Thursday , August 17 2017
Home | Tag Archives: New Mexico State University

Tag Archives: New Mexico State University

Natalie Goldberg First Woman to Lead NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station

When Natalie Goldberg joined New Mexico State University as an assistant professor and Extension plant pathologist in 1993, she wasn’t thinking about becoming an associate dean in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences someday.

She was focused on plants. Whether it’s identifying a plant pest or determining the best pest management strategy, she loves working with plants.

After all, she earned both her doctorate and master of science in plant pathology from the University of Arizona after receiving a bachelor of science in ornamental horticulture from Cal Poly Pomona.

After working her way up to associate professor and professor at NMSU, she was asked to serve as the interim department head of Extension Plant Sciences in 2007. Soon after – very soon after – she was asked to drop the “interim” part of her title, and that appointment lasted 10 years.

On July 1, Goldberg became the first woman to take the helm of the NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station. College of ACES Dean Rolando Flores announced in May that Goldberg would be the interim associate dean and director of AES.

“Dr. Goldberg has extensive experience in managing a very successful Extension department that is characterized by outreach and applied research,” Flores said. “Her approach reflects the integration we need to have, as a land-grant university, between Extension and research activities.”

The AES is not a physical location but an agricultural research system of NMSU scientists. Those scientists are located at 12 centers around the state, from the Fabian Garcia Research Center in Las Cruces to the Agricultural Science Center at Farmington, and from the John T. Harrington Forestry Research Center at Mora to the Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center north of Las Cruces.

The first 23 acres of land was purchased for AES in 1906. Today, the AES system accounts for 94,884 acres of land across New Mexico. Since 1907, AES has been under the direction of about 16 different male associate deans.

Just a few weeks into her new leadership role, there is no question about Goldberg’s top two priorities. She will analyze the budget and take part in a thorough review of all science centers.

“The budget is one of my primary responsibilities, so I need to make sure that we stay within our allocated amount of funding,” Goldberg said. “We’re in a time when we’ve had some cuts, and there’s not a lot of reserve funding. I need to figure out how to balance building the reserve funding, but continue maintaining and hiring faculty. My theory going into the next legislative session is that we are not likely to see increased funding. If we continue to receive cuts in our funding, we’re going to need to make some tough financial decisions.”

As far as reviewing all science centers, Goldberg will have some assistance. Prior to her appointment, Dean Flores had established an advisory committee of 17 members to assess each center and to analyze the AES system as a whole. The committee is comprised of six members from the agricultural industry, Goldberg, Associate Director of AES Steve Loring and four faculty members, one department head, two science center farm managers and two science center superintendents.

Goldberg said the committee has gathered plenty of background data on the centers.

“We need to look at how the centers are funded, where that money came from and how that money is being used,” she said. “Many of the centers were built on legislative support from their local constituency. For example, growers in the Artesia area were able to secure funding for faculty at that center.

“We’ll work with this committee to conduct a very detailed review of each of the ag science centers. What are they providing that’s unique to the system and that’s important to their area? How are they impacting the agriculture in the immediate area that they serve? What are they doing globally? What are their immediate and longer-term infrastructure needs? This overall review is very important, and it’s one of my first tasks.”

The committee had its first in-person meeting July 19.

In her new role, Goldberg would also like to focus on the connections among science centers, between science centers and the College of ACES and between AES and the Cooperative Extension Service.

“It’s not that the centers are operating independently, but I’d like to see even more connectivity,” she said. “There are certainly collaborations out there. And I’d like to see a more developed Extension–research connection.”

Goldberg also acknowledged that she is much more familiar with the plant science aspect and needs to learn much more about the animal science side.

She plans to explore partnership development between the science centers and the private sector in their communities. She has seen mutually beneficial partnerships formed between other universities and companies in the agricultural industry and said similar potential opportunities may exist for NMSU.

Although overseeing AES will be demanding, Goldberg is no stranger to challenges.

She took the NMSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic from a small desk in a tiny office with a couple of petri dishes and a salvaged microscope in 1993 to a fully accredited clinic by the National Plant Diagnostic Network last year. The only other labs with this designation are at Cornell University, the University of Florida and the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

She hopes to find the same type of success in her new role with AES.

For more information about the NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station, please visit aces.nmsu.edu/aes.

Writer: Kristie Garcia – NMSU

Video+Story: NMSU Students get First-Hand Experience at Archaeological Dig

An associate professor of anthropology and University Museum director at New Mexico State University recently led a six-week field school for anthropology students and enthusiasts in the Gila National Forest.

Fumiyasu Arakawa in the College of Arts and Sciences is the principal investigator for the department’s field-school program, which is a collaborative effort between NMSU and the Gila National Forest Service.

“Students do a very traditional archaeological research that is excavation,” Arakawa said. “They dig about six to eight hours, then they have to process their discoveries.”

This processing includes washing the artifacts, then setting it out to dry. No preservative chemicals are applied to the discoveries because such chemicals might contaminate any evidence that could help archaeologists and anthropologists determine how old the discoveries are and how these objects were used.

“For undergraduate students, if they want to be archaeologists, they need at least one field-school experience,” Arakawa said.

In the 2017 field-school, there were 19 participants: 11 NMSU graduate students and four undergrads, and four experienced volunteers.

They conducted excavations at South Diamond Creek Pueblo and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness in the Gila National Forest and visited Chaco Canyon.  They also camped out for five nights at Beaverhead Work Center, then returned to Las Cruces for two nights.

“The sites are known by archaeologists as part of the Mimbres culture,” Arakawa said. “These people inhabited these areas from probably 1,000 A.D. to about 1,130. A.D. The direct descendants of the group in this culture are still difficult to determine.”

The Mimbres people are unique in their architecture, which consists of river cobbles and adobe, as well as in their black-and-white pottery, Arakawa said.

Arakawa came to NMSU in 2011 and two years later, was contacted by the Gila Forest Service. He conducts the field school every other year.

William Walker, also a professor of anthropology at NMSU, hosts the field school in the years in between.

Arakawa said the collaboration has resulted in an excellent working relationship with the Gila National Forest and the USDA Forest Service in the larger picture. Arakawa said he hopes this collaboration will soon result in NMSU anthropology students getting jobs with either the Gila, the Forest Service, or other federal agencies.

“Attending the field school is a very good opportunity for our students,” Arakawa said. “These days it’s a rare opportunity. NMSU is one of the few schools running a field school. Some students, especially graduate students, can use this project as his or her thesis or internship report and get their degrees.”

Arakawa said the field school regularly discovers three major categories of artifacts: lithics (stone tools and their debris), animal remains, and pottery.

“In 2017 we found a lot of artifacts but probably the best one is a very small pottery vessel, a jar,” Arakawa said.

The jar was found by Vanessa Carrillo, a master’s student in anthropology at NMSU and a participant in the field school.

“It was the only complete vessel we found,” Carrillo said.

Finding an intact piece of pottery is unusual and wonderful when it happens, Carrillo said. Even more impressive is the fact the jar has a large crack in its lower half. Carrillo and Arakawa surmise the jar is still held together only thanks to the dirt that is packed inside.

Carrillo and Arakawa plan to remove the dirt inside of the jar, hopefully without it crumbling, and look for evidence—such as corn kernels—as to what purpose the jar served.

“This type of pottery is called Alma Plain ware,” Carrillo said. “It dates back to 250 A.D. to about 1,300 A.D..”

Carrillo found the jar in the South Diamond Creek Pueblo site, which Arakawa said has never been professionally excavated or researched by archaeologists before NMSU’s field school.

“There are so many sites there, but we don’t know anything about it,” he said. “So we take it step by step, excavating and surveying, and eventually understand much better how those Mimbres people lived.”

Carrillo said participating in a field school in the American Southwest is a great opportunity and is in fact important for future archaeologists and anthropologists because of the degree of preservation and distribution of artifacts.

“You don’t really appreciate that until you go out to sites that are not in the Southwest,” she said. “It’s not common to find an artifacts scatter on the surface.”

Carrillo said she’d like to work for the Forest Service’s Cultural Resource Management, to preserve and protect natural and cultural resources for the benefit of future generations.

Arakawa, who is also the director of the University Museum at Kent Hall, said the next step is to provide more thorough information about the field school’s finds.

“Now we catalogue and classify the artifacts,” he said.

The museum is seeking volunteers for this process.

“We don’t ask volunteers to have any archaeological background,” Arakawa said. “We pretty much teach them how to do it.”

To learn more about volunteering, contact the program’s Facebook page at: New Mexico State University Archaeology Field School.

Author: Billy Huntsman – NMSU

NMSU Receives Second-Highest Score in Nation as Leader in Equal Access to Higher Education

In a recent report from the Brookings Institution, New Mexico State University was listed as a leader in equal access to higher education.

The report gave NMSU the second-highest score in the nation as a public university that provides opportunities for social mobility to students and produces valuable research.

Helping students achieve their goals starts when graduates first arrive at NMSU.

Kaylene Womack, as a first-generation college student and teenage mom when she enrolled at NMSU, was determined not to become a statistic. She encourages other students not to give up when times are difficult.

“It’s not going to be easy. You’ll go through hurdles every semester, every year, but keep pushing forward and know what your end goal is,” she said. “The end goal is to get that degree and be a role model for younger siblings and cousins to show them it is possible. Being that leader within your family is huge, so keep pushing forward.”

An NMSU Daniels Fund Scholar, Womack said she found a caring community on campus to help achieve her goal of becoming a teacher, and she credits Tony Marin, Michelle Saenz-Adames and Terry Cook from the student success center as mentors. A 2016 graduate, Womack now teaches kindergarten at Hillrise Elementary in Las Cruces.

In the Brookings report, “Ladders, labs, or laggards? Which public universities contribute most” by Dimitrios Halikias and Richard V. Reeves, the pair evaluated 342 of the nation’s selective public four-year universities “using newly-available tax data from the Equality of Opportunity Project at Stanford to gauge mobility and an independent ranking from the Carnegie Foundation to assess research activity – to determine which universities are ladders or labs, and which universities are laggards less deserving of public funding.” Private universities, historically black colleges and universities, public liberal arts colleges and military-oriented institutions were not considered.

NMSU ranks second as a leader for acting as both a ladder for social mobility and laboratory for research. Of the universities considered, NMSU, as a leader, is among only 20 percent of the universities accomplished in both categories.

Among the top 25 universities selected as leaders, NMSU surpassed the University of New Mexico, University of Houston system, University of California Riverside, University of Texas San Antonio, University of California Irvine, University of South Florida, Binghamton University, University of Texas Arlington and others.

NMSU is considered a ladder for promoting social mobility by helping low-income students achieve higher levels on the income ladder following graduation. Nearly 18 percent of NMSU students come from the bottom 20 percent income bracket.

“I was absolutely delighted to receive the Brookings report, which indicated New Mexico State University is not only a great science university, but is also paying attention to upward mobility,” said NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers. “It’s very important to our state to have good science, but we also have a number of students who we can move up through our process and make their quality of life much finer through a quality education. We’re very proud of our standing as number 2 in the country.”

To read the complete report, click HERE

Author:  Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

NMSU Receives STARS Gold Rating for Sustainability Achievements

New Mexico State University has earned a STARS Gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

“NMSU’s Office of Sustainability completed its first STARS report in 2011 and achieved a Silver rating,” said joni newcomer, NMSU’s manager of the Office of Sustainability and the Environmental Education Center. “In 2012, with the help of many dedicated Sustainability Council members, we achieved a STARS Gold rating that expired in 2015 and the Council members jumped on board again to do the report.”

Information about sustainable practices, courses, programs and research projects from all colleges, individual researchers, faculty and administrative staff contributed to the report.

Since the first report in 2011, NMSU has used the report to raise awareness of sustainability efforts on campus and to achieve more sustainability-related successes. The STARS report allows the Office of Sustainability to share information on a global level regarding NMSU’s sustainability practices and performance.

“We are delighted to have achieved a Gold rating for the second time, knowing that we have made heartfelt efforts in increasing our environmental successes,” newcomer said. “This report ties us together as a caring community with goals to take care of the environment here on campus and beyond, touching the lives of each one of us.”

With more than 800 participants on six continents, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in four overall areas: academics, engagement, operations and planning and administration.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “NMSU has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

NMSU’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.

Editor’s Note: joni newcomer is intentionally lowercase at her request.

Author: Darrell J. Pehr – NMSU

NMSU College of Engineering Motivates Teachers, Students During Trainings, Summer Camps

School is out for the summer but both teachers and students are spending time at New Mexico State University and the College of Engineering.

This month, the college is hosting two core training sessions of Project Lead The Way, which is a leading provider in education curricular programs of science, technology, engineering and mathematics utilized nationally in both middle and high schools. Since 2006, the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network in the College of Engineering has served as the New Mexico Project Lead the Way Affiliate.

This year, 39 teachers from across the country have traveled to NMSU for training in Engineering Design and Development, Introduction to Engineering, Automation and Robotics, Design and Modeling and Principles of Engineering. The first two-week session ran from June 5-16, and the second session runs from June 19-30.

“Teachers play an immeasurable role in empowering students to lead their own learning. As the university affiliate we strive to be a trusted partner in this effort,” said Ester Gonzalez, STEM program manager for the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network. “Our goal is to provide teachers with the support and resources they need to devote more time to inspiring students.”

While participants have traveled from both coasts, teachers from Las Cruces are taking advantage of the local resource. Granville Richardson and Monica Baeza, teachers at Mayfield High School and NMSU alumni, are participating in Project Lead the Way Core Training for the third time. This year they are in the Engineering Design and Development course.

Richardson, who teaches introduction to engineering design, principles of engineering and chemistry, said he enjoys the experience Project Lead the Way provides.

Granville Richardson, a Mayfield High School teacher, discusses a team project during a presentation at a Project Lead the Way Core Training held at New Mexico State University. The Engineering New Mexico Resource Network in the College of Engineering, the state’s Project Lead the Way Affiliate since 2006, hosts middle school and high school teachers in June. (NMSU photo by Tiffany Acosta) JUN17
Granville Richardson, a Mayfield High School teacher, discusses a team project during a presentation at a Project Lead the Way Core Training held at New Mexico State University. The Engineering New Mexico Resource Network in the College of Engineering, the state’s Project Lead the Way Affiliate since 2006, hosts middle school and high school teachers in June. (NMSU photo by Tiffany Acosta) JUN17

“The amount that you have to think outside the box and the amount you have to involve yourself, it’s not like other professional developments where you go and sit and watch a lecture and fall asleep. You’re actually involved in the process,” he said. “It’s stressful at times and at other times it’s really neat and you find yourself thinking of other ideas. You go to bed thinking about it. You wake up having ideas.”

As a math and introduction to engineering design teacher, Baeza said a challenge as an instructor is to help the students understand what they can take away from the classes.

“They can leave with so many skills,” she said. “It’s very valuable to them – the teambuilding, the brainstorming, the researching, how to do word documents, basic PowerPoints and Excel sheets, all things they will need to know when they get to courses like this or to college.”

While teachers are gaining instruction methods, students are on campus with the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network’s PREP Middle and High School Academies. A summer residential camp, PREP gives students the opportunity to explore STEM careers. Students entering sixth through eighth grade spent two weeks, June 4-15, at the PREP Middle School Academy, which offers real-world experiences in engineering innovation through inquiry and hands-on learning.

The PREP High School Academy will be held June 18-30 for ninth- through 12th-grade students. In this camp, students learn about the engineering design process, applied use of engineering software, advanced manufacturing using 3-D printers and the ability to implement their engineering skills with real-world projects.

For more information on Project Lead the Way and NM PREP Academy, visit https://engr.nmsu.edu/enmrn/.

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

NMSU Women’s Studies Program Changes name to Gender and Sexuality Studies

In an effort to reflect national and international trends and the changes within the academic discipline, New Mexico State University’s women’s studies program, part of the department of interdisciplinary studies in the College of Arts and Sciences is now known as gender and sexuality studies.

Two faculty members in the department – Manal Hamzeh, associate professor and Laura Anh Williams, assistant professor – initiated the move last spring citing the shifts and developments within the larger field of study.

“Our curriculum has always worked toward inclusivity and this name change merely reflects this sense of involvement,” Williams said. “Women’s studies is defined by commitments to social justice and the concept of intersectionality, the study of how categories of identity and difference like gender, sexuality, race and nation are interconnected and overlapping; gender and sexuality studies engages with and further interrogates these commitments.”

“The name change will hopefully signal the inclusive approach of the department that welcomes students identifying with all genders,” said Hamzeh. “That is, gender and sexuality studies is not about and for women only. It is for all students on this campus.”

The name change, which was unanimously supported by faculty in the department, began its journey through various committees last spring and was ratified by the NMSU faculty senate in January of this year. The program is the core academic unit of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies.

“The name change reflects how the discipline and our program already do the work of moving beyond the traditional and narrower scope implied by ‘women’s studies.’ It responds to our students interests, career ambitions and needs,” said Patti Wojahn, associate professor of English and head of the interdisciplinary studies department. “Additionally, it will give the department more visibility and should enhance our ability to recruit students to the various degrees we offer.”

The women’s studies program at NMSU began in 1989 and has continued to grow over the past two and a half decades.

Wojahn explained this step aligns with the evolution of the program to a fully online degree at NMSU. She added the name change would help the unit to grow through collaboration with other departments across campus, making the program more competitive with similar academic degrees offered by peer institutions.

For more information please visit https://genders.nmsu.edu.

Author:  Minerva Baumann – NMSU

NMSU Professor Named Director of Telescope at Apache Point Observatory

Nancy Chanover is the first New Mexico State University astronomy professor to be named director of the 3.5-meter telescope at the Apache Point Observatory.

The NMSU astronomy department operates the observatory for the Astrophysical Research Corporation (ARC), a collaborative partnership of eight universities that includes NMSU, University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, Georgia State University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Virginia, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Wyoming.

APO is home to four astronomical telescopes. The ARC 3.5-meter telescope is used with spectrographs and imaging devices to make observations at optical and infrared wavelengths. Observations using the telescope can be carried out remotely using a telescope user interface via the Internet. It is a general-purpose telescope used by ARC partners and their students for a wide range of astronomical research, from observing relatively nearby planets to distant galaxies.

“I would like to explore ways in which the 3.5-meter telescope can be used for teaching/training of astronomy graduate students,” said Chanover, an associate professor of astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences. “We currently use it to train our own NMSU astronomy graduate students and students from ARC universities as well as students from several lease partners in observational astronomy techniques, but potentially it could play a larger role for training students at universities that don’t have easy access to telescopes. One of the smaller telescopes at APO, called ARCSAT, has been used for undergraduate student research projects at NMSU and I expect we would continue that.”

For the last 12 years, Suzanne Hawley, professor from the University of Washington had served as director of the 3.5-meter telescope. A search committee reviewed several applications for the position among member institutions and selected Chanover for the three-year appointment, which became effective in January. The appointment may be renewed after a performance review. The position will provide Chanover with a summer salary and a modest travel budget.

“We were very pleased with Dr. Chanover’s application and qualifications and she had the full support of the ARC Board for her appointment,” said Rene Walterbos, NMSU astronomy professor and chair of the ARC Board. “Nancy has been a long-time user of the APO 3.5-meter telescope since her graduate student years at NMSU, she has developed new instrumentation and has experience with all instruments on the telescope. She has also in many capacities in her faculty job demonstrated excellent leadership qualifications and talent.”

The director works in close association with the site manager Mark Klaene as well as permanent site staff, representatives of the member ARC universities, and the larger national community to meet the scientific needs of ARC 3.5-meter telescope users. Chanover is expected to propose initiatives, manage operating budgets and plan priorities to the ARC Board of Governors. The director has the responsibility and authority to assure smooth operations of the observatory.

In addition to her duties at APO, Chanover will continue her teaching and her research involving the study of planetary atmospheres. She also serves as the principal investigator for NASA’s Planetary Data System Atmospheres Discipline Node located at NMSU, which archives all data from planetary spacecraft missions.

“I view this new role as being one that can have a broader impact on the astronomy research being done at NMSU and the other ARC member institutions,” Chanover said. “By continuing to ensure that the facility operates smoothly and efficiently, and is responsive to the changing demands placed on ground-based astronomical facilities, I hope to position the 3.5-meter telescope to continue to deliver high-quality data and enable important scientific discoveries by all ARC members in the future.”

Author: Minerva Baumann – NMSU

NMSU Alumna, Gates Foundation Officer to Visit Campus, Speak to Students and Community

Sue Gerber, an alumna of New Mexico State University working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help eradicate polio to the Middle East and Africa will visit campus next week and speak to faculty, staff, students and members of the Las Cruces community.

Gerber, the senior program officer for the Gates Foundation’s polio team, will visit NMSU Monday and Tuesday. Gerber graduated from NMSU in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in community health. Gerber later went on to earn her master’s in public health from Walden University, and will finish her doctorate in public health/epidemiology from Walden this year.

“I look forward to my visit to the NMSU campus and welcome the opportunity to meet with students who share my interest in public health,” Gerber said. “It is quite an honor to be invited to share the work I have been involved in.”

Gerber’s visit is hosted by the NMSU Foundation in collaboration with the College of Health and Social Services, which invited Gerber to visit her alma mater.

As the Gates Foundation polio team’s senior program officer, Gerber manages a portfolio of grants, contracts and consultations that support surveillance, program operations, operational research and innovations, and is a member of the global surveillance task team for polio. Gerber is on the Country Support team that focuses on countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, including Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.

Donna Wagner, dean of NMSU’s College of Health and Social Services, said the college is happy to welcome Gerber back to the college and the university.

“Nothing is more effective in encouraging students to work toward a career goal than hearing from someone who graduated from their program and gone on to craft a meaningful professional life,” Wagner said. “We hope that our students are inspired by their time with Sue and that Sue enjoys her return visit to the college after all these years.”

Before joining the Gates Foundation, Gerber worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, earning more than 24 years of experience managing immunization, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted disease prevention programs both nationally and internationally. Most recently, she served as deputy director of the CDC Global AIDS program in Namibia. Gerber was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa, supporting Liberia’s immunization program.

On Monday, Gerber will join members of the Southern Area Health Education Center, based at the NMSU College of Health and Social Services, on a tour of colonias in Doña Ana County. She is also scheduled to visit a class in the Department of Public Health Science, and host the seminar, “Surveillance: A Key Strategy in Polio Eradication.”

On Tuesday, Gerber will host two roundtable discussions and tour campus. The first roundtable discussion, with community health leaders who volunteer at the college, will be from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m. The second roundtable, with members of the College of Health and Social Services student organizations, will be from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. For more information on the roundtables, please contact Robert Peterson at 575-646-4358 or peterson@nmsu.edu.

Gerber is also scheduled to address the region’s Rotary Club chapters – including El Paso, Silver City, Las Cruces and Alamogordo – at the Rio Grande Rotary Club of Las Cruces luncheon at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Gerber asked to speak at the luncheon to recognize the Rotary Club’s polio eradication efforts.

Author:  Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

NMSU Government Professors host Series to Discuss Challenges Facing Democracy Starting Feb. 7th

New Mexico State University’s Department of Government is hosting a colloquium series titled “Democracy in Question?” to reflect on the local, national and global implications of recent major political events such as the Brexit vote and the 2016 U.S. elections that are impacting democracy.

“Each presentation will introduce main ideas and arguments regarding key issues, such as the meanings of democracy in different historical and national contexts,” said Neil Harvey, NMSU government professor and department head in the College of Arts and Sciences. “We will also discuss the role of critical thinking in the study of politics, current challenges facing democratic institutions and citizen participation, and possible scenarios for the coming months and years.”

The series begins on Tuesday, Feb. 7 with a presentation by Sabine Hirschauer, NMSU assistant professor in government. The title of her lecture is “Populism and Elections in Europe in 2017.” Her Presentation will focus on upcoming elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany in 2017 as well as Russia in 2018, with reflection on implications for democracy and the European Union. Hirshchauer’s research interests include security studies, human security, migration, identity and gender.

All lectures will be presented from 4-5 p.m. in Breland Hall, Room 179. They are free and open to the public.

On Feb. 14, Gil Arturo Ferrer Vicario, professor with the Autonomous University of Guerrero and Emiliano Díaz Carnero of the Universidad Iberoamericana, both in Mexico will give a presentation titled “Indigenous Peoples and Participatory Democracy: Lessons from Community Policing and Territorial Disputes in Guerrero, Mexico.” This presentation will be delivered in Spanish with English interpretation provided.

On March 14, Harvey will present “Border Security and Immigration Policy: A Human Rights Approach.” Harvey teaches Mexican Politics, Comparative Politics, Resistance Movements in World Politics, Contemporary Political Thought, Comparative World Political Ideologies and an Honors course “Citizen and the State: Great Political Issues”. Since 2008, he has also taught a service learning class concerning social justice on the U.S./Mexico border.

On April 4, Christa Slaton and Greg Butler, both NMSU professor of government, will present “Democracy in America: Myths, Realities and Possibilities.” Slaton’s research has focused on advancing democratic governance to create more transparency and trust in government. Butler’s research has focused on the history of American political thought and culture.

On May 2, Neal Rosendorf, NMSU associate professor in government and Yosef Lapid, NMSU Regents Professor emeritus in government, will present “Rethinking Global Politics and U.S. Foreign Relations.” Rosendorf’s research interests include modern U.S. foreign relations and international relations history and policy, public diplomacy, national reputation management, international public relations and “soft power.” Lapid’s research interests include theories of international relations, identity borders and security studies in the Middle East.

Author: Minerva Baumann – NMSU

NMSU’s Studio G Expansion Supports Student Entrepreneurship at Community Colleges

Students across the New Mexico State University system with an idea for a business now have access to an online entrepreneurship curriculum and network of expert advisers, thanks to Arrowhead Center’s Next Generation Entrepreneurship program.

Known as Next Gen, the program brings Studio G, Arrowhead’s student and alumni business incubator, to NMSU’s community college campuses throughout the state.

Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s economic development engine and technology commercialization hub, received a $368,760 grant in 2016 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to expand Studio G to students at campuses in Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Grants, as well as students at Dona Ana Community College in Las Cruces.

DACC President Renay Scott said she welcomes the chance for her students to build on their entrepreneurial thinking.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to offer our students access to Arrowhead Center’s Studio G and other programs to support their entrepreneurial opportunities,” Scott said. “Our students have many experiences at DACC that lead to new ideas, scholarship and items that they wish to market. Next Gen allows students to have access to programs and experiences that will help them develop their intellectual property, develop business plans and work with others who also seek to start their own businesses.”

Studio G, which was founded in 2011, has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Since its inception, Studio G has helped more than 250 ventures involving more than 450 student entrepreneurs. An economic impact study in 2015 found that Studio G clients had an impact of $2.4 million during that fiscal year, and Studio G members have raised more than $2.5 million in investments, grants and contracts since 2013. In fiscal year 2016, Studio G ventures hired 93 paid employees.

Student entrepreneurship programming is also supported by the Arrowhead Innovation Network, a 2012 i6 Challenge project funded by a U.S. EDA grant that ended last year.

With Next Gen funding, Arrowhead Center has already converted the effective Studio G curriculum, modeled on MIT’s Disciplined Entrepreneurship and Lean Launchpad methodologies, into an online format that uses “gamification” to engage student and alumni entrepreneurs in learning tracks that are tailored to different types of businesses and situations.

“Students at our community college campuses now have access to the very same learning system, advising opportunities and mentorship meetings as our clients at the Las Cruces campus,” said Kramer Winingham, director of Studio G and a principal investigator on the Next Gen project. “The online curriculum allows us to scale up what we can offer to students here in Las Cruces, as well as those in communities around the state.”

Three of NMSU’s four community college campuses are located in rural communities with less than 50,000 population, and those areas are also economically dependent on single industries like government enterprises and mining, so developing support systems for the next generation of entrepreneurs in those areas will be crucial for providing employment and workforce development, said Arrowhead Center Director and CEO Kathryn Hansen. It’s also the key to enhancing the commercialization of research, regional connectivity and innovation in New Mexico.

“This program will ultimately help our state and region create and retain jobs, not just through the new businesses registered and products launched by our student and alumni entrepreneurs,” Hansen said, “but also by bringing in private investment in businesses and helping move intellectual property through the commercialization pathway.”

NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers said the Next Gen program is one of several important ways that Arrowhead Center supports NMSU’s land-grant mission of serving the educational needs of New Mexico’s diverse population through comprehensive programs of education, research, extension education and public service.

“One of Arrowhead Center’s greatest strengths is that it has gathered a wealth of resources under one roof,” said Carruthers, who helped found Arrowhead during his tenure as dean of NMSU’s College of Business and vice president for economic development. “The network of experts and mentors that are working with student, faculty and community entrepreneurs continues to grow, and we’re able to offer a strong foundation of support, not just here in the Borderplex region, but throughout the state.”

In addition to scaling the Studio G curriculum for use at the community colleges, Next Gen funding has been used to address the challenge of matching entrepreneurs with funding and technology licensing opportunities on a broader scale. Two new web-based portals, TechMatch and FundMatch, provide a user-friendly online system to steer students toward opportunities and facilitate connections for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding for their projects.

With all of these systems in place, the next step is to start funneling community college students into the entrepreneurial pipeline. Each of the college campuses has selected a leader with strong connections to both the students and the local business community to champion the effort to recruit students to Studio G and build engagement with those local business networks. At DACC, that’s Joan Keeney, a college assistant professor in the Business Department.

“I’m really excited about this program, and we’ve already got a handful of students who are getting signed up and beginning to work with the Studio G team to validate their business ideas,” Keeney said. “I’m looking forward to seeing this program grow over the next few years and become a sustainable part of the economic development that DACC helps drive in this area.”

NMSU is one of the 25 awardees that received funding under the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies program. The 2015 RIS program is managed by EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is designed to advance innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country through two competitions: the i6 Challenge and the Seed Fund Support Grants competition.

For more information about Studio G, or to apply from any of NMSU’s system-wide campuses, visit http://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/studiog. For more information about the Next Gen Entrepreneurship program at DACC, contact Joan Keeney at jkeeney@nmsu.edu.

Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU

NMSU College of Engineering Staff helps Small Businesses with Energy Efficiency

A team from New Mexico State University has spent the past year providing technical assistance to two small businesses in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

Funded under a two-year grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, the work has focused on encouraging pollution prevention, and economic and energy efficient practices among rural hospitality-based businesses in the southern portion of the state.

Through the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network in the College of Engineering, Chris Campbell, senior program manager, and Jalal Rastegary, research scientist, along with Amirreza Barin, a computer sciences graduate student, worked with the R & C Sumthins Ice Cream Shop and Desert View Inn to assess and recommend pollution prevention and energy efficiency best practices.

“Our objective was to identify hospitality-based businesses that had an interest in participating in the project,” Rastegary said. “The technical assistance we are able to provide involves a non-regulatory assessment that results in tangible recommendations for cost-savings.”

The NMSU team met with Hans Townsend, owner and operator of the Desert View Inn, to evaluate the motel, which includes 11 rooms and was built in the 1950s. The NMSU team found that Townsend had already taken initial steps to adopt energy efficient and pollution prevention best practices including weatherization of windows and most doors, equipping lighting fixtures with LEDs or energy-saving fluorescent bulbs, recycling cardboard via on-site pick-up, and benefiting from other recycling offered at a city transfer station.

Enhancements to current practices included recommendations to replace appliances such as televisions, refrigerators and air conditioners with new Energy-star models. Additional suggestions included installing occupancy sensors or motion sensors for lights and appliances, and enhancing recycling of materials at the city transfer station.

The NMSU team also worked with Laurette Towne, owner of the R & C Sumthins Ice Cream Shop, which is located near downtown T or C in a 1930s building. Current energy best practices and disposal and recycling activities within the shop included weatherized windows and doors, unplugging of electrical devices when not in use, most lighting fixtures were equipped with CFLs or energy-saving fluorescent bulbs, cardboard is recycled weekly via on-site pick-up while other recyclables are disposed because recycling is only offered at a city transfer station.

Following an onsite assessment, the NMSU team recommended replacing all older freezer units with Energy-star replacements, removing a water softener unit to increase storage, scheduling regular trips to the city recycling station, continuing to unplug devices when not in use, and to use only CFL, LED or energy-saving fluorescent bulbs.

Despite their locations in older, non-efficient buildings, the NMSU team was impressed with both the Desert View Inn and R & C Sumthins Ice Cream Shop’s adoption of good energy best practices and commended the owners for their attempts at energy efficiency.

“Traditionally underserved portions of rural New Mexico provide us with wonderful opportunities to practice pollution prevention and energy efficiency especially in small businesses that can readily benefit from the resulting cost-savings,” Campbell said. “Recommendations for the two T or C businesses, if adopted, could result in over $28,000 in savings over the next three years. Since 1999, NMSU and our partners at EPA have been able to provide these services free-of-charge to all New Mexico communities.”

“Engineering New Mexico is committed to expanding the pollution prevention and economic energy efficiency services to businesses across the state. This upcoming year, we are focused on expanding our collaboration with the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership to provide a portfolio of business assistance services statewide,” said Patricia A. Sullivan, associate dean for outreach.

Businesses interested in learning more about these services are encouraged to contact Campbell at chriscam@nmsu.edu or by phone at 505-263-0646 or the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network at engr-nm@nmsu.edu.

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

NMSU Journalism Professor’s Discovery Reveals Different view of Slavery

An eight-year project has come to an end as New Mexico State University journalism associate professor Roger Mellen has published a scholarly article based on an accidental find in a few dusty pages of an eighteenth century almanac.

His article is published in the fall edition of scholarly journal “Journalism History” and is titled “Representations on Slaves in the Eighteenth-Century Virginia Press.”

Verse from a fragment of an almanac thought to be from Rind’s Virginia Almanack of 1768. Courtesy The Library Company of Philadelphia. NOV16
Verse from a fragment of an almanac thought to be from Rind’s Virginia Almanack of 1768. Courtesy The Library Company of Philadelphia.

History has shown that in eighteenth century Virginia slaves were treated as property, with very few legal rights. This article focuses on research that shows there were strong, divergent opinions that saw slaves as people with feelings, and to be treated humanely.

“While looking through some archives in the Library Company of Philadelphia (founded by Benjamin Franklin), I discovered a few pages of an 18th century almanac that no one knew had even been published,” said Mellen. “In this publication, never before studied, was a short but interesting verse about a slave.”

According to Mellen, another major source for his research was a newspaper from Virginia in 1764 that was not known to have existed before it was donated to the Rockefeller Library in Colonial Williamsburg.

NMSU journalism associate professor recently published an article that casts a different view of slavery in the eighteenth century. (Courtesy Photo) NOV16
NMSU Journalism Associate Professor Roger Mellen (Courtesy NMSU)

“When examined together, these two publications from eighteenth-century Virginia enable us to view attitudes towards slaves somewhat differently than we had previously,” said Mellen. “Rather than one single viewpoint toward Africans and African Americans as property and less than human, as we could easily assume from this area, these published works brought light to the fact that there were other opinions about these people, even in this time period.”

Though he spent years exploring this research, it is not his major focus. Mellen is currently working on a piece about the connections and ancestry of the Lee family and the constitutional right to a free press.

For more information about “Representations on Slaves in the Eighteenth- Century Virginia Press,” contact Roger Mellen at rpmellen@nmsu.edu

Author: Taylor Vancel – NMSU

Mosquitoes that Can Carry Zika Spread to Sierra County

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N. M. – For the first time, authorities have trapped and identified the type of mosquito that carries the Zika virus in Sierra County, where the county seat is Truth or Consequences.

This summer, the New Mexico Department of Health, along with New Mexico State University, has been sampling the 24 southernmost counties, from the Mexican border up to Bernalillo County, and found the Aedes aegypti species in Sierra, Doña Ana, Eddy, and Chaves counties. In the past, the bugs have also turned up in Otero County.

Dr. Paul Ettestad, the state public health veterinarian with the New Mexico Department of Health, said the good news is that local mosquitoes haven’t been proven to actually spread the virus, yet.

“We haven’t had the situation in Miami, where there’s local person-to-person transmission going on,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to avoid. We don’t want that to happen.”

Six New Mexico residents have been diagnosed with the Zika virus, but each of them are had recently traveled to South or Central America. Zika has been linked to severe birth defects in babies whose mothers were infected during pregnancy.

Ettestad said local Vector Control workers need everyone’s help to prevent an outbreak.

“We’re hoping that people will look around their home and look for any standing water, especially after all the rains we’ve had lately,” he explained. “The Zika mosquitoes like to live right near people, and lay their eggs in a very little bit of water. It can be as small as a bottle cap full of water.”

Vector Control teams also have found a second mosquito species that can carry Zika in Roosevelt, Otero and Curry counties.

Author: Suzanne Potter, Public News Service – NM

NMSU Board of Regents Approves Requirement, Exemptions for Students Living on Campus

New Mexico State University will require first-time, full-time undergraduate students admitted to NMSU’s Las Cruces campus to live in a university-operated residence hall for their first academic year, or two semesters.

The requirement begins in the fall 2017 semester and is aimed at improving student retention.

“I think this is the right thing to do for our students,” said NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers.

“We have evidence that living on campus contributes to greater success in college. Students who live on campus are more likely to be academically successful, graduate within four years, use campus resources, interact with faculty outside the classroom, have a positive experience as a student and engage as an alumnus.”

Regents also approved a number of exemptions to the requirement, which include:

• students who live with an immediate family member, which is limited to mother and/or father; legal guardian; aunt or uncle; or grandparent(s),
• students who live with their spouse, domestic partner or dependent children,
• students who are 21 or older,
• students enrolled in online classes only,
• students with current active military or veteran status,
• additional considerations, including financial and medical hardships, as well as other special circumstances, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

– 30 –

Author: Justin Bannister – NMSU

UTEP Researchers Lead Battle Against Mosquitoes

Humans are bigger, faster, smarter and more powerful than mosquitoes, yet we still can’t beat them. But for 50 years, Doug Watts, Ph.D., has been trying.

Well ahead of monsoon season – in fact, starting well before the first of the year – Watts and his team at UTEP’s Mosquito Ecology and Surveillance Laboratory (MESL) have been tracking the pesky insects’ travels around the world due to a concern that has since become a global crisis: Zika virus.

Of immediate concern is the fact that the particular mosquito that transmits Zika (as well as dengue fever and chikungunya, another disease on the rise) is the second-most abundant species in El Paso.

Watts knows this particular insect almost better than anyone. The internationally renowned researcher of mosquito-borne diseases is celebrating his fifth decade in the field and has amassed expertise in infectious disease all over the world. He began chasing down this species, Aedes aegypti, starting in 1977 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“At that time I recognized just how difficult it was to control this mosquito, to do anything to reduce the population,” he said.

Watts, who is also the co-director of infectious disease and immunology for the University’s Border Biomedical Research Center, was a research biologist for the Department of Defense (DoD) for 28 years, where he conducted field and laboratory research on the ecology and epidemiology of enteric, parasitic and viral diseases in Asia, Africa and South America. Watts also served as the scientific director of the Naval Medical Research Center’s Overseas Research Program.

After his retirement from the DoD, he worked as a scientific administrator and infectious disease investigator at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. There, his research was focused on emerging viral disease and the evaluation of candidate therapeutics and vaccines for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and West Nile viruses.

In 2013, Watts, UTEP and a team of fellow researchers from around the world were awarded a five-year, $6 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop and evaluate a Rift Valley fever vaccine for protecting livestock against the disease in Africa.

Watts continues to apply his vast experience to emerging viral diseases – or re-emerging, in the case of Zika, as it was first discovered in Uganda in 1947. For decades it remained obscure, non-problematic and undetected outside Africa. Yet more than 60 years later, the virus has become an international concern due to its unexpected spread and unpredictable biological effects.

Only 14 human cases of Zika virus were documented until 2007, when a Zika outbreak occurred on Yap Island, a tiny island in the North Pacific Ocean. Approximately 75 percent of the population was infected, exhibiting the symptoms that the majority of people who contract the virus will have: fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis.

“This was the alarm that Zika is on its way, it’s moving,” Watts said. “Nobody paid any attention.”

In 2013, Zika was identified in New Caledonia, 2,300 miles southeast of Yap Island. When it hit French Polynesia that same year (almost 3,000 miles away), it caused a major outbreak among an estimated 20,000 people. There, it was also first associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological condition that can cause a kind of temporary paralysis.

And then in 2015, the virus arrived in Brazil, and the world has been on high alert since.

Watts explained that Zika virus was probably in Brazil back in 2014, but no one knew to look for it, nor what to look for.

“By that time, it spread all over Brazil and probably to other countries, just like Ebola did in West Africa,” Watts said. “That’s one of the weaknesses in our surveillance programs throughout the world. We don’t have a very effective, proactive surveillance in place. We always respond retroactively. These viruses don’t wait; they move.”

The veteran researcher is keeping in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as health agencies around the Southwest. He hypothesizes that when – not if – Zika arrives in the U.S., it will first concentrate around the southern border of Texas, which offers an ideal mosquito environment. And despite ages of building civilization up to modern-day standards, the bugs still seem to be outsmarting humans.

Mosquito control boils down to reducing the bugs’ population density to a level that is not sufficient for transmission of a virus. To this end, the MESL has conducted studies over the past two years to gauge the local mosquito population. Watts believes it has resulted in an unprecedented amount of data valuable not just to El Paso, but also to the entire Southwest.

“I don’t think anybody in California, Arizona, New Mexico or Texas has that kind of data, and it has a lot to do with my having experience doing research and understanding what are the important questions to ask,” Watts said. “If you’re going to have virus transmission, you’ve got to have the vector for those mosquito-borne diseases. So, the first question I ask is, ‘Do we have them? And, if so, how many are out there?’”

Watts has teamed up on a grant application with New Mexico State University, North Texas University, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine and the Ministry of Health in Matamoros, Mexico. The team aims to determine the actual impact of dengue, chikungunya and Zika on human health in the U.S.-Mexico border community of Brownsville and Matamoros.

The study will provide comparative data that will identify possible ecological, biological and socio-economic differences that contribute to the incidence of these diseases in these communities. The emphasis will be on understanding the reportedly higher incidence of mosquito-borne diseases in Mexican communities versus the U.S. border communities.

Such information is particularly critical for designing and applying vector control measures, which are the only methods available for preventing mosquito-borne diseases.

Researchers working alongside Watts include UTEP undergraduate and graduate students as well as Laboratory Director Celina Crews. They are busy day in and day out trapping mosquitoes as part of their dedicated tracking program.

Watts’ team also is racing to develop a more accurate Zika-specific diagnostic test, which will be a tremendous step toward treatment and containment of the virus. But it’s not that easy. As Watts said, “It’s a big mess.”Mosquito-Deadliest-AnimalsWEB

“The patient becomes infected with Zika virus, the virus circulates in the blood and appears about three days after the patient is infected, then it circulates through the body up to about day eight, then the virus is cleared by antibodies,” he explained. “Now, what happens when Zika infects a person who has already had an infection with a closely related virus, like West Nile or dengue or yellow fever, the antibodies produced by Zika are very much like the antibodies produced by dengue, yellow fever and West Nile. So you test the person after they have cleared [Zika] virus to try to figure out if that person had the other viruses, and it’s impossible – we don’t have a test that will distinguish among those different antibodies, they’re so closely related.”

“You’re left with a very difficult situation to try to make an interpretation,” Watts added. “A lot of people don’t get sick when they’re infected with Zika – about 80 percent don’t get any disease and 20 percent get a very mild disease … After that five-to-seven day period when you start to recover, then it’s too late [to test].”

Furthermore, there is no vaccine. Watts estimates that about 300 mosquito-transmitted diseases have been identified with perhaps 100 of them causing human disease. In the United States, there is only one approved vaccine or therapeutic for any of those diseases – yellow fever.

“If mosquito control is ever going to work, the number one priority is education,” Watts said.

To this end, MESL informs mosquito control and health care professionals working to both eliminate the pests and treat anyone who becomes infected with the diseases after being bitten. It also provides bilingual preventive education to elementary school children, leaving them with coloring books that inform well beyond just providing an artistic outlet. Some of these are tactics as simple as not allowing toys or tires to stay outside where water can pool and attract breeding bugs.

“That’s why you have to tell the kids because they’re the ones who remind you,” said undergraduate researcher Marcela Diaz. She has been working with MESL since summer 2014 as one of the dozen students (both bachelor’s and master’s candidates) on the team.

For all the work that still needs to be done, Watts can point to one aspect that has been an undeniable success.

“What’s really satisfying is to see the students having an opportunity to take part in this kind of a project,” he said. “It gives them a lot of skills that are going to give them a job in public health, or if they want to go and get an advanced degree, it gives them a background that certainly is better than most students get, a practical application through theoretical knowledge of mosquito-borne diseases.

Albert Soliz is a field and lab technician who came to MESL in 2013 as an El Paso Community College participant in UTEP’s Bridges to Baccalaureate program. After graduating from EPCC, Soliz became a full-time employee with the lab.

“My little nephew, he’s six years old, and we took him one of these coloring books,” Soliz said. “Now, if he sees water outside, he’ll come inside and say, ‘You better go get rid of that water because there’s gonna be mosquitoes here tomorrow!’ When he goes to school, he tells everybody, too – ‘Close the doors, mosquitoes are coming in!’

Zika is receiving even greater news coverage now that summer is upon us, and Watts anticipates that we’ll only see more of this in the future, for as the population of human beings increases around the world, so does the opportunity for these viruses to be transmitted.

He added, “It’s going to be a never-ending profession to stay ahead of these crazy bugs.”

Thanks to Watts and the MESL, the world will be armed with many more well-trained researchers to fight those crazy bugs and, hopefully, win.

Author: Lisa Y. Garibay – UTEP Communications

Socorro Renteria 728×90