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Home | Tag Archives: New Mexico State University

Tag Archives: New Mexico State University

NMSU alumnus’ artwork to hang in UCLA School of Dentistry

’15 Visions,’ a collection of paintings from Las Cruces artist and New Mexico State University alumnus George Mendoza, will now grace the halls of the University of Los Angeles’ School of Dentistry.

The collection features 15 unique pieces spanning over two decades of Mendoza’s artistic career. But the number 15 also serves a dual purpose for Mendoza, as it marks the age that he began losing his eyesight to juvenile macular degeneration.

Mendoza’s condition has eroded away most of his central vision, leaving him with what he describes as ‘kaleidoscope eyes.’ But it’s through this lens that Mendoza, who graduated from the individualized studies program at NMSU in 1978, is allowed to create his unique works.

“I’m what they would consider an “abstract artist,” said Mendoza. “Mostly because of my partial blindness, I’m not able to paint in much detail. So my art itself becomes very abstract, very colorful, and ‘whimsical,’ as it has been described.”

The art featured in the collection was narrowed down from a previous exhibit, ’26 Visions,’ which was put on display in September 2018 at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in New York City. It was this display that caught the attention of UCLA’s School of Dentistry, which requested a similar selection of work to be displayed on their first and third floors.

To celebrate the installment of this new collection, a reception in Mendoza’s honor will take place at the UCLA School of Dentistry on Monday, April 9.

In addition to his contributions to the art world, Mendoza is a championship runner, having competed twice in the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes Olympics. He has also written multiple books, and served as an illustrator for the children’s book ‘Colors of the Wind,’ which tells the story of how he thrived as an athlete and artist during the onset of his condition.

“At this stage – I’ve done it all,” said Mendoza. “I’ve been in two world Olympics, written two books, had two movies based on me, my idea is to share my life story to give hope, especially to those blind people who think they can’t do anything. This collection serves as both a thing of beauty and potential source of inspiration at the same time, and that’s kind of my goal right now as an artist.”

Two of Mendoza’s previous pieces, ‘Desert Splash’ and ‘When We Dance,’ are currently on display on the second floor of Domenici Hall at the NMSU campus.

Author: Matthew Legarreta – NMSU

NMSU early childhood education online master’s program ranked among best in the country

The online early childhood education master’s program at New Mexico State University has been named among the top 20 such programs in the country, according to an online ranking site that researches graduate programs in the U.S.

The website also found the NMSU program to be among the most advanced studies, said Barbara Montgomery, the site’s program recognition manager.

“This speaks to the amazing work that the program is doing and demonstrates to our 100,000 monthly visitors that the program provides quality education that can help students with their career aspirations,” Montgomery said.

The NMSU online early childhood education master’s program, housed in the College of Education’s School of Teacher Preparation, Administration and Leadership, ranked 19th among 50 universities ranked by the website.

The site states NMSU “provides students with advanced studies to improve their knowledge and skills in early childhood education. This program prepares students for advanced practice in teacher education and gives them the skills to work with families, program management and other areas related to early childhood development.”

“What an honor for our university,” said Susan Brown, interim dean of the College of Education. “I am so proud of our wonderful faculty and staff who are responsible for this award.”

In November, the website also ranked the Education Administration program as the best for multicultural leadership careers. That program is also housed in the School of Teacher Preparation, Administration and Leadership.

For a complete list of ranked schools, visit their website.

NMSU TRIO Upward Bound programs receive STEM grants

All three TRIO Upward Bound programs at New Mexico State University have received supplementary awards from the U.S. Department of Education for approximately $120,000 for STEM programming.

NMSU’s Las Cruces Public Schools/Gadsden Independent School District, Alamogordo Public Schools and Hatch Valley Public Schools TRIO Upward Bound programs each received approximately $40,000 to include additional science, technology, engineering and mathematics components into the program’s curriculum.

Upward Bound is a federally funded TRIO program, which is comprised of eight programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their precollege performance and in their higher education pursuits.

Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families, and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.

The Las Cruces/Gadsden program serves 90 students from five target high schools (Las Cruces, Mayfield, Oñate, Gadsden and Santa Teresa), while 60 students are supported at both Hatch Valley and Alamogordo.

“STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy and enables the next generation of innovators,” said Rosa De La Torre-Burmeister, TRIO Upward Bound program director. “STEM is the future, and as educators it is our responsibility to prepare the leaders of tomorrow to have the knowledge, skills and abilities by providing curriculum that allows for STEM computational thinking and project-based learning. This award is allowing each one of the programs to expand our collaborations and partnerships outside of the classroom.”

The Las Cruces/Gadsden TRIO Upward Bound program in collaboration with NMSU’s College of Business and Department of Accounting and Information Systems Assistant Professor Rajaa Shindi will begin including STEM projects in its Saturday sessions this spring semester, which prepares the students for the summer sessions.

Phase one of the collaboration will prepare the students to develop projects while applying STEM methods to a community service donation project in conjunction with TRIO day February 23.

Phase two of the collaboration allows students to explore the integration of computational thinking for structuring and processing their learning through extraordinary experiences in STEM. At the end of the summer, students will deliver their projects as a scientific research and business proposal.

“This isn’t about just knowing the material in a given STEM domain; it’s also about the breadth of a student’s education,” Shindi said. “We all hear it. Computational thinking, problem solving and critical thinking are vital 21st-century skills. At the college level, we need to be aligned with what’s happening in technology, where so many aspects of professions are rapidly changing and improving. Our students will need to be adaptive in order to succeed.”

The STEM initiatives at Hatch Valley have included students creating a digital portfolio, learning how to code using Java and developing digital media projects during the academic year, according to Lourdes Ambriz, TRIO Upward Bound program director for Hatch Valley.

In the summer, she hopes to include STEM projects such as a cybersecurity camp at New Mexico Tech, STEM camp at NMSU’s Las Cruces campus and a partnership with the Bureau of Land Management.

At Alamogordo’s TRIO Upward Bound program, students are taking a computer science course during the Saturday sessions with a focus on Java programming using Alice, an innovative programming environment that makes it easy to create animation for telling a story. The course is designed to be a student’s first exposure to object-oriented programming.

During the academic year, other STEM activities include participation in the Challenger Learning Center of Las Cruces’ Lunar Quest Mission, learning about the science behind laser tag systems and hands-on experiments involving the physics of flight with wind tunnels, according to Toni Dixon, TRIO Upward Bound program director for Alamogordo.

Along with summer STEM camps, Dixon hopes to expose students to professional careers through work-study partnerships with STEM-related industries.

For more information on the NMSU Upward Bound Program visit

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

NMSU’s $5.8m Grant Renewal Expands on 16 Years of Advancement in Cancer Research

New Mexico State University’s Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research (PACR) received a $5.8 million grant renewal from the National Cancer Institute to continue its efforts to bridge cancer health disparities in underserved communities.

The collaboration between NMSU and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle (commonly known as ‘Fred Hutch’ or ‘The Hutch’) has received more than $30 million in grants, shared equally since 2002.

Together, the partnership is diversifying the community of scientists underrepresented in cancer, cancer health and biomedical research by supporting programs for students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty. Partner institutions aim to grow and support the number of highly trained underrepresented students to have the skills and knowledge to fill cancer research positions throughout the nation and increase outreach efforts on cancer awareness and education to underserved populations in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest.

“I joined the team over 15 years ago and have seen the impact of the opportunities this partnership creates for NMSU students, faculty and staff,” said PACR’s new Lead Program Director and NMSU biology professor Graciela A. Unguez.

“In this new cycle, we plan to continue improving the training of our students and junior faculty, while also building on our past success with community outreach to increase cancer screening – especially among the underserved in this region. This is a great opportunity for NMSU to be bold.”

In the last 16 years, NMSU and Fred Hutch have trained nearly 700 students and 84 postdoctoral researchers and faculty in cancer-related research.

Reducing the cancer incidence and mortality rates of underserved populations requires multidisciplinary efforts involving teams of diverse investigators. The collaborative program between Fred Hutch, a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, and NMSU, a minority-serving institution, has allowed the two organizations to work together in a successful collaboration for 16 years.

The new five-year cycle includes two pilot projects and two full research projects that will run for three years and focus on health disparity issues in underserved populations.

The projects will address topics such as diagnostic biases in predicting breast cancer risk, understanding social determinants of health, promoting healthy eating and gardening in Navajo families and efficacy of education programs for Hispanic mothers diagnosed with cancer. After three years, PACR will select additional projects to pursue for the remainder of the grant cycle.

The partnership is impacting the region through culturally relevant outreach programs designed for largely Hispanic and Native American populations. Recent efforts include educational and screening programs on colorectal and breast cancer, as well as programs centered around nutrition and wellness.

Through participation in health fairs and regional events, as well as training community groups on cancer screening and evidence-based practices, the collaboration has impacted more than 10,000 community members in New Mexico and West Texas by providing cancer and health education, access to outreach programs, cancer screening kits and more.

A key element of the collaboration’s continued success is the inclusion of faculty, staff and students from a wide variety of disciplines in research and academia. The partnership engages individuals from the Cooperative Extension Service and five of the six colleges at NMSU: agricultural, consumer and environmental sciences, arts and sciences, business, engineering and health and social services.

As a testament to PACR’s success, many program participants are continuing their research outside of the partnership in positions locally and across the United States. Current and previous program participants have accrued more than $24 million in additional funding for cancer-related research since 2007.

The funding comes from a large, comprehensive grant called the U54. With this $5.8 million, five-year renewal, Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research: NMSU and Fred Hutch will continue working towards creating lasting impacts for underrepresented communities.

For more information on the work of the Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research visit or call (575) 646-5104.

Info graphic shows impacts of the impacts of the Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research over the past 16 years. (Graphic courtesy Kaitlin Englund)

Author: Kaitlin Englund – NMSU

NMSU to Award Bachelor’s, Advanced Degrees During Fall Commencement

More than 1,200 New Mexico State University students are projected to participate in the fall commencement ceremony.

Commencement weekend will begin the evening of Friday, December 7, with a hooding ceremony for doctoral candidates at the Pan American Center at 6 p.m.

Following that, students receiving their bachelor’s and master’s degrees will be honored Saturday, December 8.

The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. and candidates from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, College of Engineering and College of Health and Social Services will be recognized.

NMSU will recognize Ramakrishna and Ammu Devasthali as the honorary degree recipients during Friday’s ceremony.

Additionally, 456 associate degrees and 171 certificates will be conferred to students graduating from NMSU Dona Ana Community College, NMSU Alamogordo, NMSU Carlsbad and NMSU Grants this fall.

The Pan American Center will open one hour prior to each ceremony. Tickets are not required. Graduates should check in east of the Pan Am in Lot 32.

Arrowhead Drive between Triviz Drive and Stewart Street along the Pan Am will be closed during commencement. Graduates and the general public should park in the lots to the north and east of the Pan Am, with handicapped parking to the north and northeast of the building.

For family and friends who cannot make it out to the commencement ceremonies, Information & Communication Technologies Video Services will be live streaming them via this link.

Media covering the event should park in the south lot and obtain a media pass in the tent located in Lot 32, east of the Pan Am.

For more information about the commencement ceremony, visit the website.

A total of 1,270 candidates at NMSU’s main campus will receive the following degrees:

– Associate degree: 4
– Bachelor’s degree: 918
– Master’s degree: 287
– Doctoral degree: 61

The following number of degrees will be awarded from each college:

– Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences: 107
– Arts and Sciences: 367
– Business: 120
– Education: 76
– Engineering: 183
– Health and Social Services: 69
– Graduate School: 348

Author: Melissa R. Rutter – NMSU

$2.1M Software Donation Furthers NMSU Geoscientists’ Research

A key part of many fields such as oil and gas exploration, mining, gas storage, carbon sequestration and geothermal energy development is being able to predict what is under the Earth’s surface.

New Mexico State University faculty and students will now be able to use cutting-edge techniques to analyze the subsurface structure of the Earth thanks to a donation of software worth more than $2.1 million from Petroleum Experts, Inc.

“We are very excited that our faculty and staff will have access to the Move software package,” said Nancy McMillan, Regents professor and department head of NMSU’s Department of Geological Sciences. “We appreciate the donation from Petroleum Experts, Inc. This will allow us to apply state-of-the-art methods of structural analysis for teaching and research.”

Reed Burgette, assistant professor of geological sciences, initiated the request for the software, and is coordinating the use of the Move software suite following the donation from Petroleum Experts, Inc.

“This software gives NMSU students the opportunity to learn skills relevant to employment in a variety of sectors,” said Burgette. “It allows users to construct 2D cross-sections as well as 3D models using available surface and subsurface geologic observations.”

A geometric model of the deformed crust can be restored to an un-deformed state to test for compatibility of the model with principles of structural geology and to understand the history of deformation through time. Additional modules of the program permit analysis of the relationships between faults and fractures and stress and strain in the deformed crust.

NMSU geological sciences faculty and students conducting research on tectonics – large-scale processes affecting the structure of the Earth’s crust – will use the software to understand the history of active and past deformation in diverse settings, including the Rio Grande rift of southern New Mexico, the Transverse Ranges of southern California and the Tien Shan Mountains of Central Asia.

“The Move software will enable faculty and students to pursue new directions in research at NMSU,” said Burgette. “This will be a great opportunity for our students to work with the kinds of 3D modeling tools they will be expected to master once they graduate and are in the workforce.”

Author: Minerva Baumann – NMSU

NMSU Announces 5-year, $4m Grant Renewal for New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation

The New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation has received a five-year, $4 million grant renewal from the National Science Foundation for 2018-2023.

New Mexico State University is the lead institution for the statewide program that was created in 1993.

New Mexico AMP helps underrepresented minority students in the state with activities designed to increase student recruitment, retention and graduation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program also supports academic and professional development of underrepresented STEM students.

“This continued funding allows us to continue the programs we’ve been successful with, and to better understand what makes them work. We continually assess our programs so that we can make them as effective as possible,” said J. Phillip King, New Mexico AMP director and civil engineering professor at NMSU.

With the newest funding from the NSF STEM Pathways and Research Alliances, New Mexico AMP will include a new social sciences component. Social science experts will increase the availability of contexts and opportunities for experiences that promote the development of a positive academic and scientific identity. The social science component will broadly disseminate learning from a rigorous, mixed methods social science research project and translation into practices for New Mexico AMP and to encourage change in STEM education, King said.

“The NM Alliance for Minority Participation has a long track record of great work to create opportunities for students to pursue careers in STEM disciplines – and in supporting students as they embark on that journey,” said Richard L. Wood, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of New Mexico.

“Equally important, NM AMP systematically reaches out to students who sometimes have been excluded or have excluded themselves from considering such careers. This will help UNM and all of New Mexico’s universities be part of creating the pipeline American society needs, of diverse leaders comfortable collaborating with people from all kinds of backgrounds. That the National Science Foundation recognizes this good work with the new grant only confirms what we know from experience: this work matters for our students and for the future we will all share.”

Since New Mexico AMP was established, the number of bachelor degrees in STEM fields for underrepresented minority students has more than tripled from 253 in 1992-1993 to 858 in 2015-2016. The percentage of bachelor degrees in STEM fields awarded to underrepresented minority students doubled from 24 to 48 percent during that period as well.

Approximately 1,500 students in New Mexico are served through outreach, mentoring, tutoring, bridge programs, undergraduate research, learning communities, professional development workshops and presentation events.

While NMSU is the lead institution, the New Mexico AMP partnership has seven university partners: Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Highlands University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Northern New Mexico College, University of New Mexico and Western New Mexico University; and seven community college partners; Central New Mexico College, Luna Community College, NMSU-Alamogordo, NMSU-Carlsbad, NMSU-Dona Ana Community College, Santa Fe Community College and San Juan Community College.

Author:  Tiffany Acosta – NMSU


A public screening at New Mexico State University of ‘ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS’ will highlight the impact of art in AIDS activism and advocacy.

The event will be free and open to the public and held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. November 30 at the Creative Media Institute theatre on the NMSU campus located at 2915 McFie Circle.

This event is a co-presentation between the University Art Gallery, Department of Art, CMI and Gender and Sexuality Studies at NMSU.

An estimated 1.8 million new infections have been reported in 2017 alone and the arts play an imperative role informing communities of the most current HIV/AIDS epidemic crisis according to Marisa Sage, director of the NMSU art gallery.

The showing will tell short stories from six community organizations and collectives – ACT UP NY, Positive Women’s Network, Sero Project, The SPOT, Tacoma Action Collective and VOCAL NY. The program represents a wide range of organizational strategies, from direct action to grassroots service providers to nation-wide movement building, while considering the role of creative practices in activist responses to the ongoing AIDS crisis.

Introducing ‘ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS’ will be Sage, Laura Anh Williams, associate professor of interdisciplinary studies, and Catherine Jonet, associate professor of interdisciplinary studies, in collaboration with Amy Lanasa and Evan Curtis from the CMI and the students of CMI 303 Cinema Review.

“Many of our students are at the age where they should be having realistic conversations about HIV/AIDS, but they feel the epidemic does not affect them, or they are too uncomfortable to have the conversation,” Sage said.”Arts and artists have and continue to play a fundamental role in shaping broader societal understandings of HIV and working within communities like Las Cruces to show that everyone can be impacted by the virus: straight, queer and trans people, people who are old and young, people who use drugs, sex workers, people of color and indigenous peoples.”

For more information on free parking you can visit NMSU’s Website. To view art work associated with ‘ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS’ visit the visualaids website.

Author: Victoria Balderrama – NMSU

NMSU hosts “Indigenous Symposium: Water Protection” November 14-15

In celebration of November as Native American Heritage Month, the University Museum at New Mexico State University will host a symposium bringing together Indigenous water protectors to share their perspectives and their work protecting water in a growing international water crisis.

The events surrounding ‘Indigenous Symposium: Water Protection,’ will be held Nov.14-15 and will give an opportunity for the indigenous leaders to share stories and solutions to protect water resources. All events are free and open to the public. They are also bilingual.

The symposium will feature Jose Gomez, a Maya Mam Indigenous Water Defender from Guatemala currently on tour in the western United States to meet with other indigenous leaders and activists fighting to protect their waters.

“As Indigenous people, creating international links with communities from other countries strengthens our struggle for the protection and stewardship of our common resources,” Gómez said. “Solidarity helps us acquire information about, and intervene in, the capitalist system’s plans against our people.”

Gómez is also the co-coordinator of the Association of Communities for Development and the Defense of Land and Natural Resources (ACODET) which is a coalition of Indigenous communities in Guatemala’s rural Ixcán region that has used grassroots organizing to halt construction on the Xalalá project – a mega-dam that, if built, would flood multiple communities and have a devastating impact on life in the region.

The opening ceremony will be held on Wednesday Nov, 14th from 9-10 a.m. outdoors near the Corbett Center and will feature NMSU anthropology professor Don Pepion and the Piro Dancers. That evening, Gómez will give a presentation from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the Branigan Cultural Center.

Multiple events are scheduled for Thursday, November 15. The first is an unveiling of the Water Protector Mural at 4:00 p.m. with Barricade Culture Shop and Murals of Las Cruces at 1305 East University Avenue.

The Indigenous Water Protector Panel will follow from 5:30 – 7 p.m. in the College of Health and Social Services Auditorium, Room 101A. This event features six Indigenous water protectors who will discuss their work and experiences.

The celebration will continue at the University Museum with the ‘Water is Life Celebration’ from 7-9 p.m. with music, dance, Indian tacos and more. It will feature performances by the dance group Danza Omecoatl, Artson, Native American Music Award winner, and a local band Papayas con Chile

There will also be a silent auction of art by Ome, Francella, and Saba, with proceeds benefitting ACODET, as well as two Indigenous art installations on view in the museum: ‘Pictograff: The Art of War Prayer’ and ‘Live Long and Prosper: Sci-fi Images in Contemporary Indigenous Art.”

New Mexico State University, in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, invites everyone to the “Indigenous Symposium: Water Protection” on Nov. 14-15. (Courtesy Photo) NOV18

Author:  Victoria Balderrama – NMSU

NMSU Master’s Accelerated Degree Program Allows Students to Take Graduate Courses while Pursuing Undergrad Degree

New Mexico State University’s Honors College and Graduate School are giving top students the chance to take Graduate School for a test drive while still pursuing their undergrad degree through the Master’s Accelerated Program.

Select students will be permitted to enroll in graduate-level classes and if they remain at NMSU for graduate studies their credits will roll over into their graduate degree.

Not every department is able to participate and it is up to the departments to determine a student’s eligibility. The minimum GPA needed to apply for a Master’s Accelerated degree program is a 3.0, the same requirement for admission to grad programs, but departments can choose to use more rigorous criteria.

Students who have completed 60 credit hours of classes may apply for the MAP and once accepted, students must submit to Graduate School their approved course list for the classes each semester. Students completing the graduate level course with a B or better can have that count toward a graduate degree.

Dean of the Honors College Miriam Chaiken said she sees many students beginning their undergraduate studies with college credits earned while in high school.

“For those students entering college with credits they have accumulated through AP or dual credit classes, they have the flexibility to include some graduate-level classes in their undergraduate program,” Chaiken said.

Students will be able to take a maximum of 12 graduate credits while pursuing their undergrad degree and 6 of those credits can be counted as honors credits to go toward graduation with the University Honors recognition. The MAP option allows students to triple dip, earning credits that count toward their undergraduate degree, Honors and graduate program.

“From the point of view of the student, this is a great opportunity, they show prospective graduate programs that they are capable of graduate level work, and they get these credits to count toward graduating with University Honors,” Chaiken said.

Daniel Estupinan, a business major, is currently taking graduate classes through MAP and said it has provided him with many opportunities, including being able to gain admission to the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program at the University of California – Berkeley.

“The Master’s Accelerated Program gave me an opportunity to explore my interests in educational leadership using the unique skills and perspectives I have acquired while studying Finance. This experience proved highly valuable during my participation in the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship at UC Berkeley, where I explored the role of public finance in promoting greater equity in public education,” Estupinan said.

Estupinan was also recently invited by the Harvard Graduate School of Education to visit Harvard and meet with some of their faculty members and graduate students. Harvard University is paying for the whole experience and Estupinan said he believes his participation in the MAP is what helped set him on this journey.

MAP is currently available through some departments and Chaiken suggests that interested students should meet with their department heads to discuss this possibility.

The Honors College will also host a workshop for interested students about the Master’s Accelerated Program on Nov. 7 at 3:30 p.m. in the Commons Room. Chaiken said they hope to significantly grow the number of participants in the MAP in the coming year, as it opens up many opportunities for students.

Author: Melissa R. Rutter – NMSU

NMSU Develops New Food Science, Human Nutrition Ph.D. Program

A new Ph.D. program being developed at New Mexico State University will give students the opportunity to earn a doctoral degree in food science and human nutrition, and will benefit New Mexico-based food processors and human nutrition organizations through innovative research.

The program will be the first of its kind in New Mexico and one of a few in the United States that combine food science and human nutrition into a single Ph.D. program, said Efren Delgado, assistant professor in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department in NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

“Our dream with this program is to make it a leading program for food safety, innovation in research, and teaching and outreach in food science and human nutrition,” said Delgado, who has been spearheading efforts to develop the new program over the past year.

“It will be a strong program with an emphasis on innovative research that will contribute to the economic and social development in the region,” Delgado added. “Our research within the program will directly impact the citizens of New Mexico through direct cooperation with food-processing companies and human nutrition organizations.”

According to Delgado, companies in the food industry expressed support for a Ph.D. program in the Southwest region that focused on food science and human nutrition.

“In our talks with private food-processing companies, there was a strong need for specialists in food science technology, as well as a need to bring people from other states to work for the companies,” he said.

Currently, Delgado said, there are only six Ph.D. programs in the nation that combine food science and human nutrition.

At NMSU, student interest in a such a doctoral program also has been increasing, Delgado said. While NMSU offers master’s programs in both fields of study, the university lacks Ph.D. programs in those areas, meaning students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in either field took part in programs in other departments but had to be co-advised by the Family and Consumer Sciences Department, or they left NMSU for other universities.

“This program will increase our number of graduate students in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department,” he said.

This fall, the program will go to the university for approval, then it will go to the New Mexico Higher Education Department for final approval, Delgado said. While the approval process can vary in length, Delgado remains optimistic that the program’s first cohort of students could begin their coursework as soon as the fall 2019 semester.

Delgado anticipates that the program will take about three years to complete.

As part of the program, students will work directly with NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service, the research-based outreach arm of the College of ACES that has a presence in all 33 counties in New Mexico, and take classes taught by Extension agents.

“These classes will allow students to go out into the communities, to the producers, and see what their needs are,” Delgado said. “We want the students to see that their research can help others.”

Delgado also sees additional benefits in having the program based along the U.S.-Mexico border, considering the newly revamped trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

“This will likely intensify the import of food products from Mexico, and the Ph.D. program will support the trade,” he said.

The program also will benefit from three proposed projects by the College of ACES that will be funded through general obligation bonds totaling $25 million, Delgado said.

If approved by voters in November, the funds will be used to construct three new facilities at NMSU’s Las Cruces campus: food science security and safety facility, animal nutrition and feed manufacturing facility and biomedical research center.

The new facilities, Delgado said, will offer a state-of-the-art working and research environment for the new Ph.D. program. For detailed information about the Family and Consumer Sciences Department, visit the FCS website.

Author: Carlos Andres Lopez – NMSU

Report Values Economic Impact of NMSU’s College of ACES at $266 Million

An independent report examining the work of New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences calls the college, its Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service systems “a unique and valuable resource for New Mexico.”

The report, produced by consultants from TEConomy Partners of Columbus, Ohio, notes that “together, ACES, the Experiment Station System, Extension and academic programs represent a uniquely pragmatic system, designed to meet very real needs across the state for knowledge and actionable information and dedicated to imparting the skills required to put knowledge into action for the betterment of New Mexico’s economy and society.”

“This study quantifies the impacts of ACES in New Mexico, a very important step in the understanding of the value that NMSU brings to New Mexico’s agriculture and consumer well-being,” said Rolando A. Flores, dean of the College of ACES. “In times when budgets are tight due to strong economic pressures, the importance of educating students and all New Mexicans on the value of agriculture for the present and future is extremely critical, this study brings more light on the effectiveness of ACES in teaching, research and Extension as part of the land-grant role.”

The ACES system was found to be generating substantial economic benefits for New Mexico and New Mexicans. The report summarizes more than 70 programs and initiatives at ACES having strong impacts on the state.

Just six examples of work in advancing New Mexico’s important agricultural economy were found to generate positive impacts exceeding $190 million annually in the state. Overall, it is estimated that the full range of work by the college, Experiment Station and Extension Systems, just in terms of benefits to the state’s agricultural economy, probably exceeds $266 million in economic impact annually, supporting over 2,650 jobs with labor income of almost $76 million.

Similarly, work by ACES focused on improving the health of New Mexicans, and positive outcomes for youth, are illustrated in the report, with impacts upwards of $41.7 million annually highlighted. The report notes that “it is clear that the diverse work of NMSU ACES in research and the focused work to deploy research findings into action across New Mexico undertaken by Extension is having large-scale and wide-ranging economic and societal benefits across the state.”

“The mission of the Cooperative Extension Service is to provide the citizens of New Mexico with practical, research-based knowledge and programs that improve their quality of life,” said Jon C. Boren, associate dean and director of the Cooperative Extension Service. “The Cooperative Extension Service reaches about a third of New Mexico’s nearly 2 million residents through non-formal education programs in each of the state’s 33 counties. These programs not only improve the quality of life of New Mexicans but also improve community development across the state.”

The report highlights the benefits of gaining higher education through the college’s degree programs. It notes that recent bachelor’s degree graduates are expected to earn $11,761 above the median state wage and that the most recent graduating class from ACES (comprising 333 students with bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees) are anticipated collectively to earn over $171 million more over the course of their working lives versus those with lower levels of educational credentials.

The report measures the impact of the expenditures of ACES, the Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension system in New Mexico, noting that these operations generated a total expenditure impact in New Mexico of $132.3 million for FY2016/17 and supported 1,204 jobs with a labor income of $65.4 million. NMSU Cooperative Extension expenditures account for 451 jobs and $49.9 million of the economic output, while the Experiment Station system accounts for 551 jobs and $62.7 million in output.

Given the importance to demonstrate the economic impact of the College of ACES, TEConomy was commissioned to provide an outside review of the economic and functional impact to New Mexico. TEConomy has a proven track record in advanced economic and functional impact assessments.

TEConomy has evaluated the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and conducted impact assessments for multiple colleges of agriculture, experiment station systems, and/or Extension services in the U.S. including those at Ohio State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Nebraska and University of Missouri.

In the report, TEConomy points out that “knowledge, and its twin, innovation, are at the heart of modern economic and societal progress. Knowledge underpins both individual and collective prospects for success in an increasingly complex and competitive global economy.”

The report highlights that the NMSU ACES system “forms a knowledge production and education system that not only serves the academic community and students enrolled at NMSU, but also one that rather uniquely applies its knowledge to benefit the broader economy, society, communities, families and individuals across New Mexico through the proactive work of Cooperative Extension.”

Every New Mexican can access NMSU ACES through Extension, gaining insight into diverse topics in farming, ranching, value-added industrial activity, natural resources, environmental sciences, community development, economic development, family and consumer science, youth development and a variety of additional fields of importance.

The report comes to the following conclusions:

While NMSU, as a Land-Grant University, has its origins in legislation originally written in 1862 (and the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1887, and Extension legislation in 1914), the Land-Grant vision embodied in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), its Experiment Station System and Cooperative Extension Service is as relevant today as it has ever been. Research, education, and the ability to put knowledge into action to enhance the economy is absolutely key to economic success in a highly competitive global economy. As this study illustrates, the three-component ACES system at NMSU is on the frontlines in these arenas, working to secure New Mexico”s current and future economic position, resiliency and success. At the same time, ACES is doing much more – undertaking work to protect New Mexico’s water and natural resources, to help families and individuals reach their full potential, and build healthy and productive communities across the state. It is found that the ACES system, while headquartered at NMSU in Las Cruces, is truly a statewide asset- providing benefits to all in the state and great promise for many more benefits into the future. By supporting the College, the Experiment Station System and Extension Service, governments at the federal, state and county levels are investing in the future sustainability, health and prosperity of New Mexico and New Mexicans, and this investment clearly demonstrates strong returns.

The full report is available for download via this link.

Author: Darrell J. Pehr – NMSU

Arrowhead Center’s Foster Innovation Exchange Aids Regional Entrepreneurs

On any given day, Richard Guadalupe McDonald, a Las Cruces biomedical researcher and former Army captain, has dozens of ideas for new and life-changing technologies running around his head.

Most recently, he’s been focused on a small device that he hopes will save military and civilian lives by providing a safer way to enhance visibility under dangerous conditions.

The only problem? Creating a prototype through the private sector to show to potential investors or other scientists for collaboration would cost at least $15,000 to $25,000, he estimates.

“I’m not Boeing,” McDonald said. “I can’t spend that much on each iteration of a prototype for this project.”

That’s where an initiative that rolled out last fall at Arrowhead Center, the entrepreneurship and innovation hub at New Mexico State University, comes in. Known as the Foster Innovation Exchange, or FIX, the initiative is funded by a $1 million gift in 2017 from Paul and Alejandra De La Vega Foster of El Paso, given as part of NMSU’s $125 million Ignite Aggie Discovery fundraising campaign.

FIX has two flagship programs – Community Entrepreneurship Partnerships and Product Design Awards. Zetdi Sloan, director of FIX, said the overarching goal of the programs is to create a space where innovative student- and community-based projects and partnerships can take shape.

“We’ve designed FIX to bring together researchers, students, industry, government and community into new collaboration opportunities that will help address some of the challenges that face the Borderplex region,” Sloan said.

McDonald received a FIX Product Design Award, allowing him to work with Arrowhead Center’s computer-assisted design team of engineering students, which helped him produce a 3-D printed prototype of his device’s exterior and advised him on how to purchase and integrate the technology’s micro-electronic components to create a prototype for under $200.

The new prototype represents a leap forward on McDonald’s path to publishing about the technology in an appropriate peer-reviewed journal and making it openly available worldwide.

“It takes that mountain out of the way: “Oh, this is impossible.” That’s the biggest hurdle,” he said. “You can actually move forward on your path. Often that’s the hurdle –  you need to show somebody something. Not a napkin drawing. When they can see and touch a prototype, you’ve already got their attention.”

Next up, he’ll be working with the team on miniaturizing the components and exploring what additional micro-instruments or features could potentially add value to the design.

Help like this is available to companies, inventors and entrepreneurs throughout New Mexico and the Borderplex region through the FIX Product Design Awards. Potential clients can apply for a competitive award of services in a growing list of specialties, including CAD modeling, microelectronics design, prototyping and manufacturing for physical products.

Sloan said the projects chosen for the FIX Product Design Awards are those that have the greatest market feasibility and potential to have an economic impact through job creation in the region. Since the program’s launch last fall, 17 clients have received awards, making them eligible for up to about 50 hours of work from the team. Selected clients work with engineering students to customize their prototype design, while the students gain valuable experience in the process.

Will O’Neill, a senior set to earn his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology in December, said working with the different types of projects he’s seen from clients gives him an edge when applying for future design positions. He’s interested in prototype design as a potential career path, possibly in the military technology or medical fields.

O’Neill said it’s not just the technical skills he’s been honing through his work in the prototyping lab. “Another thing that I’m learning is being able to talk to a customer, and being able to get the information about what they want out of a product,” he said. “You have to be able to get a product idea across clearly so that everyone can understand the concept and what the individual really wants to create.”

Sloan said the other important facet of FIX is enhancing programs to support traditionally underserved populations. FIX is doing that by launching the Foster Community Entrepreneurship Partnerships to offer more opportunities for women, veteran and Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs.

FIX will support expanded programming for Arrowhead Center’s Women Entrepreneurs Mean Business conference, set for spring 2019. Plans for the conference include additional mentorship opportunities and workshops, along with speakers who will explore the conference’s themes of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship.

“Building on our programs that are created to highlight issues that women, veterans and others face is just part of our goal, though,” Sloan said. “We also want to work toward building an environment here in the Borderplex in which the access and opportunities for people who are overlooked in the world of entrepreneurship become more equal. That means making more people aware of the support that’s available for them and instilling a culture in our region that values having these voices in the conversation about economic development.”

Looking ahead, Sloan said FIX will also introduce periodic Innovation Challenges, which will provide a platform for regional companies of all sizes to crowdsource solutions to their critical business, scientific and technical problems by leveraging the power and resources of NMSU’s body of expertise. Companies interested in posing a problem for an upcoming Innovation Challenge can contact Sloan at or 575-646-7833 for more information.

Arrowhead Center director Kathryn Hansen said the support from the Foster family is essential for the work Arrowhead and its partners in the region are doing to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“This support is helping Arrowhead break down some of the barriers to economic growth in the Borderplex region and create on-ramps for underserved entrepreneurs,” Hansen said. “We see this program growing in new directions that support innovation and collaboratively applying our resources to address challenges that industry partners face.”

For more information about the Foster Innovation Exchange, or to apply for a FIX Product Design Award, visit the website.

Author:  Amanda Bradford – NMSU

NMSU’s Pecan Short Course to be Held October 15-18

The 2018 Western Pecan Production Short Course will be held October 15-18, and will be led by New Mexico State University pecan specialist Richard Heerema.

The first three days of the short course will include lectures that will cover as much of the basics of pecan production as possible from the basic biology of the pecan tree to the marketing and economics of pecans.

“We will have lectures covering just about everything pecan-related,” said Heerema, pecan expert in NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

“We will discuss how to select a pecan orchard site, how to modify a site, how to select pecan varieties and all you need to learn up front. Then we will discuss how to plant a pecan orchard, how to take care of an immature pecan orchard to bring it up to establishment and how to manage a mature orchard. Then it will be followed by pruning, irrigation, nutrition and pest and weed management.”

On the last day of class on October 18, attendees will take a field trip to pecan farms in southwest New Mexico and southeast Arizona. The emphasis of the trip will be the different irrigation systems used.

“The field trip will be a little different this year. We’ve decided to make it a full day trip; we’re going to head to Deming then to the Cotton City area in New Mexico and finally to San Simon, Arizona,” Heerema said. “Our emphasis of the trip will be pressurized irrigation systems.”

Heerema said the new pressurized irrigation systems are becoming increasingly important across the state and he would like for the participants to see firsthand the advantages and disadvantages of these systems.

“One advantage to pressurized systems is that they have much higher application uniformity than flood irrigation, but their management could involve other things that aren’t involved in the irrigation system we are used to. There is also a steep learning curve associated with using any new irrigation system,” Heerema said.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided throughout the short course along with a binder of all the talking points from the lectures.

Those wishing to register can visit the website; space will be limited, so register as soon as possible.

Author: Melissa R. Rutter – NMSU

NMSU ‘Global Connections’ Talk to Focus on Experience in Costa Rica

An undergraduate student at New Mexico State University will give the first “Global Connections” presentation of the fall semester about her experiences in Costa Rica.

The talk is scheduled for Wednesday, September 26 in Domenici Hall, Room 102 at 5:30 p.m.  The “Global Connections” series is free and open to the public.

Desiree Sanchez is a junior majoring in physics with a minor in studio art. She went to Costa Rica in an 11-person group in spring 2018 as part of the Aggies Go Global student organization at NMSU.

“My presentation is called “How You Can Travel the World Tomorrow,”she said. “It was my first time out of the country.”

Desiree Sanchez (right) works in a kitchen as part of the trip’s service-learning. (Photo courtesy of Desiree Sanchez.)

This is the seventh year the College of Arts and Sciences has offered its “Global Connections” series, which had featured faculty members’ trips around the world. This fall, the series is including students’ experiences as well.

The purpose is to provide an opportunity for members of the campus and surrounding community to learn about the kind of global first-hand experiences they might never otherwise encounter.

One aspect of the trip was to immerse the students in the Spanish language. The students took Spanish classes each morning before going out to do service work.

“We lived with host families and I stayed with an older woman who only spoke Spanish, so that really challenged me,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez’s efforts to communicate with her host in Spanish made her think she should try as hard to communicate with her own family in Spanish.

“We worked on a coffee farm and learned about sustainability,” Sanchez said. “We worked alongside Nicaraguan workers who worked on this farm carrying bags of compost.”

The students also went white-water rafting in the Río Pacuare.

Pictured here, the students survey the coffee farm, which they worked on alongside Nicaraguan migrant workers. (Photo courtesy of Desiree Sanchez.)

“I hope the audience at my presentation will learn that you don’t have to travel out of the country to have meaningful experiences,” she said.

Over the nine-day trip, Sanchez said, the structure was very similar to how a lot of students live at school: They woke up in the morning to go to Spanish class, then went to work on the coffee farm, then afterward hung out with friends and their host families, and occasionally did activities like the white-water rafting.

“And it was really an incredible trip, but it made me think, “Why can’t I have experiences like this back at home?” Sanchez said.

“And the answer, I think, is you have to live in the moment because the present is all we have. And with this presentation, I’m going to talk about ways people can live in the moment.”

Author: Billy Huntsman – NMSU

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