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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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More freshmen entering engineering programs at NMSU

More students are filing into the engineering complex at New Mexico State University this semester. Freshman enrollment in the NMSU College of Engineering has increased more than 35 percent from the fall 2005 semester.

sing enrollment is an inevitable result of increasing awareness of the quality of our programs," Associate Dean Krist Petersen said. "We have some very outstanding engineering programs here at NMSU. We are aggressively working to ensure that high school students are aware of them and the opportunities ahead of them by pursuing rewarding careers in engineering."

The College of Engineering increased enrollment of new freshmen from 221 students in the fall of 2005 to 299 students in the fall of 2006, Petersen said.

Department heads, faculty and a college recruiter visited high schools across the state last spring to engage students in discussions about careers in engineering.

"We are working very hard to reach out to students in the public school systems," said Dean of Engineering Steven Castillo. "Our first goal is to find and identify potential students from across the state and region; letting them know this would be a great school to attend. Our second goal is to ensure that we retain them once they are here by involving them in student organizations and various mentoring programs in the college."

Petersen said there is a high demand for engineers across the country with very competitive salaries.

"At NMSU, we pride ourselves on having a very hands-on application-oriented program that prepares our students to enter the workforce once they graduate," he said. "We require extensive lab time and all of our lecture classes are taught by full-time professors."

Freshman Shawna Libeau is majoring in the new aerospace engineering program because she has wanted to become an astronaut since she was 5. "The engineering college here is just as good as any East Coast school and it's still close to my home, which allows me to concentrate on my school work instead of relocating to a completely new environment," she said.

The college also increased the total number of freshman scholarship awards by almost 180 percent. The average entering freshman award was about $1,000.

"Every entering freshman who applied for a scholarship by the application due date was given some level of scholarship award," said Patricia Sullivan, assistant dean in the College of Engineering.

"I couldn't have gone to college without a significant source of aid and the engineering college was willing to make sure that I exhibited my full potential and become a productive member of the engineering field," said Libeau, who received an engineering scholarship.

"I came here because it's a really good college - it's top ranked - and also because of scholarships," she said. "The scholarship was just a bonus to help me get the opportunity to pay for school."

Sept. 27, 2006
Anna Moncada