UNM-Los Alamos Year In Review: Community Support, Growth And Collaboration

In January, Los Alamos voted to increase support for UNM-Los Alamos through the mil levy. Just after the results were announced, Advisory Board members Pat Soran and Steve Boerigter, CEO Cindy Rooney, Mil Levy PAC members James Robinson and Laura Loy, Advisory Board member Michelle Hall and supporter Kathy Boerigter gather in celebration. Photo by Nancy Coombs/UNM-LA

The graduation of the fall 2017 class of the Community Internship Collaboration (CIC) brought the total number of successful interns to 67. Photo by Nancy Coombs/UNM-LA

At the May 12 graduation ceremony, 97 students earned 116 degrees and certificates, setting a record for the college. Photo by Nancy Coombs/UNM-LA

UNM-LA News:

At the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM-LA), 2017 was a year for celebrating community support, expanding programs and strengthening partnerships.

The year began with a visit from UNM’s Acting President Chaouki Abdallah, who was accompanied by Dr. Craig White, Acting Provost, Dr. Christos Christodoulou, recently appointed Dean of Engineering, and Dr. Jerry Dominguez, Vice Provost and Branch Campus Liaison. After a reception, Abdallah addressed a crowd of Los Alamos residents, offering a brief history of the Los Alamos campus and its relationship to main campus and encouraging community support. Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard also shared her thoughts on the role of community colleges and the value of UNM-Los Alamos.

Los Alamos residents voted Jan. 24 in favor of raising the mil levy tax to support UNM-LA. In the months leading up to the mail-in vote, many citizens wrote letters to the newspaper editors voicing their opinions about this tax increase, which led to much lively discussion. Dr. Cindy Rooney, CEO of UNM-LA, reiterated her thanks to the community for their support. “We are very grateful for the additional mil levy income. In addition, we appreciate that so many people got involved in the campaign through discussions, letters of support, Facebook posts, and donations to UNM-LA.”

UNM-LA received additional financial support from new local sources in the form of a $5000 grant from the 100+ Women Who Care in Los Alamos for the Community Internship Collaboration program, a $3000 grant from the Trinity on the Hill Elders group for the Certified Nursing Assistant and Personal Care Attendant programs, and a $25,000 grant for nontraditional students from anonymous donors. New federal support was garnered by Instructor Kristy Nadler through a grant from the Office of Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice, which will provide $300,000 over three years to organize effective sexual misconduct prevention, education, and response for the UNM-LA community.

During the Spring 2017 semester, UNM-LA enrollment hit an all-time high, with 1128 students enrolled in degree/certificate programs or non-degree credit classes. At the May 12 graduation ceremony, 97 students earned 116 degrees and certificates, setting another record for the college.

The new Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program was launched in January and continued through the summer and fall semesters, providing students education and training to prepare for certification as a CNA in one semester. Along with the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Personal Care Attendant (PCA) programs, the course makes use of the state-of-the-art Health and Public Safety training facility.

In the Summer Semester, UNM-LA offered a new course in collaboration with Bandelier National Monument and the Family YMCA. Introduction to Land Management, taught by Bandelier Chief of Resource Management Jeremy Sweat, included both classroom learning and hands-on experience for participants in the Y Bandelier Corps (YBC).

Throughout 2017, UNM-LA continued to collaborate with local partners Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS). One of the most visible examples of this collaboration is the Community Internship Collaboration (CIC), which provides meaningful work experiences for students while helping to meet area workforce needs and develop the future workforce for the community.

UNM-LA also strives to support the community by providing meeting space. In 2017, the Chamber of Commerce hosted monthly breakfast meetings, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the Los Alamos Community Foundation held monthly meetings, and the League of Women Voters hosted several events. Los Alamos County held a Tourism Meeting for the community, and the Los Alamos Public Schools held High School and Youth Orchestras winter concert in the UNM-LA Student Center. Other groups have also made use of the UNM-LA facilities.

Reflecting on the past year, Dr. Cindy Rooney, CEO of UNM-LA, commented, “We are pleased to see the growth in community support and appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve our community. Los Alamos has a well-educated population, and UNM-LA is committed to providing students with a supportive and quality pathway through higher education, preparing students for additional studies as well as the workforce, and providing an opportunity for lifelong learning.”