Staying Active on Campus

It can be a struggle to get adequate exercise, safely, during our current social distancing measures. Many times I shied away from going to the gym out in the city when I saw how full their parking lots were. Thankfully the New Mexico Tech Gym remains open and they are maintaining strict social distancing measures.

Everyone entering the gym has their temperature checked and are required to wear a mask. Hand washing is also enforced on entering and exiting of the building. The building is sanitized constantly and everyone is required to to sanitize anything they use. There are also time limits enforced on cardio equipment so you won’t have to wait overly long to use one.

If you are looking for something a little more exciting as of October the gym has a new bouldering wall. To use it it is required to take a safety course, which is only $5 for the annual safety course, but after that there will be no fee required to use the wall for the next month. Due to the high demand for the wall you will have to make reservations with the gym over the

It is very necessary to get any sort of exercise and, especially in the winter months, you may prefer to run inside instead of outside. With the gym being open at 6:00 am there is more than enough time in the morning to get some quick cardio done before class, if you can wake up that early that is. Maybe I will see you there.


E-learning Revisited

The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has made e-learning popular. In the past, people have shied away from going to school due a busy work schedule or family life with reasons that ‘school’ lacked flexibility. However, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic most educators have restructured their school system to respond to different learner abilities, needs and interest. Many people who once believed obtaining an education was impossible are now registered to an online program of some sort. The recent attraction towards e-learning is because of flexibility it provides. Take New Mexico Tech for example, most of the online lectures via zoom are recorded and one has the opportunity go back and watch them during their spare time. This feature makes working and schooling possible. This duality of schooling and working at the same time is the pride of e-learning.

Nevertheless, the problems associated with online exams is fast becoming the sorrow e-learning. The process of testing online involves completing the test questions, scanning them to your laptop, and uploading them to the submission link before the assigned test timeframe. This brings up the issue of time constraints. The time required to transmit the scanned document from a mobile app to an email, download the document, rename the document and upload the document to the submission link can be extensive given the time frame for the test.

I took an exam this past Saturday and I remember waiting for almost five minutes before the scanned document was transmitted to my email. After uploading my test document to submission portal, there was another wait game for the uploading document to reach ‘100% completion’ before the window of opportunity for submission closes. In summary, I found the processes involved in the test submission to be time consuming and one must apply adequate time management or the test portal would close. If the submission portal happens to close prior to submission, the end game would be a zero on the test. That on the other hand cannot be said about in-class tests where you write your answers on a paper and simply submit them when the time is up. This problem associated with online testing is one of the sorrows of e-learning. 

Still, the benefits of e-learning outweigh the sorrows, so we can only proceed with e-learning while seeking out ways to make the process of testing easier and convenient for students. This is just part of the trial and error processes that we are all experiencing in this new virtual world.


Computer Science Distance Learning

The importance of various technologies, such as Zoom, have been brought into clear focus in light of current events. With this in mind I would like to discuss some specific technologies that the NMT CS Department has used to meet the current need of distanced interaction, and other technologies that will help you prepare for a future career in the field.

Firstly, the CS Department’s use of Discord has been instrumental in their strategy for providing excellent academic support to CS students. Discord is a service that allows for voice, video, and text communication, filtered by specific servers and channels. Each class gets their own set of channels which are used to do group assignments as well as reach TA’s for assistance. This assistance is available during every lab period and from 6 to 9 p.m. every day. The forced change to this format for getting assistance from a TA made it a lot easier to get help than before, where you would have to go to the CS Department’s building in the evening. Now you can get help from the comfort of your own home.

Other technologies, such as SSH, git, and hosting, are available to CS majors are accessed through a CS Department account. This will allow you to host your own website on their servers and use Secure Shell to store files and run programs on the CS servers. Another thing an account grants is access to their own private git server, which is used for storing and sharing homework. All of which is great training for using these technologies for a future career in CS.

Thanks to these technologies NMT was able to meet the need of student’s educational requirements as well as health requirements. I will go as far as to say that, given the current obstacles, Tech’s CS Department was able improve access to educational support over what it previously provided. I can’t wait to see what further innovations the CS Department may come up with in the future.

~ Matthew

Balancing Work and Play

There is a popular saying that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” This saying encapsulates the importance of maintaining a balance between the two. That is, without time off from work one can become both bored and boring. This resonates well with many New Mexico Tech students, owing to an array of homework and tests from the beginning of the semester. Indeed, a little break is needed to recharge and keep the school spirit fired up. 

New Mexico Tech understands the need for a balance with work and play. Hence, the annual homecoming event, 49er’s. This four-day celebration takes place mid-semester every fall.  The annual event provides students with a number of activities to participate in to add some fun in their life. In the past, the annual homecoming kicked off with events like a movie night at the ‘Loma theatre’, a highlight of the dance troup ‘SIRO-A’, alumni events, comedy nights and live music. A series of sports events like the student vs alumni rugby game and many more on the second day. The popular morning parade, various all-day campus activities, and casino night on the third day and rest on the fourth day. 

This year’s annual homecoming will also hold a series of events, most of which is virtual via ZOOM. Like in the past, these events include a scavenger hunt, gaming tournaments, talk shows, a comedy night, a concert, and many others. My personal favorite is the face mask contest. Making a face mask involves sewing, and the meditative action of sewing encourages positivity and a feeling of relaxation. It also encourages mindfulness and reduces stress and anxiety. This is particularly a good way for Tech students to unwind from feeling stressed and to showcase their creativity.  

In light of these four-day events, Tech students should never forget themselves and get too carried away with play. The effect would become evident in their productivity. Afterall, the saying also goes that “all play and no work makes Jack a mere toy”. It is important to remember the significance of successfully completing your degree and paving the way for your future.


Time Flies!

It has been 5 weeks since classes started here at Tech! This semester has gone by so fast. Personally I feel like I just started last week, so it’s very weird to think that we are already approaching midterms.

Like many of you I was very nervous to come back to the campus not knowing what to expect. However, once classes started I was very glad to see how well Tech prepared for this! Not only is everyone very respectful towards your personal space but social distancing in classes and other facilities such as the gym, are encouraged by keeping all seats and equipment 6 feet apart. 

To avoid large crowds of people, Tech has been holding school events such as career fairs and school clubs over zoom. This year, the career fair was so much different that it usually is but I found my experience to be quite pleasing! I thought it was very cool to have the opportunity to have an informal one-on-one session with CEO’s of various businesses and be able to talk to them regarding work opportunities. It was very cool to be able to have that opportunity because when you are in a large group at a career fair, you might find yourself having a hard time getting some one on one time with them. I am very much looking forward to seeing how the next career fair goes!

As we are approaching midterms, you will most likely find yourself getting very busy over the next couple of weeks and stressing about your big midterm exam. As always, find some time to take a moment to yourself where you can reflect and take a big breath! 

I wish you the best of luck for your midterm exams!

~ Vanessa

A Return to Classes

Hello everyone! Our fall semester is under full-swing and, to be honest, I was a little apprehensive at the start due to the current pandemic. Now I can safely say that that apprehension was unfounded. The New Mexico Tech campus and the town of Socorro that it resides in, is one of the best places in the country with a current test positivity rate of .5% within the entire county.

I think there a lot of contributing factors to Tech’s and Socorro’s success, but I think a large amount of credit can be given to the culture at Tech and institutional response. I have not seen a single case of someone ignoring the social distancing and mask wearing guidelines. The student body here is also small and with no large off-campus events, there has been no mass spreading events that are being seen at larger schools.

The institutional response has been excellent. Distance education has been a huge emphasis this semester with lecture classes being either split between in person and online, or entirely online, so we can maintain social distance in the classroom, and we can be prepared for the worst. This, in turn, has driven down foot traffic between classes tremendously, so there are no scenes of crowded halls. Hand sanitation has been deployed throughout the campus so one can utilize it whenever one is entering and leaving a class.

Thanks to all of this my stress towards the pandemic can be redirected towards all of my school assignments, which is one thing Tech is never in short supply of.

~ Matthew

A Path to Job Success

One of the reasons students find it difficult to secure a job upon graduation is a lack of experience. While in school, it is advisable for students to seek out internship opportunities related to their field of study in order to become familiar with their chosen career path and to gain some level of experience. New Mexico Tech being a small research university opens up those doors for students.

A career fair is an event that enables students to explore job opportunities in their chosen field.Every Fall and Spring semester, New Mexico Tech holds a career fair for its students so they can improve their chances in the job market upon graduation. This fall is no exception. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Tech has found a way to organize a virtual career fair for its student through the job website “Handshake”. The fair will be held on Tuesday the 15thof September between 9am and 3pm. By signing up on Handshake, students will have access to both group and 1-1 sessions with recruiters on that day.

As some Tech students can be introverts, the 1-1 sessions better serve those students who do not like to socialize in large gatherings. It gives them an opportunity to freely talk to a recruiter and learn about possible job opportunities within their organization without having to ask questions in front of a group. They also learn what needs to be done to become a member of the team and sell their educational background as an asset that is worth investing in.

Nonetheless, to be successful in this career fair, it is important to write and submit a superb resume. Recruiters often speak with lots of students; hence a well written resume is key to get recognized and be in the running for an internship/job opportunity.

In that light, New Mexico Tech has created workshops that teaches students how to write a good resume. Students are encouraged to attend one of these workshops prior to attending the career fair. The tips they learn from the workshops boost their resume from ‘ok’ to ‘great’ and possibly increase their chances of securing an internship or job position. There are also workshops for things like interviews and how to prepare for a virtual career fair.

In conclusion, the upcoming virtual career Fair at New Mexico Tech is an event that is worth attending, because a student, it exposes you to prospective employers and opens a path towards your success in the job the market upon graduation.

The End of Summer Break

Summer break is coming to an end and we all know what that means! The start of the fall semester. Classes will start again in a week and personally I am very excited to get back to it! Whether you are taking online classes, in-person, or a mixture of both, this year will be an interesting one. 

I will be taking a mixture of online and in-person classes this semester. Since I’m taking some classes on campus I made sure to go to one of the Drive-Thru check ins that NMT was holding in the weeks leading up to the start of fall classes. If you’re going to be attending classes on campus I encourage you to go to one of these check ins in order to help NMT safely reopen and provide a safe learning experience for us all. 

Since the last time I posted I haven’t been up to too much. Lately I’ve been finishing my duties with my summer job and getting myself prepared for the start of the fall semester. 

That’s all I have for now but stay safe and I hope you are as excited to start classes again! 


Prepping for the Fall Semester

Hello, I hope everyone is doing well! I’ve been trying to stay healthy and active, both mentally and physically. This late into the Summer, I’ve been keeping myself busy with a lot of Khan Academy, trying to get a little ahead for the Fall term (it also keeps me out of the scorching Southwest heat). 

Although I will be taking a majority of my classes online come August, there are some labs I will have to do in person, which is something I’m looking forward to. I’m also eager to see how clubs are going to move forward, since that was a big part of my life at Tech. 

I’ve also been doing last minute paperwork and scholarship searches, just making sure everything is in place for the upcoming semester. 

Other than that, things have been pretty slow these last few weeks leading up to the Fall term. I’m really wondering when all the health regulations are going to start easing back, like I’m sure everyone else is. 

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again in due time. Stay safe meanwhile!


Perks of Online Learning

New Mexico Tech has mostly be known for it’s in class based learning. As a small school, the small gap in the teacher to student ratio enabled easy face to face interaction between students and teachers. For a long time, this has been one of the perks of attending New Mexico Tech. However, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has pushed Tech into also adopting e-learning, which I must say also has its perks as well.

At the advent of the COVID19 pandemic, with no vaccine and little to no knowledge about the virus, isolation was mandated as the best solution to minimize/prevent the spread of the virus. Many schools around the world, including Tech came to the conclusion that in class based learning was no longer considered safe. Three-quarters of the way into the semester, Tech was forced into transitioning to online-based learning. Truth be told, most teachers and students were unprepared for it, and even more uncertain as to how this transition would pan out. Nevertheless, with some trial and error and effective communication on what was working and what was not , teachers and students alike have become much more familiar with this method of learning. 

Personally, I remember being scared at first, and wondered how I would cope without the various face to face interactions; i.e. the in class conversations, office hours, and tutoring, that gave me insights to the course materials I was struggling with. Turns out that my fears were unfounded as Tech had ensured that the online based learning was equally convenient and impactful. There was the video chat technology ‘Zoom’ which allowed for in class hours to be conducted as usual. Even better, was the availability of Panto-recordings do that students can go back and watch recorded lectures if they possibly missed a lecture or wanted to go back to a particular lecture for reference material. There was also the availability of school emails where you can interact with the teachers if you had any questions. They are always quick to respond. The biggest perk of the online-based learning was the fact that I now had enough time for both school and work. I must admit that I made more money than I otherwise would have made if my classes where face to face and it sure did help with my bills.

In conclusion, even though face to face has it’s perks, I think that online based learning, especially in New Mexico Tech, should not be shied away from. It can provide you with the opportunity to pursue additional work opportunities while still receiving a quality education. Both class styles will provide the quality and support that New Mexico Tech is known for.