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The Monday Memo is a weekly electronic newsletter published for the faculty and staff of Eastern New Mexico University. The editor is Wendel Sloan.
Students and Staff Spend Month in Guatemala
by Wendel Sloan
"The natives treated us like family." – Debra Villanueva
"We saw a lot of amazing things." – Brittany Buchanan
Fifteen ENMU students, active and retired faculty, a community member and a student’s spouse, under the direction of Dr. Vitelio Contreras, spent July 21-26 in Guatemala.
The students and spouse were: Marissa Mower, Stephen Vickers, Debra Villanueva, Brittany Buchanan, Gabriela Franco, Kristian (Kameron) King, Rudolfo Olivas, Lenae Olivias (spouse), Francis Reid, Ashley Riley and Reydecel Coss
The non-students were Dr. Contreras, instructor Nicholas Santavicca , retired professor Paul Lockman, and community member Mary Ann Bowser, a retired special education teacher from Ohio who is subbing at the Brown Early Childhood Center in Portales.
The group was able to experience and learn of the Guatemalan culture first hand. They saw most of the significant places important to understanding the culture.
When not traveling and experiencing Guatemala, they had classes in the morning and were free to roam freely about the nearby towns, shop, eat and get to know the people and the culture.
Students Brittany Buchanan and Debra Villanueva recently discussed the trip.
|Brittany Buchanan||Debra Villanueva|
Q. What was a typical day like?
Brittany: We got to do it all. We traveled and saw a lot of amazing things like the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal and swam in the most important lakes in the country. While we were not traveling we would have class in the morning until noon. After lunch we would go down a mountain to a bigger town and eat, drink and enjoy each others' company and that of the culture.
Debra: Instruction began at 9 a.m. and ranged from two to four hours of classroom instruction. Instruction also included cultural excursions. The class traveled through various parts of Guatemala. Some of the areas visited were: Tikal, Peten, Livingston, Santiago, Chichicastenango, San Jorge, Antigua and Panajachel.
Q. What are some of the most striking differences between the U.S. and Guatemala?
Brittany: The most noticeable things differentiating the U.S. and Guatemala would include: bathrooms, clean water, car pollution, traffic laws, FDA regulations, school systems, time schedules, the language and landscape.
The U.S. has strict laws in most of these areas making for a much more clean and dependable experience, yet Guatemala lives in a more laid-back simple living type environment. Nothing is free and most things paid for by taxes in the U.S. are not government responsibilities in Guatemala.
Debra: The most striking differences are the people, clothing, the lack of water and the types of food. We lived amongst the Mayas. The Mayan Indians in this area practice traditional Mayan customs. This includes their dress, religion and language.
The Mayas in this area speak Cachiquel and Quiche, along with Spanish. In addition, water is a precious commodity, and hot water is extremely scarce. Also, the food in Guatemala is extremely different than what we eat in the U.S.
Q. Is Guatemala experiencing any internal strife, such as civil war, and how safe do you feel there? How is the crime rate?
Brittany: There are no present wars in Guatemala--not much internal strife; the government is not such a large part of society like it is in the U.S.--leaving less of an opinion and uproar against the government.
I feel much more safe in the U.S. than in Guatemala, partly because I know the U.S. much better and partly because I know that the police are not very trustworthy in Guatemala and if there was a problem I would be leery as to who to turn to.
The crime rate did not strike me as a problem. The stores are much more open and with much less security but I am sure it is much more of a hidden problem than meets the eye. With all of that said, where we stayed most of the trip I felt pretty safe; I ran by myself every morning and sometimes in the afternoon and never once felt threatened or in fear.
Debra: The crime rate in Solola' is very low. We felt extremely safe there. However, that was not the case in Guatemala City.
Q. How was the food—both prepared and fruits and vegetables? What would be a typical meal and drink?
Brittany: They eat a lot of corn and corn tortillas are always at any meal. They have many different fruits that I have never seen but were very good! A typical plate would include rice, black beans, blue, yellow, or white corn tortillas, fried plantains, avocado and a thin steak.
Debra: The food mainly consists of black beans, rice, fruits and vegetables. Corn tortillas are served with almost every meal. Meat is not served very often. Drinks typically consist of fruit juices.
Q. How did the natives treat you, and how would you describe most of them?
|Dr. Contreras reflecting at the top of the highest Temple in Tikal|
Brittany: Natives were friendly and most of the interaction I had with them was when I was buying something from them. They are used to tourists and even learn a few words to help them sell to English speakers. Where we stayed, most of the natives wore a very traditional outfit, very modest and durable.
Debra: The natives treated us like family, and most of the natives are very friendly. They are very hard-workers. Most of the natives seem to be very fit, as they do not drive and do a lot of walking.
Debra bought a Coke for this indigenous woman. She sat and talked with Debra, Marissa and Brittany one afternoon.
Q. How do you feel the experience will impact you?
Brittany: I have come back to the States appreciating what we have, accessible clean water and free public bathrooms. My Spanish improved dramatically and I miss the vegetation and a lot of the food.
I will now always appreciate what we so easily take for granted here in the U.S., but I think I will always want to go back just to experience it all over again!
Debra: This was the experience of a lifetime. The experience has exposed me to a new culture very different from that in the U.S.
Living in Guatemala for 25 days gave me a new appreciation for life in the United States. We are blessed to have an abundance of food and water.
Portales Native Enjoys ENMU, Living in Her Hometown
interview by Shantiana White
"We are here to work with the students to graduate and for them to become productive citizens."
|Frances Gonzales and her husband, Johnny,
at Washington, D.C., this summer
Q. What is your official title?
A: Library Technical Assistant, Golden Library
Q. When did you begin working at ENMU?
A: September 1989
Q. What are the main duties of your job?
A: Expend all Acquisitions funds
Maintain book, journal and standing order accounts
Prepare process, purchase orders, invoices, credit memo and refund checks
Train and supervise students
Q. What have you enjoyed most about your job, and what have been the biggest challenges (so far)?
A: I enjoy working with and mentoring students. When I started learning the Acquisition Millennium, it was a challenge; now it’s second nature to me.
Q. What were you doing before you came to ENMU, and what other jobs have you held?
A: I worked for the Help Child Development Center in Portales as a daycare worker, and also worked at La Casa Family Health Center as a file clerk and interpreter. When we were going to have our daughter Crystal, my husband and I decided that I would stay home. Six years later we had DeAnna.
My husband worked two jobs in order for me to stay home with our children for ten years. During that time I enjoyed being with our children and being involved with their schools. I volunteer for Vista, filling out income tax forms for the low income and the elderly. I volunteered as a bookkeeper for the United Way at the Community Center. I also took some classes at ENMU.
Q. Where were you born, raised, and what was your life like growing up?
A: I was born in Clovis, and raised in Portales. My dad worked in various jobs. I grew up with four brothers and two sisters. I’m the second to the oldest of my dad's children. I have a half-sister who was raised with my mother's parents.
My mother passed away when she was 43; I was 18 and married; it was very rough on our family. We all got married young, but we have accomplished so much. My baby sister was four at the time.
My siblings all have good jobs and are still very close. My sister Betty and my brother-in-law Gino Salaz both work for ENMU.
My dad passed away when he was 80. He never remarried.
My brothers and sisters and our families gets together once a year in Pecos, New Mexico, for camping and fishing; we have been doing that for the last 33 years. Our grandparents were from Pecos; they moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico, and then to Clovis. That is where my mother met my dad.
Q. What about your own family?
A: I’ve been married to my husband for 47 years; he retired from ENMU four years ago, and loves retirement.
We have four children: Melissa and her husband, Jim, and their children, Jimmy, Julia and Matthew, live in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. She works at a doctor’s office. Jim is an assistant manager at Costco. Our son Johnny and his wife, Beverly, are both ENMU graduates. They have a daughter, Allex; they live in Amarillo. He is a tennis coach at the high school in Canyon, Texas, and Beverly is a counselor for a middle school in Amarillo.
Crystal graduated from University of New Mexico and got her master's degree from The University of Chicago; she lives in New York City and works for the Leona and Harry Helmsley Foundation.
DeAnna graduated from ENMU and lives in Albuquerque. She is a drama/English teacher at DATA Charter School. Once a year she brings her drama students to ENMU for Drama Fest.
I am very proud of my children.
Q. What are your hobbies?
A: I like to read and go to movies.
Q. What is your ultimate career goal?
A: I’d like to retire after 25 years.
Q. What gives your life meaning. Besides career goals, what else do you hope to accomplish?
A: Spending time with my family is what gives my life meaning. I would like to accomplish things that need to be done around my house and to be able to be the fun grandma.
Q. What is your general impression of Portales, and ENMU?
A: I like Portales because it is a small town. I've been to Argentina, Washington D.C., Chicago and New York City and it’s always nice to come home to Portales. Everyone knows everyone, and the traffic is not so bad.
Raising our children in Portales, they had a lot of opportunity to accomplish what they wanted. We always told our children to treat other as you would want to be treated.
My husband and I serve on the board for Meals on Wheels, and also deliver meals.
We both attend University Baptist Church
ENMU is a good school. Being a small school, students get one-on-one attention. If a student needs any help, we try to help them instead of sweeping the problem under the rug. We are here to work with the students to graduate and for them to become productive citizens.
I have had the opportunity to serve as the secretary/treasurer for the Support Senate. I enjoy working at ENMU.
Betty Dever Big Fan of Betty Boop
story and photo of Ms. Dever by Shantiana White
"I work with great people.” – Betty Dever
Betty Dever, Financial Aid Specialist in Student Academic Services, has been working in financial aid for all 18 years she has been working for Eastern. She worked at a bank for 12 ½ years before coming to Eastern.
" I work with great people,” said Ms. Dever.
The main duties of her job are counseling students about their financial aid. “I have enjoyed helping students who have financial needs come to school. Watching them succeed has been fulfilling,” said Ms. Dever.
“The biggest challenge for me is default aversion,” said Ms. Dever.
She speaks to current students concerning financial literacy: how to budget their money, understand the difference in credit and debit cards, and making them aware of identity theft. Through exit counseling she presents information on repaying student loans and repayment options.
Ms. Dever also contacts former students who are delinquent or defaulted on their student loan payments and help them get in touch with their loan servicers about making their payments on time.
“In this day and age, with the economic situation, students leaving school may have hardships making their loan payments. They need to be informed about options like changing their payment plans,” she said.
Ms. Dever has served as President in NMASFAA and New Mexico Representative At Large in SWASFAA, the state and regional financial aid organizations.
Ms. Dever graduated from Portales High School. After getting married, she moved to Lovington, Artesia, Eunice, and Clovis before moving back.
“Portales is small, so you get to know people and have a church family. Everyone is friendly and anywhere you go you see someone you know. Portales is a good place to raise a family.” said Ms. Dever.
Her two children finished school in Portales and now have families of their own. Her son lives in Lubbock and her daughter lives in Canyon, Texas. She has six grandchildren and is expecting her fourth great-granddaughter.
“My family and friends are dear to me and I enjoy them very much,” said Ms. Dever.
After coming to work at ENMU she wanted to earn a degree for her job, and to better understand people. She has a bachelor’s of science in sociology and a minor in religion from ENMU. Also, she received her associates in general studies.
“Julie Poorman, Director of Financial Aid at the time, was a good role model that influenced me to go to school,” said Ms. Dever.
She enjoys reading, watching television and movies, visiting family and friends, and being involved in church activities. “I also enjoy seeing the stars at night,” she said.
|Betty Boop in Betty Dever's Office|
“Since I was a child, my favorite cartoon character was Betty Boop,” said the person who has Betty Boop merchandise in her office.
For now, Ms. Dever plans to finish up a kitchen project and continue to work at Eastern.
|Polo Shirts on Sale to Everyone!|
These stylish Polo shirts, available in various sizes, are on sale to everyone – faculty, staff, students and community members.
|Vic and Tory T-Shirts for Sale|
Academic Affairs is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Penny A. Garcia as dean for the College of Education and Technology. Dr. Garcia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Santa Fe; a Master of Science degree from the University of New Mexico; and a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of New Mexico.
Dr. Garcia is currently serving as the Associate Dean for the College of Education and Human Services at the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh and will join Eastern on Oct. 15.
Dr. Mary Kallus has graciously agreed to continue serving as interim dean until Dr. Garcia's arrival.
We welcome Dr. Garcia back to New Mexico and extend our congratulations.
Dr. Donald C. Elder III, professor of history, had a book review published in the Summer 2013 issue of The Annals of Iowa. He reviewed A Punishment on the Nation: An Iowa Soldier Endures the Civil War, edited by Brian Craig Miller.
ENMU professor Dr. Doug Morris recently attended the Climate Reality project in Chicago. – [interview]
|courtesy of Albuquerque Journal|