Schiferl Donation Benefits UNM-LA Welding Program

UNM-LA CEO Cindy Rooney, left, and Machine Shop Instructor Skip Canfield accept a check from David and Sheila Schiferl, to fund the purchase of a new MIG welder. Photo by Nancy Coombs/UNM-LA

Schiferl runs the welder as instructor Skip Canfield looks on. Photo by Nancy Coombs/UNM-LA

UNM-LA News:
David Schiferl, a retired LANL scientist and current UNM-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) student, and his wife Sheila Schiferl, a UNM-LA Advisory Board member, donated $1,250 to the UNM-LA welding program for the purchase of a MIG welder.
CEO Cindy Rooney, thanking them, said, “We greatly appreciate your support of our campus. It is always a pleasure to see members of the community involved with our campus. David’s involvement with our welding program, as a student and now a donor, illustrate his interest and investment in this program.”
David, who worked in the fields of Physics, Engineering, Geophysics, and Chemistry at LANL, is enolled in UNM-LA Mechanical Technology class (MCHT 101L) with instructor Skip Canfield. In the class, David has learned plasma cutting, oxyacetylene welding and cutting, MIG (metal inert gas) welding, and TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding.
“Skip makes everything look easy, and he helps students feel comfortable while making mistakes as we learn,” he said. “I excel at the academics,” David continued, “but the high school kids are learning the welding a lot faster than me. We need to encourage kids who are naturally gifted in these fabrication skills, we need to provide classes like this or we are failing them, and ultimately we are failing ourselves. They can make good money doing fabrication, and it’s important to keep training people in the trades.”
Sheila also is very supportive of the college.
“Dave comes back from class absolutely jazzed. He always wanted to do welding but never had the wherewithal. We believe people should donate to things they are passionate about. This is a program that is growing, and has immediate needs,” she said.
Canfield, who runs the machine shop at UNM-LA, said, “It is critical that students spend the full three hours of class time productively, practicing skills rather than waiting for equipment. Currently we have nine stations for nine students, and enough equipment for everything but MIG welding. This new MIG welder will be an important addition to the shop.”
During his tenure at LANL, Schiferl designed equipment and laboratories, which were fabricated by machinists. Because he has some skills in fabrication, he was aware of the depth of skill demonstrated by his LANL colleagues. Besides fine hand, eye, and foot coordination, they had good project planning skills and 3-D visualizing skills. Schiferl feels it is very important to give young people an opportunity to study skills like welding as there will always be a need for professional welders. On a personal level he said, “It’s always good to do something different.”
UNM-Los Alamos is an innovative, rigorous, and affordable comprehensive branch community college that provides foundations for transfer, leading-edge career programs, and lifelong learning opportunities.  
David Schiferl prepares to practice creating a welded bead, which would serve as a seam. Photo by Nancy Coombs/UNM-LA
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