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Thursday , April 26 2018
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Tag Archives: 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

Finalists Named for NMSU Chancellor Search

On Monday the New Mexico State University Board of Regents met in special session to announce the names of five finalists for the NMSU chancellor search.

“I think we should all take great pride in the caliber of candidates who applied to be our university’s next chancellor,” said NMSU Regent Chair Debra Hicks. “It speaks to the great work done each day at NMSU that we attracted this talented group of individuals. The Chancellor Search Committee has performed excellent work representing the broad array of stakeholders. I want to personally thank Mike Cheney as chair of the Search Committee for his time and dedication.”

By statute, the Board of Regents must select a minimum of five finalists for consideration in the final selection process. The five final candidates will visit the main campus and meet with numerous university stakeholders between April 22 and May 4, including the NMSU Foundation Board, NMSU Alumni Board, Aggie Athletics and other key stakeholders.

The NMSU Board of Regents anticipate making their final decision by May 11.

The finalists are:

Dan Arvizu
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.

Barbara Damron
Damron is cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Higher Education Department and is the State Higher Education executive officer for New Mexico, with oversight of the state’s public institutions of higher education.

John D. Floros
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, guided the college to record student enrollments, retention and graduation.

Robert J. Marley
Marley currently serves as the provost and executive vice chancellor at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He is a professor of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering.

Brian J. R. Stevenson
Stevenson is the former president of Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada. While in that role, he led the university through an intense period of growth, internationalization and a greatly enhanced national and global profile.

“I also want to comment on the Search Committee’s enthusiasm for the candidates to lead NMSU,” Hicks said. “They were impressed with the professionalism in the process itself under the direction of Wheless Partners, including Michael Wheless, Michael Ballew, Scott Watson and Dr. Robert Witt, chancellor emeritus. Witt is the retired chancellor at the University of Alabama and UT-Arlington. His expertise in personally recruiting and vetting candidates against our unique needs made a significant difference in the quality of our finalists. Under his leadership, Alabama grew enrollment 65 percent, advanced academically, as well as in their athletics programs.”

Hicks continued, “All of the finalists are highly accomplished with proven track records of successful outcomes that were of most interest to the Search Committee and the Board. We were impressed with their diversity and varied backgrounds from both inside and outside academia.”

Additional information on the finalists will be available on the chancellor search website. Full interview schedules for each of the finalists will be placed on the site shortly thereafter.

Author:  Justin Bannister– NMSU

UTEP, NMSU Collaborate in Effort to Rebuild Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

Ivonne Santiago, Ph.D., knows firsthand the difficulties of rebuilding homes and lives in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

The clinical professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso was 10 years old when a hurricane ravaged her family’s home in Puerto Rico. As the storm beared down on the island, the house filled with muddy water. All the family could do was wait. When the hurricane finally passed, the family assessed the damage done to their modest concrete home.

As they began the cleanup process, they realized everything was lost, Santiago said.

Those feelings of despair surfaced again in September 2017 as Santiago watched news reports of Hurricane Maria – a Category 4 storm – barrel through Puerto Rico.

“I couldn’t sleep; I was worried about my family and my father who has Alzheimer’s,” Santiago said. “Immediately after the hurricane had passed, I knew it would take a long time to recover.”

She was right. Since then, Maria has been regarded as the worst natural disaster on record in Dominica and Puerto Rico. The storm left the island without electricity and clean water. More than 3 million U.S. citizens were left in the dark and thirsty, including Santiago’s family.

Familiar with the pain Maria has heaped on her home state, Santiago has sought ways to help. She is overseeing Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), a UTEP student organization, as it partners with New Mexico State University’s Aggies Without Limits (AWL) in an effort to help rebuild the devastated island.

Upon hearing the island’s citizens didn’t have clean water, Santiago set up a GoFundMe account. Eventually, the donations reached $10,000. With that money, Santiago purchased filters to remove impurities from water to make it potable.

There was just one problem. Santiago was unsure how to deliver the filters to people in Puerto Rico. Luckily, she found two local Boy Scout Troops in need of Eagle Scout projects who were able to distribute the filters in the municipalities of Guayanilla, Mayaguez, Utuado, Orocovis and Ponce. In all, almost 1,000 filters were distributed, but that was only the beginning of the civil engagement Santiago had started.

In January, Santiago saw the devastation for herself during a visit to Puerto Rico. She knew more work was needed in order to help the community.

While discussing the water purification project with Puerto Rican government leaders and residents, Santiago found two additional opportunities to lend assistance.

She was asked to help design and build a suspension bridge that had been washed away in the city of Utuado. She also was approached by a colleague who works for an international nonprofit to provide solar energy to a small town of 23 homes that remains without electricity.

Santiago sought help from her NMSU colleagues Professor Kenny Stevens and Sonya Cooper, Ph.D., academic dean of NMSU’s Department of Engineering Technology and Surveying Engineering. The trio spearheaded the two projects as not solely a relief effort, but also as a chance for a service-learning project with students from both NMSU and UTEP.

For these projects, students worked with licensed engineers and contractors from Puerto Rico, as well as professors from both universities to leave an impact on the region. Together, students from AWL and ESW spent their respective spring breaks gathering equipment and resources, and creating a plan of execution to rebuild the suspension bridge and provide solar energy to the two communities affected by Hurricane Maria in the municipality of Utuado.

One such student is Miguel Fraga, the vice president for ESW and a senior in UTEP’s Engineering Leadership program. Fraga said he is working to gather 20 students from UTEP that will be able to volunteer their time and help facilitate these projects in late May and early June.

“This project will not only benefit students, but it will also help people from Puerto Rico meet their basic human needs,” said Fraga, who is also working on fundraising. “We will be able to provide families on the island with a stress-free life and access to clean water and electricity. This is why I believe in this project. People now more than ever are learning to live without anything when they only had very little to begin with.”

Author:  Matthew Euzarraga – UTEP College of Engineering

NM FAST Entrepreneur Works to Combat Fraud in Native American Art Market

It’s not hard to call up images from memory – or Google – of New Mexico jewelry. Zia symbols, squash blossoms, Zuni needlepoint, thick waves of Navajo silverwork, and exquisite sterling and turquoise cabochons the size of ripe fruit abound.

For decades, these iconic Native American cultural treasures have shaped the landscape of the state’’s aesthetic and provided value to artists and buyers alike.

However, an investigation into a complicated web of fraud in the Native American art market has brought to light the extent of exploitation of Native American artists and designs. Just this month, National Geographic Digital reported that a well-known Albuquerque business owner pleaded guilty to two felony counts for violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act by “importing into the U.S. contraband jewelry worth $11,800,000 in wholesale value between October 2010 and October 2015.”

Propelled by his inimitable background as a working artist and professional designer, entrepreneur Roy Montibon is working to combat this problem. He knows it will take decades to solve, so in the process he also wants to raise awareness of the issue so artists can protect their work and livelihoods.

Montibon Provenance International’s mission is to transform the global art market with comprehensive, one-of-a-kind solutions that leverage unique scientific and technological discoveries to significantly reduce risk, threats and expense. The innovative technology is not bound by particular markets; rather, it offers a timely and innovative approach that spans the arts and antiquities market, contemporary art market, and Native American art market, as well as the artists and buyers in these markets.

“Fraud is also an economic issue,” Montibon said. “Part of what we’re doing by protecting both artists and buyers has an economic benefit. It will eventually raise the value of the work in the market.”

MPI’s technology protects artifacts of all media, including but not limited to weavings, paintings, jewelry, sculpture and rare books.

MPI lessens the risk and increases confidence for collectors of arts and antiquities.

The company also provides tools to law enforcement for investigations and prosecutions, as well as establishes admissible evidence for court cases. MPI developed a method of identifying and tracking chain-of-custody for a work of art with documentation that cannot be forged. This is a huge step forward, as gallery certificates that currently come with purchased objects are easily forged or counterfeited.

Programs in New Mexico designed to support New Mexico entrepreneurs have been key to the development of Montibon’s technology. The New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership program (NM FAST) at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, is helping him pursue a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award to support MPI’s development of a comprehensive system for provenance, cybersecurity and archiving.

Montibon has also been involved with Arrowhead’s Tech Sprint program, sponsored by the U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center for Regional Commercialization and the New Mexico Gas Company, as well as the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program, which connected him with scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

With the help from NM FAST, Montibon is now applying for a Department of Defense SBIR award after meeting with Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) representatives at NM FAST’s Innovation Summit, held in Albuquerque in December 2017. NAVSEA has an interest in solving immediate counterfeiting problems.

Through his work, Montibon was startled to realize that some people willingly buy or order counterfeit merchandise. He insists that it crosses economic boundaries, that even wealthy individuals are happy to buy fakes.

“This situation is mind-blowingly unethical and is why part of my mission is to educate buyers in the ways their actions may harm real people and perpetuate poverty,” Montibon said, explaining that fraud, forgery, theft and counterfeit documentation are separate yet intersecting issues.

Unscrupulous dealers visit artists on reservations and buy up hand-hewn jewelry for as little as $10 per piece, which Montibon says is not an exaggeration. The artist, paid such an exploitative price, will use that much-needed money for living expenses. The dealer then sells the rings online or at shows for, – $200, $300 or $400. – Though not technically illegal, the cycle means these vulnerable artists will never get out of poverty.

“It is similar to the situation of piece rate workers in third-world garment factories,” Montibon said. “But it’s not happening in a third-world country, it’s happening here. For multiple reasons, many tribes tend to not pursue fraud cases, and do not usually follow up with a civil suit.”

Thieves and fraudsters know this vulnerability and perpetuate it. Without the usual risk of high dollar lawsuits, law enforcement attention, or bad press, Native artists make for a juicy target. Montibon equates the situation to the way U.S. banks were easy targets for robbers before the advent of extensive security measures. His technology encircles objects with layers of extensive security and provenance.

MPI directly ties secured documentation to the object and offers extreme privacy for seller and owners in the highly secretive art world, where buyers often have purchasers to stand for them at auction. Montibon honors this anonymity with his work in cybersecurity.

He notes that artificial intelligence will identify patterns and break traditional encryption methods quickly, which poses a massive security risk for everything from trade secrets to medical records. MPI’s method is not dependent on public/private keys or traditional encryption algorithms. Instead, the process requires cultural, not just mathematical knowledge.

“It’s closer to the Rosetta Stone than common encryption methods. The Greek, plus hieroglyphic and demotic Egyptian script has taken researchers and hobby code-breakers decades to decode. Our process is simple, but will be very hard to break, and utilizes long-term data archiving that will not be written to common digital storage media,” Montibon said.

MPI is currently for-profit, working with contemporary artists and collectors to provide a financial base. But the question persists for Montibon – how do we help the most exploited?

MPI is grounded in social entrepreneurship. In the future he will expand with a non-profit arm, or public benefit corporation funded by industry partners to provide services at low or no cost to the most impoverished Native American and indigenous artists. Montibon is not interested in business solely to make money, but rather is committed to a model that does social good.

The Santa Fe Indian Market, produced by the nonprofit organization Southwestern Association for Indian Arts and held weekly at the Palace of the Governors, provides a setting to mitigate fraud, as consumers purchase directly from artists on the Plaza. This setting also offers a chance for artists to educate buyers on their work. Montibon champions this type of direct market and hopes in the future, the same level of integrity can be preserved through other outlets.

He maintains that educating artisans with a campaign that provides assistance in marketing, promotion, and other entrepreneurial support would also bolster efforts to raise awareness.

NM FAST has expanded its reach in assisting native populations with these business aspects. The program is currently collaborating with the Navajo Tech Innovation Center, and national organization theIndependent Native American Intellectual Property Enterprise Council, a non-profit organization “whose sole purpose is to provide direct help and assistance to Native American inventors.”

A SBIR workshop at the Navajo Tech Innovation Center in June will be tailored for the community, and educate attendees on the resources and programs available to them. NM FAST also has an extensive library of resources, such as a video series on its YouTube channel and proposal development documents that provide access to entrepreneurs throughout New Mexico.

An act recently introduced by New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich and co-sponsored by New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, ‘Safeguarding Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act of 2017,’ has received bipartisan support but still needs to be passed through the Senate, and ultimately signed by the President.

“As a New Mexico entrepreneur, the assistance we’ve received, and continue to receive, from Dana Catron’s team at Arrowhead Center has been invaluable,” Montibon said. “Starting up a new business here can be a challenge, but the scientific resources in New Mexico are extensive and accessible. We appreciate all of the state, federal and private entities that support economic development and research programs, including Arrowhead Center. Dana and her team are always there to mentor and help in any way that they can. They are the real deal and I highly recommend them to any entrepreneur in the state.”

Native artists and tribes interested in participating in the launch of MPI’s Protect Sovereign Native Art Initiative as beta-test clients can join by contacting MPI directly. To engage with MPI, visit

For more information on NM FAST, visit NM FAST is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Author: Lauren Goldstein – NMSU

NMSU College of Business Names New Entrepreneurship Chairholder

Ebetuel ‘Beto’ Pallares, investor-in-residence at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, has been named the Bill and Sharon Sheriff Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship. Pallares succeeds Robert Macy, the first person to hold the chair.

Pallares was born in Juárez, Mexico, and raised in El Paso. He is the managing director and co-founder of Cowork Oasis, an innovation community for El Paso entrepreneurs, and is also an active high-tech early stage investor and university lecturer who conducts research on incubators and accelerators. He also serves on several corporate and venture fund advisory boards.

In 2006, he founded Joseph Advisory Services, an early stage venture capital and economic development advisory firm. He is also the sole general partner of Proficio Capital Management, an early stage fund. He is a Kauffman Fellow, as well as a Presidio Institute Cross Sector Leadership Fellow, and serves on the NMSU Intellectual Property Advisory Committee. Pallares received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, and an MBA and a Ph.D. in international business strategy from the University of Texas at El Paso.

“It is an honor to serve as the Bill and Sharon Sheriff Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship as it aligns with my intent of the chair, the university’s goals and my personal desire to impact the entrepreneurial landscape of the region,” Pallares said. “The creation of a chair in entrepreneurship speaks to the importance of aligning business skills with economic development and it is emblematic of the give-back mentality NMSU instills in its graduates.”

The chair in entrepreneurship was established by a 2013 gift of more than $1 million from business executive and NMSU alumnus Bill Sheriff and his wife, Sharon, who wanted to help the College of Business attract and reward faculty who would provide leadership and expertise in cultivating a spirit of entrepreneurship in New Mexico and develop resources to advance that goal in the state and region.

“Teaching is a something I enjoy and doing so at NMSU’s College of Business is both exciting and challenging; NMSU is known to produce high-quality graduates, driven by a caring and well-prepared faculty and a student population to match,” Pallares said. “I aspire to complement the educational experience of students studying entrepreneurship and to prepare them as they embark on their entrepreneurial journeys during and after NMSU.”

James Hoffman, dean of the NMSU College of Business, said Pallares experience will serve to enhance the quality of education the college provides its students.

“Beto brings tremendous experience in entrepreneurship and a commitment to student success. In his new role at the College of Business, he will help inspire our students and lead them to pursue greater opportunities in entrepreneurship, ” Hoffman said.

Pallares hopes that as chair, he will help expand entrepreneurship opportunities throughout the state by tapping into the region’s existing talent.

“The tools and methods that underlie entrepreneurial behavior can be taught, while the zeal to excel and build successful businesses needs to be nurtured and fostered. When it comes to entrepreneurship, few universities have successfully bridged classroom content to application in industry. The Bill and Sharon Sheriff Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship will work with Arrowhead Center to ensure that New Mexico and the region have plenty of talent and opportunities whereby entrepreneurs can apply theory and practice,” Pallares said.

Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

UTEP Falls at NM State on Tuesday Night

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The UTEP softball program battled NM State after trailing by seven runs early and rallied to get within two runs, but fell 8-6 in game one.

The Aggies (15-14), however, followed with an 8-0 [5] win against the Miners (11-23) in the second contest on Tuesday night at the NM State Softball Complex.

The Miners will resume Conference USA action March 30-31 as UTSA will head to the Sun City for an Easter Weekend series. Friday’s doubleheader will start at 2 p.m., while Saturday’s series finale is set for a noon start.

Courtney Clayton hit her 24th career home run in game two, a three-run shot. The senior now ranks fifth on the program’s all-time list, while she moved to no. 7 on the RBI list with 104 in her career. Clayton also registered a double in game two, giving her 47 during her successful career and one behind no. 2-ranked Chelsea Troupe.

UTEP 6 – NM State 8
Ariel Blair put her squad up early 1-0 when she scored on a passed ball during the first inning. But the Aggies answered with a run in the bottom half, six runs during the second inning and another one in the fourth, making the score 8-1.

The Miners and Clayton, however, kept fighting. Clayton lifted a three-run dinger, her team-leading sixth of the season, over left center, scoring Taylor Sargent and Blair during the fifth frame to get the Orange and Blue within four runs (8-4). Sargent led off the fifth with a single to left, while Blair drew a walk.

Ariana Valles then brought her hometown team within two runs (8-6) after she connected on a two-run double, plating Mariah Ellis and Sargent. Ellis had reached on a fielder’s choice and Sargent reached on an error. Valles’s hit came with two outs in the inning. Clayton then drew a walk following Valles’s double to put the go-ahead run in the batter’s box, but NM State’s pitchers kept the offense in check, while retiring the side in order in the seventh to claim the victory.

UTEP turned its 15th double play of the season during the third inning. Valles finished the contest 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI (tied season high) and four assists, while Sargent crossed the dish twice.

Kira McKechnie made the start in the circle, while also hitting in the sixth spot in the lineup. She was switched to the designated player when Allie Johnson made a relief appearance.

UTEP 0 – NM State 8 [5]
Blair, Valles, Clayton and Sargent all recorded a knock, while Kaitlin Ryder registered seven putouts and two assists.

Starting pitcher Julia Wright threw 2.1 innings and struck out five Aggies and McKechnie tallied a pair of K’s. McKechnie made her way into the starting lineup again, hitting sixth at the designated positon in game two.

McKechnie drew a walk in the second inning after being down in the count 0-2 and reached on an error during the fourth.

NMSU’s LGBT+ Program to Host Drag Show Tuesday

New Mexico State University’s LGBT+ program will be hosting its Pride Season drag show this week.

The show, set for at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27 in the Corbett Center ballroom, is the biggest event hosted by the program and will feature both nationally and locally known performers.

Performers will include Cherry Poppins and Eva Alicia, who are both popular pageant queens and perform nationally; Lady Shug, the former Miss Gay New Mexico Pride for 2016; and Preston Stylez, a local king.

Zooey Pook, director of NMSU’s LGBT+ Programs, said that by continuously putting on their program’s drag show they are creating a comfortable and welcoming place for the people.

“We’ve seen our students, as well as parents and young LGBT+ people in the community come to these events and it’s their first time being around LGBT+ culture and it unites them, and makes them feel included, and happy, and it’s emotional and it’s meaningful and I couldn’t be happier to use my background as someone who booked and organized concerts in the Midwest to give them something special here in Las Cruces,” said Pook.

Pook said pride season is important to be able to show the inclusive community found among the university.

“The goal of pride season is to use public programming to promote diversity and inclusion and to further the success of all students, faculty and staff at NMSU,” said Pook.

The drag show is free and open to anyone in the public. For more information, contact the LGBT+ Programs at 575-646-7031. Pride season events are made possible by funding from ASNMSU.

Author – : Melissa R. Rutter  – NMSU

New Mexico State University’s LGBT+ Program will be hosting its Pride Season Drag Show on March 27 at 7 p.m. in the Corbett Ballroom. The event is free and will star national pageant queen Cherry Poppins along with three other special guests. MAR18

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

Two NMSU Programs Collaborating in Community Garden Projects

Give a person a nutritious meal and you will feed him for a day. Teach him about vegetable gardening you will feed him for life.

Statistically, New Mexicans face two barriers: poverty and people living in places considered a food desert. This contributes to the state’s national ranking of 48th in hunger and food insecurity.

Two programs in the New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences – Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition and the Master Gardener program – are combining efforts to help limited resource New Mexicans learn to garden as a way to supplement their diets with fresh fruits and vegetables.

The collaboration began in June of 2017, with Sally Cassady joining the ICAN Program as a food systems specialist. While obtaining a Master of Public Health from the University of Arizona, she worked at the Tucson Village Farm where she re-discovered her connection with food.

“There is something magical about the process of planting a seed and then it becoming a plant that provides food,” Cassady said.

“We are excited to have Sally onboard to bring gardening education to adults across the state,” said Donna Sauter, director of NMSU’s ICAN Program. “We will be bringing Extension programing to a new audience in New Mexico.”

While Cassady’s focus is on adult gardening, she has introduced a youth curriculum,’Learn, Grow, Eat and Go,’ to the ICAN nutrition educators who are using it to introduce basic plant science and nutrition education to students.

“With this curriculum, you can teach garden education in the classroom whether you have access to a garden or not,” Cassady said of the curriculum created by Texas A&M University’s AgLife Extension Service. “It is designed to help youth understand where food comes from.”

To introduce adults to gardening, Cassady is partnering with NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service specialists and the Master Gardener Program to develop demonstration and community gardens.

Cassady has selected Valencia and Torrance counties to begin the projects.

“These two counties are extreme opposites,” she said. “Valencia County is more urban and has a Master Gardener Program, as well as the NMSU Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas where a demonstration garden is being established. There are also several community gardens in the county.”

Torrance County is rural with greater distances between residents. Cassady will be collaborating with the county Extension agents and existing community gardens to provide locations for people to learn about raising vegetables.

“We want to see what it will take to establish gardening in the more rural areas. Because of the distance between communities and residents, it may be backyard gardens instead of community gardens,” she said.

Cassady is working with Kelly White, state coordinator of the Master Gardener programs, to provide the six-lesson basic gardening curriculum, ‘Seed to Supper,’ which was originally created by Oregon State University. Cassady is revising the curriculum to address the Southwest growing environment, and to implement the curriculum statewide.

Cassady wants to spark interest in gardening with a small project that eventually connects people with the Master Gardeners and the ‘Seed to Supper’ curriculum.

“To do this, the ICAN nutrition educators are teaching a basic gardening lesson and providing an herb growing kit,” she said. “The idea is to build confidence by helping them successfully grow something and then move on to growing more challenging vegetables.”

“Oregon State also worked with the Master Gardeners to teach garden education to people when they come into the food bank,” Cassady said. “We are working to expand this concept for New Mexico.” Cassady plans to work with food banks as well as community agencies to provide the gardening classes.

New Mexico, Arizona, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky and Oregon are collaborating to evaluate the “Seed to Supper” curriculum.

“I am working with so many amazing people to make this happen,” she said. “I’m working with Extension specialists, county agents and community partners. It will take everybody working together to make this happen.”

Author: Jane Moorman –  NMSU

NMSU Nursing Scholarship for Students in Critical Need

It’s been five years since a daughter, soon to earn her doctorate, asked her mother to do the honors of ‘hooding’ her. It’s been five years since a student learned she received a prominent scholarship with the help of her professor. And, it’s been five years since that mother and professor’s life was cut short.

In 2013, Lucy Sandoval, a New Mexico State University nursing professor for Dona Aña Community College, battled for a week in the hospital after being struck by a car. The day after Lucy Sandoval passed away, Brittany Barham-Guerrero, a nursing student at the time, received word she had received the Nightingale Nursing Scholarship awarded by the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence.

“It was the last thing we talked about before the accident,” Barham-Guerrero said, “I was thanking her again for writing my letter of recommendation. I just regret that I never got to tell her the good news.”

Barham-Guerrero had a special connection with Lucy Sandoval as did most of the DACC nursing students. Around the time of the accident, DACC faced accreditation challenges that eventually led those nursing students to merge into the nursing program at the NMSU Las Cruces campus.

“Many students feared what losing accreditation would mean, but Lucy made sure we were all informed,” Barham-Guerrero said. “She was very transparent about the entire process and held special meetings with us to answer any questions. She was my go-to; my mentor. Her office was always open to us.”

Five years later, Barham-Guerrero, now a critical care nurse at Memorial Medical Center, is still working to keep Lucy Sandoval’s memory alive. Soon after the accident, she reached out to the Sandoval family with an idea.

“She taught me how to look at someone as a whole person,” Barham-Guerrero said. “In nursing, there’s a tendency to forget that the people we help have feelings and a family on top of illness that we need to help treat. Lucy gave so much to everyone she came in contact with, and I wanted to start an NMSU nursing scholarship that would continue her impactful spirit for years to come.”

Called the ‘Lucy Montes-Sandoval Memorial Endowed Scholarship,’ Barham-Guerrero and Andrea Sandoval, Lucy’s daughter, and the Sandoval family joined forces to start raising the $15,000 needed by 2018 to fully fund a permanent endowment.

The money that supports an endowed scholarship is invested to achieve income that is then awarded as scholarships every year in perpetuity, creating a lasting legacy of giving for years to come. Now in its final year to reach the $15,000 mark, Andrea Sandoval says they still need $8,000 to finalize the endowment.

“When the scholarship was first started by Brittany, we were all trying to cope with the loss and putting the pieces of our lives back together,” Andrea Sandoval said. “I am currently an anesthesiologist, and at the time of her death, was finishing my last year of medical school. I asked her in December 2012 if she would be the person to ‘hood’ me at our graduation ceremony, an honor bestowed upon a graduating student’s mentor who also holds a doctorate or medical degree. She cried when I asked if she would accept this honor and enthusiastically agreed. She passed away not a month later and prior to being able to enjoy that moment. I would love now to be able to honor her by making this scholarship one that carries on.”

It is an honor Andrea Sandoval describes as one for a “stubborn and determined lady.” Raised in poverty in rural, eastern New Mexico, Lucy Sandoval graduated high school alongside a class of eight people. She never desired to attend college and took a housekeeping job soon after. Yet, her passions changed when she moved to Las Cruces and decided to pursue a nursing degree.

“She used to always tell me how difficult it was to go to college because her educational level was below what was expected for a typical high school graduate,” Andrea Sandoval said. “She had to take remedial-type classes and told me how much work she had to do just to get herself up to speed with her peers.”

She soon graduated with her bachelor’s degree and began working as a registered nurse on the nightshift to continue her educational journey. While managing being a mother of three and a wife, attending sporting events, cleaning house, making dinner and more, Lucy Sandoval chased after a clinical nursing specialist degree that eventually turned into a doctorate in psychology.

“Looking back, I just think how crazy it all seems that she was able to do that,” Andrea Sandoval said.

Now as Dr. Lucy Sandoval, she took on many careers as a counseling psychologist at NMSU, in private practice and within the local school district. About two years prior to the accident, she had started her most passionate work yet at DACC.

“It was evident with her passing that she had already made such a huge mark there,” Andrea Sandoval said. “When I would speak to her about work, she was constantly bouncing ideas off of me for ways to make her lectures more engaging and fun or impactful.”

“Lucy’s Nurses,” the self-titled cohort of DACC nursing students mentored by Lucy Sandoval, remember those classes to this day, gaining insights and perspectives that Barham-Guerrero says remain five years later. In that timeframe, the group has hosted Zumba fundraisers and asked many family and friends to give in hopes of raising the money needed for the endowment. With $8,000 yet to go, Barham-Guerrero and Andrea Sandoval now ask for the community’s help.

“This is not only a way to honor a mentor, friend and mother, but also a way for all of us who loved her most to finally heal,” Barham-Guerrero said, “A gift of any size to the scholarship moves us one step closer to making sure her legacy continues in a way that helps NMSU nursing students pursue a career she loved so much.”

For more information on upcoming fundraising events, please visit Lucy’s Nurses Facebook page. If you would like to make a gift directly to this scholarship, visit

Author:  Angel Mendez – NMSU

New NMSU Extension Publication Clarifies Interstate Commerce Transportation Regulation

The recent enforcement of a federal regulation regarding transporting animals across state lines for commerce has confused not-for-profit haulers including 4-H and FFA families.

New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences had created a publication that will help these groups understand the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.

“If you are crossing state lines where the hauling of the animal is involved in making your normal income, then the interstate commerce regulation applies to you,” said Craig Gifford, NMSU Extension Beef Cattle specialist. “Recently, the FMCSA has provided some parameters for enforcing the regulations that has clarified what is not interstate commerce.”

The FMCSA advised that it is not interstate commerce if the trip is an occasional transport of personal property, prize money is not declared as normal income, travel is not deducted as business expense and there are no corporate sponsorships involved.

However, there are some other common misconceptions about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations that the NMSU publication tries to clarify.

“We designed the publication describing requirements for people who typically are not professional for-profit carriers, but who may be transporting livestock, equipment or other items as part of their commercial operations, and who have a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more,” Gifford said.

The federal regulations include:

– Obtaining and displaying a Department of Transportation number on the vehicle.
– Using a log book or electronic logging device to log the driving and non-driving hours.
– Obtaining a commercial driver’s license.

“Common misconceptions include that the requirement of DOT numbers, ELD mandate and CDL are all the same,” said Gifford. “Also that placing a not-for-hire sign on the vehicle exempts that vehicle from these regulations. Also that private agriculture-related activities are all exempt.”

All of these misconceptions are not necessarily true.

“Requirements for CDL, ELD and DOT numbers are all separate,” Gifford said. “Each may have exemptions, but they do not apply to all. For example, ELD exemptions do not apply to DOT number requirements.”

NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service publication Circular 689 explains some of the requirements of the federal regulation for people involved in hauling animals for 4-H or FFA activities and rodeo; and other not-for-hire activities. The publication can be found online.

Author:  Jane Moorman- NMSU

NMSU’s Pecan Conference to Host Regional Speakers

An update on the western pecan weevil insect, how farming is adapting to city standards and a discussion on the roots of pecan trees will be among the presentations at this year’s annual Western Pecan Growers Association conference and trade show March 4-6.

“Dona Ana County is the largest pecan-producing county in the nation, so there’s a greater concentration here than any other county in the country,” said Richard Heerema, New Mexico State University’s pecan specialist. “El Paso County also is the largest producing pecan county in Texas and one of the largest in the nation as well. It’s a very important crop for us locally and statewide – it is the top crop in the state.”

The conference and trade show will be hosted at Hotel Encanto, 705 S. Telshor Boulevard, with events beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 4, with a sponsored conference reception for attendees. Parking at the hotel is limited to hotel guests and vendors, but limited overflow parking can be found at the Mesilla Valley Mall where a shuttle will bring guests back and forth to the conference.

Heerema is the organizer of the conference’s educational program that will be on Monday and Tuesday. The program will include 17 presentations by experts from NMSU, the University of California, Texas A&M and the University of Arizona along with representatives from the American Pecan Council and U.S. Pecan Growers Council.

“We try to get a range of speakers who cover a lot of different topics and areas. We want to include some basic research, so we have some research presentations that will be presenting cutting-edge research that is happening in the pecan industry,” Heerema said, “including Professor Astrid Volder from the University of California, Davis who will talk about root biology. She studies how roots grow underground and that’s exciting because it is the least understood part of the tree.”

Along with the educational programs a trade show takes place both inside and outside of the hotel. Vendors are changed every year to make sure there’s a variety of items and equipment being sold.

“We’re going to have harvesters and equipment for picking pecans off the ground along with some bigger and longer tree shakers. We are also going to have some pretty large sprayers that hold about 1,000 gallons of spray material and it’s a runoff of the tractor’s power unit, so they can do the orchard spray in a relatively short amount of time,” said John M. White, director of the Western Pecan Growers Association.

A baking contest will also be held the first day of the conference. The contest is from 9 a.m. to noon, there is no cost to enter and prize money will be awarded for different categories.

For full information on the baking contest and a copy of the conference’s agenda, visit or contact White directly at 575-640-7555 or Interested individuals and groups can register at the door with discounted rates offered for groups.

Author: Melissa R. Rutter -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 College of Business Receives Extension of Accreditation From AACSB

The business and accounting degree programs of New Mexico State University’s College of Business have received an extension of accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

“NMSU’s College of Business has had a long tradition of doing an excellent job educating our students, and transforming their lives,” said College of Business Dean James Hoffman. “Receiving such positive feedback from AACSB continues to reinforce our college’s tradition and provide a solid foundation for continued excellence.”

NMSU was among 50 universities to have their accreditation extended in either business, business and accounting, or accounting by the international organization. An AACSB Accreditation is synonymous with the highest standards in business education, and has been earned by less than 5 percent of the world’s business schools.

“AACSB congratulates each institution for their achievement,” said Stephanie M. Bryant, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer for AACBS International. “Every AACBS-accredited school has demonstrated a focus on excellence in all areas, including teaching, research, curricula development and student learning. The intense peer-review process exemplifies their commitment to quality business education.”

Among the comments about strengths, unique features and effective practices for the business degree program, the peer review team cited the Doctor of Economics Development program as very innovative; the Center of Public Utilities provides an important regional program with a highly regarded certificate program; the Woodrow Wilson Fellows Master of Business Administration program provides strong support in developing a leadership pipeline for public school leaders; and the PGA Golf Management program is a highly regarded program.

The accounting degree program received commendations of strengths, innovation and unique features for its addition of courses Technical and Professional Communication for Accountants, and Financial Accounting Research, which demonstrate a recognition of the need to improve communication skills and help students meet the CPA education requirements of neighboring states.

The college and the accounting program were complimented for a commitment to the mission of serving students. The peer review team said this was evident by the very large participation rate in the internship program and student professional organizations, as well as the students winning several competitions at national and regional meetings.

Both the business and accounting faculty were recognized for their strong commitment to supporting high quality education for students. This is demonstrated by the accounting department faculty were every senior member has been recognized with a teaching award.

The next accreditation review will be in 2022-2023 for the business degree program and 2024-2025 for the accounting degree program.

Author: Jane Moorman – 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