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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Pre-freshman engineering program begins at NMSU

One hundred twenty-five middle and high school students from Las Cruces, Gadsden and Hatch will be on the campus of New Mexico State University through July 28 to attend the annual Las Cruces Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP).

PREP is a free eight-week summer program designed to prepare pre-college students for careers in science, engineering and mathematics. Sixty-two of the students are new to the program, 34 are returning for their second year and 29 are in their third year with the program.

Alyne Fulte, director of the program, said one of the goals of PREP is to help fill New Mexico's need for highly qualified scientists and engineers, while exposing economically disadvantaged students to professional opportunities in science and engineering. "New Mexico ranks 48th out of 50 in per capita personal income and has a higher percentage of underrepresented minorities than any other state," Fulte said. "At the same time, New Mexico is the home to numerous high-tech research facilities."

PREP students can begin as early as sixth grade and attend for three years prior to beginning college. To be eligible for the program, students must maintain minimum grades in their classes through the regular school year.

During the eight-week program, students take introductory classes in engineering, computer science and physics, as well as a wide range of math classes. Each Friday students are taken on field trips where they have an opportunity to meet with industry professionals. Students travel to such locations as Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, N.M., Insights Science Museum in El Paso, Texas, and IBM and Raytheon in Tucson, Ariz.

PREP sponsors include NASA, Intel, Dona Ana Workforce Action Council and the Las Cruces Summer Food Service Program, which provides free lunches to the students.

Chris J. Minnick
June 13, 2000