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December 5, 2016

Look Under The Hood And Find UNM-LA Produces Students Who Succeed

Steve BoerigterBy STEVE BOERIGTER
Chair, UNM-LA Advisory Board

I plan to vote “YES” for the UNM-LA Mil Levy election in January. True, as chair of the UNM-LA Advisory Board, this position probably isn’t a surprise to anyone.

In 2010, after completing a year of Leadership Los Alamos, we were challenged to find our passion to go make a difference. I opted to run for the UNM-LA Advisory Board. You elected me to that position in 2011. I knew UNM-LA provided a quality education at a great price, but I also felt that UNM-LA could be much more than it was, maybe too much “UNM” and not enough “LA”. 

I believed then (as I do now) that Los Alamos is a better town when it has a vibrant population of college age students. Well … the changes at UNM-LA and its impact on Los Alamos have been substantial and dramatic.

Today, UNM-LA makes Los Alamos a better place to live in several unquestionable ways. Last year, more LAPS graduates attended UNM-LA than ever before. These students benefited from outstanding teaching (many classes are taught by LANL staff as adjunct faculty), small class size, and a tuition that is a bargain. 

UNM-LA provides a higher education experience that is on the cutting edge: Scenario based EMT training including an ambulance simulator, plenty of online course options, individual structured and mastery-focused math classes at the entry levels.

If you look under the hood, you’ll see a college that is doing higher education right. UNM-LA produces students who succeed.

Recent success stories abound. Over 90 percent of UNM-LA graduates either pursue a higher degree or have successful job placement. UNM-LA students who transfer to 4-year colleges consistently succeed at a higher than average rate and note that their time at UNM-LA contributed to their success.

Last year, 299 students from Los Alamos High School took dual credit classes from UNM-LA.  And yet UNM-LA has done all these things while taking a nearly 50 percent cut in state appropriations per student. I could write a long list of facts, spout a myriad of numbers, come up with untold stories of student successes that all tell the story of how UNM-LA impacts our lives. 

Today, UNM-LA serves Los Alamos. We benefit in so many ways by having the college here. I support UNM-LA and will vote YES because I know a strong and healthy UNM-LA is better for Los Alamos and they need our help.

This letter was published in the Los Alamos Daily Post on December 4, 2016.