Renovated tutoring center enhances student success at NMSU

New Mexico State University students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors gather in the Eloy Torrez Family Learning Communities in Engineering during the ribbon cutting of the space in the Ed and Harold Foreman Engineering Complex III. (NMSU photo by Vladimir Avina)

Students in the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University now have a newly upgraded resource to further enhance their learning experience. 

The renovated Eloy Torrez Family Learning Communities in Engineering opened its doors early this spring semester. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Feb. 22.

In 2017, a generous gift from Eloy Torrez, Electric Engineering ’70, made it possible to add additional student services since the initiative launched in spring 2017. 

Now, the nearly 8,000 square-foot renovated suite has study rooms, computer stations, a conference room and lounge-style areas for students, thanks to an array of more than 20 donations from companies and alumni who are supporting the space. 

“The College of Engineering is truly blessed to have an engaged and supportive group of alumni, as well as corporate partners, whose generosity will benefit all of our engineering students and enhance their education and careers. We are very grateful to them,” said College of Engineering Dean Lakshmi N. Reddi.

Led by Elizabeth Howard, program manager for the College of Engineering, the Eloy Torrez Family Learning Communities in Engineering will continue offering tutoring by peer mentors, for math, science and core engineering courses on a drop-by basis, five days a week. Howard said the learning communities also is increasing career information sessions, mock interviews and alumni mentoring.

Pranav Sivakumar, NMSU mechanical engineering senior, said he has benefited from the learning communities since it opened. 

“I have definitely gone to tutoring before, some of my friends are tutors in the learning communities,” Sivakumar said. “I think (tutoring) is pretty beneficial especially because some engineering classes can be bland and go without a lot of details. You can have a really hard time with the homework but the learning communities are there to help.” 

(From left to right) New Mexico State University students Adam Bouma and Tarah Schuman, Elizabeth Howard, College of Engineering program manager, Lakshmi Reddi, College of Engineering dean, Eloy Torrez, NMSU alumnus and donor, and NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu cut the ribbon to the Eloy Torrez Family Learning Communities in Engineering. (NMSU photo by Vladimir Avina)

The American Society for Engineering Education reports that students are more likely to remain in engineering programs when they have hands-on learning, tutoring and career counseling and a sense of community.

“You have other engineering students who already took those courses and are helping you with the homework,” Sivakumar said. “I’m glad students are able to get more help now and that NMSU is prioritizing that, especially the College of Engineering.”

Howard said the initial idea was to create a place focused on student success. 

“We have a place where students can receive mentoring via their faculty and peers, career support, scholarship support and so many other resources,” she said. 

Sivakumar said the new look of the learning communities also will attract more students who need help. 

“It’s so nice and welcoming,” Sivakumar explained. “A lot of these buildings on campus are real old, so when they look nicer, it kind of makes you want to go inside and see what’s happening.”

The renovation was completed during the fall 2018 semester. Meanwhile, the learning communities was housed in Goddard Hall. 

A large part of the project was financially supported by corporate donors and alumni. Inside the space, the conference room as well as study rooms are named thusly. 

Eloy Torrez said his experiences in his career as an engineer is what motivated him to support NMSU students.

“I have been the luckiest guy on Earth and attribute that to my education and especially to my NMSU education,” Torrez said. “I would want as many other students to experience what I’ve experienced which are the benefits you get from an engineering career.” 

The Eloy Torrez Family Learning Communities in Engineering is located in the Foreman Engineering Complex III, Suite 300. Hours for tutoring are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday. Study rooms are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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