Dr. Juchao Yan and Dr. Kenwyn Cradock
Dr. Juchao Yan and Dr. Kenwyn Cradock

Eastern New Mexico University is planning a $16 million renovation of the Roosevelt Science Center (RSC), which will include innovative classrooms and research facilities with state-of-the-art technology for STEM-H related fields. The University received $8 million from the 2018 bond and will obtain an additional $8 million if Bond C passes this November.

Dr. Kenwyn Cradock, chair of the Department of Biology, and Dr. Juchao Yan, chair of the Department of Physical Sciences, discuss how the renovation will help students and faculty excel at ENMU.

How will the renovation of the Roosevelt Science Center enhance learning experiences and research opportunities?

Dr. Cradock: The renovation will provide a modern facility for both research and teaching. By upgrading the facilities, students will be able to experience educational opportunities that will better prepare them for the opportunities beyond ENMU. The faculty in Roosevelt regularly engage students in their research activities, so enhanced research facilities will not only allow faculty to produce competitive research, but further enhance the educational experience of both graduate and undergraduate students.

Dr. Yan: For the Department of Physical Sciences, Roosevelt Science Center houses entirely or partly three major degree programs, including Aviation Science, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Environmental Science. Recently, three reviews have rated our Aviation Science program in the top ten for online Bachelor of Science in Aviation/Aeronautical Science degrees. Since 1984, the American Chemical Society, the largest scientific society in the world, has certified our Chemistry program. Our environmental science program has been one of the favorable degree programs on campus and has grown well during the past five years.

In RSC, there are faculty and staff offices, classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, and the Miles Mineral Museum. The renovation will modernize classrooms, laboratories and infrastructure. Such state-of-the-art facilities will help us recruit, retain and graduate more STEM-H majors, and, ultimately, prepare our students to be future STEM-H leaders.

Which new technologies from the renovation are you planning to utilize in your research and implement in your lessons?

Dr. Cradock: This has not yet been discussed, so we do not know exactly what new technology and resources we will have. In Biology, we are hoping to expand our -80 C freezer capacity. This will enhance our molecular biology-based research capacity. There is also the potential for a lab where we can safely handle level 2 pathogens for research.

For teaching, we are hoping that improved educational facilities will allow the professors to utilize and implement current pedagogical practices more effectively.

Dr. Yan: To further my ongoing research in organic photovoltaics, I am planning to utilize a high-field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer. In Chemistry and Biochemistry, NMR is indispensable for interpreting molecular structures.

To teach lower-division Chemistry classes, I am planning to utilize an Active Learning Classroom (ALC) that can accommodate 72 students. Unlike traditional lecture-style classrooms, ALCs maximize active, collaborative learning and multimodal teaching because of the student-centered and technology-rich environments.

How will the renovation benefit STEM-H students?

Dr. Cradock: By improving the research and educational facilities available in Roosevelt, students will have access to an improved educational experience. Learning in a space specifically designed for 21st-century research and education can only benefit students as they will be experiencing their learning in a facility designed for modern instruction. This will provide them with an excellent platform as they move on from ENMU to graduate/professional programs or into the workforce.

Dr. Yan: The renovation directly supports programs in STEM-H fields. It fosters interaction and experiential learning of STEM-H students as part of their enhanced educational experience.

Absentee voting begins on Oct. 6, with early voting starting on Oct. 17. Election Day is Nov. 3. For more information, visit BondC4NM.com.