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Arrowhead Center Leverages Hunt Gift to build Borderplex Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

In just its second year of operation, the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship, housed at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, has made significant strides in strengthening the region’s entrepreneurial pipeline by focusing on the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, developing exciting new technologies, and forging partnerships that benefit the Borderland.

“We’re so pleased with the progress made through the Hunt Center thus far and look forward to continuing the key initiatives underway, while continuing to seek avenues for expansion,” said Arrowhead Center Director Kathy Hansen.

The Hunt Center was created through a $2.5 million gift provided by the Hunt Family Foundation as part of NMSU’s Ignite Aggie Discovery $125 million comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The funding has helped advance three key programs at Arrowhead Center: the Hunt Student Startup Sponsorships, the Innoventure youth entrepreneurship program for K-12 students, and the LAUNCH technology and business development accelerator and competition.

Hunt Student Startup Sponsorships provide semester-long employment to allow selected student entrepreneurs time to work on their ventures during the academic semesters. Sponsored students receive entrepreneurial training and business development services through Studio G, Arrowhead Center’s student business accelerator program.

“Hunt Sponsorships provide a tremendous opportunity to accelerate student entrepreneurs in our Studio G program,” said Kramer Winingham, director of Studio G. “The program gives students the support and guidance to move their business forward rapidly in just one semester.”

Hunt-sponsored students have focused on a range of products and services, from gyroscope technology to retail fashion to a mobile app helping university students learn to navigate their campuses.

“Thanks to the Hunt Startup Sponsorship, I was able to turn my idea into a minimum viable product,” said Alexis Cornidez, an NMSU senior majoring in individualized studies with a concentration in engineering, economics and management. Cornidez received a sponsorship to work on his business, Maslow, a mobile application that connects college students and supports local economies. “It allowed me to focus not only my time, but my effort toward accomplishing my goals,” he added.

The Innoventure suite of K-12 entrepreneurship education programs from Arrowhead Center has also enjoyed new opportunities through Arrowhead’s relationship with the Hunt Family Foundation, for the first time delivering programming outside of New Mexico.

Community members use the common area at CoWork Oasis in El Paso to collaborate on a project. Arrowhead Center has partnered with CoWork Oasis to help expand the regional reach and resources that both programs offer to entrepreneurs and industry in the Borderplex | Courtesy NMSU

Camp Innoventure, a week-long camp where middle school students get to brainstorm business ideas, put together a business model and create a product to sell at a local market, partnered with the El Paso-based Success Through Technology Education Foundation to bring sessions to schools in El Paso and Tornillo, Texas.

“We had 22 students participate in three camps across El Paso, which we couldn’t have done without the generous financial support from the STTE Foundation and the Hunt Center,” said Innoventure Deputy Director Lydia Hammond, who leads the Camp Innoventure program. “We’re also extremely grateful to our amazing teachers, who led the program at each location and made these camp experiences even more special for our students.”

LAUNCH, Arrowhead Center’s annual accelerator and competition in which teams take NMSU-developed innovations through an intensive four-month program of technology and market validation, is also reaping the benefits of affiliation with the Hunt Center. With Hunt Center support, both the initial investments in participants’ ventures and the award to the overall winner have been bolstered, allowing teams to push the envelope on the new businesses based on the technologies they explore.

“The Hunt Center sponsorship of LAUNCH has been a game-changer, in terms of the amount of resources we’re able to provide promising teams,” Hansen said. “It also allows our winning team the funds they need to take the next steps after the competition.”

Three of the five finalist teams from the most recent round of LAUNCH are in talks with potential industry partners who may license team technologies or determine other ways to collaborate on development.

This year’s winning team, which is seeking to commercialize a novel liner for prosthetic limbs that increase comfort and safety for wearers, has continued to move forward on their project.

“LAUNCH helped me to break the ice, get out of the building, and talk to people,” said team member Neda Sanatkaran, a post-doctoral researcher in NMSU’s Chemical Engineering Department.

These and other Hunt Center programs are also bolstered by a partnership with the CoWork Oasis, an El Paso-based community workspace that provides local entrepreneurs access to tools, mentorship and funding opportunities. CoWork Oasis stages workshops and events to educate entrepreneurs and provide them opportunities to network with fellow creators and others in the community.

With 85 community members at CoWork, the network is growing and the program’s model is being validated. The CoWork Oasis-Hunt Center collaboration is ensuring that Arrowhead Center programs have a regional reach, as well as bringing to each organization the best assets its respective city has to offer.

“Our commitment to Arrowhead Center demonstrates the critical role we know entrepreneurship plays as an economic driver in the Borderplex region,” said Josh Hunt, president of the Hunt Family Foundation. “We are proud to see our investment hard at work to move initiatives forward in support of programs, innovation and successful partnerships. We applaud the ongoing efforts of the team at the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship.”

Hansen notes that Arrowhead Center will continue to find new ways to expand existing programs, and to explore others that will help clients continue to advance their entrepreneurial journeys.

“We’re not done yet,” Hansen said. “One of the greatest strengths of the Hunt Center is its ability to leverage collaboration among regional players. We have so many great people and groups working on economic development in the Borderplex, and the Hunt Center is a perfect venue to collaborate on that endeavor.”

Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU

NMSU Research on Homemade Mosquito Repellents Finds Interesting Alternatives

Last summer, New Mexico State University professors in the College of Arts and Sciences: Immo Hansen, associate professor in biology and principle investigator of NMSU’s Hansen Lab, and Mary Alice Scott, associate professor of anthropology, released a survey seeking homemade mosquito repellent methods and strategies.

The goal was to discover cheaper and more easily available repellents beyond commercial products to test them in a future study against traditional repellents such as DEET.

They received responses from more than 5,000 participants and recently released a paper detailing their findings.

The survey was available in English, Spanish and Portuguese and was distributed in countries in which residents were likely to speak one these languages. In addition to open-ended questions about repellents, there was a multiple-choice question listing 13 repellent control methods.

Mary Alice Scott, Ph.D. Assistant Professor.

As a precursor to this research, Scott previously observed residents of Veracruz, Mexico, using three different methods to repel mosquitoes.

“These were burning mosquito coils that were commercially produced, though I did not learn what the ingredients of these coils were, sprinkling small amounts of gasoline around the perimeter of an area to be protected from mosquitoes, although this was probably the least common method, and burning bundles of dried herbs, which I believe was to produce smoke to keep mosquitoes away since different herbs were used at different times,” she said. “I did not test the effectiveness of any of these techniques, so I can’t say how effective they are.”

“From the responses, we compiled a table of more than 200 techniques people use, from stuff they eat or drink – such as garlic or gin and tonics – to burning various herbs, plants, and even animal dung, to stuff they rub on their skin – again, like garlic – to spatial repellents,” said Hansen.

“For me the most surprising answer was the use of dryer sheets,” said Scott. “I had not heard of dryer sheets being used before, although some other members of our research team were familiar with that method.”

As an anthropologist, Scott’s expertise is in qualitative research.

“My role on this project was to develop the qualitative components of the survey used to collect the data that were analyzed for this project,” Scott said.

The majority of respondents to the survey resided in the United States, 67 percent of whom were female, 81 percent of whom had a university degree, and 50 percent of whom were 18 to 37 years old.

“The most commonly used repellent was DEET spray, which made up 48 percent of the responses,” Hansen said. “This also corresponds

with our research that says DEET spray is the most effective repellent.”

The DEET spray particles adhere to mosquitoes’ odor receptors, which prevent them from locating a human with DEET particles around him. From Hansen’s research, mosquitoes have not developed any kind of resistance to DEET, as they have to large-scale insecticides used by public-health agencies to control populations.

Interestingly, the second most-used method of repelling mosquitoes involved citronella candles, which made up 43 percent of the survey’’s responses. Citronella is an essential oil obtained from lemongrass.

Based on their previous research, Hansen says citronella has no effect as a repellent.

““We tested citronella-based repellents in two different assays,” Hansen said, referring to a clear enclosure used to observe behavior and actions within. “We used a Y-tube assay, where we inserted the mosquitoes at the bottom, then put a hand with citronella repellent on it at one end and a hand with no repellent at the other. If citronella were an effective repellent, the mosquito would fly to the hand with no repellent but that’s not what happened.””

The second assay experiment his lab conducted involved a wind tunnel in which a fan blew around someone with citronella-based repellent on, blowing his scent in the direction of the mosquitoes, and this also failed to prevent the mosquitoes from going near the human.

“To be clear, we only ran these experiments on Yellow Fever mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti, which are the ones we’re most concerned with here in southern New Mexico,” Hansen said. “They’re the carriers of viral diseases like Chikungunya, Dengue fever and Zika. There’s nothing to say that citronella isn’t an effective repellent for other types of mosquitoes, such as albopictus, rusticus, or any of the other species.”

Hansen described citronella as having a placebo effect, which, coupled with the oil’s pleasant aroma, could explain why it’s used so much as a mosquito repellent even when it doesn’t work.

“With these responses, we want to start testing some of the methods, like various types of smoke that some people used as a repellent, as well as some of the topically applied methods,” Hansen said.

Hansen and Scott’s study lays the foundation for future research in alternative methods to repel mosquitoes that may be culturally acceptable and more affordable for people.

Author: Billy Huntsman – NMSU

Stacy Rodriguez, laboratory manager for the Molecular Vector Physiology Laboratory at New Mexico State University, discusses testing wearable mosquito repellents inside the wind tunnel at NMSU with graduate student Kristina Gonzales (right) while graduate student Hae-Na Chung looks on from inside the enclosure behind them. Chung and Rodriguez will sit inside the enclosure with caged mosquitoes to track the mosquitoes attraction for them while wearing clip-on repellents to determine their effectiveness. This continues mosquito repellent research Rodriguez began as a graduate student with biology professor Immo Hansen. (NMSU Photo by Minerva Baumann) MAY16

NMSU’s ‘Aggies Without Limits’ Teams Up with UTEP, Travels the Globe Building Bridges

After approximately 10,000 work hours, New Mexico State University’s Aggies Without Limits student organization – with a bit of help from UTEP students – built a suspended pedestrian bridge in Utuado, Puerto Rico, this summer.

Aggies Without Limits, a student nonprofit organization in the College of Engineering founded in 2007, chooses a local project and international project each year. The group’s mission is to help developing communities with sustainable engineering projects.

While Aggies Without Limits have constructed projects in international locations such as Nicaragua, Bolivia and Mexico, the group selected Puerto Rico, a United States territory, this year after the island was devasted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in fall 2017, according to Kenny Stevens, Engineering Technology professor and Aggies Without Limits co-adviser.

The project ran from May 14 to June 12 with 55 volunteers including 39 NMSU students and alumni and 16 University of Texas-El Paso students and faculty with the Engineers for a Sustainable World organization.

The bridge reached 237 feet and cost around $40,000 in materials.

Stevens also mentioned Sonya Cooper, associate dean in the College of Engineering and Aggies Without Limits co-adviser, “is the MacGyver of the organization. She can take a waste piece of metal and turn it into the one bolt that we need to finish the bridge.”

This year’s collaboration with UTEP was a first for the group. Stevens credited Ivonne Santiago, UTEP Civil Engineering clinical professor, Puerto Rico native and a professional engineer licensed in the territory, with making connections with the community organizer and mayor from Utuado.

“With her help we were able to find a project and bring in a whole new dynamic to our group,” he said.

NMSU mechanical engineering senior David Castellanos said he enjoyed helping others and personally learned a great deal as project manager.

“It was a beautiful experience,” he said. “It’s crazy how a project like this brings people together.”

While the Aggies Without Limits began as an engineering organization about half of the group’s members are from other disciplines. Communication disorders senior and Aggies Without Limits president Molly Williams joined to volunteer for international service.

“You don’t have to be an engineering student to move rocks or to help pour concrete or help build a form,” she said. “If you have a basic understanding you can help.”

To learn more about Aggies Without Limits visit their website

After five weeks and approximately 10,000 hours of work this summer, volunteers with New Mexico State University’s Aggies Without Limits student organization built a 237 foot suspended pedestrian bridge in Utuado, Puerto Rico. (Courtesy photo) JUL18

Original Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

Retired Regional Businessman Bridges Communities with Endowed Scholarship

Retired Las Cruces businessman and engineer, Orlando Cervantes, recently gifted the New Mexico State University Foundation $50,000 to create the Orlando Cervantes Endowed Scholarship.

The scholarship is special in that it specifically bridges the El Paso and Las Cruces communities by awarding graduates of El Paso High School with scholarship dollars to complete a degree in engineering from NMSU.

Cervantes proudly explained his idea behind the scholarship, “I’m an Aggie,” he said. “And, I’m a Tiger.”

A native El Pasoan and graduate of El Paso High School, Cervantes’ life is a culmination of opportunity, perseverance and hard work. In high school, he served as captain of the EPHS football, basketball and baseball teams, lettered in both football and baseball and was inducted into the EPHS Hall of Fame.

He earned a football scholarship to play at NMSU and after his freshman year, Cervantes voluntarily joined the military. He was stationed in Korea for two years where he honed his passion for engineering by working on building and engineering projects for the army.

Following his service, Cervantes returned to El Paso, completing his degree in engineering from NMSU in 1960.

Opportunity immediately came knocking, and after a one-year appointment with Robert McKee General Contractors in El Paso, Cervantes moved to the West Coast where he was able to build his engineering portfolio alongside some of the area’s top engineers.

Nine years later, Cervantes returned to Las Cruces to his wife’s family farm where he would face new career challenges, “I didn’t have a lot of experience in farming,” he said, “So I started looking for things to do.”

Using knowledge and skills from his background in engineering, Cervantes worked with companies in Louisiana to introduce a new Tabasco crop ¬- and processing method – to Mesilla Valley. His initial talks were met with speculation about the probability of success in the desert. “They thought I was nuts,” Cervantes said. “Especially because it was a new crop and process foreign to the area.”

His perseverance and unique innovation in crop production and chile processing – along with a little luck, “I just happened to pick the right crop,” he added – resulted in the growth of the farm from 10 acres to several thousand, which now produces millions of pounds of mash distributed worldwide.

Notwithstanding the farm’s success, Cervantes maintained a second career as a plan-review engineer. He has served on the boards of a variety of civic and community organizations and has played instrumental roles in numerous projects across southern New Mexico, including the development of the Planning and Inspection Departments for Doña Ana County and the city of Sunland Park, the creation of the performance zoning ordinance for Doña Ana County and the construction planning and design of NMSU’s Zuhl Library.

Cervantes hopes his scholarship opens doors for new generations of fellow Tigers and Aggies. He wants them to understand that it will take a lot of hard work to achieve their goals. “Each student will have a different situation and story when they come to study at NMSU,” Cervantes said. “To be successful, however, you have to be the first one in the morning to open the office and the last person to close the office at night. You have to remember that a degree is not a pass to success. You have to make the effort.”

Looking back, Cervantes admits that of all his accomplishments, he is most proud of his three children, Joseph, Dino and Tina – who now run the family farm – and his six granddaughters. With regard to his career, Cervantes remains humble about his successes. “You can find examples of achievements much greater than mine,” he said. “But, I’m happy with what I’ve done.”

Author:  Daphne Griffin – NMSU

NMSU English Professor Pens Book on Former Aggie Basketball Star Who Was Shot

An associate professor of English at New Mexico State University recently published his fourth book telling the true story of Shawn Harrington, a former Aggie basketball star who was shot and paralyzed in Chicago in 2014.

Rus Bradburd started work on “All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed: A Story of Hoops and Handguns on Chicago’s West Side’ in 2015.

“Shawn was working as a high-school basketball coach in Chicago at the time,” Bradburd said. “He was driving his daughter to school in a rental car. It was a case of mistaken identity, these guys ran up to his car and opened fire on him and he dove on top of his daughter and saved her life but he took a bullet in the back.”

Bradburd, who coached basketball at the University of Texas-El Paso and at NMSU for a combined 14 years and who coached Harrington during his 1995-1996 season with the Aggies, had lost touch with Harrington by the time of the shooting.

“To me it was such a remarkable act of heroism and it drove me crazy that this guy wasn’t being treated like a hero,” Bradburd said.

Rus Bradburd (Courtesy NMSU)

Shortly after the shooting, when Bradburd learned about the shooting, he started advocating for Harrington by contacting media in and around Chicago.

“Finally a writer I’d been irritating said to me, “Why don’t you write something about Shawn yourself?” Bradburd said.

So he started work on ‘All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed.’

“As a player Shawn did everything a coach would want him to do,” Bradburd said. “He graduated from college, he was a good parent, he went back to his high school to try to make a difference by teaching. The more he got ignored, the more obsessed I got with the story.”

The biggest challenge Bradburd faced in writing the story was approaching the inherent emotionality of the story. Bradburd also expanded the story beyond Harrington and included stories of other people, mothers whose children had been shot.

“I think a lot of people know these shootings and murders go on but we tune them out,” Bradburd said. “I hope by telling this particular story and the story of Marshall High School, which since Shawn was shot has had seven people shot over three years, it brings a focus and

“All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed” is the fourth book published by NMSU associate professor of English Rus Bradburd. (Courtesy NMSU)

empathy to what these people are going through and what life is like on a daily basis on Chicago’s west side.”

Bradburd retired from coaching basketball in 2000, working at the time for the famed Lou Henson, and enrolled in NMSU’s creative writing MFA program. Currently he teaches fiction at NMSU. Two of Bradburd’s previous books are nonfiction and the third is fiction. He is currently at work on a satirical novel.

“What fascinates me about writing and reading is the same thing that fascinates me about basketball,” Bradburd said. “It’s the stories behind the game, the personalities, the interactions. I was always more interested in the stories behind the games rather than the statistical or analytical parts.”

“All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed” is available on Barnes & Noble’s website and on Amazon.

Author: Billy Huntsman – NMSU

Center for World University Rankings Recognizes NMSU

According to the 2018/19 Center for World University Rankings, New Mexico State University has been ranked in the top 4.3 percent of institutions of higher education worldwide.

With 18,000 degree-granting institutions of higher education worldwide evaluated, NMSU ranked 770th and earned a national rank of 184th this year.

The Center for World University Rankings distributes the only global university performance tables that gauge both the quality of education and training of students along with prestige of faculty members and the quality of their research without the use of surveys and university data submissions.

Seven factors are used to base the Center for World University Rankings, including quality of education (15 percent), measured by the number of a university’s alumni who have won major international awards, prizes and medals relative to the university’s size.

Other factors include alumni employment (15 percent), measured by the number of a university’s alumni who have held CEO positions at the world’s top companies relative to the university’s size; quality of faculty (15 percent), measured by the number of academics who have won major international awards, prizes and medals; research output (15 percent), measured by the total number of research papers; quality publications (15 percent), measured by the number of research papers appearing in top-tier journals; influence (15 percent), measured by the number of research papers appearing in highly influential journals; and citations (10 percent), measured by the number of highly cited research papers.

For a complete list of the rankings, along with the methodology used, visit the center’s website.

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

NMSU Anthropology Professor Studies Evidence of Historic Trading Route

An assistant professor of anthropology and her students at New Mexico State University are conducting archaeological research on El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, a Spanish-Colonial period trade route extending from Mexico City to Santa Fe.

Kelly Jenks, her research assistant Shannon Cowell, and students enrolled in her Cultural Resource Management classes are doing the work as part of a cooperative grant with the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management.

“We got the grant in the fall of 2015 and did our first field research in 2016,” Jenks said.

Last spring, Jenks and her students worked at the site of Paraje San Diego, a popular campsite along the Camino located south of Hatch. Students mapped the locations of all artifacts and features and brought the artifacts back to NMSU for further study.

Cowell was a student in that class and studied the pottery fragments recovered from the site. She found that they came from four distinct areas, each of which was probably a campsite. By looking at the different types of pottery in each cluster, she was able to figure out when each campsite was used and where the travelers were coming from.

“We can learn a lot by looking at where artifacts are found,” Jenks said. “That’s why it’s so important for people not to pick them up.”

This spring, the class traveled north to record La Parida, a 19th-century Hispanic village site located along the Camino just north of Socorro. The village was described by soldiers who marched through it during the Mexican-American War, but most of the residents left after severe floods in the 1850s and the houses eventually melted away.

“All of the structures were adobe and when we went there, you couldn’t even see the outlines of the walls anymore,” Cowell said.

The students relocated the old homesteads by finding scatters of artifacts and faint traces of adobe walls.

“We also used historic documents and photographs to help us figure out where things should be,” said Jenks. “We’re putting together a map of the village now, and trying to learn more about each household by looking at the kinds of artifacts we recorded nearby. At the end of the project, we’ll turn in a report to the BLM so that they can share the information with the public.”

Jenks’ team consists of herself, a research assistant, and students in her CRM classes (nine this semester) who receive academic credit for their work in the field. The students, mostly graduate students in anthropology and history, get ‘real world experience’ working on public land.

“It helps our students get the experience they need to get jobs,” said Jenks. “And the federal agencies really value the expertise we have to offer. It’s a win-win!”

Author: Billy Huntsman – NMSU

New Mexico State University students, led by anthropology professor Kelly Jenks, worked at the La Parida townsite on the Camino Real this past summer. The town was occupied in the early to late-1800s. Both archaeology and history students are working on the project, and the research includes archival work as well as field investigations. (Photo courtesy of Brenda Wilkinson, BLM) MAY18

NMSU Fire Department Ranks Among Top 3% in Nation

The New Mexico State University Fire Department has upgraded its rating by the Insurance Services Office from a 3/3X to a 2/2X rating, which is among the top 3 percent in the country.

“The ISO is really the report card for a fire department,” said NMSU Fire Chief Johnny Carrillo. “It rates our response capabilities, our water distribution system and also emergency communication systems.”

The classification by ISO, known as the Public Protection Classification program, assesses the fire-protection efforts in a particular community. ISO collects information on municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. In each of those communities, ISO analyzes the department’s ability to suppress fires.

The program provides a nationally- accepted standard, which means residential, commercial and industrial properties may qualify for lower insurance rates.

New Mexico State University Fire Chief Johnny Carrillo | Photo courtesy NMSU

NMSU’s rating went from a 5/9 to a 3/3X in 2014 the year after Carrillo was named chief of the unit. This is the second upgrade for NMSU’s Fire Department in four years.

“We’ve made huge progress in our response capability,” Carrillo said. “We went from a five-minute response time to a four-minute response time. We made upgrades to our fire prevention programs. We’ve also improved our building inspections. We inspected more than 300 buildings on campus within a two-year period.”

The NMSU Fire Department began in 1921 as a group of volunteers who worked for the university’s Physical Plant. Today the department has 20 firefighters; it is one of the few departments in the nation with student firefighters.

Currently, NMSU has 14 student firefighters that work shifts from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. with two full-time firefighters that cover the day shift while students attend classes. NMSU has both a truck company and an engine company.

Because of NMSU’s training, the student firefighters meet the national standards, which would allow them to work for any department across the county.

For more information visit

Author: Minerva Baumann – NMSU

NMSU Named to Top 20 Among 2017-2018 Best Online Colleges

New Mexico State University has been ranked in the top 20 as one of the most affordable online universities according to College Choice.

With 50 universities nationwide being recognized, NMSU ranked 19th and is the only university in the Southwest to be recognized in the top 20.

“We’re always excited when the rest of the nation learns about what we know, that NMSU has a great education at an affordable price. That’s one of our key strengths,’ said Greg Fant, NMSU’s deputy provost. “It shows that NMSU’s recent efforts collaborating with the NMSU Alamogordo Community College to better align 100 percent 2+2 bachelor’s degrees are paying off.”

College Choice is a national voice on university rankings and resources. They used their own proprietary methodology based on combined stats from reliable national databases with metadata aggregation from a wide array of other university ranking and review sites. College Choice does not accept payment to bump up a university or change a ranking.

College Choice looked at the average net price for schools along with program features and attention-grabbing features.

NMSU’s average net price was listed at $10,213. College Choice discussed the university’s 2+2 online bachelor’s degree, along with master’s and doctorate programs as well as several graduate certificate programs.

NMSU offers over 35 programs such as online bachelor’s degrees in Sociology, Business Administration, Criminal Justice; online master’s degrees in Education Administration and Agriculture and Extension Education as well as several graduate certificate and K-12 educator licensure and endorsement programs.

Susie Bussmann, director of Distance Education, said when people are planning to go to school cost factors a lot into what school they are choosing.

“When people are searching for an online degree one of the things they consider is affordability. They want to get the most value for their dollar,” Bussmann said.

For a complete list of the rankings visit the website.

Author:  Melissa R. Rutter – NMSU

Finalists Named for NMSU Chancellor Search

On Monday the New Mexico State University Board of Regents met in special session to announce the names of five finalists for the NMSU chancellor search.

“I think we should all take great pride in the caliber of candidates who applied to be our university’s next chancellor,” said NMSU Regent Chair Debra Hicks. “It speaks to the great work done each day at NMSU that we attracted this talented group of individuals. The Chancellor Search Committee has performed excellent work representing the broad array of stakeholders. I want to personally thank Mike Cheney as chair of the Search Committee for his time and dedication.”

By statute, the Board of Regents must select a minimum of five finalists for consideration in the final selection process. The five final candidates will visit the main campus and meet with numerous university stakeholders between April 22 and May 4, including the NMSU Foundation Board, NMSU Alumni Board, Aggie Athletics and other key stakeholders.

The NMSU Board of Regents anticipate making their final decision by May 11.

The finalists are:

Dan Arvizu
Arvizu presently serves as senior adviser to the Emerson Elemental practice of Emerson Collective. In 2015, he retired as director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Barbara Damron
Damron is cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Higher Education Department and is the State Higher Education executive officer for New Mexico, with oversight of the state’s public institutions of higher education.

John D. Floros
Floros is dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension at Kansas State University. He has led the development of the college’s strategic plan, guided the college to record student enrollments, retention and graduation.

Robert J. Marley
Marley currently serves as the provost and executive vice chancellor at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He is a professor of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering.

Brian J. R. Stevenson
Stevenson is the former president of Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada. While in that role, he led the university through an intense period of growth, internationalization and a greatly enhanced national and global profile.

“I also want to comment on the Search Committee’s enthusiasm for the candidates to lead NMSU,” Hicks said. “They were impressed with the professionalism in the process itself under the direction of Wheless Partners, including Michael Wheless, Michael Ballew, Scott Watson and Dr. Robert Witt, chancellor emeritus. Witt is the retired chancellor at the University of Alabama and UT-Arlington. His expertise in personally recruiting and vetting candidates against our unique needs made a significant difference in the quality of our finalists. Under his leadership, Alabama grew enrollment 65 percent, advanced academically, as well as in their athletics programs.”

Hicks continued, “All of the finalists are highly accomplished with proven track records of successful outcomes that were of most interest to the Search Committee and the Board. We were impressed with their diversity and varied backgrounds from both inside and outside academia.”

Additional information on the finalists will be available on the chancellor search website. Full interview schedules for each of the finalists will be placed on the site shortly thereafter.

Author:  Justin Bannister– NMSU

Two NMSU Programs Collaborating in Community Garden Projects

Give a person a nutritious meal and you will feed him for a day. Teach him about vegetable gardening you will feed him for life.

Statistically, New Mexicans face two barriers: poverty and people living in places considered a food desert. This contributes to the state’s national ranking of 48th in hunger and food insecurity.

Two programs in the New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences – Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition and the Master Gardener program – are combining efforts to help limited resource New Mexicans learn to garden as a way to supplement their diets with fresh fruits and vegetables.

The collaboration began in June of 2017, with Sally Cassady joining the ICAN Program as a food systems specialist. While obtaining a Master of Public Health from the University of Arizona, she worked at the Tucson Village Farm where she re-discovered her connection with food.

“There is something magical about the process of planting a seed and then it becoming a plant that provides food,” Cassady said.

“We are excited to have Sally onboard to bring gardening education to adults across the state,” said Donna Sauter, director of NMSU’s ICAN Program. “We will be bringing Extension programing to a new audience in New Mexico.”

While Cassady’s focus is on adult gardening, she has introduced a youth curriculum,’Learn, Grow, Eat and Go,’ to the ICAN nutrition educators who are using it to introduce basic plant science and nutrition education to students.

“With this curriculum, you can teach garden education in the classroom whether you have access to a garden or not,” Cassady said of the curriculum created by Texas A&M University’s AgLife Extension Service. “It is designed to help youth understand where food comes from.”

To introduce adults to gardening, Cassady is partnering with NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service specialists and the Master Gardener Program to develop demonstration and community gardens.

Cassady has selected Valencia and Torrance counties to begin the projects.

“These two counties are extreme opposites,” she said. “Valencia County is more urban and has a Master Gardener Program, as well as the NMSU Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas where a demonstration garden is being established. There are also several community gardens in the county.”

Torrance County is rural with greater distances between residents. Cassady will be collaborating with the county Extension agents and existing community gardens to provide locations for people to learn about raising vegetables.

“We want to see what it will take to establish gardening in the more rural areas. Because of the distance between communities and residents, it may be backyard gardens instead of community gardens,” she said.

Cassady is working with Kelly White, state coordinator of the Master Gardener programs, to provide the six-lesson basic gardening curriculum, ‘Seed to Supper,’ which was originally created by Oregon State University. Cassady is revising the curriculum to address the Southwest growing environment, and to implement the curriculum statewide.

Cassady wants to spark interest in gardening with a small project that eventually connects people with the Master Gardeners and the ‘Seed to Supper’ curriculum.

“To do this, the ICAN nutrition educators are teaching a basic gardening lesson and providing an herb growing kit,” she said. “The idea is to build confidence by helping them successfully grow something and then move on to growing more challenging vegetables.”

“Oregon State also worked with the Master Gardeners to teach garden education to people when they come into the food bank,” Cassady said. “We are working to expand this concept for New Mexico.” Cassady plans to work with food banks as well as community agencies to provide the gardening classes.

New Mexico, Arizona, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky and Oregon are collaborating to evaluate the “Seed to Supper” curriculum.

“I am working with so many amazing people to make this happen,” she said. “I’m working with Extension specialists, county agents and community partners. It will take everybody working together to make this happen.”

Author: Jane Moorman –  NMSU

NMSU Partnering with Colombia to Help Local Farmers Rebuild After Years of Conflict

New Mexico State University is helping post-conflict Colombia get back on its feet through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Farmer-to-Farmer program.

The F2F program “promotes sustainable economic growth, food security and agricultural development worldwide,” according to their website.

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences was selected by Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance, a partner organization that works with USAID, to implement a one-year F2F project in August 2017 and sent their first volunteer to Colombia in January 2018.

Each volunteer will go on an all-expenses-paid, two-week assignment with their partnering college, University of La Salle, and their host organization, Salva Terra, a Colombian Non-Governmental Organization that works with marginalized communities in post-conflict areas of that country.

The program is sending out 10 volunteers from now until June. Brenda Seevers, professor in the department of Agricultural and Extension Education, was the first NMSU volunteer in Colombia.

“Colombians are a warm and welcoming people. My knowledge has increased, my eyes have been opened and my heart touched,” she said.

The volunteers going to Colombia include professors, extension agents, one graduate student, and researchers who specialize in certain areas, such as water research.

“The F2F program hopes to help build stronger linkages between La Salle University, community groups such as Salva Terra and local producers,” Seevers said. “If successful, many Colombians will experience a stronger agriculture system and a higher quality of life.”

Luz Urquijo-Hawkes, the F2F program coordinator at NMSU, said volunteering is a “great way for people to offer their skills to make a positive impact on people in need.”

The program not only benefits the people of Colombia, but also offers professional and personal development for the volunteers. Rodrick McSherry, the F2F principal investigator and Director of Global Agricultural Initiatives in the college of ACES, says it is a personally enriching experience for the NMSU community as well.

“The volunteer comes back as a changed person. It’s an opportunity for them to see how their specializations can be used in a different setting,” he said. “It’s good for the individual, it’s good for our institution, and it’s good for New Mexico.”

Once the volunteers come back to Las Cruces, it is not the end of their journey. They will have many opportunities to talk about their experiences with others. NMSU’s Marketing and Communications will interview each of the volunteers when they come back. They will also have the chance to talk to other students and faculty about their time in Colombia.

The F2F program would like to send 10 volunteers to Colombia, and there are currently eight ready to go. They are still taking applications for two more candidates.

Anyone is welcome to apply, and they are especially looking for specialists in the areas of agronomy, water, climate, food safety or any related field. For more information or to apply, please visit their website.

Author: Ximena Tapia – NMSU

NMSU’s Domenici Conference Student Panelist Applications Now Open, Scholars Program Expands

New Mexico State University’s Domenici Institute for Public Policy is now accepting applications for the 20-person student cohort who are tasked with asking Domenici Public Policy Conference speakers inquisitive questions.

Applications are open to both undergraduate and graduate students from NMSU, Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Highlands University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico Military Institute, University of New Mexico, Western New Mexico University, Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine and the NMSU Community College campuses in Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Dona Ana and Grants. Crossing the state line for the first time, the scholars program also will be accepting applications from NMSU’s I-10 neighbor, the University of Texas at El Paso.

Applications require both a nomination from a faculty member or school administrator and a one-page student letter of interest expressing why the student would like to be a panelist. All materials must be received by March 30.

Applicants will be notified via email of their selection status on or before April 11.

New Mexico State University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers greets Harris Ahmed, a student panelist at the 2017 Domenici Public Policy Conference and Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine student. (NMSU photo by Niki Rhynes) JAN18

“We continue to honor Sen. Domenici’s legacy with our scholars program,” said Garrey Carruthers, chancellor of the NMSU system and director of the Domenici Institute. “By opening the program to panelists from additional schools, we’re ensuring that even more students are allowed to show their academic skills by researching topics that are important to our state and nation.”

Panelists will participate in research initiatives during the summer to expand their understanding of the conference speakers and topics while learning to develop probing, concise questions. A Domenici Institute Advisory Council committee led by NMSU Vice President for Economic Development Kevin Boberg will select the panelists and mentor their work.

Panelists have the opportunity to extend their summer research into a fall semester course as a Domenici Student Scholar. In its third year, the Domenici Student Scholars program is expanding to include panelists from all of the eligible institutions.

Students interested in learning more about this option should contact the Domenici Institute for additional information.

Information sessions will be held at 9 a.m. February 7 and at 3 p.m. February 14 for students to learn more about the Domenici Institute student programs. The events will be held in Domenici Hall, Room 252, and streamed online. For online access contact Aaron Stoddard at

Each selected panelist will receive a two-night hotel stay in Las Cruces, a $250 Visa gift card and a group dinner Sept. 11.

Since 2008, NMSU has hosted the Domenici Public Policy Conference, which is named for the late U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici. The annual event attracts more than 1,000 attendees and highlights current policy topics with national and local significance. Previous speakers have included current and former U.S. cabinet secretaries, career diplomats, members of the U.S. Congress, governors, political strategists, military commanders and business leaders.

Topics for the 2018 conference will be national defense, immigration and the changing political landscape in the state and nation. Speakers for this year’s conference will be announced at a later date.

The conference is set for September 12 and 13 at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Panelist applications are due by March 30.

Application instructions to include the faculty/administrator nomination form and student letter details are available on the conference page of the Domenici Institute’s website.

For questions about the Domenici Student Panelist Program contact Kevin Boberg at 575-646-1334 or

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

NMSU Rodeo Team Prepares for 2018 Season

Last Tuesday afternoon at New Mexico State University, a goat tying athlete practiced in the 40-degree weather, horses were exercised with steam roaring from their noses and athletes began pulling their trailers in after the break; all meaning that 2018 college rodeo season is about to heat up for a competitive year.

The athletes had a prosperous fall season and some great highlights. NMSU’s men’s team sits in second place overall and the women’s team is third in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Grand Canyon Region. Thirteen NMSU competitors currently qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo in June. A few contestants won the all-around champion title during the fall rodeos and athletes ran competitive times and held some high scores during the previous season.

NMSU rodeo coach Logan Corbett has the approaching season prearranged with practice, upcoming rodeos, jackpots, team meetings, community service and fundraisers.

“We have a lot of student athletes placing high overall but everything can change during the spring,” Corbett said. “There are more rodeos to come and the athletes and I plan to work harder than ever for a successful season.”

Corbett wants to organize rodeo jackpots for the team to have a chance to win cash and have some competitive preparation in the arena.

“We have scheduled jackpots early on that are cheap to enter and give the athletes a chance to get their mind frames set and have some timed rivalry against one another and members from the community,” Corbett said.

The team will meet every Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Gerald Thomas Hall.

The season heats up in March, beginning with Fort Huachuca, Arizona, March 2-3. The second rodeo is March 10-11 in Florence, Arizona, followed by the University of Arizona’s rodeo in Tucson, Arizona, March 17.

The NMSU hometown rodeo is scheduled for March 31 and the regional finals is in Socorro, New Mexico, April 13-14.

Carly Billington, NMSU athlete, was elected as the 2017-2019 regional director of the Grand Canyon Region this last year. The regional director is similar to a student body president. She is responsible for watching every event and making sure everything runs smoothly and that rules are being followed. Regional directors are given the opportunity to participate in rodeo a fifth year while being an undergraduate.

“My expectations for this year are to help make the region appeal to student athletes and to grow the numbers,” Billington said. “My goal is to represent the region to the best of my ability.”

The Grand Canyon Region rodeo teams are selling raffle tickets to support the future of college rodeo. The tickets are $10 apiece and three winners will be drawn April 29. The prizes include: first, $2,000, second, $1,500, and third, $1,000. A ticket can be purchased from any student athlete in the region.

Corbett plans for the team to visit elementary schools and spread the word about rodeo and teach younger generations about the great sport itself.

For more information on the upcoming season, contact Corbett at

Author: Savannah Montero – NMSU

09/20/2017: New Mexico State University Rodeo team. (NMSU photo by Shelby Herrera)

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center to Send Competitive Entrepreneur to Global Summit

Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University is sending one competitive entrepreneur to compete at the Global Agripreneurs Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, in April 2018.

Arrowhead was selected as the only location in the United States to hold a competition as part of the Future Agro Challenge.

Summit participants will meet world-class investors and mentors, engage with potential customers, gain access to new market opportunities, and command media attention. Previous finalists have received investment from celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, while others have managed to secure up to $15 million within three years of the event.

Arrowhead’s exclusive hosting opportunity grew from its AgSprint accelerator program sponsored by the New Mexico Gas Company and U.S. Economic Development Administration.

AgSprint ventures received five months of customized support tailored to each entrepreneurial team’s unique path to business development and financial success. The program culminated in AgAssembly, a conference held at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in August 2017, which brought together an exceptional statewide coalition in agribusiness and local talent in agricultural entrepreneurship.

To capitalize on the momentum of the AgSprint accelerator and the visibility of AgAssembly, co-founders of Future Agro Challenge contacted AgSprint program director Zetdi Sloan to host a competition for entrepreneurs to compete at the global summit.

To select a summit participant, Arrowhead Center hosted a six-minute pitch contest between entrepreneur contestants from across the U.S., juried by a panel of investment and industry experts. Two competitors stood out among the crowd.

Runner-up Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch is a Denver-based startup that farms crickets and grubs, and produces cricket protein powder and other edible products. RMMR is a powerhouse in the alternative proteins movement, who previously participated in AgSprint and AgAssembly.

The winner of the competition, WISRAN, is a San José -based agtech company that provides action-based business and process intelligence to live farming. Coverage areas of WISRAN’s technology include heavy farm equipment, farm logistics optimization, connected farms, and farm management software.

All pitch contest applicants received Arrowhead support in the form of business model and pitch advising.

Arsalan Lodhi, founder of WISRAN, said the pitch experience at Arrowhead was valuable and that the panel asked “tough business questions that addressed our core value proposition for farmers, which is to improve net profit by reducing the run-time of equipment, labor and fuel in real-time operations.”

“I’m looking forward to competing in Turkey and meeting global leaders in the field,” Lodhi said. “I learned through the process that Turkey has a large farming market, so I’m also looking forward to receiving feedback there and exploring a potential market opportunity.”

According to Future Agro Challenge co-founder Carla Tanas, based in Greece, the summit is “an annual industry highlight that brings increasing interaction between industry experts and stakeholders such as farmers, agripreneurs, investors, corporations and the public to showcase the future of agriculture from around the world and to build awareness of the industry’s potential, introduce game-changing innovations, and attract the necessary talent that will revive the 40 percent of the workforce employed by agriculture.”

The 2018 Global Agripreneurs Summit and competition will attend to the hottest industry trends emerging in the field, such as blockchain, gene editing, transparency, personal nutrition, Big Data and AI, and more.

Arrowhead Center will cover hotel and flight costs and organize the logistics of sending the U.S. competitor to the global stage. WISRAN will compete in two rounds abroad before the third round of pitching at the summit.

For more information, visit Global Agripreneur Summit website, and for the latest on AgSprint, visit their website.

Author: Lauren Goldstein – NMSU

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