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Home | Tag Archives: NMSU (page 2)

Tag Archives: 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

NMSU students hone research skills in internships at national cancer research center

Nine students from New Mexico State University traveled to Seattle this summer to join the research labs of award-winning scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The nine-week paid internship program is supported in part by the Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research, a federally funded partnership between NMSU and Fred Hutch. The partnership, which began in 2002, received a $12 million, five-year renewal in 2018 from the National Cancer Institute to continue its efforts to advance cancer research among underrepresented scientists.

In addition to completing an independent research project, the internship provided students with options for professional development, career exploration and an opportunity to present their research to the entire Fred Hutch community at a final poster session.

Weeldreyer, a graduate student studying social work and public health, received one of the two awards for best poster presentation at the session for his poster entitled “Correlates to Mental Health in Sexual Minority Colorectal Cancer Survivorship.”

Weeldreyer said this internship offered an experience that is not always easily available for students in underserved areas such as New Mexico.

“The biggest takeaway for me was that we need more students involved in research projects like this, especially at the undergraduate level,” said Weeldreyer. “I did have a research experience in undergrad, but it wasn’t nearly at this level and at this caliber.

“The undergraduates I spoke to were doing things I wouldn’t have imagined were possible at the undergraduate level. So, I think it’s incredibly important that we get people that are traditionally not included in the research, or whose perspectives are not heard, at these prestigious institutions like the Hutch.”

Hernandez, an undergraduate student studying public health and anthropology, echoed Weeldreyer’s sentiment, adding that part of what made the summer internship so valuable was the access to resources and one-on-one relationships with the researchers.

“I got to develop great relationships with the people I worked with there, like my mentor Dr. Marian Neuhouser,” said Hernandez. “I was able to speak with them about long-term goals, career options and options for school. That was really memorable.”

The interns from NMSU are presenting their summer research findings at conferences and symposia throughout the year, including NMSU’s upcoming Research and Creativity Week from November 12-15.

For more information on the partnership or the summer internship program, visit  the program’s website.

The NMSU students, six undergraduates and three graduates, were part of a cohort of 34 students from around the nation to participate in the nine-week internship program and be placed in the labs of Fred Hutch scientists.

The NMSU interns (and mentors) include Katrina Keding (Boba Beronja, Human Biology Division), Izak Rubio (Taran Gujral, Human Biology Division), Isabella Terrazas (Denise Galloway, Human Biology Division), Rhiana Thomas (David MacPherson, Human Biology), Adriena Hernandez (Marian Neuhouser, Public Health Sciences Division), Nicole Mandall (Heather Greenlee, Public Health Sciences), Juan Carlos Padilla (Anne McTiernan, Public Health Sciences), Claudia Rice (Jaimee Heffner, Public Health Sciences), and Troy Weeldreyer (Rachel Ceballos, Public Health Sciences).

Author: Kaitlin Englund – NMSU

NMSU’s LGBT+ Programs to host OUTober 2019 events

OUTober at New Mexico State University continues to showcase and celebrate the gender and sexual diversity of more than 2,000 students who have signed up to utilize the university’s resources, according to Zooey Sophia Pook, director for NMSU’s LGBT+ Programs.

“FallFest is the Las Cruces version of a Pride fair and I think it’s very important that we are represented and that we can continue one of our very important missions of connecting NMSU students with resources in Las Cruces,” Pook said.

OUTober begins with an event from 5–10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 in downtown Las Cruces at the Plaza de Las Cruces during the city’s FallFest.

On Monday, Oct. 7 a screening of the film “Crystal City” will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Creative Media Institute Theater in Milton Hall. The documentary follows New York City’s LGBTQ community, which is experiencing a resurgence of crystal methamphetamine addiction. “Crystal City” explores the epidemic through the eyes of recovering addicts as they attempt to overcome their chemical dependency. After the film, director Terrence Crawford will be on hand to field questions from the audience.

“The film was proposed by an outstanding graduate student in counseling and social work, who has a history of activism,” Pook said. “I was thrilled to find out that we could bring the director in to speak about this important documentary that showcases LGBT+ lives and struggles.”

Starting Thursday, Oct. 10 and every Thursday for the forcible future at 5 p.m. LGBT+ Programs will hold a weekly support group on the second floor of Corbett Center in Room 204i. Counselors at Aggie Health and Wellness will be present to mediate the conversations and provide a space for students to share their experiences in a safe and supportive environment.

Friday, Oct. 11 is “Coming Out Day.” NMSU’s LGBT+ Programs and the Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education program (WAVE) will offer free, rapid and confidential HIV testing. Alianza of New Mexico will provide the services from 12 to 3 p.m. at a table set up in NMSU’s Corbett Center. They will also include resources and information about their programs.

National drag superstar Cherry Poppins will host the first-ever NMSU Drag Ball, sponsored by the Black Student Association and LGBT+ Programs. The event will start at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16 in the Corbett Center ballrooms.

OUTober will conclude with a drag show at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28 in the Corbett Auditorium. The drag show will feature national drag superstar Spacee Kadett with support from local drag queens.

OUTober is sponsored by the Black Student Association, Creative Media Institute, Aggie Health and Wellness and Gender and Sexuality Studies program. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information, call LGBT+ Programs at 575-646-7031 or email

Author: Melissa R. Rutter – NMSU

NMSU College of Health and Social Services celebrates 40 years of making a difference

In 1979, New Mexico State University formally established the College of Health and Social Services, the university’s centralized home for the only accredited programs in southern New Mexico for nursing, social work and public health students.

Since its founding, the college, also known as CHSS, has dedicated itself to fulfilling its mission to serve the needs of New Mexico’s diverse population through education, research and service in the areas of health and social well-being.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of CHSS. To commemorate the milestone, the college will celebrate its legacy of making a difference in New Mexico during NMSU’s Homecoming festivities Oct. 3-5. It also will launch an anniversary scholarship to benefit students in the college’s three academic departments.

“We are excited to recognize all the great work going on in the School of Nursing, School of Social Work and the Department of Public Health Sciences,” Interim CHSS Dean Sonya Cooper said. “We’ll take this opportunity to salute the college’s exceptional scholarship recipients, acknowledge and appreciate our faculty and staff, and recognize our amazing alumni and supporters.”

Today, CHSS serves more than 1,300 students across New Mexico; boasts more than 8,000 alumni; and offers four baccalaureate programs, three master’s degree programs and one Ph.D. program.

The first programs now part of CHSS were developed in the 1970s.

NMSU created its first-ever degree program in social welfare in 1970 through the Continuing Education Office, and then launched a two-year nursing program in 1972 after a yearlong study found broad support for having a nursing curriculum at NMSU.

In 1975, the nursing program expanded to four years, allowing students to receive certification as licensed practical nurses, train as registered nurses, and earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Four years later, NMSU established the College of Health and Community Services with three departments for nursing, social work and health sciences. Lowery Davis served as the college’s first dean.

“I think it was very, very smart to put these three schools into one college,” said Satyapriya
Rao, department head for the Department of Public Health Sciences.

“Public health focuses on prevention, nursing focuses on patient care and intervention, and social work focuses on conditions and environmental issues. Together, I think, these are very complementary professions,” Rao added.

Loui Reyes, the interim director for the School of Social Work, was among the first students from NMSU to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1978 – the year the program earned accreditation.

“The program was a perfect fit for me,” Reyes said. “I started in the College of Business, but when I was a sophomore, I took an elective called ‘Social Work Introduction.’ The professor was just so great, and I said this is what I’m called to be. I want to work with people and for the people.”

In 1995, the college changed its name to the College of Health and Social Services under the leadership of its second dean, Virginia C. Higbie. Another major turning point followed in 2004 under the leadership of the college’s third dean, Jeffrey Brandon.

That year, after more than a decade of planning and developing, the college moved into a home of its own – a 69,000-square-foot building – at the center of campus. The opening of the Health and Social Sciences Building coincided with the college’s 25th anniversary.

“This milestone of having our first new home, and our obtaining approval to focus solely upon our three academic programs, led to our identity as a full-fledged college,” Brandon said

“It also led to valuable faculty collaboration across programs, as demonstrated by its first college-wide Southwest Center for Health Disparities Research and a similar center funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration-funded in the School of Nursing, led by Dr. Mary Hoke,” Brandon added.

Sue Forster-Cox, professor and online coordinator in the Department of Public Health Sciences, said, “It wasn’t until we got into that building, under one roof, that we felt like a college.”

Before the building opened, CHSS had its three departments scattered throughout campus.

Rao recalled having an office in Breland Hall and conducting class in the activity center when she joined CHSS in 1996. When Forster-Cox started working for the college in 2002, she said her office was based in the Academic Research Building complex, where public health students shared one classroom. And for years, the nursing lab, now housed in the state-of-the-art Skills and Simulation Center, was in the basement of Breland Hall.

“We had a small lab made of donated equipment, and we would put together laboratory experiences for students,” said former nursing professor Karen Hand, who retired from NMSU in 2017 after a 28-year career in the School of Nursing. “Now, there’s a new lab, which is amazing. The scenarios will adapt as students make decisions in the lab.”

In the decades since its founding, CHSS has experienced steady growth in student enrollment, thanks to distance and online education, as well as the addition of innovative programs, including graduate programs in social work and public health and a Ph.D. program in nursing.

“We have been one of the most resilient colleges at NMSU,” Rao said. “We’ve gone through ups and downs, but we’ve always believed in ourselves and tried to make a difference in our communities and with our students.”

To celebrate its success, CHSS will host a 40th-anniversary dinner from 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave.

It will then host a breakfast for faculty, alumni and friends from 9:30-11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at Traders Plaza between the HSS Building and Business Complex. Afterward, students will give tours of the HSS Building from 11 a.m.-noon.

Later that afternoon, Debra Hagler, a two-time CHSS graduate and the college’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, will speak from 4-5 p.m. in the HSS Auditorium, Room 101A.

For more information about the events, visit the website.

Author:  Carlos Andres Lopez – NMSU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Amanda Adame – NMSU

NMSU researcher launches study on strategically-timed tillage

Can strategically-timed tillage improve the efficiency of no-till farming in the semiarid region?

That’s a question one researcher from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University is hoping to answer with a new study.

Rajan Ghimire, an agronomist and assistant professor based at the NMSU Agricultural Science Center in Clovis, initiated the study after hearing farmers express concerns about continuous no-tillage cropping.

“Farmers are asking: How much damage is done by occasional tillage in continuously no-tilled plots? Is there any room for mixing residue and soils, or any other benefit of strategically-timed tillage in the continuous no-tillage system?” Ghimire said. “To address these questions, we established a study at our long-term tillage demonstration sites.”

Ghimire launched the study, funded by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, in September as a part of ongoing, long-term research comparing conventional tillage, strip-tillage and no-tillage systems.

Conventional tillage is common in eastern New Mexico and involves four to six passes of the moldboard plow, disk plow and cultivator/ripper, which, according to Ghimire, prepares a good seedbed for crops, but has several disadvantages.

He said repeated tillage damages soil structure, causes rapid mineralization and soil erosion by both wind and water, and loss of soil organic matter and nutrients.

In contrast, no-tillage cropping adopted in arid and semiarid regions, including New Mexico, offers many benefits, Ghimire said, such as reducing soil erosion and increasing infiltration, soil organic matter storage and soil water conservation. It also reduces labor and machinery, increasing the economic efficiency of farming.

But no-tillage farming also has its challenges, he said.

Dryland farmers in semiarid regions question the long-term sustainability of such a system because it increases dependence on herbicide for weed control. It also can result in the build-up of herbicide-resistant weed populations, the incidence of soil and stubble-borne diseases, and stratification of nutrients and organic matter in the topsoil. Farmers also experience difficulty due to compaction.

“In this new study,” Ghimire said, “we proposed strategically-managed minimum tillage of continuous no-till plots to maximize the agronomic and ecological benefits by harnessing positive aspects of both tilled and no-tilled systems.”

In early September, Ghimire introduced stubble-mulch tillage to a demonstration plot. It was the first tillage on the site since 2013.

“We collected baseline soil data before tillage,” he said, “and we will continue to monitor changes in soil processes for several months after tillage.”

Ghimire will simultaneously monitor the long-term and no-tilled plots, as well as the adjacent conventional-tilled and strip-tilled plots. He plans to till the latter two plots every year and will wait four years to till the strategic-tillage plots. And, he will maintain the no-tillage plots with no disturbance for much of the study’s duration.

“We will be evaluating how changes occur in soil organic carbon, nutrient pools and dynamics; crop residue decomposition; microbial community composition; soil structure; and overall soil health and resilience,” he said, adding that he will collect samples at tillage-depth and below tillage-depth. “It is also crucial to understand long-term soil carbon sequestration and its relationship with crop yield and productivity.”

Ghimire will introduce another tillage treatment in the two no-tillage plots in 2021, after eight years of no-tillage, he said.

“We are excited to know how strategically-timed minimum tillage in the continuous no-tilled system will affect soil properties and long-term sustainability of dryland farming in eastern New Mexico, and semiarid Southwest,” Ghimire said.

Author: Carlos Andres Lopez – NMSU

NSF awards NMSU $5 million for Phase II of smart grid research

The National Science Foundation recently awarded New Mexico State University a second $5 million dollar grant to fund Phase II of collaborative smart grid research. The grant will help researchers build on success of the program over the past five years, which resulted in publication of 450 peer-reviewed papers.

The award through the NSF’s Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) seeks to strengthen and improve the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of the electric energy grid by addressing infrastructure challenges, security issues and working to create a highly trained and flexible workforce to support the future of the industry.

“The first phase was really focused on smart grids,” said Enrico Pontelli, principal investigator of the project and NMSU’s dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “In the second phase we’ll see if we can take what we’re learning with smart grids and apply it to other problems. A lot of the problems we are addressing also can apply to other types of infrastructure.”

Pontelli’s vision for the center cuts across disciplines while offering students a course of study with a path to high-demand careers. NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu points to this second large NSF award for the center as recognition of NMSU’s leadership in this area.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be able to continue this groundbreaking work in smart grid research,” Arvizu said. “Elevating all of NMSU’s research and creativity efforts, particularly when it comes to modernizing critical infrastructure, is an important component to our new strategic plan. We’re fortunate to have someone like Enrico Pontelli to lead this project.”

NMSU established the NSF-funded Interdisciplinary Center of Research Excellence in Design of Intelligent Technologies for Smart Grids (iCREDITS) in 2014 as a collaborative effort bringing together researchers in electrical engineering, computer science, mathematics, management and education.

“The NSF grant for the CREST center (iCREDITS) has as its goal to pursue basic research to create the electric distribution grid of tomorrow,” said Satishkumar Ranade, co-principal investigator and electrical engineering professor. “At the same time we provide K-12 outreach, opportunities for advanced degrees and new tools and techniques for industry.”

“Phase one was so successful in that we converted the research that the wonderful NMSU professors were doing into age appropriate lessons that we used in our out-of-school time programs,” said Susan Brown, interim dean of the College of Education. “We look forward to our collaboration in Phase II.”

The next phase of the iCREDITS research over the coming five years will focus on three areas: modeling, operation and integration; security and resilience frameworks; and data-driven decision-making.

The Modeling, Operation and Integration group will address ways to allow the customers to more easily communicate with the their electrical systems to ensure their needs are met in a sustainable way.

“Given abundant solar energy, the ability to store it in batteries and other media, electrical appliances, industrial processes, electric cars that can ‘think,’ how do we best use this energy,” Ranade said. “Conventional wisdom that we should wash clothes at night when electricity might be cheaper changes to have your smart washer run when the ‘sun shines’ and store what you can’t use.

“Our research looks at how best we can manage our resources while ensuring safety, reliability and providing access to all. In addition to reliability, today, we also think of resilience in a weather event or cyber-attack, can we provide service to small pockets while working towards restoring power to everybody as quickly as possible?”

Computer science associate professor Jay Misra is the co-principal investigator leading the Security and Resilience Frameworks aspect of the project. His part of the team will direct three areas: designing an overarching cyber security framework; investigating mechanisms to safeguard the system against failure and studying hardware-based security, namely mutual device authentication based on strong physically unclonable functions.

“We will help create a team of three to four graduate students, two undergraduate students and a post doctoral fellow to work on various aspects of the research,” said Misra. ” In this thrust we are studying the security and privacy threats in customer-driven distribution feeder microgrids from the perspective of hardware, software and future advancements (e.g., quantum computers).”

Hulping Cao, computer science associate professor, and Son Tran, computer science department head are heading up the Data-Driven Decision-Making part of the project, to strengthen the interaction between the customer and their electricity supply operations to optimize efficiency and effectiveness.

“Our research thrust will implement the data-information-knowledge-decision flow to support coarse grained operation and control of the customer-centric distribution microgrids, optimizing for resilience and enabling user-centered (e.g., user preferences) and transactive (e.g., electricity as a commodity) behavior,” Cao said.

Pontelli and Renade both emphasize the collaborative nature of the center’s research, which exposes NMSU students to a broad range of ideas and unleash their potential.

“The field is changing very fast. The traditional career doesn’t exist anymore,” Pontelli said. “Problem solvers are what we need and diversity, having different kinds of thinkers. We must create learning environments where our students learn to leverage diversity, efficiency and flexibility. It’s not so much a specific knowledge component, but we need to train learners, people who know how to learn. What our students will need in the future are the skills to quickly adapt to change.

“This new NSF CREST award and Phase II of iCREDITS will take us to the next level. NMSU is striving to be a leader of this effort in the state.”

Author: Minerva Baumann – NMSU

Aggie Shark Tank gearing up to showcase, launch new businesses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU

NMSU stabilizes enrollment, posts increase in system headcount

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Justin Bannister – NMSU

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