NMSU CAMP Students Gain Greater Understanding Of STEM Fields

Jul 14, 2014

New Mexico State University's College Assistance Migrant Program or CAMP is a program that helps migrant and seasonal farm workers attend college.

Each year students in the program have an opportunity to explore workshops focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics or STEM. The most recent workshop focused on "Medicinal Plants of the Southwest."

Six students enrolled in NMSU's CAMP were chosen to take part in a workshop that focused on "Medicinal Plants of the Southwest."

Teaming up with a partner, students had a month to complete and present research complete with a poster presentation showing their results.

The workshop, led by Laura Rodríguez-Uribe, Specialist in Plant and Environmental Sciences at NMSU said the workshop gave these first-year college students a greater understanding about research.

"We show them how to design an experiment with good controls and enough sample size that the results are valid," says Rodríguez-Uribe.

CAMP student José Muñoz, a chemical engineering major worked on a project that compared Garden Sage, Russian Sage, and Texas Sage. Muñoz said that he and his research partner learned as much as possible about the different types of sage.

"How they (sage) are used, what compounds are in there, and we used a bunch of lab equipment to detect these compounds, analyzed data, and finally presented this poster," says Muñoz.

Kimberly Mejia-Rios a counseling and community psychology major, teamed up with Muñoz on this project. She says that the workshop gave her a whole new appreciation for plants in general.

"So now when I walk outside I notice all the plants, and I smell them and look at all of the leaves. It's really interesting to know that plants have so many medicinal purposes, but we don't pay attention to them as much," says Mejia-Rios.

Learning about Medicinal Plants in the region is just one of the many STEM-focused workshops that are available for CAMP students through the year according to Dr. Cynthia Bejarano, Principal Investigator for CAMP, NMSU.

"The idea is that at the first stage of their academic career that we expose students to these programs so they have a broader understanding of the STEM field, and hopefully they get hooked into some of these programs," says Bejarano.

This workshop also served as the final event for the students taking part in the program that takes place during the first year at New Mexico State University.