By Bonnie Gordon

Staff, faculty and students came together to insure the success of the electrical engineering program at UNM-Los Alamos. Pre-engineering program coordinator Oksana Gerlits and Bachelor and Graduate program manager Cindy Leyba are working closely together to ensure a smooth transition to upper division classes for students pursuing a career in electrical engineering.

"Despite the ending of our contract with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the loss of those funds, we have plans to not only continue, but add to the engineering program," Leyba said.

"We want to attract students who may not have a traditional math/science background as well as those who do," Gerlits said.

The success of a cohort of mechanical engineering students inspired Gerlits and Leyba to put together a cohort geared toward future electrical engineers.

One of the students in the newly formed cohort is Chris Hatch. Hatch recently completed an Associate of Science in pre-engineering at UNM-LA. He is employed as an accelerator operator at LANCE, Los Alamos Neutron Science Center.

"I've worked with electrical engineers for the past four years," Hatch said. "This degree leaves your career options wide open. Not much gets done today without circuits."

Hatch is interested in working with renewable energy when he finishes his degree.

"The good thing about this group is that we are all on the same page. Everyone is working as well as pursuing a degree. The group allows us to have a lot of input in what classes will be offered each semester."

A number of students are already working in a technical capacity and want to advance to a bachelor's degree for expanded career opportunities. Others are new to the field.