7 CNM Electrical Trades Students Win Prestigious National Award
Derrick Henderson, one of seven national Siemens Technical Scholar award winners at CNM.

7 CNM Electrical Trades Students Win Prestigious National Award

For the second year in a row, our Electrical Trades students were recognized as Siemens Technical Scholars
September 25, 2018

CNM has always been focused on ensuring our science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students come out of school prepared to enter the workforce and step into fulfilling and high-paying jobs. Now, for the second year in a row, that commitment has been recognized by the The Aspen Institute and the Siemens Foundation.

These two institutions came together to name CNM as one of just eight community colleges nationwide with “outstanding preparation and education” for STEM students. The institutions also went on to present seven CNM Electrical Trades students with the prestigious 2018-2019 Siemens Technical Scholars Award. Those students—who each received a cash prize—were part of an elite group of just 44 total students across the country who won.

“The awards, and the national exposure, are truly a big deal,” says Denise Ojeda, one of the CNM Electrical Trades instructors who was in charge of nominating students.

CNM’s Electrical Trades program has received $25,000 in scholarship funds to support scholarships for these seven CNM student winners: Geena Estrada, Ricky Lopez, Derrick Henderson, Kenny Ellsworth, Alexander Hill, Tyler Goodman, and Matthew Pham. The students and the college will be recognized during an awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 in the Student Resource Center on Main Campus.

The Siemens Technical Scholars awards focus on STEM programs and community college students because there’s a growing demand for STEM skills. Some estimates show that 26 million jobs in the United States will require significant STEM knowledge in the coming years and employers are already having trouble finding qualified people to fill STEM positions. The good news is that more than half of STEM jobs across the United States require only an associate degree and pay, on average, more than $50,000 a year.

“In the digital economy, going to college and the American dream are more tightly linked than ever before,” says Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA and chair of the Siemens Foundation. “And in this unique moment, one of the smartest choices someone can make is to pursue technical education through a community college.”

For CNM student and scholarship winner Derrick Henderson, 31, the high job demand is what brought him to CNM. He left a career in banking to study electrical trades because he saw a more sustainable future in that field.

“I wanted a change, and CNM has done everything it can to ensure I’m successful,” he says. “Winning the award definitely helps financially, but more importantly it’s motivated me to work even harder. I know that if I give up now, it would be a big disappointment.”

Denise nominated Derrick and says he stood out because he entered the program with a professional attitude.

“It was clear that Derrick was already committed to himself, and that not only made him more open to learning, it also created a situation where he was able to help others,” she says.

For Tyler Goodman, 30, the award ensured he could pay for the rest of school, and it was also a big motivational bump.

“Winning awards is not something I’m used to, but it’s certainly a great feeling,” he says.

CNM’s Electrical Trades program was chosen by the Siemens Technical Scholars selection committee as an exemplary program nationally that provides intensive hands-on courses that prepare students for high-demand jobs. For example, CNM students regularly help wire homes for Greater Albuquerque’s Habitat for Humanity. CNM’s Electrical Trades program embeds certificates that are tightly aligned with workforce needs in the region, a strategy that has led to a 92 percent employment rate for graduates.