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Home | Tag Archives: New Mexico State University (page 4)

Tag Archives: New Mexico State University

NMSU Regents Select Dan Arvizu as Chancellor, John Floros as President

New Mexico State University’s Board of Regents announced the selection of Dan Arvizu, Ph.D., as the university system’s next chancellor and John D. Floros, Ph.D., as president of NMSU.

The Regents described this as an opportunity to take the university to the next level, and by dividing the responsibilities among two leadership positions, to create a unique atmosphere for success.

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

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

The selections were announced during the May 11 Board of Regents meeting.

Regents Chair Debra Hicks said the Regents focused on finding a leader who is innovative, strategically investment-oriented, decisive and a respected visionary.

“They need to have the ability to assess and leverage all campuses,” she said, and put in place plans “that will place this institution on a trajectory to a sustained, successful future.”

She said the new leader must be able to “engage a diverse community of multiple stakeholders with regard and respect to shared governance, build effective, cross-pollinated teams and external partnerships, remove the silos and break through traditional barriers, and create a culture of innovation and collaboration. They must produce meaningful and measurable outcomes that enhance the well-being of the citizens of New Mexico and beyond.”

“I am immensely proud as an Aggie to be coming home,” Arvizu said. He said he has been in communication with Floros, who was unable to attend the meeting, and said the two are aligned in their thinking about moving the university forward.

Arvizu read a statement from Floros.

“I am deeply honored and delighted to be given this tremendous opportunity by the Board of Regents to lead as the new president of NMSU as it plays a vital role in the state, the nation and, increasingly, the world beyond our national borders,” Floros said. “Dr. Arvizu and I have many ideas and we have discussed those. Before we put them in place, we would like to listen to our faculty, to our staff and to our students. We would like to discuss those ideas with our administration and leadership teams and then prioritize that based on those discussions into an action plan.”

Arvizu is set to start on May 21. He succeeds current Chancellor Garrey Carruthers, who has led the university since 2013 and will retire on July 1.

Arvizu previously served as chief technology officer and STEM Evangelist at Emerson Elemental. Emerson Elemental’s mission is to restore and strengthen the symbiosis between humanity and nature. Arvizu’s current roles include advising on organizational strategy, reviewing investments and conducting technical due diligence for Emerson portfolio technology companies, and supporting strategic initiatives with Emerson’s network partners. He also currently serves as a Precourt Institute Energy Scholar and adjunct professor at Stanford University.

Arvizu has had a long, distinguished career in advanced energy research and development, materials and process sciences, and technology commercialization. He started his career in 1973 at Bell Labs, and after four years transferred to Sandia National Labs, where he spent the next 21 years, 14 years in executive roles. In 1998 he joined CH2M Hill Companies, Ltd for six years, his last two years as a CTO.

In January of 2005 he was appointed the eighth director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, and became the first Hispanic lab director in the history of any of the 17 U.S. DOE’s National Labs. He retired in December of 2015, and is presently director emeritus.

In 2004 Arvizu was appointed by President George W. Bush, and subsequently in 2010 reappointed by President Barack Obama (twice confirmed by the full Senate), to serve six-year terms (2004-2010; 2010-2016) on the National Science Board.

Arvizu has a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from NMSU and a master of science and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.

Floros became dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension in July 2012. Since then, he has led the development of a College of Agriculture strategic plan for Vision 2025, guided the college to record student enrollments, retention and graduation, and nearly 100 percent placement.

John D. Floros, Ph.D., has been selected as president of New Mexico State University | Photo courtesy NMSU

As director, he steered K-State Research and Extension – an entity with faculty and staff in five colleges: Agriculture, Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Human Ecology, and Veterinary Medicine – to record extramural funding, with research expenditures of more than $105 million.

Under his leadership the College of Agriculture established the first ever NSF-supported Center on Wheat Genomics; and four new Feed-the-Future Labs from USAID on wheat, sorghum and millet, postharvest loss reduction, and sustainable intensification, for a total investment of more than $100 million in five years.

Floros’ research work spans the application of chemical engineering science, applied mathematics and industrial statistics to the field of food science, food process engineering and food packaging.

Floros served as professor and head of the department of food science at Pennsylvania State University from 2000-2012. He also served as a professor at Purdue University from 1988-2000 and worked as an international industry consultant for more than 30 years.

He earned his Ph.D. in food science and technology from the University of Georgia. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in food science and technology from the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece. Floros is a native of Greece.

Author: : Darrell J. Pehr – NMSU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For a complete list of the rankings visit the website.

Author:  Melissa R. Rutter – NMSU

NMSU Online Public Health Masters Program Named Among Best in Nation

New Mexico State University has been named as having one of the best online Masters of Public Health degree program in the nation by Top Masters in Public Health Degrees, a national rankings website.

The program was ranked 16th out of 50 in the U.S. According to Laura Kilmartin, the online relations specialist for the website, the ranking considered tuition, student to faculty ratio, and national recognition.

“Top Masters in Public Health Degrees” mission is to share expert knowledge on the best possible Master’s in Public Health programs available in the United States,” Kilmartin said.

The website noted that the Masters of Public Health program at NMSU, housed in the College of Health and Social Services, has a student to faculty ratio of 16 to 1. The program is a 42 credit hour program that offers two concentrations: community health education and health management, policy and administration. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

“We are thrilled to have our MPH degree program recognized on a national level,” said Donna Wagner, dean of the College of Health and Social Services at NMSU. “The MPH degree is a very popular degree among students. With an MPH, students have a wide variety of professional opportunities to serve their community, state and nation. The faculty in the MPH program is top notch and actively involved in state health activities as well as national professional organizations. Students who are interested in public health and health policy issues get a jump start on their careers by pursuing the MPH degree.”

All Master of Public Health degree programs offered at NMSU are designed to accommodate working professionals while providing high-quality instruction. The graduate program began in fall 1996, received initial accreditation in 2000, and full accreditation in 2003 through the Council on Education for Public Health.

The program is also a member of the Council of Accredited MPH programs and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Fellows Program.
Author: Adriana M. Chavez -NMSU

Participants Needed for NMSU-Based Program for Hispanic Mothers with Cancer

Conexiones, a cancer education program based at New Mexico State University, is looking for Hispanic mothers recently diagnosed with cancer to participate in a study that will help evaluate the program’s effectiveness.

The program, originally called Enhancing Connections, was developed by Frances Marcus Lewis of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The program teaches diagnosed mothers self-care skills and parenting and communication skills to assist their children in coping with their mother’s cancer, and has been found to help reduce anxiety and depression in both mothers diagnosed with cancer and their children.

Over the past two years, Rebecca Palacios, the program’s co-principal investigator and associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, has been collaborating with Lewis to adapt the program for Hispanic mothers. In 2016, a preliminary study was conducted to see if there was a need for such a cancer education program in the border region.

“We discovered there was a huge demand for this program when we interviewed diagnosed Hispanic mothers. They reported struggles in communicating about cancer with their children and worried about the short- and long-term impact their cancer might have on their children’s emotional well-being,” Palacios said.

“This program is particularly important for Hispanic women, because past studies have found that Hispanic women tend to experience more cancer-related distress and depression than other racial/ethnic groups. We also know that when a diagnosed mother experiences very high levels of distress her children are more likely to experience high levels of distress as well.”

Palacios said because the program was originally developed for and tested with non-Hispanic women of middle to high socioeconomic status, “we knew we had to adapt the program in order for it to be effective with our border population. We had to make sure the program was culturally relevant and understood by Hispanic mothers. Once we finished adapting the education materials, we translated the program to Spanish.”

After adapting the program for Hispanic mothers, researchers presented the program, renamed Conexiones, to Hispanic women in order to get their opinions and feedback on the program.

“While the overall feedback was very positive, they did recommend using warmer language and avoiding excessive use of the word ‘cancer’ during the educational sessions,” Palacios said. “We used these recommendations to further modify the Conexiones program so that it would be a good fit for the border population.”

In order to qualify for the program, participants must be Hispanic women diagnosed with early-stage cancer (stages 1-3) in the past eight months. She must also be a mother to a child ages 5 to 17 and live in either Doña Ana or El Paso counties. While the program is offered in both English and Spanish, the diagnosed mothers must be able to read and write in either language.

NMSU researchers are hoping to recruit 50 participants for this study.

The Conexiones program consists of five education sessions delivered across a period of eight weeks. All sessions are delivered entirely by telephone to accommodate diagnosed mothers who may be feeling too ill or weak to travel to an intervention site. Each session is about an hour long. Participants will also be asked to complete two questionnaires, one at the beginning of the study and one at the end. Each questionnaire is about 45 minutes long.

Palacios said there are several benefits to participating in the Conexiones study. In addition to the potential therapeutic effects of the program, participants will receive a $10 gift card for every session they complete for a total of $50 in gift cards. Participants will also receive a $25 gift card for each of the two questionnaires they complete, for a total of $50 in gift cards. All participants in the study will also receive a resource booklet listing various cancer resources and services in the borderland.

To learn more about the study or to check whether you are eligible to participate, call Palacios at 575-646-4309 or Karoline Sondgeroth at 575-646-5065. If you know someone who may benefit from this program please refer them to Palacios.

Palacios said the study is an attempt to bring more evidence-based cancer education programs to serve Hispanics in the border region. The program is funded by U54 NMSU/Fred Hutch Partnership grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

NMSU Receives Federal Grant to Promote Public Health Social Work Degree

New Mexico State University’s College of Health and Social Services has established an innovative project focused on the recruitment of students who reflect the cultural/ethnic and geographic diversity of communities across New Mexico and the United States southern border region.

Social work and public health faculty members are collaborating on the Effective Move in Enhancing Leadership in Public Health Social Work Education project to improve the college’s dual master’s degree program.

NMSU has received a $300,000 federal grant from the Health Resource Service Administration program within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement the project.

“The joint program that provides students an opportunity to complete degrees in both public health and social work is one of our signature programs,” said CHSS Dean Donna Wagner. “Faculty open many doors for students through the integration of public health and social work.”

To date, 20 people have graduated with dual master’s degrees in public health and social work since its inception at NMSU in 2006. Currently, 13 people are enrolled in the program.

“This is a very rigorous graduate program, but the benefits of achieving the dual degree are great for both the graduate’s employability and their contribution to the organization where they are hired,” said Sue Forster-Cox, professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences.

In addition to the required course credits for each master’s degree, the student has over a thousand hours of boots-on-the-ground experience from their social work internship and public health practicum.

“The new funding will ensure that this innovative program continues to serve students in Las Cruces as well as Albuquerque – our satellite campus,” Wagner said. “Everyone benefits from the work of these faculty members and the students who will be completing the program and taking their knowledge and skills into a community with many needs.”

The grant money will be divided between student funding and curriculum development.

“This is a unique grant because almost half of the funds goes to help the individual students,” said Anna Nelson, NMSU assistant professor in the School of Social Work. “Members of the cohorts graduating in May 2018 and May 2019 will receive stipends and support for attending conferences.”

The remainder of the funding will be used to promote the public health social work profession at the local and national level.

“One of the challenges our students experience is that the dual degree program feels like two distinct programs, because the faculty may not understand how to integrate the course information effectively, or the internship or practicum placements are not integrated,” Nelson said.

A series of Lunch and Learn presentations are being planned to facilitate faculty development to include the standards and core competencies of the public health social work profession as its own field of practice.

The faculty are developing a capstone course for the dual graduate programs that will combine all aspects of the public health social work profession in an interactive class for the students.

“During the Enhancing Leadership in Public Health Social Work course students will actually have a place to truly integrate the skills they have learned during the dual program,” Nelson said. “We hope the course will produce a community impact project where the students will apply everything they have learned through their entire master’s degrees work.”

Communication about the dual degree program is not just an internal issue, Forster-Cox said. “There are 42 universities across the nation offering the public health social work degree, but there is little communications between the universities.”

Funding from the grant will support the creation of a National Learning Collaborative among the 42 institutions.

“There is a special section in the American Public Health Association where public health social work professionals meet every year at the national conference, but not everyone can afford to go to the conference,” Forster-Cox said. “We want to bring everybody together virtually to talk amongst ourselves, share lessons learned, discuss challenges.”

The grant funders indicated this project was one of the most exciting things they read in NMSU’s proposal.

“This will be a repository of best practices, lessons learned and, maybe, case studies provided by the various programs across the nation,” Nelson said. “We will also be taking a look at the existing public health social work compliances nationally to see if they are still relevant or if they need to be improved.”

Author: Jane Moorman – NMSU

Arrowhead Center Expands Studio G Student Incubator to UNM, Five Other Institutions

Thanks to a grant from the Daniels Fund, Arrowhead Center has expanded Studio G to six new campuses outside the New Mexico State University system in an unprecedented collaboration designed to greatly expand the pipeline of entrepreneurship education and economic development in the state.

The $350,000 grant award was received by Arrowhead Center in 2017 from the Colorado-based Daniels Fund in support of entrepreneurship education in New Mexico.

Arrowhead Center is using that funding to support personnel and operational costs to launch the program at each site. Institutions across the state applied for the competitive opportunity to host a Studio G site at their campus.

At each site, a campus champion will spearhead the student outreach, promotion and community engagement that is necessary to build momentum for the program.

Studio G is also available to students at Navajo Technical University, with support from the Kellogg Foundation.

Studio G at University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management
Alberto Solis:

Studio G at Western New Mexico University
David Scarborough:

Studio G at New Mexico Tech
Youngbok Ryu:

Studio G at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell iCenter
Chad Smith:

Studio G at Santa Fe Community College
Kathleen Finn-Brown:

Studio G at San Juan College Enterprise Center
Judith Castleberry:

Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU

NMSU’s first Master’s of Business Administration Online Cohort Graduates

New Mexico State University alumna Britney Millet’s life is very busy as a design engineer for All State Insurance. The nature of her job prevents her from physically attending graduate classes.

“Technically I live in Las Cruces, but I work out of Chicago and I travel all over the country, and to Canada and India,” Millet said. “I wanted to earn a Master’s of Business Administration degree but was unable to because of this travel.”

The solution to help Millet earn a degree came when the NMSU College of Business began an online MBA program in 2015. She was among the first cohort that completed the program in July.

“This is the first time the College of Business has done the MBA program online,” said College of Business Dean James Hoffman. “It was very successful. I’ve been very impressed with all of the groups and individuals.”

The 25-member cohort was comprised of employees from Los Alamos National Laboratory, alumni living outside of New Mexico and educators in the Woodrow Wilson New Mexico MBA Fellowship in Educational Leadership program.

Recent graduates participated in the program from around the state as well as other parts of the country including San Francisco, Chicago and Beaumont, Texas.

“The fact that we can have a virtual class and don’t have to physically be in class is very convenient,” said Benitez Jones, who lives in San Francisco. “You can basically be anywhere in the world and do this program, as long as you are online for the scheduled virtual class. The flow of the classes over the Internet is great, too.”

Hoffman set a goal of having 100 students in an MBA program in three years. That goal is being reached with the 2016 25-member cohort and the 51 students forming two cohorts this fall.

One of the aspects of the program is that not all of the students have business bachelor degrees. There were professional electrical engineers, and a chemical engineer in the recent group.

Additionally, among the MBA cohorts’ members are public school educators and administrators who participated in the Woodrow Wilson New Mexico MBA Fellowship in Educational Leadership program.

These experienced educators benefited from the design of the program because it blends an education-based business curriculum with clinical experience in schools, corporations and non-profit organizations.

One of the biggest impacts that the program had on students is they now view the world much differently than they did before starting the course work.

“Now I understand why the corporation I work for makes the decisions that it does strategically,” said Amanda Sandoval, chemical engineer with Exxon Mobile in Beaumont, Texas. “As an engineer we tend to focus on the technical aspect of projects. The other side is the business justification. I am now more equipped to be able to answer those justification questions to make and aid in sound decisions.”

For more information about the online cohort-based MBA program for working professionals, contact the MBA adviser at or at 575-646-8003.

Natalie Goldberg First Woman to Lead NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about the NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station, please visit

Writer: Kristie Garcia – NMSU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The museum is seeking volunteers for this process.

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

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

Author: Billy Huntsman – NMSU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read the complete report, click HERE

Author:  Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

NMSU Receives STARS Gold Rating for Sustainability Achievements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Darrell J. Pehr – NMSU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on Project Lead the Way and NM PREP Academy, visit

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information please visit

Author:  Minerva Baumann – NMSU

NMSU Professor Named Director of Telescope at Apache Point Observatory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Minerva Baumann – NMSU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author:  Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

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