Schools’ science and health clubs and departments received a monetary boost thanks to the Frontier and Rural Workforce Development New Mexico Area Health Education Center (FORWARD NM AHEC).

FORWARD NM AHEC awarded over $8,000 for supplies to regional science departments and health classes in Cobre High School, Lordsburg High School, and Silver High School.

Cobre High School science educator Karen McCauley said, “I can’t thank the Area Health Education Center enough for this support. It was like Christmas opening up the boxes of supplies when they were delivered.”

The boxes included desperately needed supplies to restock and expand the school’s laboratory – including a digital scale for chemistry experiments – just in time for the first physical science classes hands-on laboratory of the school year.

“We are excited to be able to support our local schools in this capacity,” said Bala Salgado, director of FORWARD NM AHEC, that supports health care workforce development in Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna Counties. 

The program seeks to “grow our own” by sparking in students an interest in pursuing careers in the health care profession. The program also offers opportunities like summer academies for high school students and internships for college students at area clinics and hospitals to learn more about the health care field. It is one of four AHECs that serve the state.

Lordsburg High School Principal Scott Roberson said the funding their school received was directed to the math department. “This funding helps us greatly with additional resources students wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. It gives our students a better opportunity to learn and be more successful in classroom, and our teachers to be more efficient in the classroom.”

An additional $9,000 was awarded to clubs that focus their efforts on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education including the SkillsUSA Clubs in Cobre and Deming High Schools and the Competitive STEM Club at Silver High School.

STEM education helps students in our technologically advancing world solve the challenges of the future.

“STEM education definitely helps with critical thinking,” said McCauley, who serves as faculty for the Cobre High School’s club for eight years. “It makes them good citizens, and they better understand the science behind the issues they will face as adults. We are walking experiments ourselves - look at combustion reaction in the vehicles we drive and within our bodies!”

“I hope that through the donations of supplies and sponsorship that students are able to maximize their learning and experience in STEM fields,” said Salgado.  

Principal Roberson had only praise for Salgado and FORWARD NM AHEC. “Bala offered aid and kept us on track to assure we received the supplies. She went above and beyond in her job, and our school appreciates the support.”

FORWARD NM AHEC is a program of the Center for Health Innovation, New Mexico’s designated public health institute and works to create community collaboration to affect health care policy change and originates innovative programs that can be replicated throughout the state and nation.

For more information on FORWARD NM AHEC contact Salgado at (575) 597-0030 or email: or visit:

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