New Mexico State University helps tribal students dream big

July 21, 2011 by Melisa P. Danho, NMSU News Center

2011 Participants in DreamMakers program. (photo by Vivian M. Frietze)

Tribal students from around the state are sharpening their skills and making connections at New Mexico State University this week as they participate in the DreamMakers program.

DreamMakers began in 2002 and runs for approximately two weeks during the summer. It is open to 7th and 8th graders from various New Mexico Pueblos, Apache Tribes and the Navajo Nation. The program is one of the few specifically geared toward students from Indian reservations in New Mexico.

DreamMakers focuses on math, science and computer skills and exposes students to various academic disciplines offered by NMSU. Jeanelle Chavez has been the coordinator of DreamMakers since its inception and this year arranged for students to go on campus tours and field trips including visits to the Mescalero Fish Hatchery, Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National Monument.

“The field trips help reinforce principles that students have learned and give them concrete examples they can relate to things taught in the classroom,” said Joe Graham, director of Indian Resource Development at NMSU. “The program also embodies the land-grant mission of the university in that it reaches out to underserved areas and helps show young people how advanced training can contribute to community problem solving.”

The Indian Resource Development program also initiated a longitudinal study called DreamKeepers that reaches out to students to assess how the program influenced their academic path. For more information about DreamMakers or DreamKeepers, contact Joe Graham at 575-646-1347 or

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