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Record Turnout For Research @ Tech Day

SOCORRO, N.M. February 16, 2010 – New Mexico Tech enjoyed a record turnout for Research at Tech Day on Monday, with 187 high school students touring campus.

 Chemistry professor Dr. Wim Steelant gives a tour of his laboratory to prospective students and parents Monday.
 Rugby player James Chavez shows off news clippings about the Pygmies to a prospective student.
 Audrey Jones (left) and Jonathan Zimmerman demonstate fencing during Research @ Tech Day.  Photos by Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech

Admission director Mike Kloeppel said the 443 attendees (including parents) was the largest group to ever attend a Research at Tech Day event.

The Admission Office had several new applicants and the Residential Life Office was busy all day. Assistant Director Tom Kaus said Tech students gave dorm tours all day.

After a welcoming presentation by Vice President of Research Dr. Van Romero, students toured campus, met current students and visited academic departments. Sports clubs – rugby, volleyball, golf, cricket, fencing and tennis – set up tables outside Fidel Center. Many recruits stopped by to ask about sports activities; the rugby team collected more than two dozen names and e-mail addresses. Inside Fidel, many campus clubs set up tables and met with prospective students.

Admission Office recruiter Allison Costello said she believes the increase in applications is due to two factors: focused recruiting and national exposure through MythBusters.

“MythBusters gives us notoriety,” she said. “The show gets recruits excited about what they can do with science and engineering. They make it fun and cool. ”

Romero’s presentation included video clips from MythBusters and the Magdalena Ridge Observatory. He closed his talk with brief overviews of each academic department and their research emphases.

The Admission Office continues to attend the standard array of college fairs and visits high schools around the state. However, in recent years, the recruiting effort has become more focused on high school students who excel in math and science. Also, the recruiting mission has expanded to include targeted areas in Texas, Arizona and Colorado.

Monday’s event saw 31 out-of-state students visit Socorro, including residents of Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

“Our recruiting trips are bearing fruit and we’re starting to build momentum,” Costello said. “It’s satisfying to see that some of the states that the Admission Office has begun to focus on are bringing students to the campus.”

The event’s success certainly will add to what seems to be a record-setting fall 2010 freshman class. As of January 31, the number of paid applicants is on pace to be the largest ever.

For the fall 2010 semester, Tech has fielded 1,036 applications, accepted 565 students and received 194 deposits, more than double the 2009 figure (78) and 73 percent ahead of 2008 (112). Increases are across the board – men and women, in-state and out-of-state. In-state paid applications have increased from 51 in January 2008 to 87 this year. Out-of-state paid applications have increased from 25 in January 2008 to 42 this year.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech