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GM dealership extends support to NMSU engineering program

Las Cruces General Motors dealership, Sisbarro Buick/GMC has become a familiar presence on the New Mexico State University campus, often within the engineering complex supporting various student outreach efforts, most recently in support of the summer College of Engineering Pre-Freshman Engineering Program.

Man prepares rocket as students watch.
Students participating in New Mexico State University’s Pre-freshman Engineering Program watch as Eduardo Gamillo, an engineer in the Department of Engineering Technology and Surveying Engineering, prepares to launch a rocket. (NMSU photo by Kristen Sullivan)
Man and two women grill lunch.
(From left) Michael Yoke, customer care manager at Sisbarro, Cecilia Russell-Nava, NMSU women’s basketball assistant coach, and Tamara Inoue, NMSU women’s basketball associate head coach, grill lunch for students participating in New Mexico State University’s Pre-freshman Engineering Program on June 5. (NMSU photo by Kristen Sullivan)

Motors has a long-standing relationship with the NMSU College of Engineering through the Partnership for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE). Globally, PACE strives to align academic and industry expectations by helping university students acquire experience with math-based tools and processes through classroom instruction, lab assignments and interdisciplinary collaborative projects. NMSU became a PACE institution in 2005.
The PREP program is an important link to encourage students to pursue higher education in engineering. When they enter college, they can participate in the PACE program, which gives them an edge in preparing for real-world employment.

For two weeks this month, nearly 100 middle- and high-school students from across Dona Ana County are on campus participating in the Pre-freshman Engineering Program, a free summer program that engages students through project-based activities and engineering innovation while incorporating science, technology and mathematics concepts. The program is made available through support from Las Cruces Public Schools, Hatch Public Schools and a variety of corporate partners.

“We’ve been sponsoring the PREP program for a number of years at NMSU; it really gets students excited about engineering,” said Ricardo B. Jacquez, dean of the College of Engineering. “It also benefits enrollment in the college by showing parents the quality programs we offer in engineering and it gives the students an idea of what they can do in college.”

The program offers two sessions. For sixth- through eighth-graders, PREP 1 is a five-day course held June 1-5 and June 8-12. Middle school students participating in PREP 1 are exposed to the application of basic engineering concepts including building their own rockets.

For ninth- through 11th-graders, PREP 2 is a two-week, 10-day course held June 1-12. The focus of this session is on advanced project-based learning and engineering innovation with a goal to expose students to different engineering disciplines through projects and on-campus laboratory visits.

At the conclusion of the first session on June 5, students launched rockets on the NMSU Horseshoe while employees from Sisbarro Buick/GMC grilled hamburgers for lunch. Sisbarro was joined by members of the NMSU women’s basketball team, including electrical engineering student Brianna Freeman and civil engineering student Moriah Mack.