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Young students have ‘real life’ experiences

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Berrendo Middle School students walk throughout ENMU-R’s aviation facility Thursday afternoon while director of aviation Lyle L. Lane instructs students on mechanics of planes. Students were also able to recline inside a helicopter. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

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Exposure. That was focus for the 99 students of Berrendo Middle School as they didn’t just tour the ENMU-Roswell campus, but experienced it.

Ashley Shroud, who teaches a new elective class at Berrendo that is science, technology, engineering and mathematics-based, said she’s been trying to get her students excited about the STEM field.

“That is a high demand right now,” Shroud said. “So, we’re trying to get these kids in a younger age interested in that.”

Shroud said the outlining for the field trip began shortly after she met ENMU-R’s assistant vice president of Health Education, Dyan Ellington, at a networking event.

“Dyan and I just kind of got to brainstorming,” Shroud said. “She just kind of started telling me about the different opportunities that she had (at ENMU-R) and I said, ‘Well, can I bring my kids to the campus and do a field trip?’ And she said sure.”

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From animation, aviation, to pharmaceutical studies and everything in between, students from Berrendo went through 10 different stations at the college campus.

Alan Trever, media arts coordinator at ENMU-R, introduced students to Maya computer animation software, the same program used to animate characters from the “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo” films.

“It just gives us a chance to get the students at an early age to be able to get them excited about the possibilities that we offer programs that are directly connected to the industry,” Trever said. “(To show) that our technology is what the professionals use.

“It gets them excited that we’re right there. We’re not 10 levels away from Hollywood or the graphic industry or the 3D animation game industry – we’re right there. It’s direct 101 training.”

Justin Powell, an EMS faculty instructor, used makeup and other instruments to make realistic-looking wounds to show students what aspiring emergency medical technicians could one day encounter.

“We want the students to see as much real life as they can. If I give you a call to a guy who has a busted eyebrow, would you rather see this guy, or this guy?” Powell gestures to a normal looking boy, and then another with a severe “gash” near his eye. “We do that, because we want them to know, before you get out and about, what it is you’re going to see.

“Number one, you cannot prepare yourself for real life without being someone exposed to it.”

Pharmacy tech instructors Carolyn Baker and Teresa Alvarado shed a little more light to students on what the pharmacy world is really like.

“They’re still young,” Alvarado explained. “They’re still getting to figure out what they want to do, but at least we’re opening their eyes and letting them see that there’s pharmacy technicians out there that can do this stuff.”

Alvarado said what she and Carolyn teach, they also do for a living.

“We do this for a living, we enjoy it – or we wouldn’t be out here,” she said. “I’m really excited to see that these students are having fun and enjoying it. I hope that they’ll come back and join our program in years to come, and enjoy it like me and Carolyn do.”

Lily Bowles, a seventh-grader at Berrendo Middle School, said she didn’t know what to expect when she and her classmates first arrived to the campus.

“Then, we looked at the little paper that showed everything we were going to be doing and it looked pretty fun,” Bowles said.

The student said, out of the 10 stations, the welding and “zSpace” were some of her most favorites.

“We put on special glasses, and we had this little pen, and we got to do an interactive game-type thing and click different objects and see, learn things about them,” Bowles explained.

Working with the virtual and augmented reality offered to her has made her further consider the medical field, more specifically, cardiothoracic surgery.

“It was a cool experience,” she added. “Definitely a fun trip.”

EMS instructor Powell said while the day was a long one, the knows Berrendo students had a blast.

“So we’re having a blast,” he said. “We want them to be as much as versed into whatever they’re getting into as possible.”

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.