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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:59 pm 
Six Western New Mexico University students enrolled in applied technology programs received scholarships from the Southwest New Mexico Home Builders Association this week. The awards ceremony took place earlier this month during a luncheon on the WNMU campus.

Shyla McBride, Luke Vega, Wellington Woodward and Wesley Lamb each earned a $250 check, while Charles “Clay” Rice and Gilberto Barrios Jr. each received $500.

The scholarship recipients are all WNMU freshmen who attended Grant County high schools, except Wellington Woodward, who attends both Silver High School and WNMU as a dual enrollment student. Five are pursuing Welding Technology, while the other is in Electrical Technology.

Rice graduated from Cliff High School and started on the Welding Technology track through WNMU’s dual enrollment program, which offers high school students an opportunity to begin their post-secondary educations while still in high school. “My grandpa was a welder, and my uncle’s a welder. I plan to join the Navy and become a machinist,” he said.

A Silver High School graduate, Barrios is taking an electrical contracting course at WNMU and has plans to study electrical engineering in the future. He chose his field of study because he comes from a family of builders. “My grandfather to my uncles to my mom have been in the construction industry. I was born into it and so why not stick to it?” he said.

This is the first time since the late 1990s that the Southwest New Mexico Home Builders Association has awarded scholarships.

Southwest New Mexico Home Builders Association President Rich Bigelow and other members set out to give away two scholarships and decided that the candidates needed to be from Grant County and pursuing a trade at WNMU. “We want to see the industry continue. Some of us want to retire someday. Who’s going to replace us?” Bigelow said.

They collaborated with James Ortiz, Director of WNMU’s Department of Community and Workforce Development, and Kathy Sorells, the department’s Program Manager, to find applicants and came away with six names.

After interviewing all six students, the Southwest New Mexico Home Builders Association scholarship committee found everyone deserving of an award. “We wanted to see what the interest level was in each student and what they anticipate doing in the trade they chose. I think every one of them was working either full- or part-time while taking 15 credit hours. We were blown away,” he said.

The New Mexico Home Builders Association supports small construction business owners in finance and builder’s affairs, but the group also lobbies during Legislative sessions in Santa Fe. The Southwest chapter is one of only nine in the state.

“This is one way our little organization is helping students get through and see their way of life,” Bigelow said. “We think giving these scholarships to WNMU students is a win-win deal for everybody.”

# # #
Jennifer Olson
Phone: 575.538.6353
news@wnmu.edu


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