watt helped students look for leaf fossils by showing them how to use special tools to open rocks to expose
the flat surfaces within where several specimens were found.  According to Ms. Willie, “Students have been looking up geology information as part of our geology unit.  The students are very excited –Dr. Watt is always so good to us.”

In the chemistry lab, Dr. Kamala Sharma told the 5th graders that “Science is all about questions.  You must be curious about things.  Chemistry is about trying different things to see how it works.”  The students observed and participated in several experiments with Dr. Sharma, guessing what color mixtures would turn, and discussing why a dollar bill drenched in a particular chemical would not burn when set to a flame.

Seven years ago, Samir Wahid invited a group of 5th and 6th graders to
campus to participate in a math and science program.  Today that program is still strong and has grown to include sessions in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Drafting.  Approximately 30 students at a time qualify to visit UNM-Gallup, based on their academic performance, and are treated to an interactive day looking through microscopes at slides, viewing a chemistry experiment, participating in both a physics demonstration of gravity and a hands-on session in computer-aided drafting.  Students are also given information on possible careers that have a basis in math and science such as engineering, architecture, biochemistry, and medicine.  Helping Mr. Wahid to promote the students’ interest in math and science have been Dr. Bridgette Ray, Dr. Kamala Sharma, John Burke, and Chris Platero.

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