BIMS

Tag: mcmurry homecoming

Home Stretch

by gwilson on Sep.16, 2010, under A Day in the Life...

When I was a college student and later teaching high school, my grandfather, James Wilson raced horses at Sunland Park, a racetrack in southern New Mexico just across the border and Rio Grande river from El Paso.  He owned a ranch on the Mexican border (the location where Chuck Norris and others filmed “Lone Wolf McQuaid”) and got into racing as a tax write-off and because he loved the animals.  He would purchase horses, sometimes in claiming races, and feed them his special diet until they were strong and healthy and ready for the track.  My friend Bob and I would talk with him and then head to the track on Friday nights to make modest bets for cheap entertainment.  We would bet until our $20 stake was either gone (after which we just watched the races) or grew into a modest gain.  We felt successful if we came away with enough money to pay for our post-race meal at Denny’s.

One horse in particular was my grandfather’s favorite – Reigh Reed.  The horse loved distance and James would give us this insight into the horse’s style:  he will be the last horse the first time by the finish line and the first horse at the end of the race.  It was a bit disconcerting to watch as he trailed the pack the first time past the grandstands, but it was pure excitement when he left the other ponies behind and owned the home strech.

We are in the home stretch of construction.  The furniture is being installed on the new floors this week.  Then, connecting the plumbing and installing the electrical fixtures will begin to signal the final steps needed to bring this project to a close.   Once the 60″ monitors are installed in the labs and the 47″ displays are put in the hallways, and once the card entry system is in place, we will be ready for business.  A $2.5 M renovation project of 8,000 sf of instructional and research space from beginning to end in five months.

We hope you will join us in celebrating the completion of the labs during October, whether at a special public open house to be announced soon, or during Homecoming Saturday, October 16th.  Come see why the operative word for the project from all who see it is “WOW”!

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The Firebird

by gwilson on Aug.04, 2010, under A Day in the Life...

framing starts in the new freshman biology lab

framing starts in the new freshman biology lab

The Firebird.  Muscle car.  Classical music.  Gretsch guitar (:-)).  AKA – The Phoenix.  Mythical creature that was consumed by flames and then arose from the ashes.  Old regenerated as new – emergence of new life, new adventures.  Cultures around the world embrace their own versions of this myth.

Such emergence is taking place in the BIMS and Biology labs and spaces.  We are now seeing the science facilities begin to take shape as the DEstruction is completed and the CONstruction ramps up.  Today’s visit to the building showed metal studs going up to form the skeleton for the walls of the new floorplan.  Outside, pipe was being cut and threaded to supply gas and water to specific locations in the new construction.

Can it all get done in two weeks? All the walls and case work and equipment and furniture?  Who are we kidding?  Extreme Home Makeover this is not – Ty and crew, where are you when we need you?  My best guess is move-in and celebration will coincide with Homecoming 2010.  However, with every day we will find ourselves one step closer to move-in and a new way of teaching and learning.

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Substitute Teacher

by gwilson on Oct.12, 2009, under A Day in the Life...

Chili the Wonder DogToday was one of those days where you are drawn in a million different directions, and yet somehow manage to get it all done.  I’ve had this date circled on my calendar for weeks, as I agreed to step in and cover Dr. D’s classes while she was at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting in San Diego.  Had it only been that simple!

Sure, I was prepared for the lab this afternoon.  I should have been after Friday’s meeting with Heidi and her lab assistant Amanda, getting all the prep work done Saturday, and all my worrying yesterday.  The plan was simple.  Heidi and Amanda led the students in the Molecular Cell Biology lab through initial phases of a cloning project.  All that remained today was purification of their PCR product, and then my part - helping them get their bacterial cultures going for the ligation and transformation steps to be done next Monday.  I got the media made for them this weekend and rehydrated their strains today.  Heidi gave me a last minute call from the San Diego airport to ask if everything was fine – yes, we’re good to go.   Kinda reminded me of mom checking in to see how the babysitter was doing!  :-)   The students did their work without incident and all work was completed ahead of schedule.

So what’s the big deal, you might ask?  In the midst of it all, I had a report to generate for a state agency’s visit to campus, a prospective student and her family to speak with, several loose ends to attend to for my own class (related to the E. coli in vegetables project and the MRSA study), a SNCS meeting to plan for Thursday, preparations to follow up on for Homecoming this weekend, AND my dog needed a trip to the vet for a skin infection.  I’ve never been known as being much of a multi-tasker, instead reminding folks of M.A.S.H.’s Colonel Winchester who famously said, “I do one thing, I do it well, and then I move on.”  I find it hard to give my best effort when my mind is split among several needs.

The outcome?  I managed to get everything done and get home early enough to empty my tail light of water (did I mention its been raining?).  The student and her family were delightful, class preparation was easier than anticipated, planning for later in the week went very well, and I managed to get my faculty moving in the right general direction expected on their state agency report.  My dog?  Chili is now on antibiotic therapy.

Bottom line?  We can do more than we think we can.  Time spent helping a friend is never wasted.  Everything got done without a panic, without anyone getting yelled at, without sacrificing one thing for another.  I got to spend a fun afternoon with bright and talented college students, and you just can’t beat that.  Maybe I’ll have to substitute more often!

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