It’s that time of the semester again. The time when stress runs high and sleep runs low. All of the semester’s hard work converges to now. It’s finals week.
Final exams are taken the last week of the semester at NMT, but it’s not the only thing occurring on campus. Every semester NMT puts on multiple events that encourage students to do well on their exams and help to relieve stress. Free massages, Rent-A-Puppy, kittens, and movie nights are only a few of the things to participate in to help you refocus and buckle down on final exams.
I was finally able to break away from the monotony of studying and working this week to go hold some kittens and rent a puppy.
There were students gathered around the kitten pen waiting their turn to play with one and walking their rented puppies. After working through multiple final projects for my classes, playing with the animals helped me to reset for my final exams.
One of the most fun facilities available to students at New Mexico Tech is our swimming pool. With Socorro’s warm sunny weather, the pool is a fantastic place to relax and enjoy the warmth! However the Chemical Engineering department put on a pool party and BBQ this weekend was not one of these warm days…
The Chemical Engineering student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers had scheduled an engineering pool party and BBQ was scheduled a month out for Saturday April 29th. As the club was prepping for the event dark clouds began rolling in. The grill was being put together and food was being readied when the raindrops started falling. As the students huddled under the available umbrellas a few brave souls decided that the heated pool was a better option than the frigid air. After about a dozen students had entered the pool the light drizzle transformed into small pea size hailstones. Being on the outside watching those in the pool this is when the scene became pretty cool. As the cold atmosphere contacted the warm pool water, a nice layer of steam began floating off the surface.
This may sound like an awful event but all attendees thoroughly enjoyed themselves with excellent food and lots of laughs. Most of the pool parties at NMT have much better weather with the welcome weekend pool party being the highlight of the welcome weekend! They always have a nice engineering challenge, where students compete making boats out of cardboard and duct tape. All in all the Tech pool is always a fun time!
As the night grew older, the bright Carnival lights filled the clear Socorro sky, and the smell of cotton candy permeated the air. It was Friday night, and the New Mexico Tech parking lot between the pool and the athletic field was filled with rides, and fun carnival games for everyone to enjoy.
Contrary to popular belief, Techies do have fun once in a while. In Spring we enjoy ourselves by writing, or should I say, riding fun carnival rides and going to the various events organized by our Student Activities Board. At NMT, we have a week dedicated to having fun, and it goes by the name of “Spring Fling”. This year, it happened to be more than a week, thankfully. Being that the carnival took place after midterms, there was a sense of ease and calmness throughout campus. Spring Fling consists of fun events such as Bubble Soccer, a dunk tank, and a comedy show.
The Carnival was by far, the most exciting part of Spring Fling in my opinion. Having a Tech ID, and being able to get on any ride for free was the best feeling in the world. Because New Mexico Tech has a very tight relationship with the city of Socorro, it was open to the community as well.
When I talk to prospective students, the question I get asked often is, “What do you guys do for fun on the weekends?”. My response is always, it depends on the person. If you don’t make an attempt to get involved and get out, then you won’t, but if you join a club you will have the opportunity to participate in various events on the weekends.
As a biology student at Tech I can definitely say that one of my favorite things are the labs. You get to work in labs starting from the basic biology courses. In my first biology class we had the chance to learn a lot of different things like how to use a microscope and micropipettes correctly, as well as how to perform gel electrophoresis on DNA samples, and extract DNA from crushed fruit. In Biology 2 we dissected different things like earthworms, frogs and a mink. This semester I am taking an Ecology class with the lab, focusing more on environmental biology.
For this project we are testing the effects of land waste on plants. We were provided with garbage made of vegetable matter, eggshells, fruit sauce containing sugar, coffee grounds and bakers yeast. We set 3 week old brassica plants in four jars, watering two of them with clean water and the other two with watered down garbage liquid.
After directly adding the water and garbage solution we closed the jars. We will be measuring gas flux, height and leaf difference of the plants before and after and also taking observations.
The biology department always has great TA’s that help run the labs. One of the nice things at tech is the small class and lab sizes really benefit each student. As a biology student, I definitely recommend New Mexico Tech if you’re interested in pursuing a science degree. It will give you the necessary preparations needed for any future job.
New Mexico Tech has several sports clubs that students have the opportunity to participate in. The NMT Volleyball Club is a great way to get your head out of the books and get active in the evenings. Athletes of every level are welcome to play and participate in club practices and tournaments.
Since I was a student athlete in high school, I wanted to continue to play volleyball when I came to New Mexico Tech. When I discovered the NMT Volleyball Club, it was the perfect opportunity to continue to improve my athleticism while still having time to focus on my academics. Students have the option to be as active in the club as they choose to be. You can attend practices twice a week for some exercise, or you can choose to play in tournaments with the club as often as you’d like. NMT Volleyball Club also travels to Albuquerque, NM every couple of weeks to play in an ongoing tournament called Lobo League. The club also puts on several tournaments right here in Socorro like the Sweetheart’s Tournament in February where you and your valentine can play in a coed tournament with another couple. Several of these tournaments offer prizes to the top teams, but regardless of your skill level it’s always a fun time to spend a weekend playing volleyball with friends.
Most of our blog posts have been about fun things to do outside of school; this post will be about one of the many exciting courses offered at New Mexico Tech. This semester I am taking Materials Engineering 483, Scanning Electron Microscopy. This course is all about teaching students the proper way to use a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).
SEM is a microscope that uses electrons instead of light to form an image. The microscope uses an electron gun, a device that runs current through a tungsten filament until the filament emits electrons. This beam of electrons is then sent down a column of apertures, micrometer sized openings in a metal sheet, to narrow the beam and lenses to control the beam spreading . The SEM lenses are actually electromagnets instead of shaped glass like light microscopes. The lenses create magnetic fields to focus the electrons and keep them on the right path. The electron beam then hits the sample where some really fun science happens and electrons are bounced off the sample or replace electrons in the atom and emit a characteristic X-ray. These electrons are collected by different detectors and an image is formed where intensity of the signal, the amount of electrons collected, is transformed to a black and white scale, lighter areas mean more electrons. The characteristic x-rays are used to identify individual elements within a sample.
In the SEM course students learn all about how the SEM works with the ultimate goal of the students using the microscope on a personal research project throughout the course along with completing a couple of assigned lab. The images below are from my first assigned lab, we were required to image an eggshell and a metal fracture surface. My group chose a broken support piece from a jet engine.
The eggshell image surprises most people when they see the structure of what we see as a smooth shell.
My personal research project for the course is analyzing a chondrite meteorite found about 20 miles south of Socorro for a materials engineering professor that really wants to see its structure and what elements are present. Not for any of his research but because like so many of us he’s a little nerdy… okay he’s pretty nerdy and thinks its gonna be something really cool to look at on a micron scale. The SEM course is unique at NMT because it is open to anyone that has a project they need to use the SEM and the class has its own funding to allow the students free use of the microscope instead of being charged ~$100/hour like a private company would. This course is just one of the many opportunities to gain valuable researching experience with an instrument that usually costs hundreds of thousands of dollars available to NMT students.
Hopefully y’all learned a little from this, until next time,
Are you a student who wants to continue playing a sport in college? Are you a student who likes traveling and would enjoy playing other rugby clubs from different universities? If you answered yes to either of these questions, the rugby club is the perfect club for you. Pygmy Rugby is the oldest club on campus, and I am fortunate to be a part of this great team. My name is Everson Cruz, and I am a freshman studying Materials Engineering here at New Mexico Tech. Just as many of you looking at our school, I played sports in High school, and I didn’t want to stop being a student-athlete.
The rugby team has taught me so much in the short-span that I have been part of it. It has taught me how to take hits, tackle and ruck, but most importantly it has taught me the importance of teamwork and leadership on and off the field. On the field, teamwork is essential due to the fact that this is a contact sport played without pads or any sort of protection. When a teammate goes down, he has to have support for the sake of safety and possession. During the game, stepping up and observing the downfalls is crucial to the fixing of mistakes that could potentially be the key to a win. As a club off the field,we do community service in the local community, take hikes as a team, and watch out for each other academically so we could all be able to play.
The biggest perk of being in Rugby in my opinion is the fact that we get to travel both in and out of state to play. Most of the time, when we out of state, it is to participate in a tournament. Last year we traveled to Flagstaff to play in a tournament hosted by NAU, and not to long after we played in a tournament in Albuquerque. Aside from tournaments, we play in the Rio Grande Rugby Union, which includes New Mexico State, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP). The most recent game we had was against UTEP, in El Paso. Traveling to these different schools is a way at least for me to get out and see new places, while still being with my teammates. At the end of the day,win or lose, we are just a bunch of Engineering students, (nerds), that just want to have fun and play rugby.
San Lorenzo Canyon is located 20 minutes North from Socorro. If you ever want to go stargazing, walking your dog or on a fun easy hike with friends, that’s the perfect place! The area has a ton of caves and rock formations. A couple friends and I packed a backpack up with lots of snacks and went on a nice afternoon hike. The weather was perfect. Being that it had recently rained, there was a nice breeze that kept it from being too hot.
The different type of rock formations show the beauty and diversity there is here in New Mexico. Its filled with canyons and river beds, there was so much to explore a whole afternoon was not enough time. The canyon offers great camping and climbing spots, it also has numerous horse back and atv riding trails. If you ever want to get out and go on a hike, one of our athletic directors here at NMT likes to get people together and lead hikes. If you’re looking for adventure and a good time San Lorenzo is the place to go!
Whether you prefer a traditional recurve or a powerful compound bow, archery is a great way to get outside, get some exercise, and have fun with target practice. I didn’t learn to shoot a bow until late in my Freshman year of college when I was given hand-me-down recurve and compound bows. Once I was taught to shoot, I was hooked. Archery is now one of my favorite pastimes and outdoor hobbies.
There are many places both on and off campus to work on your groupings. An on-campus option that I participated in was taking an archery course. Don’t worry-there’s no homework. We’d just meet in the Student Activity Center and shoot at some targets. An off-campus option that my friends and I do regularly is going out to the Socorro shooting range just south of town. There are wide open ranges where we would shoot at obstacles already there, or bring our own archery targets. When we first arrive we always pace off the yardage that we would like to shoot and mark it with the target. I sometimes take snacks and play music from the car while each of us tries to get the smallest grouping. The Socorro shooting range is very near to a ranch so it’s not uncommon for a stray cow to make its way to the berms. When this happens we have a snack, give our arms a break, and wait for it to get a safe distance from the targets. When the sun goes down, I pack up the bows and head back for a movie at home with friends.
Nestled just north of the Gila National forest right on the continental divide is one of New Mexico’s quaintest little towns with some of the best desserts you can find west of the Mississippi. Pie Town, New Mexico’s claim to fame is the homemade pies they produce. I mean the town even has a whole weekend of festivities in the fall dedicated to the pastries. Since 1995 the Pie-O-Neer has been cranking out a multitude of pies, from your traditional apple and cherry to the uniquely New Mexico peach green chile and apple with green chile and pine nuts. All are delicious!!!
Less than an hour and a half west of Socorro along highway 60, my friends and I could think of no better place to celebrate the nerdiest of days in 2015, 3/14/15, the closest to actual Pi Day we would see in our lifetime. We started our adventure westward passing by Box Canyon, the Very Large Array (VLA), and finally into the Magdalena mountains. This being my first time seeing the VLA, I was quite astonished by the vastness of the area scattered with satellite dishes large enough to be mounted on train cars for position adjustments. It was a gorgeous drive that went as quickly as a New Mexico rainstorm.
When we get to Pie Town, the Pie-O-Neer has a line out the door. We begin to worry about getting pie as everyone is talking about how busy they have been all day. Apparently we were not the only people that decided Pie Town was perfect for Pi Day. We finally reach the front counter to find out they have one pie left, caramel pecan. Which was nowhere near my top five choices, but being the only one left of course we all get a slice. I did not recall a time before this that I had ever had pecan pie. It was always one desert I avoided, but then I took a bite and this pie was so good it easily jumped into my top ten desserts of all time. We all quickly devoured our slices, the feeling was mutual among us all that this pie rocked! After a few more hours of adventuring through the surroundings and enjoying what was almost a step back in time being in this little mountain town, we headed back to Socorro.
All this pie talk has made me hungry, until next time!