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Home | Tag Archives: New Mexico State University

Tag Archives: New Mexico State University

NMSU researchers drive agriculture into the future with big data

Researchers in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University are working to solve an array of real-world challenges – from tracking livestock behavior to improving agricultural sustainability and developing artificial intelligence for agriculture – by using big data.

Big data is a loosely defined term for large datasets collected and analyzed by researchers to reveal patterns, trends and associations, and predict behaviors and interactions. Many industries, including agriculture and farming, use big-data and supercomputing methods to identify solutions for some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

“With the world’s population expected to grow to more than 9 billion by 2050, there is an urgent need to produce more food on less land with less water and fewer inputs,” said Natalie Goldberg, College of ACES interim associate dean and director of the Agricultural Experiment Station.

“The ability to collect enormous amounts of data is a reality,” Goldberg added. “Big data science moves that information to data analysis, machine learning, the development of decision-making tools, and the use of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, including robotics. Implementation of big data science into agriculture will move technology development into solutions that will help solve some of agriculture’s most complex problems.”

By implementing big data and emerging technologies, Goldberg said, agricultural producers can maximize efficient farming and ranching,

Hormat Shadgou Rhein, a Ph.D. student of Micro Biology, look over large datasets in the Randall Lab with Jennifer Randall, a professor in the Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science. August 22, 2019. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

save water, reduce chemical use, solve labor problems, and reduce food waste and contamination.

Currently, 10 faculty members in the College of ACES and the Jornada Experimental Range are leading collaborative research efforts that utilize big data and supercomputing.

Derek Bailey, a professor in the Department of Animal and Range Science, is using GPS tracking and other sensors to monitor the welfare, productivity and sustainability of cattle and sheep on rangelands.

“Our lab is testing real-time and near real-time GPS tracking systems, accelerometer ear tags and other sensors that have promise for use by ranchers,” said Bailey, who has been tracking cattle since 1998. “We combine these on-animal sensors with satellite imagery to simultaneously monitor forage resources and livestock behavior. Our group is working with animal breeding scientists at Colorado State University to identify genetic markers associated with cattle movement patterns grazing rugged rangelands.”

Bailey also plans to develop genomic-based breeding values for cattle terrain use. This will allow ranchers to select animals that use steep slopes and roam areas far from water sources, which are typically avoided. His goal, he said, is to use GPS tracking, sensor monitoring, satellite imagery and genomics to develop “precision livestock management” systems – an approach that requires collecting, processing and analyzing large datasets.

“In the past, we could rely on conventional software and desktop computers,” Bailey said. “With technical improvements of sensors and associated reductions in equipment price, we can now track entire herds of cattle and collect movement data from accelerometers at a rate of 24 hertz.”

In future studies, Bailey hopes to start using drones to collect data. When that time comes, he will join other faculty members, including Niall Hanan, who are already using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in their research.

Hanan, a professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, and his research group are working on environmental and ecological data analysis using cloud-based computing as well as the high-performance computing facilities available at NMSU.

“Our work includes analysis of satellite imagery using Google Earth Engine to better understand vegetation change in the drylands of the southwestern United States, Africa and globally,” Hanan explained. “We also carry out computer-intensive analysis of UAV images and terrestrial lidar data to derive detailed three-dimensional vegetation structure information relevant to the productivity of shrublands in the southwestern U.S. and globally,” he added.

Lara Prihodko, a college associate professor in the Department of Animal and Range Science, works with very large datasets in her research centered on regional and global-scale ecology. Two of her current projects include mapping and modeling tree cover and woody biomass for the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region and modeling regional land surface fluxes, including water, energy and carbon, over the Jornada Basin.

“Our data sets include large geospatial and climate data, such as optical and radar satellite imagery and global climate re-analyses. As satellite systems have developed, data volumes have increased exponentially, Prihodko said, “so we increasingly rely on big-data analysis techniques, high performance computers and cloud computing to process and analyze it.”

Earlier this year, College of ACES Dean Rolando Flores established an interdisciplinary team of 12 researchers from four colleges – ACES, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Business – to collaborate on a white paper focused on developing artificial intelligence for agriculture.

“Over the next several years, these technologies will become increasingly prevalent in farming and ranching operations, which will likely lead to the greatest increase in farming and ranching since mechanization,” Goldberg said. “These problems are complex, and development and implementation of big data and artificial intelligence into agriculture requires researchers from across diverse disciplines to work together for solutions.”

Jennifer Randall, a professor in the Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science, was part of the research group that drafted the white paper. She also oversees research in the Randall Lab, which she founded to focus on the genetic and molecular mechanisms of plant development and plant-microbe interactions.

Randall is specifically interested in pecan development, including the molecular mechanisms involved in floral initiation, nutrient acquisition and salinity tolerance, she said.

“We are working with large RNA-sequencing datasets for gene expression elucidation,” she said, noting the big data methods used by her and her students. “Our lab is involved in many collaborative efforts with pecan trees, including genome sequencing efforts, genome-wide association studies with large data sets for marker development.”

At NMSU, Flores said, scientists and engineers are working together in the College of ACES to solve the challenging problems facing farmers, ranchers and food processors in New Mexico.

“Those problems deal with environmental issues, accentuated by global warming, lack of farm and ranch labor that makes our products more expensive and less competitive in global markets, and a plethora of issues that only advanced science and new technologies can solve in agriculture in the years to come,” he said. “However, the College of ACES has taken the challenge and is getting ready to develop solutions to the problems.”

Author: Carlos Andres Lopez – NMSU

NMSU’s College of ACES Global Initiatives Program hosts Cochran Fellows from Malawi

New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences welcomed eight Cochran Fellows from Malawi, located in southeast Africa to participate in a two-week training program on the commodity exchange market.

The training program, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) is designed to provide the Cochran Fellows an understanding of the basic functioning of exchange markets.

Cochran Fellows had the opportunity to gain a working knowledge of commodity exchange markets and find out more about the development of commodity exchanges for cotton and grain. They were shown how farm producers and other stakeholders in the United States manage risk using hedging and options trading.

The fellows had the opportunity to look at cotton grading system in Las Cruces and storage facilities in Las Cruces and Clovis. The fellows participated in the online options trading exercise, watched a live auction market, and visited local farm production, processing and storage facilities. Additionally, the trainees traveled to Chicago to see the live commodity exchange market.

Manoj Shukla, Coordinator of ACES Global Initiative program and Aggies Go Global, and professor of soil physics led the program with faculty from Agricultural Economics and Ag Business. He said as soon as the FAS releases specific learning objectives for a new program, he looks within the department of ACES to see which one can handle that type of training. Shukla pointed to the Cochran Fellowship as a program that matches the university’s goals and provides many benefits for NMSU.

“A program like this benefits the university in multiple ways. The first way is that we are highly interested in a global partnership with different institutions and universities, so having people from Malawi definitely gives us a chance with their country for other projects,” Shukla said. “We also look forward to getting students from Malawi to attend NMSU and maybe some of their faculty members will come here to do master’s or Ph.D. or would want to collaborate with us on any number of projects.”

Jacob Nyirongo, a Cochran Fellow who works with the Farmers Union of Malawi said they had the opportunity to see how things function at the micro and macro level when it comes to the market and commodity exchange in the United States.

“We’ve been able to meet people from corporations and people who are doing farming and acts of trading, Nyirongo said. “We visited a livestock trading and we were exposed to how they trade and how livestock is auctioned off and how they look at livestock. We got to visit a corporation and see how it connects with the farmers and how they trade. It’s a great experience to be involved with. And here in the classroom we go over the theories with the professors on how everything works. There’s been a lot of information and hands-on experience.”

Andrew Chamanza who works in the Malawi Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water said all the information they learned during the program will be taken back and used to assist in developing a similar system in their country.

“There are a few commodities we’re looking at to help develop a structured system in Malawi,” Chamanza said. “We will be developing our action plans that will go towards accomplishing these goals and strategies and linking them to the issues of finances and how farmers participate in this type of formal market.”

Author: Melissa R. Rutter – NMSU

NMSU staff members received social mobility innovator awards

One of the goals of New Mexico State University’s strategic plan, NMSU LEADS 2025, is to enhance students’ social mobility, which is defined as improving economic status.

Two NMSU staff members recently accepted a national award for the university’s work in this effort. Tony Marin, assistant vice president of student engagement, and Dacia Sedillo, university registrar, accepted the 2019 Social Mobility Innovator award at CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Summit in Portland, Oregon.

According to CollegeNET, the Social Mobility Index measures the extent to which a college or university educates more economically disadvantaged students, with family incomes below the national median, at lower tuition and graduates them into good paying jobs.

“NMSU is committed to serving students seeking higher education to improve their future earnings. Dr. Marin, Ms. Sedillo and so many others have helped NMSU improve our processes to ensure we better serve our students,” said Renay Scott, vice president for student success.

The pair were among 10 student success professionals from six universities honored. Marin and Sedillo participated in roundtable discussions. Marin reinforced the importance of appreciating and serving first-generation students, and Sedillo discussed the vital institutional pride from recruiting and retaining first-generation students.

“We’ve always known the work we do here is important, but to have a measure established at a national level is validation of the work we do every day with our students,” Sedillo said.

“New Mexico State is well poised to position ourselves as a leader of social mobility success. Our students and graduates epitomize the true spirit of this award and the impacts that higher education has on improving the lives of our state, region and nation,” Marin said.

NMSU will host a Social Mobility Summit April 7-8. Sedillo and Luis Vazquez, associate vice president for research and graduate studies, will be the co-chairs for the event.

“How do we continue to move our state forward in addressing many of the things the university wants to address?” Marin said. “We are probably one of the only institutions in the nation that has social mobility as a pillar of our strategic plan, and with the university’s commitment to that comes a responsibility of making sure we are engaging folks from a national, regional, state and institutional level to see what we can do to make New Mexico a better place for its citizens.”

NMSU has a vast network of social mobility initiatives focused on its students and the community. A few examples of social mobility initiatives, outside the daily instruction and student service, include the Hispanic-Serving Institution STEM Resource Hub, TRIO programs, Generaciones and the Young Achievers Forum.

The Resource Hub was funded through a $2.6 million, five-year National Science Foundation grant and is a collaboration with Doña Ana Community College and California State University-Northridge. The goal is to empower student success by helping create strategies and finding resources to improve the quality and outcomes of undergraduate STEM education. NMSU Regents Professor Elba Serrano is the lead principal investigator for NMSU.

Upward Bound, Student Support Services and Student Support Services STEM-H are federally funded TRIO programs. Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families and 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.

Since 1989, NMSU has sponsored the Upward Bound programs in the Gadsden Independent School District and Las Cruces Public Schools, and programs were established in 2017 at Alamogordo High School and Hatch Valley High School. The Upward Bound Programs are administered by Toni Dixon, Rosa De La Torre-Burmeister and Lourdes Ambriz.

The Student Support Services and Student Support Services STEM-H programs serve NMSU students who are low-income, first-generation and students who demonstrate an academic need or are majoring in a STEM-H academic program. The goals of both programs are to foster the success of participants to persist to graduation. The programs are administered by Carol Hicks and Jesslyn Ratliff.

Generaciones is a mother-daughter program for fifth-grade girls and their mothers.

The program is based on research that states that by the fifth grade, it is important that girls have a close, trusting relationship with her mother, personal goals and self-esteem. If these three factors are not in place by the fifth grade, there is an increased chance that the girl will not graduate from high school and continue her education. Chances also increase that the girl will engage in self-destructive behavior that may endanger her future success.

The program is administered by Laura Gutierrez-Spencer, director of Chicano Programs.

The Young Achievers Forum, which will be held at NMSU for the fourth year Feb. 29, brings approximately 500 sixth-grade students and their families from across southern New Mexico to campus.

The goal is to encourage students to pursue a college education after high school. For many students, it’s their first visit to a college campus, and the majority will be the first in their families to pursue higher education.

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

$1 million pledge kickstarts New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium

New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Environment Department were joined this week by state officials from around the country, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency representatives, industry leaders, environmental groups, legislators and others for an event celebrating the creation of the New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium.

The newly created consortium is a public-private partnership designed to help New Mexico in continuing to lead the country in advancing scientific and technological solutions related to the treatment and reuse of produced water generated by the oil and gas industry.

During the event, NGL Energy Partners Executive Vice President of Water Solutions Doug White announced the company would pledge $1 million to the consortium’s efforts.

“It is well-recognized that New Mexico is leading the country in the reuse and recycling of produced water,” said Mike Hightower, program director for the consortium.

Contributions like these from federal government, non-governmental organizations and industry will be used to continue New Mexico’s leadership in filling scientific and technical gaps related to the reuse and treatment of produced water outside of the oil and gas industry.

“We want to be, first of all, scientifically rigorous and at the same time to be inclusive,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “Those two principles will guide how our organizational structure will go. This is exactly where higher education should be – working with all stakeholders to develop a framework for emerging science and technologies and to fill the knowledge gaps necessary to establish science-based policies and rulemaking for reuse and management of produced water.”

The consortium, whose membership will be decided by NMSU, will ensure scientific integrity by using a merit-based peer review process model similar to that used by the National Academies of Science. The research is designed to inform the regulatory process to be conducted by the NMED.

Advances identified and developed as part of the consortium will benefit the state of New Mexico, regional stakeholders and the oil and gas industry. These include the development of a technology framework to guide policy and rulemaking that ensures sustainable management and protection of water resources and opportunities for economic development.

Author: Justin Bannister – NMSU

NMSU’s online sociology graduate program ranked among top five in U.S.

NMSU’s online sociology graduate program ranked among top five in U.S.

Best Colleges.com ranked New Mexico State University’s online master’s degree in sociology third in the nation for 2019. A partner with HigherEducation.com, both organizations focus their ranking system on the quality of programs intended to inform prospective students about the institutions’ rankings so they that can better make decisions about quality and affordability.

“I am very, very proud of it. We work very hard here to provide high quality education for our students,” said David LoConto, sociology professor and department head in the College of Arts and Sciences. “We have been committed to online education since 2003 at the undergraduate level and since 2007 at the graduate level.”

The methodology for BestColleges.com rankings is based on academic and learner support, including admissions and retention rates (50 percent), affordability, including the cost of the program and percentage of students taking out student loans (25 percent) and online programming, including the percentage of graduate programs offered online and the graduate school enrollment (25 percent).

“We have very good faculty in the department that takes higher education seriously. We have a graduate committee that meets and goes over the needs that we have and share them with the dean’s office,” LoConto said.

“Also, we have faculty that are in the prime of their careers. They’re doing research, they’re not just picking up a class here or there to teach online. This is part of the job and so the students are getting high quality instruction from sociologists that are in the front line of doing the work.”

NMSU was considered the most affordable program out of all those ranked. “We are serving the people of New Mexico and the region,” LoConto said. “Affordable education is critical for not only New Mexicans but for everyone.”

For a complete list of the BestColleges.com rankings and methodology, please visit https://www.bestcolleges.com/features/top-online-masters-in-sociology-programs/

Author: Amanda Adame – NMSU

NMSU professor receives grant to increase mental health, substance and opioid abuse services

Eve Adams, New Mexico State University Regents professor and co-interim head of the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology in the College of Education, has received a $906,000 grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to help increase and improve behavioral health services along the U.S.-Mexico border, including services focused on substance and opioid-use disorders.

Adams has received funding for the project for the past 14 years. The additional funding will help Adams continue the project for another three years and expand to include services for substance and opioid-use disorders in areas in need.

“This training grant will allow our Counseling Psychology program to be on the cutting edge of health service psychology training,” Adams said. “By helping our students and our faculty become more proficient in addressing the opioid crisis through team-based care, we are elevating our training and our outreach efforts in the community.”

Adams said counseling psychology doctoral students will learn how to work in interprofessional teams with family medicine and pharmacy residents, nursing doctoral students and masters students in public health, social work and counseling in order to provide “culturally and linguistically competent, integrated, trauma-informed, interdisciplinary team-based care” in behavioral health and substance and opioid-use disorders. A total of 34 students will be involved in the project.

As part of the project, trainees will engage in a 24-hour “interprofessional immersion” experience, which allows them to utilize a trauma-informed, team-based approach to provide substance and opioid-use disorder services to simulated patients commonly seen in primary care settings.

All trainees will provide services in Doña Ana or Luna counties, which are areas in which there is a shortage of health and mental health providers, and bilingual trainees will provide services in Spanish with bilingual supervision. Trainees can also elect to take a mindfulness class in order to enhance their understanding of how mindfulness can be used to prevent and treat substance and opioid-use disorders.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and in 2014 there were more than 14,000 deaths involving prescription opioids.

For more information, click here.

Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

NMSU climate change series to focus on statewide strategies in panel discussion

According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, average annual temperature across the Southwest United States increased 1.6 degrees between 1901 and 2016, and further increases are forecast for the future.

The second event this semester in the New Mexico State University Climate Change Education Seminar Series (NMSUCCESS) is a panel discussion: “New Mexico at the Crossroads: How the State, its Biggest City, and NMSU are Addressing Climate Change.” The discussion will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2 at the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.

Panelists include Sarah Cottrell Propst, Cabinet Secretary for New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department; Kelsey Rader, the City of Albuquerque’s Sustainability Officer; and NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu, former Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“People worldwide have a shrinking amount of time to head off the worst effects of climate change, and this panel discussion will provide insights into the steps that state government and local leaders are taking to meet this challenge,” said Gary Roemer, NMSU Professor of Wildlife Ecology, and one of the series organizers.

Propst is expected to discuss a statewide climate strategy produced by a task force that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham assigned her to co-chair in late January.

“We know all too well states cannot rely on the federal government right now to act responsibly and take the bold action scientists have made clear is needed to prevent calamitous climate change fallout in our lifetimes. It’s up to us,” said Lujan Grisham when announcing the formation of the task force.

Albuquerque was one of 25 cities accepted into a two-year acceleration program to support the city’s effort to dramatically shrink its overall carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices. Rader, the city’s first-ever sustainability officer, will discuss steps Albuquerque is taking to achieve 100 percent use of renewable resources by city operations by 2022, make energy-efficient retrofits of municipal facilities, and shift its light-duty fleet to electric vehicles.

Arvizu will discuss plans, such as NMSU’s partnership with El Paso Electric to establish a three- megawatt solar array on the south side of the main campus that will provide research and educational opportunities in addition to generating renewable energy.

NMSUCCESS will continue the series of climate change talks, which began last year, through the fall and into spring 2020. Future topics will include geo-engineering, mass extinction threats, national and global security concerns and public health impacts.

The series’ goal is to shine light on research and issues related to climate change for a local audience.

Author: Amanda Adame – NMSU

Aggie Shark Tank gearing up to showcase, launch new businesses

The fifth annual Aggie Shark Tank, sponsored by the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship and hosted by Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University, will be held on Thursday, October 3 at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts, 1000 East University Avenue in Las Cruces.

The event allows NMSU student and alumni entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to local and national “sharks” for the chance to gain investment or other types of assistance to help their business grow.

“We’re grateful that there are leaders in business who are willing to share not only their financial investment in our students and alumni, but also crucial advice and connections from their years of experience,” said Carlos Murguia, Arrowhead Center’s Shark Tank manager.

Sisbarro appreciates seeing the new ideas that come out of students and alumni.

“Aggie Shark Tank is one of my favorite things to be involved with,” said Sisbarro. “Since its creation we’ve seen the program grow and the students’ new business ideas really grow and expand. It’s exciting to be a part of it and I look forward to this year’s Shark Tank experience.”

Aggie Shark Tank is open to the public from 4-6:30 p.m. with a reception to follow. Sharks are local investors and nationwide venture capitalists eager to see new businesses, and include Beto Pallares, fund manager of Arrowhead Innovation Fund; Samara Mejia Hernandez, founding partner of Chingona Ventures; Lou Sisbarro, cofounder of Sisbarro Dealerships; and Jason Torres, a healthcare angel investor.

While the audience is not solicited for investment of any kind, it’s a great way to watch and learn about new developments coming from student and alumni startup businesses, and join participants at the reception. Get your free tickets today by registering online.

Learn more about the program by visiting the website. For more information, contact Carlos Murguia at cmurguia@nmsu.edu or 575-646-2025.

Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU

Late NMSU historian’s archive donated to museum

Clarence Fielder, history professor emeritus at New Mexico State University and teacher in Las Cruces Public Schools for more than 50 years who died in 2015 was a much-loved educator.

He was also a passionate preservation advocate who led restoration efforts for Phillips Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.), the first African American Church in Las Cruces.

Now Fielder’s own history will be preserved for future generations when his archive of papers, photographs and videos of his life and the restoration of Philips Chapel are donated to the City of Las Cruces Museum System.

Phillips Chapel Restoration Group will give a public presentation about his life at 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Branigan Cultural Center, 501 N. Main Street.

“Beyond his distinguished career as an educator and his role as a community leader, Clarence was the soul and guiding spirit of the project to restore the oldest extant African American church building in New Mexico,” said Beth O’Leary, NMSU anthropology professor

Late NMSU professor emeritus Clarence Fielder’s archive will be donated to the Las Cruces Museum System. Talk about his life, Phillips Chapel restoration will be presented at 3:30–4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Branigan Cultural Center.

emerita who worked closely with Fielder on the restoration, which was completed in 2014. “Built in 1911, it also served as a school for Black children during the period of segregation in the Las Cruces Public Schools (1925 -1954).”

Fielder led NMSU faculty, students and community volunteers in restoration efforts Philips Chapel was founded by Fielder’s grandfather and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its significance to the African American Community. The church is located at 638 N. Tornillo Street.

“The Clarence H. Fielder Archive will preserve for posterity the record of Clarence’s life, the restoration of Phillips Chapel and the history of the African American Community of Las Cruces,” O’Leary said.

Author:  Minerva Baumann – NMSU

NMSU stabilizes enrollment, posts increase in system headcount

The New Mexico State University system has posted an increase in overall student enrollment numbers – the first such increase since 2010.

“We are very pleased with these topline results, and it clearly shows NMSU has stabilized enrollment and is poised for sustained growth,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “It’s exciting to see so many students and their parents responding to NMSU’s strong appeal. In conversations with new students we consistently hear that they come here because they want a top-tier education with a highly diverse student body at one of the lowest costs in the nation. It’s a great time to be an NMSU Aggie.”

For fall 2019, the NMSU system’s unduplicated headcount was 24,041. NMSU’s Las Cruces campus had a total student headcount of 14,298 up from 2018. In addition, enrollment for NMSU’s Graduate School was also up, reversing a multiple year decline. Notably, NMSU’s community college enrollment also saw year-over-year increases particularly on the Doña Ana and Carlsbad campuses.

In the coming weeks, the university plans to continue analyzing enrollment data, particularly as it relates to student retention, diversity and social mobility.

“No single action made the difference. Instead, many small actions taken by so many people across our campuses to advance our student success goal is the story here,” said NMSU President John Floros. “That’s why it’s important for us to continue to monitor key metrics that drive performance in student success as part of our NMSU LEADS 2025 strategic plan.”

NMSU LEADS 2025 outlines student success and social mobility as its first goal. Objectives for this goal include diversifying, optimizing and increasing system-wide enrollment. Increasing student learning, retention and degree attainment are also priorities. Another key goal is ensuring that the university is fiscally responsible while keeping costs affordable for students.

The NMSU system includes its campuses in Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Grants and around Doña Ana County.

Author: Justin Bannister – NMSU

Magazine: NMSU ranks as national top tier university

According to the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges for 2020 National Universities rankings, New Mexico State University has been recognized as a top tier university for the seventh time in the last eight years.

“Although it’s great to be recognized as a top tier institution, our goal is to become one of the best in the country when it comes to student success and social mobility, research and creativity, and community engagement,” said NMSU President John Floros. “The implementation of our new strategic plan, NMSU LEADS 2025, will assure that we improve in all these categories in the years ahead.”

This year, NMSU is tied for 263 with Old Dominion University, University of Alabama-Huntsville and others. NMSU ranks 134 in top public schools, tied for 134 in undergraduate engineering programs and tied for 195 in undergraduate business programs.

Additionally, NMSU ranks tied for 119 for top performers on social mobility, a new category, and 189 in ethnic diversity.

The methodology for the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings is based on outcomes (35 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), expert opinion (20 percent), financial resources (10 percent), student excellence (10 percent) and alumni giving (five percent).

In the August issue of The Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine, NMSU was recognized on the Top 100 Colleges and Universities for Hispanics list. NMSU ranked 48th in both total enrollment for four-year schools and total graduate degrees granted, master’s and doctoral degrees, using data from the Department of Education (2017).

Additionally, the 2019-2020 Center for World University Rankings rated NMSU in the top four percent of institutions of higher education worldwide. With 20,000 degree-granting institutions of higher education worldwide evaluated, this year NMSU ranked 783rd overall and earned a national rank of 187th.

For a complete list of the U.S. News & World Report rankings, along with the methodology, visit their website.

Author – 

NMSU featured on Top 100 Colleges and Universities for Hispanics

In the August issue of The Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine, New Mexico State University has been recognized on the Top 100 Colleges and Universities for Hispanics list.

NMSU ranked 48th in both total enrollment for four-year schools and total graduate degrees granted, master’s and doctoral degrees, using data from the Department of Education (2017).

In 1989, NMSU was officially designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and at that time at least 25 percent of undergraduate full-time students were Hispanic. As of fall 2018, 57 percent of the undergraduate full-time students at the Las Cruces campus are Hispanic.

Earlier this month, the 2019-2020 Center for World University Rankings rated NMSU in the top four percent of institutions of higher education worldwide.

With 20,000 degree-granting institutions of higher education worldwide evaluated, this year NMSU ranked 783rd overall and earned a national rank of 187th.

To view the Top 100 edition of Hispanic Outlook click here.

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

NMSU’s PSL conducts unmanned aircraft systems detect and avoid tests for FAA

With increased popularity and usage of unmanned aerial systems, commonly referred to as drones, keeping the skies safe is critical. New Mexico State University is part of a team conducting testing to help the Federal Aviation Administration achieve that goal.

As one of the seven FAA-approved Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Sites, NMSU’s Physical Science Laboratory hosted three days of flight testing, July 16-18, for an FAA project, “Task A18: Small UAS Detect and Avoid Requirements Necessary for Limited Beyond Visual Line of Sight Operations: Separation Requirements and Testing” at the Jornada Experimental Range, north of Las Cruces.

“All of this testing is about safety,” said Henry Cathey, NMSU PSL research and development engineering manager. “Flight safety is number one. We want to make sure that folks, who are in aircraft, can fly safety with UAS or drones in the air.”

The flight testing involved various flying encounter scenarios between UAS and manned aircraft to determine if the UAS could detect the aircraft and respond with a maneuver to avoid it. An AI-based autonomous collision avoidance system from Iris Automation called Casia was used on the UAS to help it see the world as a pilot does.

Two types of UAS, a multi-rotor and a fixed wing, with the Iris system onboard, and two manned, NMSU vehicles, the CTLS Light Sport

Flight testing conducted at New Mexico State University for the Federal Aviation Administration in July consisted of using unmanned aerial systems and manned aircraft. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

aircraft and Spyder Ultralight aircraft, which posed as the intruder aircraft, were used in the flight testing.

Considerations for encounter scenarios included safe separation distances between vehicles of at least 100 feet in lateral separation and 250 feet in vertical separation. The vehicles conducted tests at different encounter angles and cross patterns. Flights were conducted at two altitudes: 100 feet for the UAS and 500 feet for the manned along with 400 feet for the UAS and 650 feet for the manned. The testing assessed when the Iris system was triggered and its limits.

Cathey said the next step includes collecting the data and post processing the information, which will take weeks. Flight information on both the UAS and manned vehicles was collected, and the research team will plot together the information to show the encounters.

“At that point we will be able to help map this particular system to give the FAA an idea of what this technology is capable of,” he said.

“We have several more flight test events before we actually come up with a comprehensive plan, but we are using each flight test event to further expand the data we need to collect and how the operations need to run,” said Bill Oehlschlager, FAA UAS technical project lead. “We are using each incremental step to collect more data and make it safer for when we actually do this testing.”

Iris Automation CEO and co-founder Alexander Harmsen, who attended the flight testing, said he was pleased how his system responded.

Joe Millette, New Mexico State University unmanned aerial systems pilot, and Cheryl Contreras, Iris Automation deputy head of flight operations, manage flight operations during detect and avoid technology flight testing NMSU hosted in July for the Federal Aviation Administration. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

“The system is doing everything we expect it to do,” he said. “We’re having these encounters. The system, it detects the aircraft, it tracks it and classifies it. It is able to tell the difference between a drone, a helicopter, a small, fixed-wing aircraft and a cloud or a bird.”

As one of 15 core universities for the FAA UAS Center of Excellence, NMSU is also working with the University of North Dakota, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kansas State University and Mississippi State University on the research project. NMSU, UND and UAF are each hosting flight testing on detect and avoid solutions.

Officials present for the testing included NMSU personnel, FAA sponsors, FAA technical leads, FAA interns, Iris Automation flight personnel, industry representatives, UND and UAF personnel.

Testing on other technology solutions such as ground-based, visual/optical systems, radar and acoustic is also planned, and NMSU is slated to host additional flight testing.

“We are trying to help push those technology solutions forward. There are going to be lots and lots more vehicles in the air in the coming years and we want it to be done safely,” Cathey said.

Author: 

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 www.onlinemasters.com 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.

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