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Home | Tag Archives: New Mexico State University

Tag Archives: New Mexico State University

NMSU doctoral students develop guide for coping with self-isolation

What was originally a way to say farewell to members of a New Mexico State University Counseling and Educational Psychology group counseling practicum has turned into a helpful guide for people still trying to cope with the mental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three CEP doctoral students – Ellen Ijebor, Cory Cascalheira and Shuo “Coco” Wang – developed the “Self-Isolation Survival Guide: Getting Through the Pandemic” after the university announced it would temporarily close campus facilities to the public, and that all courses would adopt an online-only format. The guide lists tips for stress management and self-care, dealing with grief and loss, and maintaining mindfulness, as well as several mental health resources.

“We actually had this assignment (in NMSU assistant professor Na-Yeun Choi’s class) where we were talking about creating some clinical topics that could benefit the students and the clinicians at the same time,” Wang said. “We were also doing groups with undergraduate students, and I remember we were talking in class that based on what is happening right now, students will need a lot of information on how to deal with this quarantine.”

Wang said she had heard from students who expressed difficulty in finding the motivation to concentrate on their coursework, while others struggled to balance work, home and school life while in self-isolation.

“We wanted to create something that can help the students, and at the same time we also think this can be helpful to use as well,” Wang said.

Cascalheira said when some of the student counseling groups moved to an online format, many of them found it difficult to log on because they didn’t have a comfortable, private space or they had internet access issues.

“We were really trying to figure out how can we say goodbye to them ethically,” Cascalheira said. “This was one way we could do that.”

Choi said that while the guide was meant for a specific group of people, it evolved into something that could be of value to the entire community.

“When this quarantine happened, they couldn’t say goodbye, so we talked about how we could benefit group members but they (the doctoral students) took it to a whole other level. It almost became like a survival guide for every student, and we felt that it might be beneficial to send out to the whole community,” Choi said.

Ijebor said that as she, Wang and Cascalheira worked on the guide, they were inspired to include information that would apply to a variety of people, not just students they worked with.

“As we started creating it, we just got so many ideas,” Ijebor said. “Even though it’s for students, there are so many students from different walks of life. We wanted to do something that encompassed all their struggles and identities. I think that’s why it became so applicable to a lot of people.”

The guide is available by clicking here.

Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

*For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU’s spring graduates prepare for virtual commencement ceremony

New Mexico State University’s spring commencement is going to look a little different this year. Instead of graduates hearing their name being called, walking across the stage at the Pan American Center in their caps and gowns to accept their degrees and celebrating with endless pictures with their friends and families, they will be walking across their living room and celebrating with friends and family over video calls.

Although the ceremony will be in a different location because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the accomplishments of the graduates are still something to celebrate.

“I would encourage each of the graduates to celebrate on what was supposed to be graduation day with those that they are with or do something that day that makes them happy,” said Lanie O’Hea, who will take part in the virtual commencement. “Spend the day not worrying about what the future holds, but reflecting on the hard work, dedication and perseverance that brought them to this moment and know that it is those same qualities that will support and drive them upwards into the unknown future.”

The virtual commencement ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on May 16, 2020, and will feature graduates from all levels. Professional readers will virtually read the names of the 726 graduates who RSVP’d and the ceremony will feature speeches from NMSU’s president, chancellor, and Alumni Association, and a quarantine rendition of the Aggie Fight song from the NMSU Pride Band.

Gabrielle Martinez, NMSU’s graduation and curriculum data specialist, said the planning for the 2020 commencement ceremony starts the minute the 2019 ceremonies end and that hundreds of staff, students and faculty volunteers look forward to seeing the graduates on this significant day.

“In these uncertain times, with many events unable to continue as planned, deep down I knew we had to find a way to honor this day and our graduates’ many accomplishments,” Martinez said. “Each day and each semester that goes by, I know students put in a lot of time studying and engaging with the campus community in order to graduate.

“I love to see the culmination of their hard work at commencement with all our proud Aggie friends and family,” she added. “While the energy we feel at commencement cannot be replicated, I hope that graduates will continue to share their smiles, stories and successes online this year.”

O’Hea ,who will be receiving her master’s degree in communication studies, said it was very easy to feel sad about missing the opportunity to walk the stage for her master’s degree.

“Even though my graduate degree has only taken me a year and a half, it has been by far more work, effort and tears that have been put into it than my undergrad degree,” she said. “I was lucky enough to have parents who pushed me to walk the stage for my undergraduate, but I did that for them. The commencement this spring was going to be for me. That’s what makes this hard for me.”

Regan Nentwhich, who will be receiving her bachelor’s degree in animal science with minors in chemistry and business administration, said she was excited to celebrate this accomplishment with her family and show them around Las Cruces, but wouldn’t want to put her family at risk with the virus.

“I have no animosity towards the situation and I remain hopeful that I can walk in December with some of my other friends and celebrate with them,” Nentwhich said. “But it is in the best interest of everyone to remain home and have a virtual graduation. I definitely wouldn’t want my grandmother to be put at risk and attend just to see me walk across the stage.”

O’Hea said she feels selfish for being upset because the world is going through much greater things than walking across a stage, but she tries to focus on the positive she sees in the community.

“What’s keeping me positive is that our leaders in our community are doing everything they can to keep us safe. I have hope in the future because of them,” O’Hea said. “Less people are being affected because of this decision by our leaders and I appreciate that. Because at the end of the day, I care more about the world’s health than walking across a stage.”

Renay Scott, vice president of student success, said she understands that COVID-19 has impacted traditional celebrations for this important milestone.

“NMSU wanted to make a virtual commencement available as one way to celebrate until December, when we invite students back to celebrate during a traditional celebration,” Scott said. “The lack of a traditional commencement does not nullify the importance of the amazing accomplishment that each of our graduates has achieved.”

Nentwhich didn’t end up getting her cap and gown, but she plans to make it work the day of the ceremony.

“I’m going to create a makeshift cap and gown and have a virtual ceremony with family and friends to celebrate. I will then probably order take out and have some wine!” Nentwhich said.

O’Hea said she will also be celebrating that day with her husband and puppy, and making thank-you videos for the special people in her life.

“I am going to get ready, put on a dress and drape myself in my regalia. Graduation was going to be a time when I was going to get to be with my family and thank them for everything they’ve done for me and their support. So, in my regalia, I am going to film a special video for each family member and my colleagues, who I could not have done this without, and send it to them!”

The ceremony will be live streamed and available on NMSU Facebook, Youtube at NMSU YouTube and on   NMSU Panopto. KRWG-Channel 22 will be also be airing the ceremony for those graduates and their supporters.

Graduates are asked to join in the celebration in real time on social media with the hashtag #NMSUGrad.

For more information, click here.

Author: Melissa R. Rutter – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU community comes together to give back during COVID-19 pandemic

New Mexico State University system faculty, staff and students have come together to lend a helping hand to the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Outreach efforts across the university system have provided many types of assistance, such as food for the homeless, groceries for the vulnerable, personal protective equipment for area healthcare professionals and more.

Supplies for healthcare workers have been scarce nationwide, and Las Cruces is no exception. Leslie Beck, an extension weed specialist and assistant professor in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, saw the dire situation and donated excess personal protection equipment from her lab, adding to the supplies gathered and distributed by NMSU’s Police Department. Beck donated 2,000 gloves, 125 disposable Tyvek coveralls and one box of dust masks.

“Most heroes don’t wear capes,” Beck said. “But here’s to hoping that from this point on, they are able to wear the appropriate PPE to protect themselves in the line of duty!”

In the College of Engineering, the Aggie Innovation Space has created more than more than 400 face shields for healthcare workers. They plan to create 300 more this week.

In the College of Business, Rajaa Shindi, an assistant professor of accounting, is collaborating with Healthcare Pharmacy, a locally owned pharmacy, to collect sanitizers, detergents and gloves to be donated to local medical personnel and their families to stay safe in their homes.

Nancy McMillan, department head of geological sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences and parishioner at St. Andrew’s Episcopal church, partnered up with the Player’s Grill to host a potluck on Easter Sunday for people living in Camp Hope, the tent city associated with the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope. After the stay-at-home order was mandated throughout the state, McMillan had to be creative to make sure the St. Andrew’s tradition of a monthly potluck supper, called Second Sunday Supper, continued.

“We decided to get single serving boxes. So, we were looking at the catering and deli places in town and then I got an email from the

Nancy McMillian, department head of geological sciences, stands with a volunteer in front of the NMSU golf course to pick up food to deliver to Camp Hope. | Photo courtesy NMSU

Player’s Grill, the restaurant at the NMSU Golf Course,” McMillan said.

“It said we know you can’t come to our restaurant but, if you have any need for catering or anything else think of us. I really want to keep my staff employed. It was really heartwarming. Through donations from church members, we were able to continue our tradition of fellowship at Camp Hope and support staff working at the Player’s Grill.”

Because many basic essentials on store shelves have in short supply due to the pandemic, Zooey Sophia Pook, director of NMSU’s LGBT+ Programs, started a campaign to help find and deliver essential items to the elderly and disabled who have difficulty getting supplies they need. Pook is receiving three to four emails a day asking for items such as toilet paper and food. Along with James Rice, an NMSU professor of sociology, Pook has been delivering items daily.

If you know someone in need of essential supplies, email Pook at

NMSU faculty and staff are not the only ones giving back. NMSU alumnus Lawrence Chavez, CEO of EveryDay Contacts, has donated more than 165 gallons of hand sanitizer to homeless shelters and healthcare providers through his company.

The kinesiology department in the College of Education is making sure parents and kids in the community continue to stay active. Amanda Concha, the Aggie Play coordinator, has created a series of online work out videos for kids to have fun while staying active. To participate in the Aggie Play workouts, visit YouTube channel.

“I have been greatly encouraged to learn of the efforts of my colleagues at NMSU on behalf of the community,” Beck said. “We are working together and doing what we can to help those who are on the front lines and those who may be struggling.”

NMSU President John Floros said the efforts of Aggie employees, students and alumni are inspiring, and show the connection the university system has to the communities it serves.

“There are dozens of examples of these kinds of collaboration and service efforts being undertaken by our Aggie community,” Floros said. “It’s a testament to who we are and how we deal with challenges and adversity. I could not be more proud of our generous and compassionate Aggies.”

Author: Amanda Adame – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU collaborates in webinar on food safety risk assessment for farmers

In response to the uncertainty of how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact farmers’ markets this summer, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service continues to work with growers to help them qualify for various market opportunities.

One opportunity is for New Mexico growers to provide fresh vegetables and fruit for public school meals through the state’s Farm to School program.

“There are requirements that they must meet to qualify for the program,” said Bonnie Hopkins, NMSU Extension agricultural agent in San Juan County. “One is that the farmer has performed a food safety risk assessment of their farm.”

NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences provides training in the risk assessment process.

With the social distancing order from state officials during the coronavirus outbreak, the delivery of the on-farm and classroom training was changed to webinars and online self-study courses.

“We are presenting the first two tiers of the food safety training virtually to help farmers qualify as vendors to sell produce to public schools,” said John Garlisch, NMSU Extension agricultural agent in Bernalillo County.

“We have taken the information they would have received during an on-farm training and distilled it down to digestible bites for farmers who have never taken food safety training,” Garlisch said.

“This training is proactive,” Hopkins said. “It provides farmers with an awareness of good practices and the tools to conduct an assessment to ensure they are providing safe food.”

The online training program – a first-of-its-kind delivery for New Mexico farmers – is a collaboration between Garlisch, Hopkins, Denise Miller of the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association and Valerie Smith of La Monañita Coop.

The webinar and self-study program is provided free to New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association members. Association membership is $25, and scholarships are available.

For more information about the training, click here.

Author: Jane Moorman – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU experts offer tips to keep immune system in check, avoid weight gain during COVID19

These days, many people are staying safe at home in self-quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, taking advantage of entertainment-streaming apps and indulging in comfort foods in times of stress.

Two experts at New Mexico State University suggest that healthy eating, combined with physical activity, will not only keep weight gain at bay, but also help boost your body’s immunity.

“During stressful times, nourishing your body is important to fuel the body to handle needs as well as maintain your immune system,” said Karen Plawecki, food and nutrition Extension specialist for the Extension Family and Consumer Sciences department in the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. “Stressors can often poorly influence food choices.”

Joseph Berning, professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Dance in the NMSU College of Education, said in order to maintain a highly functional immune system, people must take daily care of their bodies, including getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night, daily exercise and eating healthy.

“Although it might be difficult to moderate stress in the present crisis, one can control their food and fluid intake and well as their cleanliness, sleep and exercise habits,” Berning said. “When people find themselves locked away, the temptation to eat, sit and lounge around becomes more of an attractive prospect. This combination only leads to poor health outcomes.”

So how does one stay healthy while confined in their home? Plawecki said because snacking can easily turn into grazing, especially during times of stress, aim to be proactive and plan for snacks to eat when hungry.

“Keep nutrient-rich snack foods easily available to choose readily,” Plawecki said.

She also suggested these strategies for easy access to nutrient-rich foods:

• Keep fruit that doesn’t need to be refrigerated on the counter. Wash fruit right before you eat.
• Keep fruits that need to be refrigerated stored in the front of other items in the refrigerator.
• Wash and chop or slice vegetables for snacks to be eaten within two or three days. When prepping vegetables for a meal, chop extra for snacks to save time.
• Slice cheese blocks into snack-sized portions to eat alone or with crackers.
• Boil eggs and keep them refrigerated for up to a week.
• Snacks like yogurt and nuts are quick options when hungry.
• Keep comfort foods out of easy reach.

However, Plawecki said comfort foods are allowed, as long as portion sizes are kept in mind and diners are mindful while eating, meaning distractions such as TVs and cellphones are removed while savoring your favorite meals.

Plawecki also suggests that before snacking or indulging in your favorite meal, ask yourself if you’re truly hungry.

“Physical hunger shows up in physical cues – stomach growling, lightheadedness, headaches, irritability and low energy levels,” Plawecki said. “Boredom, stress, anxiety, fear, depression and loneliness are examples of conditions mistaken for hunger.”

One way to better manage stress and anxiety is to exercise, Berning said.

“People who perform regular daily exercise live longer, experience less damaging health risks, experience fewer sick days per year, sleep better, perform better academically, decrease stress and maintain a high quality of life,” Berning said.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, people should work toward obtaining 150 minutes of moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise a week, plus two to three days a week of resistance training. But how is that possible when many state governments have mandated the closures of gyms and fitness centers?

“For cardiovascular exercise you can walk, jog, run, ride a bike or go hiking away from crowds,” Berning said. “Relative to resistance training, we have gravity. You don’t need fancy equipment. The body doesn’t know if it’s lifting a five-gallon bucket filled with water or a 40-pound barbell. The simple truth is 40 pounds is 40 pounds.”

Berning said even using your own body weight allows for endless resistance exercises. Basic examples include squats, lunges, sit-ups, jumping jacks, push-ups and stretching.

“Remember, ‘exercise is medicine’ and the best means of enhancing your immune system and fending off disease,” Berning said.

Beginning in May, the Bernalillo and Mora county Extension offices, along with NMSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, will present the “Stress Management – Thriving in Today’s Demanding World” online workshop series from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursdays. The series will offer tips on maintaining family resilience, stress management and healthy nutrition.

For more information, click here, or contact Mora County Extension Agent Suzanne DeVos-Cole at

For more health, wellness, family life, nutrition, food and food safety resources, visit the ACES webpage.

Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU offers free online fitness classes amid statewide gym closures

The last fitness class Tammy Gutierrez taught at New Mexico State University was on March 18. The next day, gyms, recreation centers, health clubs and spas across New Mexico shuttered by order of the state’s health secretary to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

For Gutierrez, a longtime NMSU fitness instructor with a dedicated following of exercise enthusiasts, the closure of NMSU’s James B. Delamater Activity Center was disheartening as it abruptly ceased all in-person Aggie Fit classes for the foreseeable future.

“At first, we started limiting our class sizes and went from having 20 to 30 people in a class to only 10,” she said, “but then overnight, we had to cancel our classes – which was very traumatic.”

Recently, however, Gutierrez and other NMSU fitness instructors returned to teaching their popular Aggie Fit classes in a new online format offered through Zoom, a videoconferencing platform. More than 20 fitness classes are now live-streamed five days a week – at no cost to participants, regardless if they’re Aggie Fit members or not.

“Our online fitness classes are providing a sense of normalcy for people and a sense of community and belonging during this challenging time,” said Amanda Blair, Aggie Health and Wellness Center assistant director. “That’s because participants are able to reconnect with the people they knew in their yoga or aerobics classes. So far, everyone’s been enthusiastic to see their classmates in our new Zoom classes.”

After a two-week hiatus, a selection of Aggie Fit classes moved online beginning April 6. But plans to offer online fitness classes had been well underway before the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of NMSU’s Activity Center, Blair said. These efforts, she added, ultimately aided in the quick launch of the Zoom class series.

“Online programming had been on the back burner and something we were already looking into,” she said.

The current online offerings include a mix of yoga and aerobics classes – all accessible on the NMSU Recreational Sports website via the “Schedules” tab. NMSU students, staff or faculty who want to participate in a class must first create a Zoom account and download the app on a computer or mobile device. Then, they can join a class by either clicking the Zoom links on the Aggie Fit fitness schedule or entering the meeting ID directly in Zoom.

The response so far from online participants has been largely positive, Gutierrez said.

“Because we’re offering a way for our community to stay connected and stay physically fit during these stressful times, people are so grateful,” she said.

Gutierrez and Blair acknowledge that the online classes differ from traditional classes and present unique challenges. For example, participants may not have access to free weights that some classes require, so instructors encourage them to use items they may have in their homes, such as heavy water jugs or canned goods.

But the move to Zoom hasn’t affected the quality of the classes, Blair said, and participants with all levels of experience can benefit from the workouts. Gutierrez noted that the Zoom classes give participants the convenience of exercising in the comfort of their homes, leaving behind the hassle of having to go to the Activity Center between work or class breaks.

To ensure online participants have the best experience possible, Gutierrez is placing more emphasis on her verbal instructions when she teaches on Zoom, she said.

“They’re relying on my voice to help coach them through each move,” she said, “since I’m not able to help them in person.”

Gutierrez also encourages participants in her Zoom classes to play music during her workouts – but keeping themselves on mute – to keep themselves motivated.

The current roster of Aggie Fit classes is available through Zoom until May 15. But, Blair said, plans are in the works to continue the classes through the summer and fall.

“The feedback I’ve received is good,” she said, “so I definitely envision us having a presence online and growing our offerings.”

Author: Carlos Andres Lopez – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU, DACC receive nearly $5 million NSF grant to help students earn engineering degrees

New Mexico State University and Doña Ana Community College have been awarded a five-year, almost $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The funds will support scholarships and guided pathways to help students earn bachelor’s degrees in engineering.

“The proposed project will contribute to establishing a successful two- to four-year pathway model between DACC and NMSU College of Engineering, through enhancing the current DACC-NMSU transfer model, initiating a concurrent enrollment model, providing near-peer mentoring and faculty advising, and utilizing data analytics to identify students’ academic performance in near real time,” said Muhammad Dawood, Klipsch School of Electrical Engineering professor and NMSU’s principal investigator. “The project will also undertake activities to increase the math proficiency of the scholars and enhance metacognition-based study practices, initiating growth mindset and enhancing engineering identity.”

NMSU’s College of Engineering received $3,745,040 and DACC received $1,247,737 for the “Pathways for the Successful Transfer and Retention of Engineering Students from Two-to Four-year College in New Mexico,” a collaboration that is part of NSF’s Scholarship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program, which is focused on increasing the number of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who earn degrees in STEM fields. The grant is believed to be DACC’s first from NSF.

The award funds need- and talent-based scholarships up to $10,000 per year, and provides guided pathways for DACC students in the Manufacturing and Engineering Program who transfer to NMSU to pursue bachelor’s degrees in NMSU’s College of Engineering.

“Thanks to NSF, this grant will not only provide scholarship money for DACC students planning to transfer to the College of Engineering at NMSU, but it will also provide both academic and student support services to facilitate the transfer,” said Joe Butler, dean of the Science, Engineering and Mathematics Division and principal investigator at DACC. “I thank Dr. Muhammed Dawood for masterminding this collaboration which will benefit students at both institutions.”

Dawood credits the award to more than two years of work between NMSU and DACC, including DACC’s Science, Engineering and Mathematics Division and Institutional Analysis along with NMSU’s College of Engineering, Student Success Center, Aggie Pathway, New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation, College of Education, Graduate School and Office of Institutional Analysis.

“I am very pleased with the efforts and the collegiality demonstrated by more than 18 individuals from these departments spanned over two campuses,” Dawood said. “This not only serves as a successful model of collaboration between the two campuses, it bodes well for the success of our students who are at the center of our efforts.

“Given the current COVID-19 environment, recruitment of the scholars into the program will be a challenge, as would be the delivery of many programmatic activities, workshops and the Math Summer Boot Camp,” Dawood said. “Efforts are afoot to not only approach and access the currently enrolled engineering-bound DACC students, but also expand our outreach to the high schools in the area.”

The program began April 1. Students and families interested in learning more about this scholarship can contact Dawood at or Butler at jbutler@dacc.nmsu.ed

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU Regents approve 3% tuition increase, state budget contribution still uncertain

The New Mexico State University Board of Regents has approved a 3 percent increase in tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year for NMSU’s Las Cruces campus. There was not an increase in tuition for NMSU’s community colleges.

University leaders said the revenue was needed to support additional student scholarships and because of continued uncertainty with the state’s budget contribution to the university for the coming year.

“It is unfortunate that we have to make a decision on tuition without a clear picture of the level of financial support we’ll receive this year from the state of New Mexico,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “Under any scenario, however, a tuition increase was going to be necessary.”

New Mexico is an oil exporter and its state budget relies heavily on the price of oil. Due to multiple economic factors around the world, the price of oil has dropped dramatically over the past several weeks.

Even with the increased tuition rate, NMSU’s net price – the amount students pay to attend the university, minus scholarships and financial aid – continues to be the most affordable in the state and among the most competitive in the nation.

“We have received some very student-centric guidance from our Board of Regents,” Arvizu said. “They have made it clear how important it is for us to keep higher education accessible for our students. That’s why all of this additional revenue will go back into scholarships for our students.”

Even with the tuition increase, the university still projects a deficit for the coming year. The size of the deficit will depend on how much funding the university receives from the state Legislature, and will be addressed through careful financial stewardship.

Author: Justin Bannister – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU provides internet access options for students across the state

The New Mexico State University system’s students are among the millions of students nationwide from elementary school through college whose schools and campuses have been partly or fully closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While they are observing the social distancing mandate to stay at home, they are also continuing their academic progress, so NMSU’s Information and Communication Technology department and Cooperative Extension Service are stepping up to ensure students across the state have the technology and internet access they need to complete the semester successfully.

For some students, staying at home has brought many unexpected challenges.

“We don’t know what distractions or obligations the students are dealing with in their stay-at-home situation,” said Donald Conner, associate dean and director of academic programs for the College of College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. “These issues could impact their ability to receive the course material and concentrate on their studies.”

One way NMSU is providing support to help students finish the semester successfully is by offering additional access options for internet service.

“We know that some of our students do not have the resources for online learning at home,” said Norma Grijalva, NMSU’s chief information officer. “We are working to provide solutions to help them gain access.”

For students without their own computer at home, NMSU is offering laptops that can be checked out. Wireless internet hotspots and limited computer lab access are also available to students at the Las Cruces campus, in accordance with social distancing and heightened cleaning procedures. The NMSU Albuquerque Center, located at Central New Mexico Community College’s Montoya Campus, is also offering access to its computer lab.

NMSU’s ICT department will soon deploy a virtual computer lab that students may access online.

“In addition, we have identified Parking Lot 19 as work-from-car area for students needing access,” Grijalva said. The lot, between the Rhodes-Garrett-Hamiel and Garcia residence halls on the Las Cruces campus, is accessible from Locust Street, on the northeast side of campus.

For the many rural areas in New Mexico where internet access is less reliable or accessible, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service is offering students a solution.

“We had some feedback from a fairly limited number of students concerning their internet access in rural areas,” said Conner. “We posed the question to our county Extension offices about whether their Wi-Fi could be accessed.

“Most, not all, of the 33 county offices do have wireless that can be accessed from outside the building,” Conner said. “Once again, I am impressed with our Extension folks. They worked to make some technology changes so the students have access.”

The access to wireless internet at the county Extension offices is not limited to College of ACES students.

“We have offered this access to any NMSU student living in rural areas without internet access,” said Rolando A. Flores, dean of the College of ACES. “We are all Aggies and as such we want to help our students to complete this semester under these unique circumstances.”

A list of internet service providers that are offering discounted services is posted on NMSU’s resources page.

Author: Jane Moorman – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

Burrell College Presents $400k to NMSU to support students pursuing Health Care Careers

On Monday, April 13, the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine hosted a virtual check presentation to celebrate a $400,000 gift to New Mexico State University.

The fourth annual gift — part of an ongoing partnership agreement between the two universities — supports the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine Endowed Scholarship at NMSU.

Burrell College Co-Founder and President John L. Hummer said the annual gifts underscore the medical school’s commitment to developing a pipeline of students pursuing medical and health careers to serve the region in the years to come.

“I am pleased to present our largest gift yet to the NMSU Foundation in support of pre-medical student scholarships,” Hummer said. “We hope these scholarships can help relieve the financial burden of pursuing an undergraduate education and that they inspire NMSU students to continue to work hard to achieve their dreams of becoming physicians.”

The scholarship, which is administered by the NMSU Foundation, supports freshman New Mexico residents with financial need who are part of the Osteopathic Medicine Pathway Program at the Las Cruces campus. Students who maintain at least a 3.5 grade-point average can continue to receive the scholarship throughout their undergraduate degree.

The Burrell College has donated $1.15 million to the NMSU Foundation to date. So far, the scholarship has supported eight students, including Andrea De Santiago Guzman, who said growing up in El Paso exposed her to the poor conditions that her community and many Americans across the country are facing.

“I have personally witnessed our medical and developmental necessities,” she said. “I wish to connect with my community through these needs. My experiences have helped me decide on a career path that will not only be rewarding for me, but also for my community and everyone I am able to help.”

NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu said each gift helps ensure more students earn degrees at NMSU that increase their career opportunities and their readiness to join the rigorous and critical health care workforce.

“The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine is an asset to our region,” Arvizu said. “As recent events have shown, the need for well-trained medical professionals has never been greater. This need is especially true in many of our underserved communities. That’s why we’re proud to work with the Burrell College to ensure we have the doctors needed to keep everyone healthy.”

NMSU Foundation President Derek Dictson added, “The NMSU Foundation values our long-term relationship with the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine. This generous gift will support generations of students who aspire to impact the health and well-being of people in our community, state and region.”

NMSU professor, Orthodox priest adapts to new technology to teach Old Testament

Like many faculty members at New Mexico State University, Gabriel Rochelle was a bit apprehensive about moving his course on the Old Testament to the Zoom online platform.

“I’ve been teaching online on a variety of platforms for the past 10 years,” said Rochelle, pastor of St Anthony of the Desert Orthodox Mission and a religious studies professor in the NMSU Honors College. “I also teach in New Jersey, and mostly what we’ve been using in the past was Skype.”

But as soon as classes resumed from an extended spring break on March 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rochelle, 81, felt ahead of the game, thanks to the help he received from fellow faculty members and Honors College Dean Miriam Chaiken and Associate Dean Tim Ketelaar.

“By the time classes started, I felt like I was ahead of the students,” said Rochelle, while admitting that many students have the advantage of growing up with technology, and older faculty members have to learn to adapt to it.

In order to learn how to use Zoom properly, Rochelle said he took notes that he collected into a desktop file for easy access.

“I’m an old-fashioned book learner, so I wrote up a bunch of notes and made up a file in the event that I would forget it,” Rochelle said. “My main concern was how to revamp the material, but since my class mainly focuses on reading, I don’t have to do a whole lot to revamp it.”

Chaiken said that while faculty at NMSU did some heavy lifting in the two weeks they had to move 5,000 courses to an entirely online format, there are campus champions like Ketelaar who did a lot of work supporting other faculty who are less experienced with online teaching.

“We are so pleased to have a true scholar like Father Gabriel teaching our Old Testament class,” Chaiken said. “The students adore him, and I think the fact that he rides up on his bike wearing brightly colored jackets (to be sure the cars see him) endears him to all of us.”

Rochelle, an avid bicyclist who averages 6,000 to 7,000 miles a year on his bicycle, said that while he’s experienced a few glitches with the Canvas site students use to access courses, he found that learning Zoom has been quite simple. While he hasn’t explored all the possibilities of Zoom, he said he will continue to try and learn them.

“I’m a selective Luddite,” Rochelle said, laughing. “If I have to learn a program, I’ll clench my teeth and do it.”

As the first week of online learning came to an end, Rochelle reported the class’s progress as, “So far, so good. I would be lying if I didn’t say there were obviously some frustrations with getting started on Zoom.”

Rochelle said he sees the move to online learning as a sign of the times, and a move that may have been hastened by the pandemic.

“My advice to anybody having issues is to learn the technology as best you can. You already know the subject. Be confident in that and figure out a way to adjust it to this odd setting,” Rochelle said. “This will change education forever. This whole platform of online education is definitely here to stay.”

Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU


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NMSU Campus Tutoring Services continues to provide services with online sessions

When classes at New Mexico State University resumed March 30, Campus Tutoring Services was prepared to continue helping students, albeit in a new format.

“Campus Tutoring Services has provided NMSU undergraduate students free, accessible and convenient options to support their academic experience for our most in-demand courses on campus,” said Marci Salinas Milam, coordinator for Academic Success Center.

For the rest of the spring 2020 semester, Campus Tutoring Services will offer individual and group tutoring through NMSU’s Enterprise Zoom account for remote tutoring sessions.

“Prior to COVID-19, Campus Tutoring Services offered approximately 15 in-demand courses online. Peer tutors have received in-person training by Academic Technology and have prior experience in online tutoring. For example, our nursing peer tutors have been providing online tutoring for the past four academic semesters to accommodate our remote location nursing students,” Salinas Milam said.

“CTS is committed to serving NMSU students and has expanded hours of operation to include 10 additional hours of service to students,” she said.

Campus Tutoring Services offers tutoring in 195 courses, and peer tutors are College Reading and Learning Association certified.

“In the face of a challenging time, our peer tutors have been 100 percent on board and supportive of the new technology and dynamics of their work environment,” Salinas Milam said. “Our peer tutors have been conducting real-time Zoom training in order to be prepared for the technical aspect of online tutoring.”

“I think it is amazing that Campus Tutoring was still able to offer this free resource to students during such hectic class and campus adjustments,” peer tutor Rachel Turner said.

A human nutrition and dietetics science senior, Turner was pleased with her first online sessions.

“The sessions went better than I expected. Zoom is extremely simple to use, and I am glad it was easy for my tutees to access my help,” Turner said. “One main challenge is that writing or showing examples to a student is not as quick and easy online compared to being in person and having a paper and pen in front of you or a dry erase board to use.”

During the online transition, Campus Tutoring Services has been able to purchase and provide peer tutors with technology to assist in their online sessions, including stylus pens, web cameras and drawing tablets.

To schedule a tutoring session, students can make an appointment through the Campus Tutoring Services website or email a peer tutor directly.

“When we look at how this impacts students going forward, we feel that it is important for students to understand Zoom’s practicality and functionality. Zoom at NMSU allows students to access tutoring sessions from anywhere with a reliable internet connection,” Salinas Milam said.

Zoom is available on laptops, desktops and cell phones. It will allow students to communicate with their peer tutors by using a microphone, webcam or a text-based chat box. An interactive whiteboard to diagram concepts is also available, and students and their peer tutors can screen share to review documents and clarify course material together.

“Overall, though, this online process may take up more time, especially for math and science- related courses,” Turner said. “Before online, students were able to walk in the doors and quickly receive assistance. They were also able to usually join in on a session – this was popular with physics, chemistry and nutrition. Now, tutors must send out individual Zoom links by appointments made by the tutee. A student may not receive assistance for one to two days because of this. However, I think our future trainings are going to successfully conquer this challenge.”

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU


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Seed investment to develop NMSU research, partners with Arrowhead Center

New Mexico State University research will see large-scale development through seed investment and commercialization, thanks to a new partnership with VIC Technology Venture Development.

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center has signed an agreement with VIC to support VIC’s efforts in licensing NMSU intellectual property. VIC will create Filtravate, a business based in Las Cruces, which will develop and commercialize the manufacture of ultrafiltration membranes.

VIC is a technology venture development firm creating innovative new companies with world-changing science and engineering-based technologies. VIC carefully selects and licenses technologies from universities and research institutions, then partners technology entrepreneurs with VIC’s team of business and technology experts and provides seed capital through the national VIC Investor Network.

Yun Li, the managing director of VIC’s New Mexico branch, will be serving as interim CEO of Filtravate.

“This technology results in membranes that solve critical issues in the production of biopharmaceuticals, and have the potential to significantly improve process efficiencies in industrial and laboratory settings as well,” said Li.

The Filtravate approach will allow membranes to be synthesized from scratch, using the smallest building blocks to create precisely controlled pore sizes, even pore distribution, and will allow for fine-tuning of the membrane surface properties to meet the exact needs of the end-user. While the first application evaluated for the membrane was wastewater treatment, the researchers have since explored many other high-value uses.

Reza Foudazi, associate professor of chemical and materials engineering at NMSU, is a co-inventor of the Filtravate technology.

NMSU’s exploration and involvement in technology development is a benefit for not only for those emerging technologies, but for the visibility of the university and its researchers, which can lead to new revenue for both the institution and its faculty and staff.

“NMSU supports the translation of laboratory research to business applications,” said Luis Cifuentes, vice president for research and dean of the NMSU Graduate School. “With Arrowhead Center’s help, Dr. Foudazi was able to develop an enhanced technology, through dedicated doctoral research, that will be of future use for the pharmaceutical industry.”

Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center, said, “What Arrowhead has undertaken with VIC shines a light on NMSU’s research capacity and talent. We’re delighted to work with VIC to see NMSU research grow and get products to the private sector. Everybody wins if Filtravate succeeds, and Dr. Foudazi will remain involved in product development.”

Foudazi explained that the membrane was developed through the doctorate work of his student Sahar Qavi, a recent graduate. It was during their involvement with Arrowhead Center that they were challenged to grow their idea for additional potential market opportunities.

“We originally focused on purification and filtration at water and wastewater treatment plants, but in going through the Arrowhead Center’s Aggie I-Corps and LAUNCH programs, we were able to see that it has a defined pharmaceutical application and, also something that the dairy industry would be interested in for cheese production,” Foudazi said.

Aggie I-Corps training program at Arrowhead Center for NMSU allows students to test the commercial feasibility of technology, and LAUNCH is a 10-week licensing studio, built to springboard NMSU intellectual property into the private sector.

“Arrowhead Center gave us a better understanding of the market and allowed us to have interactions with investors that enhanced our ability to make this research viable for a product ready for the market,” Foudazi said, “and ultimately led to the investment by VIC in the newly created Filtravate.”

Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU

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NMSU programs featured on U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools 2021 list

Several New Mexico State University graduate programs have been recognized on the newly released U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools 2021 rankings.

Graduate programs in the College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Business, College of Health and Social Services and College of Arts and Sciences were ranked this year.

U.S. News & World Report ranks professional school programs in business, education, engineering, law, medicine and nursing along with area specialties annually. The methodology states the rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students.

NMSU graduate departments with programs ranked in the top 200 include:

– Education: Tied-99
– Fine arts: Tied-135
– Nursing (Master’s): Tied-141 and (Doctor of Nursing Practice): 133-171
– Public affairs: Tied-166
– Speech language pathology: Tied-170
– Part-time MBA: Tied-178
– Engineering: 152-200
– Aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering: Tied-56
– Environmental/environmental health engineering: Tied-72
– Industrial/manufacturing/systems engineering: Tied-78
– Civil engineering: Tied-93
– Computer engineering: Tied-97
– Chemical engineering: Tied-98
– Electrical/electronic/communications engineering: T-129
– Mechanical engineering: T-136

For a complete list of rankings, visit US News website.

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

NMSU names first vice provost for digital learning initiatives

New Mexico State University has named Sherry Kollmann as its first vice provost for digital learning initiatives, a new role created by NMSU Provost Carol Parker to develop and drive an online and digital education strategy for the university.

Kollmann will be responsible for the leadership, administrative oversight and coordination of all aspects of online and digital education initiatives occurring throughout the NMSU system. She begins her new role July 1.

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Kollmann will soon be joining NMSU,” Parker said. “Expanding NMSU’s online courses and degree programs is an important strategy for reaching the student success goals outlined in NMSU’s strategic plan, LEADS 2025. Dr. Kollmann will play a key leadership role in our efforts to grow our online presence.”

With more than 20 years of combined experience in business and higher education, Kollmann is an accomplished entrepreneurial academic leader with an understanding of all strategic, developmental and operational aspects of online administration. She has served in multiple educational leadership roles, including as senior associate dean of business programs at Southern New Hampshire University and vice president of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at New England College. Prior to her transition to higher education, she served as a business leader, where she collaborated and consulted with Fortune 500 organizations on workforce solutions.

In her newly created role as vice provost for digital initiatives, Kollmann will drive the development of new digital learning initiatives, guide a growing portfolio of online programs, oversee the infrastructure and processes to support their success, and assist with the development of the business models upon which these initiatives operate.

Kollmann holds a bachelor’s degree from Bethel College, a Master of Arts degree from Concordia University, and Master of Education and Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Her research specialties include digital learning, motivation in education, instructional design and integrated learning.

“I am extremely excited to work collaboratively across the NMSU system to develop a sustainable digital ecosystem that fosters inclusivity and accessibility across New Mexico and beyond,” Kollmann said. “We have an incredible opportunity to shape the future of online education by humanizing the learning experience.”

Parker praised the search process that brought Kollmann to NMSU. “I would like to thank our search committee chair, Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Ms. Cortney Castle-Chavez and all of the other dedicated search committee members,” she said. “They did an exceptional job advising me throughout the search.”

More information about the search and the position is available online.

Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU

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