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Tuesday , November 19 2019
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Home | Tag Archives: NMSU

Tag Archives: NMSU

NMSU to host fifth annual Giving Tuesday event to benefit students, programs

Donors of New Mexico State University have come together each year since 2015 to give millions of dollars to support students and cutting-edge programs and research at NMSU during Giving Tuesday, a global day of philanthropy held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

NMSU will participate in the initiative for the fifth time this year and host its annual Giving Tuesday event Dec. 3. Last year, the event brought in more than $2.1 million in donations to scholarship funds benefiting students across all five NMSU campuses in New Mexico.

“We are both excited and grateful to enter our fifth year celebrating Giving Tuesday at NMSU. Support from generous donors have provided the opportunity to match donations on Giving Tuesday,” said Tina Byford, interim vice president for University Advancement.

Matching money has been a key component in previous years’ successes, and there are several fund-matching opportunities available this year. For example, the first $200,000 in gifts made online or in person will be eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $1,000 per household.

A total of $47,526 will be available to match donors who make contributions to the Aggie Innovation Fund, an interdisciplinary innovation center housed in the College of Engineering. All gifts to the Aggie Innovation Fund will receive a dollar-for-dollar match, on a first-come, first-served basis, with no household cap.

A total of $125,000 also will be available to match donors who make contributions to the Aggie Finish Line, a degree-completion scholarship. This fund supports students in their final year at NMSU. All gifts to the Aggie Finish Line will receive a dollar-for-dollar match, with no household cap.

The community is invited to celebrate this day of giving at NMSU in the Giving Tuesday headquarters at Corbett Center Student Union’s Aggie Lounge on the Las Cruces campus. A special kickoff celebration is planned for 9 a.m., and the daylong event will wrap up with a closing celebration at 5 p.m.

Free parking will be available in designated areas between Corbett Center and Milton Hall.

Since 2015, NMSU has raised more than $13.1 million in contributions during Giving Tuesday, drawing more than 7,100 donors and creating more than 197 new scholarships over four years. A total of 1,586 Aggie supporters made their first-ever gift to NMSU during that time.

Gifts can be made online between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. Dec. 3, or in person at NMSU’s Giving Tuesday headquarters between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

For details about all matching opportunities, click here..

To spread support for Giving Tuesday, join the conversations on Twitter @NMSUAlumFriends, Facebook/NMSUAlumFriends, Instagram @nmsualumfriends, and NMSU Alumni and Friends on YouTube. Watch and share the following hashtags to spread the word about the day of giving: #GivingTuesday, #SupportNMSU and #NMSUGivingTuesday.

Author: Carlos Andres Lopez – NMSU

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center celebrates launch of American Indian Business Enterprise Center

American Indian entrepreneurs now have a number of resources available to help launch their business ideas thanks to a new center at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, made possible by a grant from U.S. Minority Business Development Agency.

The $260,000 grant is the first awarded to NMSU and Arrowhead Center by the MBDA, and has helped to create the American Indian Business Enterprise Center, which will expand Studio G, a business accelerator for students and recent alumni, to American Indian student entrepreneurs across New Mexico.

The AIBE Center allows participants to utilize Arrowhead Center’s resources including an advisory network of business experts, and offers training via online and in-person classes. The center also gives American Indian entrepreneurs workspaces for their start-up businesses, allowing them to find a foothold in their industry.

“As part of our strategic plan, NMSU is working to further amplify our extension and outreach efforts, especially in terms of economic development and entrepreneurship,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “Programs like this, and the results we are expecting, are tremendously important for our native populations and others across the state.”

Brooke Montgomery is the Studio G and AIBE deputy site director. Arrowhead Center already has a network of 14 sites throughout the state and in tribal nations to work with AIBE.

Locally, both the NMSU Indian Resources Development program and NMSU’s American Indian Program are already working with AIBE.

Navajo Technical University director Ben Jones joined New Mexico State University Chancellor Dan Arvizu and Arrowhead Center staff for the official ribbon cutting of the American Indian Business Enterprise Center Nov. 14 at Arrowhead Center in Las Cruces. | NMSU photo by Justin Santiago

“The efforts of Ms. Brooke Montgomery and NMSU will enable NTU to establish the presence of Studio G to grow our own entrepreneurs,” said Ben Jones, director of Navajo Technical University.

Jones and Arvizu attended the ribbon cutting, which featured video statements from two U.S. senators from New Mexico.

“This is an incredible opportunity for New Mexico State University to expand its work across the state promoting economic growth for young Native Americans by partnering with universities and cultural centers across New Mexico,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Udall in a video message. “The business enterprise project will help make sure native communities can thrive for generations to come.”

In a separate video message, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich said, “I’m always impressed with the way that the Arrowhead Center provides entrepreneurs – students and adults alike – with access to training, capital and resources they need to succeed. I’m thrilled to see Arrowhead Center put this proven model to work for entrepreneurs in our state’s tribal communities.”

Arrowhead Center hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center November 14.

For more information about the AIBE, contact Montgomery at or 575-646-1859.

Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

Four NMSU students selected as Fulbright winners

Four students from New Mexico State University were named 2019 Fulbright winners, the most NMSU has produced in a year so far. The students received the prestigious recognition following a record year for Fulbright applicants from NMSU.

“The Honors College had a record number of 10 Fulbright applicants this year. Six of these students were selected as semi-finalists and four students won the Fulbright fellowship,” said Tim Ketelaar, associate dean of the Honors College and director of the Office of National Scholarships and International Education. “Their success is a testament to NMSU’s amazing honors students.”

The students who received Fulbright fellowships are:

– Nubia Rivas, a pre-med student and biology major who will be teaching English in the Canary Islands and working as a volunteer with refugee and immigrant populations;

– Sierra Grim, a genetics and biotechnology major who is studying personalized medicine and pharmacology at the Institute of Pharmacology in Greifswald, Germany;

– Ger Xiong, an art major and native of Thailand who has returned there to study Hmong textile art;

– Ashley Page, a water sciences major who is spending time in Bulgaria and Greece to study transboundary water issues to compare them to the Hueco Bolson between Mexico and New Mexico.

According to the Fulbright website, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs. During their grants, Fulbrighters meet, work, live with and learn from the people of a host country. The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home and in routine tasks.

The Honors College is not only celebrating a 40 percent Fulbright success rate that exceeds the national average of 20 percent, but the accomplishments of this year’s Fulbright winners, who are each conducting a wide range of research projects worldwide.

“I am far away from the comforting green chile scents of the Land of Enchantment,” said Grim, who married her husband in April and is temporarily living in Germany with him while conducting her Fulbright research. “I definitely miss the smell and taste of green chile but I am beyond honored and excited to represent the United States as a Fulbright research scholar this next year.”

Grim will be working under the mentorship of University of Greifswald professor Mladen Tzvetkov, who is investigating rare genetic variants that interact with Metformin, a drug commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes patients.

The Honors College will host its annual Fulbright Workshop at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the Conroy Honors Center. Students also will have the opportunity to meet Fay Yurwit, last year’s student winner of the $5,000 NMSU Honors College International Research Scholarship. The workshop is intended for students who want to learn more about funded opportunities to support their own independent international research projects.

NMSU faculty members who assisted in advising students as part of the university’s Fulbright committee are Rachel Stevens, emeritus professor of art; Andrea Orzoff, Honors faculty fellow and history professor; Mary Alice Scott, a medical anthropologist and Anthropology department professor; and Honors College Dean Miriam Chaiken.

Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

NMSU’s next climate change lecture to highlight the impact of art

New Mexico State University’s Climate Change Education Seminar Series (NMSUCCESS) continues with a closer look at how art can be used to engage the public about environmental threats in the Rio Grande region.

The next lecture is part of the “Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande” schedule of events in November including workshops, presentations and exhibits related to climate change.

NMSU alumnus Subhankar Banerjee, the Lannan chair and professor at the University of New Mexico’s art and ecology program, will give a talk titled, “Multispecies Justice in the Age of Biological Annihilation and Climate Breakdown,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20 at the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 Main Street.

Banerjee is co-curator of “Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande” – an artistic response to what a recent United Nations report called an “unprecedented” threat to biological diversity worldwide caused in part by climate change.

“With arts and stories informed by science and indigenous ecological knowledge, ‘Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande’ offers a regional model of building bridges (not walls) across nations, peoples, disciplines and creative practices, to address a global crisis – the crisis of biological annihilation, which includes human-caused extinctions, die-offs and massacres of non-human kind with whom we share this Earth,” Banerjee said.

Banerjee’s photographs have been highlighted in more than fifty exhibitions around the world and the Harwood Museum of Art will show his work in December 2019. He received a Greenleaf Artist Award from the United Nations Environment Programme and a Cultural Freedom Award from Lannan Foundation.

“Artists like Subhankar and exhibitions like ‘Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande’ fuel interdisciplinary collaborations that create collective resources to cultivate awareness, initiate new questions and potential solutions, build new models of understanding, and inspire sustained action and change,” said Marisa Sage, director of the NMSU Museum of Art, which is among 14 institutions to host events this month about climate change.

This is the final talk this semester of the continuing NMSUCCESS series of lectures by experts in different fields, which began last year. The series will continue in spring 2020. Future topics will include mass extinction threats, carbon sequestration, national and global security concerns and agricultural responses. The series’ goal is to shine a light on research and issues related to climate change for this region.

Learn more about other events in Las Cruces during “Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande” month at via this link.

Author: Amanda Adame – NMSU

NMSU to add new degree option, plant health management

The New Mexico State University Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science department will add the plant health management option under the agricultural biology major beginning in fall 2020.

The curriculum committee of EPPWS has made it a top priority to organize this option. One member of the committee, Brian Schutte, associate professor of weed science in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, said there is a high demand of students interested in learning more about plants.

“The department recognizes there is a career opportunity that is not being addressed,” said Schutte. “Our students can piece this together on their own but we can help them get into these fields. So, we are keeping to our mission as a department and as a university to help students.”

Similar to the pest biology and management option, plant health management will focus more on plant health and teach the skills necessary for identifying and addressing problems in plant health management.

Students will gain understanding of the impacts of diseases, insects and weeds on plant health, become knowledgeable on environmental consequences of management strategies for improving plant health and acquire problem-solving skills that will enable them to develop sustainable solutions for preserving plant health.

With these proficiencies, students will be able to pursue careers in the crop protection industries, supervisory positions in the landscape maintenance industry and graduate education opportunities in pest biology and management.

The plant health management option is for students interested in learning about sustainable strategies for promoting the health of plants that are foundational to strong agricultural economies.

Students majoring in agricultural biology will be able to select the plant health management option beginning fall semester 2020.

Author: Victoria Balderrama – NMSU

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 among U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities 2020

New Mexico State University was recognized on the sixth annual U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities 2020 rankings.

NMSU is among 1,500 institutions in 81 countries listed, and this year NMSU tied for 710th.

NMSU also was listed on three subject rankings; 143rd in space science, tied for 474th in engineering and tied for 477th in plant and animal science.

The rankings are based on 13 indictors measuring academic research performance along with global and regional reputations. Rankings indicators are weighted to determine the formula, and they include global research reputation (12.5 percent), regional research reputation (12.5 percent), publications (10 percent), books (2.5 percent), conferences (2.5 percent), normalized citation impact (10 percent), total citations (7.5 percent), number of publications that are among the 10 percent most cited (12.5 percent), percentage of total publications that are among the 10 percent most cited (10 percent), internal collaboration (5 percent), percentage of total publications with internal collaboration (5 percent), number of highly cited papers that are among the top 1 percent most cited in their respective field (5 percent) and percentage of total publications that are among the top 1 percent most highly cited papers (5 percent).

To view the complete list visit U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities 2020 website.

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

NMSU to host First-Generation College Celebration Friday

Trying to navigate without a roadmap can be what it feels like for a first-generation student who decides to pursue higher education.

In support of those students who are the first in their families to attend college, New Mexico State University will participate in a nationwide event, First-Generation College Celebration, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at Corbet Center Student Union.

The event will include a table of staff members from the College Assistance Migrant Program, Chicano Programs, Student Support Services STEMH, TRIO Student Support Services Program, Upward Bound Programs and the Student Success Center to meet and greet first-generation students and free giveaways. A first-generation student is someone whose parents or parent haven’t completed a bachelor’s degree.

Carol Hicks, TRIO Student Support Success program director, said they hope to celebrate the first-generation students and connect them with resources to help them succeed. An estimated 33 percent of NMSU students at the Las Cruces campus are first-generation students.

“A lot of efforts campus wide are being made in order to understand the population as well as making sure we serve them properly,” Hicks said.

A first-generation student who earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from NMSU, Johana Bencomo said it’s often a culture shock for first-generation students when they arrive on campus.

“Faculty, staff and administration should be patient with us,” she said. “Most of us have already overcome so many barriers just to get to college, all we need is someone to help us believe in ourselves to make it through and succeed.

“The biggest challenge for me was the lack of understanding of the university system. While there is a lot of support at NMSU for first-generation students, finding them or asking the right questions is incredibly difficult. There’s a sense of pressure and responsibility that we carry, seeking help is that first step to not carrying that load all alone,” said Bencomo, who is director of organizing for New Mexico Comunidades en Acción y de Fé.

Hicks said NMSU’s commitment to helping first-generation students includes initiatives such as admissions assistance and a presentation during orientation, the summer transition program for Aggie Pathway and programs like TRIO SSS.

“I think talking to someone who has gone through that or had to navigate things for themselves are great role models and mentors for these students,” Hicks said. She added many faculty and staff at NMSU are first-generation graduates.

The First-Generation College Celebration began in 2017 when the Council for Opportunity in Education partnered with the Center for First-generation Student Success, a National Association of Student Personnel Administrators initiative and The Suder Foundation.

To learn more about the First-Generation College Celebration, click here.

Author:  Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

NMSU, UDA announce developmental men’s soccer program

New Mexico State University and University Degrees Abroad have agreed to establish a developmental men’s soccer program at the university and to begin recruiting local, state, regional and international players to take part.

NMSU will be home to the first UDA soccer program in the U.S.

“I’m excited to have UDA become part of our Aggie Community,” said NMSU Vice President for Student Success Renay Scott. “Having developmental soccer on campus will enhance Aggie Life while allowing participants be part of a supportive community where we all want to see them succeed in their goals. This is a win-win for everyone.”

For years, UDA has operated a year-round developmental soccer academy in England. Their mission is to provide student-athletes with an internationally recognized university degree, a developmental soccer experience and opportunities for multiple pathways in their chosen career within a fully integrated university experience.

As part of the agreement, UDA will establish a European-style academy with a professional coaching environment on the NMSU campus. All program participants will be full-time, degree-seeking students at either NMSU or Doña Ana Community College.

NMSU President John Floros and Jeff Thompson, director of graduate recruitment for University Degrees Abroad, announce NMSU will be home to the first UDA soccer program in the U.S. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

“When we made the decision to bring our academy concept to the U.S., we had a number of qualifiers we felt were paramount to our success – especially as we look to offer a different option to the current men’s collegiate soccer model in this country,” said Jeff Thompson, director of graduate recruitment for University Degrees Abroad. “Most importantly, NMSU offers student-athletes a fully integrated university experience and a full range of internationally recognized academic programs. Additionally, Las Cruces and the surrounding area provide a perfect environment for the delivery of a year-round play, access to quality competition and a lot of local, state and regional soccer talent to recruit into our program.”

NMSU will facilitate the admissions process, in conjunction with a UDA liaison, for participants in the program.

All UDA recruits are subject to NMSU’s standard admissions procedures and standards.

UDA will work to recruit 18-25 new participants each year, with a goal of having at least 50 participants by the third year of the program.

Author: Justin Bannister – 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

NMSU School of Nursing to tackle opioid epidemic in NM with $1.35 million HRSA grant

The U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration has awarded a three-year, $1.35 million federal training grant to the School of Nursing at New Mexico State University to fund a project that will expand the number of professionals in New Mexico, particularly in southern counties, who are trained in interprofessional settings to effectively prevent and treat opioid-use and substance-abuse disorders in community-based practices.

The project, a collaboration between the College of Health and Social Services and the College of Education, will support interprofessional faculty and community health provider training in the prevention, treatment and recovery of opioid-use and substance-use disorders, also referred to as OUD and SUD. It is part of HRSA’s Opioid Workforce Education Program.

NMSU faculty and students from three departments – the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, the Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program and the Master of Social Work program – will participate in the project through 2021.

“NMSU will leverage its current academic-practice partnerships to develop planned clinical training experiences in the delivery of OUD and SUD prevention, treatment and recovery services,” said Shelly Noe, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing and director of the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, who will serve as the project director.

In 2017, New Mexico reported a rate of 24.6 deaths per 100,000 people due to drug overdose, higher than the overall U.S. rate of 21.7, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.

The agency also found that two out of three drug overdoses in New Mexico involved an opioid and that opioid overdose-related emergency room visits increased by 60 percent between 2010-2017.

“The outcomes of this project will help us achieve our long-term goal to transform integrated behavioral health teams to effectively prevent and treat OUDs and other SUDs in New Mexico’s medically underserved communities,” said Noe, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner who practices in the area of medication-assisted treatment for substance-use disorders.

Eve Adams, a Regents professor in the Department of Counseling and Education Psychology, will serve as a special adviser on the project.

“We are so pleased to be collaborating with the School of Nursing on this project,” Adams said. “We have partnered with them on other projects, and I believe our combined expertise in interprofessional education and treating substance-use disorders will allow us to create a cutting-edge curriculum for our graduate students.”

Sixty percent of the funding will provide stipends for students in the three programs. Noe and Adams also will develop and implement interdisciplinary training experiences for these students.

“One of our objectives is to promote the integration of behavioral health with primary care, including trauma-informed care, with a focus on working with OUD and other SUD prevention, treatment and recovery services,” Noe said.

She added, “We also want to increase the number of community-based experiential training sites to help meet the behavioral health needs of persons in high need and high demand areas who have, or are at risk for, OUD and other SUD, including children, adolescents and transitional-age youth.”

Additionally, Noe and Adams plan to create a curriculum and training program will include enhanced opioid-use and substance-abuse disorders content in didactic courses for all three programs. They also will re-establish a minor program focused on the treatment of substance-use disorders and offer workshops and professional development opportunities for NMSU faculty, students and community providers on interprofessional collaboration and other skills required for effective-care coordination.

As part of the project, NMSU will collaborate with eight clinical partners, including 4-H, Amador Health Center Ben Archer Community Health Center, Mesilla Valley Hospital, Memorial Medical Center, Esperanza Guidance Services, the New Mexico VA Healthcare System and Haven Behavioral Health in Albuquerque.

Noe and Adams also will work toward establishing opioid-use and substance-abuse disorders prevention programs in regional school systems.

Author: Carlos Andres Lopez – 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 ranked New Mexico State University’s online master’s degree in sociology third in the nation for 2019. A partner with, 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 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 rankings and methodology, please visit

Author: Amanda Adame – NMSU

NMSU, Electronic Caregiver unveil virtual reality lab at Milton Hall

With the generous support of Las Cruces-based tech company Electronic Caregiver, students and faculty at New Mexico State University will be able to conduct valuable research into aging, search scenarios, skill acquisition and motor performance in a lab featuring augmented and virtual reality technology.

The Addison Care Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Lab was unveiled Wednesday, Oct. 2, in Milton Hall, Room 155, by representatives from Electronic Caregiver and the lab’s co-directors, Phillip Post and Michael C. Hout.

The lab was made possible by more than $256,000 in funding donated to NMSU by ECG and will involve NMSU students and professors conducting research using augmented and virtual reality. In all, ECG has provided gifts to NMSU totaling more than $350,000.

“There’s not a lot of labs like this nationally,” said Post, who is also the head of the Department of Kinesiology and Dance at NMSU. “This allows us to study things not a lot of other universities are able to do.”

The lab allows researchers to create fully immersive environments that can be easily manipulated in order to gather data without creating risks for test subjects.

“This will simulate real life in ways we are unable to do with any other technology,” Hout said. “A ton of researchers that do the types of studies that we do want to do this level of research, but lack the resources to do so.”

Among the research that will be conducted at the lab are studies on slips and falls, search and rescue behaviors, rehabilitation scenarios and voice interaction in rehabilitation, visual search and aging. Virtual reality scenarios include a home environment that contains several items that present falls risk to older adults, such as cords, rugs, spills, gardening tools and a moving cat; a virtual vacation scenario to reduce environmental stress and discomfort; and a visual search scenario featuring a virtual replica of the courtyard of Regents Row, a former dormitory building on the NMSU campus.

The lab will employ a graduate assistant and two undergraduate research assistants from several departments across campus, including Kinesiology and Dance, psychology, computer science, electrical engineering and the Creative Media Institute.

“The partnership with Electronic Caregiver is an amazing opportunity for NMSU faculty and students,” Hout said. “Research using VR is exploding in popularity, as many scientists acknowledge its extraordinary utility. But doing research in VR is hugely costly and demanding of resources and money. Without our partnership with ECG, none of this would have been possible.”

Electronic Caregiver CEO Anthony Dohrmann called the laboratory “one of the most exciting projects we have,” and one that could potentially impact the lives of people around the world.

“Virtual reality and augmented reality get associated mainly with the gaming industry, but there are companies starving for developers to come up with real-world applications,” Dohrmann said. “Immersive education has a very bright future. We can take students down a path of experiences and challenges as though it’s really happening to them.”

NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu thanked ECG at Wednesday’s unveiling, stating he was pleased to see ECG not only support NMSU through projects such as the Addison Care Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Lab, but by hiring NMSU graduates to work at ECG.

“As an NMSU alumnus and as someone who grew up in the region, the vision Tony Dohrmann has is extremely exciting to me personally,” Arvizu said. “This will help transform health care and the aging population all across the country, and it is extremely valuable to be on the cutting edge of this technology.”

Author:  Adriana M. Chavez  – NMSU

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