Tech Appoints New Community Liaisons

SOCORRO, N.M. February 25, 2016 – New Mexico Tech has created official community liaisons to interface with the city, county and public school leaders.

Lillian Armijo, director of Community Outreach and Education, and Dr. Bill Stone, math professor and Dean of Arts and Sciences, are the liaisons to local government. Physics professor Dr. Sharon Sessions is the liaison to Socorro Consolidated Schools.


Tech's community liaisons are (from left) Lillian Armijo, Bill Stone and Sharon Sessions.


“This is part of the strategic plan,” university president Dr. Daniel H. Lopez said. “We’ve appointed these individuals to take lead roles to ensure that this communication and collaboration takes place.”

Armijo and Stone have been attending City Council meetings and meeting with Mayor Ravi Bhasker to open lines of communication.

“We want to see how we can help each other,” Armijo said. “Mayor Bhasker was very happy we came and happy we can work together. We are mostly trying to generate good will and cooperation and see if we can take care of issues or needs.”

Armijo said that one initial need is for computers at the Literacy Program and the Foster Grandparent Program. Armijo said she is working with the Property Office to see if Tech has surplus computers.

“These efforts are perfectly wedded with Tech’s Strategic Plan,” Armijo said. “We want to have more outreach with the community. I believe that’s what we’ll be doing. The first step is establishing better relations with the Socorro community.” Sharon Sessions has been attending Socorro Consolidated Schools board meetings in an effort to expand partnerships in education. She said she hopes to create more mentorship opportunities between university students and Socorro students of various ages.

“We are in the early stages, but I feel like things are going well already,” Sessions said. “The schools are excited to have Tech students and/or faculty bring demonstrations to their schools – things they don’t have access to. One common theme is to have more tutoring and mentoring. One thing that’d be beneficial is to find a way to have workshops train our students in what they need to do to be successful at tutoring.”

The liaisons recently hosted an all-campus meeting to discuss outreach efforts. More than 50 faculty and staff gathered to share ideas about educational and community outreach.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm on campus to be involved,” Sessions said. “We want to have another meeting that includes teachers and administrators for Socorro schools to facilitate communication both ways.”

Sessions and the Academic Affairs office are currently compiling an inventory of ongoing outreach activities.

“Part of that effort is to have everyone on campus communicating about what we are already doing,” Sessions said. “We’d like to have a webpage where a teacher who needs assistance in the classroom can easily identify someone who can visit their school.”

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, several Tech student clubs hosted an outreach event on campus for local third-graders. More than 100 youngsters came to the Fidel Center for hands-on activities designed to expose children to science and engineering concepts. Techie volunteers supervised the children building bridges with toothpicks and marshmallows, making paper airplanes and playing with non-Newtonian fluids, among other things.

“We do a lot of outreach already, but we need to catalog what we’re doing,” Sessions said. “A big part of my job is to coordinate our outreach efforts and have lots of people involved.”

– NMT –