Science Corner

By Dr. Cecilia Vigil

Here are some exciting activities underway in the Science area at Arizona Western College:

AWC was awarded $250,000 in grant funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Division. Professors Sarah Berner and Cecilia Vigil will act as the program directors of this award, which will be used for the following purposes:

  • Recruit students with an emphasis in agriculture and/or environmental science into our science programs.
  • Facilitate faculty and students attending scientific conferences.
  • Add course competencies within the science courses and lecture/labs that relate to climate change.
  • Purchase technological instrumentation to enhance our course offerings, and provide more practicum opportunities for our students.
  • Work on an outdoor lab (next to the tortoise habitat) where the plan is to have a butterfly enclosure, walkways and signage related to native plants and climate change.
  • Invite K-12 students and their teachers and offer opportunities to use the outdoor lab and instrumentation. This will facilitate and assist them with their learning in the realm of science.

The grant will sponsor 7 scholarships per year in the amount of $3,500 to underrepresented and financially challenged students. These grants are for students who have declared a major in environmental science or agriculture; however, all science majors will be considered. Anyone interested in this scholarship should contact Prof. Vigil at

On Dec. 4, the Wildlife Society Club plans to work on restoring the trail at Jester's Peak, which is part of the land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The plan is to clean up, restore and continue building the hiking trail on the peak, also known as Flag Mountain. The Club will be mounting a new pole for the U.S. flag at the summit of this mountain because the present infrastructure and base have collapsed due to weather and age.
For anyone interested in joining in the activity, the Club will be meeting at the Foothills Library at 8:30 a.m. and then heading out to the trailhead at 9:00 a.m. sharp. Further information can be found on the TWS-Yuma website at

On Dec. 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., AWC is hosting the Annual Yuma County First Lego League Robotics tournament for teams in Yuma and the surrounding communities. The students who participate will demonstrate the functionality of the robots they have designed and programmed, as they are tested in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) areas of knowledge. The organizing committee is looking for judges to assist on this day. Our own AWC Engineering Club (West Club) students will be participating that day and judging.
For more information, visit: or contact tournament director, Shara Castro, at

Photo by Ceccila Vigil

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