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Home » Uncategorized » Academy graduate receives scholarship

Academy graduate receives scholarship


Friday, July 15, 2022; Silver City, NM: A student at the Teen Academy of Health Sciences (TAHS) received a surprise at the program’s recent graduation ceremony – a Tier One scholarship to Western New Mexico University (WNMU).

The graduates and staff of the Teen Academy of Health Sciences, which wrapped up last week with a celebratory barbeque at Western New Mexico University. Pictured from left to right: Director of FORWARD NM AHEC Baudelia “Bala” Salgado with son, Eli Salgado, program specialist Tayler Lopez, academy graduates Adin Laney, Alyssa Verdugo, Jaden Flores, Kalia Cabrera, and instructor Ann McMillian.

Cobre High School’s Nikolas Trujillo was awarded the scholarship for his exemplary participation in the three-week academy which takes students on a whirlwind tour of the possible careers available in health care hosted by the Frontier and Rural Workforce Development New Mexico Area Health Education Center (FNM AHEC).

Trujillo was unable to attend the ceremony due to his participation in the All-Star Senior Boys Copper Baseball Team which was at the New Mexico State Baseball Finals happening at the same night as the graduation. Trujillo and his teammates sent a video, recorded earlier in the day, to his fellow academy students and their gathered families wishing them well before the team won the championship for their division.

The Academy students received dual enrollment credit for participating in the program with WNMU and the high school they are attending. Receiving dual college credit is a requirement for a diploma in New Mexico.  This year students also received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification and basic life support training.

At the free summer academy students brush up on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) so they can excel on college entrance exams. The students also visit medical and medical training facilities to learn first-hand from professionals in the field what having such careers entail.

At the WNMU School of Nursing and Kinesiology, Academy students got up close and personal with the state-of-the-art simulation center which includes life-like mannequins that can be programed to display medical conditions for trainees to practice their healing skills.

Unfortunately, the Academy students’ simulation didn’t end with a cure.  “The simulation guy died,” Cobre High School Junior Jaden Flores confessed. “I held his hand while he died.” The simulator is so real even the mannequin’s lips turn blue from lack of oxygen. Flores found the realism of the simulator “so realist, it was creepy.”

Flores was undaunted by the simulated set back in the lab. She joined TAHS to learn what health careers she might study during college. Talking with a local anesthesiologist opened her eyes the new career she plans to pursue once she graduates high school.

Silver High Senior Kalia Cabrera learned about the summer program from her teacher, Ann McMillian – who also serves as lead educator for TAHS. “I wanted to participate because the academy is in-person and not online,” Cabrera said. She is planning to pursue a degree in medicine and specialize as a neonatologist after her time at TAHS.

WNMU Dual Enrollment Coordinator Jessica Morales said the academy offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for area students. “The academy is a huge eye opener to health careers high school students can pursue. New Mexico is in so desperate need of health care workers for the state and this program gives students the opportunity to experience college life on campus.”

Director of FNM AHEC Baudelia “Bala” Salgado presented certificates of competition to the students and praised them for their commitment to furthering their education during their summer vacation. 

FORWARD NM AHEC is a program offered by the Center for Health Innovation (CHI), one of New Mexico’s public health institutes. 

CHI Director of Workforce Programs Gena Trujillo attended the graduation and said, “The Teen Academy for Health Sciences is a great program and gives students a window into the possibilities to a career in health care which is needed in our state. I’m look forward to expanding the program to the rest of the southern portion of the state.”

For more information on FNM AHEC contact Salgado at (575) 597-0030 or email: or visit: http://chi-original.local/forward-ahec.