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Home | Tag Archives: NMSU (page 3)

Tag Archives: NMSU

NMSU provides internet access options for students across the state

The New Mexico State University system’s students are among the millions of students nationwide from elementary school through college whose schools and campuses have been partly or fully closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While they are observing the social distancing mandate to stay at home, they are also continuing their academic progress, so NMSU’s Information and Communication Technology department and Cooperative Extension Service are stepping up to ensure students across the state have the technology and internet access they need to complete the semester successfully.

For some students, staying at home has brought many unexpected challenges.

“We don’t know what distractions or obligations the students are dealing with in their stay-at-home situation,” said Donald Conner, associate dean and director of academic programs for the College of College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. “These issues could impact their ability to receive the course material and concentrate on their studies.”

One way NMSU is providing support to help students finish the semester successfully is by offering additional access options for internet service.

“We know that some of our students do not have the resources for online learning at home,” said Norma Grijalva, NMSU’s chief information officer. “We are working to provide solutions to help them gain access.”

For students without their own computer at home, NMSU is offering laptops that can be checked out. Wireless internet hotspots and limited computer lab access are also available to students at the Las Cruces campus, in accordance with social distancing and heightened cleaning procedures. The NMSU Albuquerque Center, located at Central New Mexico Community College’s Montoya Campus, is also offering access to its computer lab.

NMSU’s ICT department will soon deploy a virtual computer lab that students may access online.

“In addition, we have identified Parking Lot 19 as work-from-car area for students needing access,” Grijalva said. The lot, between the Rhodes-Garrett-Hamiel and Garcia residence halls on the Las Cruces campus, is accessible from Locust Street, on the northeast side of campus.

For the many rural areas in New Mexico where internet access is less reliable or accessible, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service is offering students a solution.

“We had some feedback from a fairly limited number of students concerning their internet access in rural areas,” said Conner. “We posed the question to our county Extension offices about whether their Wi-Fi could be accessed.

“Most, not all, of the 33 county offices do have wireless that can be accessed from outside the building,” Conner said. “Once again, I am impressed with our Extension folks. They worked to make some technology changes so the students have access.”

The access to wireless internet at the county Extension offices is not limited to College of ACES students.

“We have offered this access to any NMSU student living in rural areas without internet access,” said Rolando A. Flores, dean of the College of ACES. “We are all Aggies and as such we want to help our students to complete this semester under these unique circumstances.”

A list of internet service providers that are offering discounted services is posted on NMSU’s resources page.

Author: Jane Moorman – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

In wake of pandemic, NMSU Aggie Health Center moves to telemedicine

The coronavirus outbreak is redefining the value of telehealth in delivering medical services to patients. The efficiency of this type of system could end up reshaping the future of healthcare.

“We can provide services that help keep our students, faculty and staff out of the urgent care clinics and emergency rooms where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is potentially higher,” said Dr. Judi Voelz, medical director for New Mexico State University’s Health and Wellness Center.

NMSU is already on board. They started March 23, providing services to students, faculty and staff using the telehealth model for access to medical and counseling providers, laboratory and pharmacy services.

Before they could start, the staff at Aggie Health needed to set up a version of Zoom teleconferencing service that is compliant with the privacy requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA).

“We were able to get training for our staff in best practices for telehealth and we started calling clients last week to convert to the telehealth version for all counseling,” said Lori McKee, executive director of the Aggie Health and Wellness Center. “Most of our counseling staff already had web cameras as, that is a standard in their profession. We gradually integrated the medical staff into it and now all patients are evaluated through telehealth.”

The call to the Aggie Health Center is the first step. A triage nurse determines if a face-to-face meeting via Zoom is needed. The doctor or nurse sends an email to the patient for a Zoom meeting appointment. McKee said the system is really not that different from when patients would call to make a same day appointment at the center. It’s just a telehealth appointment instead. Students, faculty or staff connect with a medical provider via cell phone, computer, laptop, or tablet and the assessment happens through a HIPAA protected Internet link.

“The patient or counseling client can see the practitioner and the practitioner can see the patient, take the history, and can do limited exams and recommend treatment if necessary,” Voelz said. “In the course of medical training, we are taught that a large amount of the diagnosis can be made by taking a good history from the patient. Telehealth medicine allows us to extensively talk with the patient.”

If it is necessary, the NMSU student or employee has an appointment scheduled with a medical provider and they go into the health center. If they need lab work or a prescription filled, it works the same way. It begins with a phone call, the telehealth meeting is set up and then patients may come in for lab testing and pick up prescriptions. The center can also call in prescriptions for NMSU students to pharmacies in other cities where they may have returned to shelter in place.

“I’ve called-in prescriptions to Tucson, Phoenix and Houston for our NMSU student patients,” Voelz said. “All they have to do is call.”

The health center is always screening for COVID-19, so if patients have symptoms, they receive high priority at Aggie Health with medical intervention and access for coronavirus testing.

The telehealth system protects both patients and healthcare professionals.

“Healthcare workers don’t need to examine a person who may be infected with coronavirus and may not be showing symptoms yet,” Voelz said. “Telehealth limits face-to-face contact, protecting all our employees from a possible exposure to coronavirus.

“Being able to provide telehealth at the Aggie Health and Wellness Center keeps us connected to the NMSU community we are here to serve,” Voelz said. “It gives them a way to call, get answers to questions and get services like lab and pharmacy, so they can stay home and be safe and well.”

NMSU employees pay $20 for the telehealth visit while students’ visit is included in the health fee they pay by semester.

NMSU students, faculty and staff are encouraged to call Aggie Health at 575-646-1512. The center is receiving calls to make appointments for telehealth screenings from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 pm. Monday through Friday. For information on COVID-19, please visit the website at:

Author: Minerva Baumann – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

Burrell College Presents $400k to NMSU to support students pursuing Health Care Careers

On Monday, April 13, the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine hosted a virtual check presentation to celebrate a $400,000 gift to New Mexico State University.

The fourth annual gift — part of an ongoing partnership agreement between the two universities — supports the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine Endowed Scholarship at NMSU.

Burrell College Co-Founder and President John L. Hummer said the annual gifts underscore the medical school’s commitment to developing a pipeline of students pursuing medical and health careers to serve the region in the years to come.

“I am pleased to present our largest gift yet to the NMSU Foundation in support of pre-medical student scholarships,” Hummer said. “We hope these scholarships can help relieve the financial burden of pursuing an undergraduate education and that they inspire NMSU students to continue to work hard to achieve their dreams of becoming physicians.”

The scholarship, which is administered by the NMSU Foundation, supports freshman New Mexico residents with financial need who are part of the Osteopathic Medicine Pathway Program at the Las Cruces campus. Students who maintain at least a 3.5 grade-point average can continue to receive the scholarship throughout their undergraduate degree.

The Burrell College has donated $1.15 million to the NMSU Foundation to date. So far, the scholarship has supported eight students, including Andrea De Santiago Guzman, who said growing up in El Paso exposed her to the poor conditions that her community and many Americans across the country are facing.

“I have personally witnessed our medical and developmental necessities,” she said. “I wish to connect with my community through these needs. My experiences have helped me decide on a career path that will not only be rewarding for me, but also for my community and everyone I am able to help.”

NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu said each gift helps ensure more students earn degrees at NMSU that increase their career opportunities and their readiness to join the rigorous and critical health care workforce.

“The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine is an asset to our region,” Arvizu said. “As recent events have shown, the need for well-trained medical professionals has never been greater. This need is especially true in many of our underserved communities. That’s why we’re proud to work with the Burrell College to ensure we have the doctors needed to keep everyone healthy.”

NMSU Foundation President Derek Dictson added, “The NMSU Foundation values our long-term relationship with the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine. This generous gift will support generations of students who aspire to impact the health and well-being of people in our community, state and region.”

NMSU mental health counselor gives advice to cope with COVID-19 pandemic

To curb the spread of COVID-19, public health experts have urged people nationwide to practice social distancing, and many states, including New Mexico, have implemented measures ordering residents to stay at home. Now, as a result, millions are self-isolating and limiting social contact by teleworking or attending school virtually.

But prolonged social isolation can have adverse effects on mental health, especially for people already grappling with mental conditions like depression and anxiety, said New Mexico State University counselor Louie Atencio, who works for the Aggie Health and Wellness Center’s Employee Assistance Program, a confidential counseling and referral service for NMSU faculty and staff.

“When we’re talking about the heightened aspects of mental health issues during this time, we’re talking about a specific part of the population that often struggles with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder,” Atencio said. “They already feel to a certain extent that they’re isolated from the rest of the community because some people often have a difficult time understanding mental health issues.”

According to a recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45 percent of adults nationwide said the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their mental health, with 19 percent saying it has had a “major impact.”

Atencio said it’s normal for people to experience elevated levels of stress and anxiety during this challenging time. But people with a diagnosed condition, he noted, may feel further isolated as a result of restrictive measures limiting social interactions.

“That’s one of the big concerns,” he said.

For some people struggling with the symptoms of depression or anxiety – such as feeling nervous, restless or tense, or having a sense of panic, danger or doom – relaxation exercises can help them cope, Atencio said. Since most people are isolating at home, he recommends searching for some relaxation videos and techniques from online sources like YouTube. Many of these web-based resources are free, and some include useful how-to videos, such as how to use mindfulness or self-compassion exercises to deal with their anxiety, he said.

“I have recommended to my clients in my private practice and students here, as well as employees, that they might consider going online and searching for some self-help videos on YouTube on how to utilize basic relaxation exercises,” he said.

Atencio encourages those without computer or internet access to contact the National Alliance on Mental Health at 800-950-NAMI or the Doña Ana County chapter at 510-770-6264. He noted that NAMI’s hotline offers a free peer-support helpline that provides information, resource referrals and support to people living with mental health conditions.

At NMSU, Atencio said, the Aggie Health and Wellness Center has a daily on-call counselor available to assist NMSU students and employees in crisis situations from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Last month, the center transitioned into telehealth services to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Atencio and other counselors from the center are now speaking with patients by phone and through Zoom, he said.

NMSU students or employees who need to speak with the center’s on-call counselor should call 575-646-1512. For after-hours assistance, they can visit this website for a list of resources available in Las Cruces and New Mexico.

Creative visualization exercises also can help people manage their anxiety, Atencio said. For example, he practices an exercise that involves a person visualizing a safe place – either real or imaginary – while taking a series of deep breaths.

“I ask them hold their breath at least four times for as long as they can, then slowly release it, and repeat this at least four times,” he said. “At that point, they may be able to visualize your safe place, and they can say to themselves, ‘When I’m in my safe place, I can be safe.'”

He also tells patients to gently rub the side of their cheek with their index finger when they find their safe place while doing this exercise, he said. This will help patients when they experience anxiety in public settings, he added.

“By doing this,” he said, “it could potentially help them reconnect with their safe place when they’re out in public and begin to feel anxious. What they want to do is gently rub their cheek to reconnect with their safe place; however, this does require practice.”

To learn more about this exercise, Atencio suggests searching for “Create Your Safe Place” or “Guided Meditation to Find Your Safe Place” on YouTube.

Some people may not experience heightened stress, depression, anxiety or other mental health issues during their self-isolation, but they can help others who are having a difficult time.

“I would encourage these people who are fortunate enough not to be struggling with these mental health symptoms to consider becoming a mentor for their friends,” Atencio said, “and reach out to their friends that they know are struggling or have struggled in the past with these symptoms, and let them know that they’re there for them.”

He said making a simple phone call to someone in distress can have a very positive impact.

“Just being able to hear someone else’s voice on the other end of the phone can often make a huge difference,” he said. “It lets you know that you are still connected to someone.”

Just as important as helping others, Atencio said, is remembering that the current crisis is temporary. “Ultimately, as a species, we are survivors. We are people who meet challenges. And this, by all means, is a huge challenge,” he said. “But as long as we have faith in each other and our higher powers, we should be able to come through this time.”

For more information about counseling services at the Aggie Health and Wellness Center, click here.

Author: Carlos Andres Lopez – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU professor, Orthodox priest adapts to new technology to teach Old Testament

Like many faculty members at New Mexico State University, Gabriel Rochelle was a bit apprehensive about moving his course on the Old Testament to the Zoom online platform.

“I’ve been teaching online on a variety of platforms for the past 10 years,” said Rochelle, pastor of St Anthony of the Desert Orthodox Mission and a religious studies professor in the NMSU Honors College. “I also teach in New Jersey, and mostly what we’ve been using in the past was Skype.”

But as soon as classes resumed from an extended spring break on March 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rochelle, 81, felt ahead of the game, thanks to the help he received from fellow faculty members and Honors College Dean Miriam Chaiken and Associate Dean Tim Ketelaar.

“By the time classes started, I felt like I was ahead of the students,” said Rochelle, while admitting that many students have the advantage of growing up with technology, and older faculty members have to learn to adapt to it.

In order to learn how to use Zoom properly, Rochelle said he took notes that he collected into a desktop file for easy access.

“I’m an old-fashioned book learner, so I wrote up a bunch of notes and made up a file in the event that I would forget it,” Rochelle said. “My main concern was how to revamp the material, but since my class mainly focuses on reading, I don’t have to do a whole lot to revamp it.”

Chaiken said that while faculty at NMSU did some heavy lifting in the two weeks they had to move 5,000 courses to an entirely online format, there are campus champions like Ketelaar who did a lot of work supporting other faculty who are less experienced with online teaching.

“We are so pleased to have a true scholar like Father Gabriel teaching our Old Testament class,” Chaiken said. “The students adore him, and I think the fact that he rides up on his bike wearing brightly colored jackets (to be sure the cars see him) endears him to all of us.”

Rochelle, an avid bicyclist who averages 6,000 to 7,000 miles a year on his bicycle, said that while he’s experienced a few glitches with the Canvas site students use to access courses, he found that learning Zoom has been quite simple. While he hasn’t explored all the possibilities of Zoom, he said he will continue to try and learn them.

“I’m a selective Luddite,” Rochelle said, laughing. “If I have to learn a program, I’ll clench my teeth and do it.”

As the first week of online learning came to an end, Rochelle reported the class’s progress as, “So far, so good. I would be lying if I didn’t say there were obviously some frustrations with getting started on Zoom.”

Rochelle said he sees the move to online learning as a sign of the times, and a move that may have been hastened by the pandemic.

“My advice to anybody having issues is to learn the technology as best you can. You already know the subject. Be confident in that and figure out a way to adjust it to this odd setting,” Rochelle said. “This will change education forever. This whole platform of online education is definitely here to stay.”

Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

Seed investment to develop NMSU research, partners with Arrowhead Center

New Mexico State University research will see large-scale development through seed investment and commercialization, thanks to a new partnership with VIC Technology Venture Development.

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center has signed an agreement with VIC to support VIC’s efforts in licensing NMSU intellectual property. VIC will create Filtravate, a business based in Las Cruces, which will develop and commercialize the manufacture of ultrafiltration membranes.

VIC is a technology venture development firm creating innovative new companies with world-changing science and engineering-based technologies. VIC carefully selects and licenses technologies from universities and research institutions, then partners technology entrepreneurs with VIC’s team of business and technology experts and provides seed capital through the national VIC Investor Network.

Yun Li, the managing director of VIC’s New Mexico branch, will be serving as interim CEO of Filtravate.

“This technology results in membranes that solve critical issues in the production of biopharmaceuticals, and have the potential to significantly improve process efficiencies in industrial and laboratory settings as well,” said Li.

The Filtravate approach will allow membranes to be synthesized from scratch, using the smallest building blocks to create precisely controlled pore sizes, even pore distribution, and will allow for fine-tuning of the membrane surface properties to meet the exact needs of the end-user. While the first application evaluated for the membrane was wastewater treatment, the researchers have since explored many other high-value uses.

Reza Foudazi, associate professor of chemical and materials engineering at NMSU, is a co-inventor of the Filtravate technology.

NMSU’s exploration and involvement in technology development is a benefit for not only for those emerging technologies, but for the visibility of the university and its researchers, which can lead to new revenue for both the institution and its faculty and staff.

“NMSU supports the translation of laboratory research to business applications,” said Luis Cifuentes, vice president for research and dean of the NMSU Graduate School. “With Arrowhead Center’s help, Dr. Foudazi was able to develop an enhanced technology, through dedicated doctoral research, that will be of future use for the pharmaceutical industry.”

Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center, said, “What Arrowhead has undertaken with VIC shines a light on NMSU’s research capacity and talent. We’re delighted to work with VIC to see NMSU research grow and get products to the private sector. Everybody wins if Filtravate succeeds, and Dr. Foudazi will remain involved in product development.”

Foudazi explained that the membrane was developed through the doctorate work of his student Sahar Qavi, a recent graduate. It was during their involvement with Arrowhead Center that they were challenged to grow their idea for additional potential market opportunities.

“We originally focused on purification and filtration at water and wastewater treatment plants, but in going through the Arrowhead Center’s Aggie I-Corps and LAUNCH programs, we were able to see that it has a defined pharmaceutical application and, also something that the dairy industry would be interested in for cheese production,” Foudazi said.

Aggie I-Corps training program at Arrowhead Center for NMSU allows students to test the commercial feasibility of technology, and LAUNCH is a 10-week licensing studio, built to springboard NMSU intellectual property into the private sector.

“Arrowhead Center gave us a better understanding of the market and allowed us to have interactions with investors that enhanced our ability to make this research viable for a product ready for the market,” Foudazi said, “and ultimately led to the investment by VIC in the newly created Filtravate.”

Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU

~For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today~

NMSU Aggie Cupboard works to meet demand during COVID-19 pandemic

In the days and weeks since COVID-19 became a worldwide pandemic, empty grocery store shelves have become an all-too-common sight.

But New Mexico State University’s on-campus food pantry, Aggie Cupboard, is working to ensure students, staff and faculty facing food insecurity have access to pantry staples during this time of crisis.

Aggie Cupboard, founded in 2012 on a mission to provide free supplementary food assistance to community members attending or working at NMSU and Doña Ana Community College, has experienced a two-fold increase in clientele since concerns over COVID-19 started escalating earlier this month, said Aggie Cupboard Director Meg Long.

During the week of March 15, Aggie Cupboard volunteers distributed approximately 2,483 pounds of nonperishable food items to 191 clients, said Long, who noted that she sees an average of 70 to 80 clients per week during a typical spring semester.

“So, we had more than double the amount of clients last week,” she said, “and every food box has roughly 13 pounds in it.”

The rapid rise in clients prompted Long to reduce pick-up hours starting March 23, a measure aimed to help maintain Aggie Cupboard’s food supplies in the weeks to come. She also changed distribution procedures to align with guidelines from the New Mexico Department of Health.

“I needed to restrict the hours to our summer hours,” she said, “just to make the food last a little bit longer as we’re having difficulty securing our food orders right now.”

For the time being, Aggie Cupboard clients may only pick up food boxes – containing a mix of items such as canned goods, pasta, peanut butter, dry beans and rice – between 3 and 6 p.m. Thursdays, Long said. They need only bring their NMSU Banner ID numbers and comply with newly implemented social-distancing practices.

Before COVID-19 prompted new guidelines urging people to maintain a distance of at least six feet between one another, Long would allow clients to come inside the facility to pick food items for their boxes, she said.

Now, she and volunteers distribute food outside, assisting only one client at a time while others wait their turn at a safe distance. They’ve also put together prepackaged food boxes with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, so clients will not have to enter the facility.

New Mexico State University’s on-campus food pantry, Aggie Cupboard, was founded in 2012 mission to provide free supplementary food assistance to community members attending or working at NMSU and Doña Ana Community College. | NMSU photo by Minerva Baumann

“They just pick whichever box they want,” said Long, who added that she records clients’ Banner ID numbers verbally. “When someone grabs their box, it’s just their box that they’re touching – they’re not touching anyone else’s things.”

Long depends on donations from community members and area businesses to keep Aggie Cupboard’s shelves stocked with food.


During this time, she wants donations to remain steady so volunteers can keep up with the increasing number of clients. Given the current demand, Long expects to serve more clients this year than previous years.

“We need staples like everyone else does. We’re extremely low on evaporated milk or dry milk,” she said. “I’m trying to provide food that follows the MyPlate guidelines, in terms of nutrition, so that people have protein, they have carbs, they have dairy, they have vegetables, and they have fruit.”

In addition to dairy items, Aggie Cupboard also needs donations of canned fruit, tuna, canned chicken, beans, rice, lentils, peanut butter, pasta, canned vegetables, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, soup, macaroni and cheese, and instant noodles.

Donors may drop off items between 9:30 and 11 a.m. Tuesdays and 1 and 3 p.m. Thursdays at Aggie Cupboard, 906 Gregg St.

Aggie Cupboard also accepts monetary donations through a “Make a Statement” crowdfunding campaign via this website.

For more information about Aggie Cupboard, click here or call 575-646-7636.

Author: Carlos Andres Lopez – NMSU

~~To keep up to date with all news from Las Cruces & Southern New Mexico visit our partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU’s Innoventure program hosting two free Facebook Live events for students, parents

Parents, have a budding entrepreneur at home? Are you looking for activities while your elementary school student is at home? Join New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center with two Facebook Live events hosted by the Innoventure program that will introduce them to the concepts of solving a problem, creating a business and using things around the house to build their first prototype.

The events will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 31, and Thursday, April 2. The events will also be available for viewing anytime on the Innoventure Facebook page. Like the page and select to be reminded of the page going live, or, join the event pages to get reminders on your page.

Those who tune in live can work with Lydia Hammond, director of Innoventure, and get feedback on their ideas directly.

For the first event, participants will need a worksheet that can be downloaded for free, via this link.

For the second event, participants will need things that can be found around the house such as cardboard, milk cartons, string and straws – anything that will help students turn their dreams into reality.

Links to the events:
Tuesday, March 31   |   Thursday, April 2

Email Lydia Hammond with any questions before the events at

Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU


For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU programs featured on U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools 2021 list

Several New Mexico State University graduate programs have been recognized on the newly released U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools 2021 rankings.

Graduate programs in the College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Business, College of Health and Social Services and College of Arts and Sciences were ranked this year.

U.S. News & World Report ranks professional school programs in business, education, engineering, law, medicine and nursing along with area specialties annually. The methodology states the rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students.

NMSU graduate departments with programs ranked in the top 200 include:

– Education: Tied-99
– Fine arts: Tied-135
– Nursing (Master’s): Tied-141 and (Doctor of Nursing Practice): 133-171
– Public affairs: Tied-166
– Speech language pathology: Tied-170
– Part-time MBA: Tied-178
– Engineering: 152-200
– Aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering: Tied-56
– Environmental/environmental health engineering: Tied-72
– Industrial/manufacturing/systems engineering: Tied-78
– Civil engineering: Tied-93
– Computer engineering: Tied-97
– Chemical engineering: Tied-98
– Electrical/electronic/communications engineering: T-129
– Mechanical engineering: T-136

For a complete list of rankings, visit US News website.

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

NMSU researcher continues efforts to make NM’s Interstate 10 safer for drivers

The windy season wreaks havoc in southern New Mexico each spring, often bringing dust storms that create public safety hazards, especially for drivers traveling on roadways.

The high-speed winds have been particularly devastating on a stretch of Interstate 10 in Lordsburg, where 1,328 crashes occurred between mileposts 1 and 20 from 1980 to 2017, according to the New Mexico Department of Transportation. Of those crashes, 117 were caused by wind or dust, resulting in 41 deaths and 23 road closures.

Many of these crashes, NMDOT concluded, were attributable to poor visibility caused by dust storms originating on the playa and surrounding areas.

“We’ve had a bunch of accidents and several fatalities in this area caused by dust events,” New Mexico State Climatologist Dave DuBois said. “It’ll look perfectly clear, and then all of a sudden, you look one way, and you look back, and there’s a dust storm coming off the playa, and it’s zero visibility.”

DuBois, an associate professor in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University, is part of a team of state and federal researchers and agencies working to address safety concerns along this stretch of I-10.

DuBois’ efforts involve overseeing research projects aimed at improving decision-support systems impacted by extreme environmental hazards. His research projects date back to 2010.

“In our current project with the New Mexico Department of Transportation, we have been collecting imagery from multiple time-lapse cameras to quantify hazards of wind erosion events on Interstate 10. These events were the primary cause of 11 fatalities on this road in 2017,” he said. “One of the research outcomes is to classify these images according to dust storms, weather types and driver behavior in response to weather hazards.”

DuBois uses nine cameras set up along I-10 to capture footage of dust storms. As of 2018, he had nearly 100 million images in his archive, he said. In 2019, one of his graduate students used the footage to develop an artificial intelligence algorithm to classify certain types of dust storms on the Lordsburg playa.

“The computer can tell if it’s a dust storm or not, and I’m having my students train the computer to do that for us. The ultimate goal would be to have something that’s automated and can send out an alert once the computer thinks there’s a dust storm,” he said.

“This work will lead to providing an early warning to Department of Public Safety officers and NMDOT staff on impending dust storms,” he added.

In a 2018 environmental assessment, NMDOT reported that DuBois’ cameras captured several convective storm outflow events, which formed during afternoon thunderstorms and covered large areas with dust. The cameras also recorded unpredictable high-wind events that created dust plumes with concentrations of loose sediment, resulting in zero visibility, according to the report.

The dust originates from soil particles on the surface of the nearby playa and surrounding areas, and it is generated by a regular surface disturbance by livestock and vehicle traffic; alteration of surface hydrology; depleted vegetation; and the presence of exposed saline-sodic soils.

Additionally, DuBois and NMDOT are evaluating the effectiveness of certain dust mitigation strategies, including water-flow rebatement and revegetation. However, revegetation can be difficult due to the alkaline nature of the soil, DuBois said.

“The pH is really high, so almost nothing grows on that. But some native grasses, such as alkali sacaton, which grows on the outskirts of the playa, are very adaptable to salty soils. The problem is they grow up really slow, and it may take several years for it to germinate,” he said, adding that the dust mitigation research is ongoing.

“There’s is still a lot more work to be done out there to make it safer,” he added.

Author: Carlos Andres Lopez – NMSU

NMSU names first vice provost for digital learning initiatives

New Mexico State University has named Sherry Kollmann as its first vice provost for digital learning initiatives, a new role created by NMSU Provost Carol Parker to develop and drive an online and digital education strategy for the university.

Kollmann will be responsible for the leadership, administrative oversight and coordination of all aspects of online and digital education initiatives occurring throughout the NMSU system. She begins her new role July 1.

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Kollmann will soon be joining NMSU,” Parker said. “Expanding NMSU’s online courses and degree programs is an important strategy for reaching the student success goals outlined in NMSU’s strategic plan, LEADS 2025. Dr. Kollmann will play a key leadership role in our efforts to grow our online presence.”

With more than 20 years of combined experience in business and higher education, Kollmann is an accomplished entrepreneurial academic leader with an understanding of all strategic, developmental and operational aspects of online administration. She has served in multiple educational leadership roles, including as senior associate dean of business programs at Southern New Hampshire University and vice president of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at New England College. Prior to her transition to higher education, she served as a business leader, where she collaborated and consulted with Fortune 500 organizations on workforce solutions.

In her newly created role as vice provost for digital initiatives, Kollmann will drive the development of new digital learning initiatives, guide a growing portfolio of online programs, oversee the infrastructure and processes to support their success, and assist with the development of the business models upon which these initiatives operate.

Kollmann holds a bachelor’s degree from Bethel College, a Master of Arts degree from Concordia University, and Master of Education and Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Her research specialties include digital learning, motivation in education, instructional design and integrated learning.

“I am extremely excited to work collaboratively across the NMSU system to develop a sustainable digital ecosystem that fosters inclusivity and accessibility across New Mexico and beyond,” Kollmann said. “We have an incredible opportunity to shape the future of online education by humanizing the learning experience.”

Parker praised the search process that brought Kollmann to NMSU. “I would like to thank our search committee chair, Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Ms. Cortney Castle-Chavez and all of the other dedicated search committee members,” she said. “They did an exceptional job advising me throughout the search.”

More information about the search and the position is available online.

Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU

Three NMSU nursing programs receive 10-year reaccreditation

For more than two decades, New Mexico State University’s School of Nursing has continuously met or surpassed national standards to earn accreditation.

Recently, three of the school’s degree programs received the maximum 10-year reaccreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

The reaccredited programs include the Bachelor of Science in nursing, the Master of Science in nursing and the Doctor of Nursing Practice, including two related postgraduate certificates.

“Our programs have met the highest standards in nursing education set by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education,” said Alexa Doig, director of NMSU’s School of Nursing, housed in the College of Health and Social Services. “This reaccreditation not only shows that our faculty are highly qualified, but also that our program and student outcomes meet national benchmarks.”

The BSN program, which admits 160 students per year at NMSU campuses in Las Cruces, Alamogordo and Grants, prepares graduates to become licensed registered nurses, while the MSN program prepares nurses to serve as health care leaders and administrators.

The three-year DPN program prepares nurses to become family nurse practitioners or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners.

As part of the reaccreditation process, the School of Nursing prepared a 100-page report outlining how the three programs meet CCNE’s standards, Doig said. The areas of review included the programs’ curriculum, graduation rates, licensing and certification exam pass rates, student satisfaction, employment rates, research, scholarship productivity and other areas.

Five CCNE accreditors also conducted a site visit over multiple days last year to verify information in the self-study report, Doig said. The accreditors met and interviewed faculty, students, university administrators and community partners during their visit, she added.

After the review, CCNE determined the three programs met the standards for accreditation without any deficits. They are now fully accredited through 2029.

“For students aspiring to become registered nurses, it is essential they graduate from an accredited program, like one of our programs in the School of Nursing,” Doig said, noting that NMSU’s BSN and MSN programs have been continuously accredited by CCNE since 2011, after having been accredited by the National League of Nursing since 1996.

The DNP program received initial accreditation by CCNE in 2014, she added.

CHSS Interim Dean Sonya Cooper views the reaccreditation not just as a boon for the college, but also for the university and New Mexico, she said.

“With this reaccreditation, the School of Nursing will continue to foster and prepare qualified individuals to become health care professionals who can have a positive impact in communities throughout New Mexico,” she said. “This also helps NMSU achieve its long-term strategic goal of enhancing student success and social mobility.”

For more information about NMSU’s School of Nursing, click here.

Author: Carlos Andres Lopez – NMSU

NMSU to host activist stars of “Bitter Brown Femmes” Podcast at public event this week

March is ‘Women’s History Month,’ a time to honor the many contributions women have made in history and society. As a way to celebrate the month and raise awareness of the current climate across the nation facing women, New Mexico State University will host a talk/live recording by the stars of the podcast, “Bitter Brown Femmes,” Ruben and Cassandra.

The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 10 at O’Donnell Hall, Room 111. The event is free and open to the public.

The podcast, which started in 2018, tackles social, political, emotional and community issues. With more than 30 episodes available online and 175,000 followers on Instagram combined, Ruben and Cassandra use their platforms to speak up against systems of oppression.

Ana Lopez, a doctoral candidate in the Special Education Department and an avid listener of the podcast suggested they visit NMSU.

“I personally have learned so much from them, from dissecting the impact of Latinidad and its many complexities, privileges, and more,” Lopez said, “I am so excited for them to come to campus and share a little about their important work.”

For Judith Flores Carmona, an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education and the Honors College, planned the event along with Lopez.

“I knew that the targeted audience, borderlands peoples and millennials were all right here,” said Carmona. “They will talk about the issues – transphobia, xenophobia, what does it mean to exist in the borderlands region. Students need to hear.

“Critical awareness is necessary for these spaces, for the populations we serve. We are a Hispanic Serving Institution. They need to see themselves reflected. What does it look like to be resilient, to speak up, to speak out, to talk back to systems of oppression and to have the courage to do that? They will get to see themselves reflected in Ruben and Cassandra.”

Carmona and Lopez hope this event is the first of many and that soon more courses will be offered covering topics like transphobia, xenophobia, toxic masculinity and more, so raising awareness isn’t just left to International Women’s Day.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Honors College, the Borderlands and Ethnic Studies Dialogue Series, Chicano Programs at NMSU, the College of Arts and Sciences Stan Fulton Endowed Chair, and the College of Education Stan Fulton Endowed Chair.

Author: Amanda Adame – NMSU

NMSU Extension Youth Ranch Management Camp application deadline April 10

A once in a lifetime experience is available to 30 youth, ages 15-19, at the New Mexico Youth Ranch Management Camp, in Cimarron, New Mexico.

“This year, we have reserved three openings for out-of-state youth,” said Sid Gordon, NMSU Extension agricultural agent in Otero County. “Last year we had youth from Illinois and Maryland attend the camp, which as a great experience for them and our New Mexico youth.”

The camp will from June 7 through the 12 at the CS Ranch in Cimarron. The application deadline is April 10.

Teens will have an opportunity to learn the agricultural science and technical know-how behind ranching at the camp conducted by New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Going to camp has been a life-changing experience for the 200-plus youth who have participated in the annual event since the inaugural camp in 2011.

“They don’t participate in recreational activities and crafts, but receive college-level instruction in managing a ranch,” said Jack Blandford, NMSU Extension agricultural agent in Luna County. “They have gained a greater appreciation of the science and opportunities in agriculture. It is a win-win for our aging agricultural industry with more young people having interest in going into this type of work.”

Gordon and Blandford are co-chairs for the ranch camp committee.

Steve Lucero, NMSU Extension Sandoval County director, shows campers the reproductive organs of a cow during New Mexico Youth Ranch Management Camp “All things beef day.” The campers have hands-on learning during much of the four-day curriculum that includes all things beef, marketing and economics, natural resources and range land management.
| NMSU Photo by Jane Moorman

Collaboration between NMSU Extension specialists, county Extension agents and members of the ranching industry provides an opportunity for youth to learn about the many aspects of ranching.

They are introduced to what it takes to run a ranch, from financial statements and marketing strategies, to producing quality beef, and managing natural resources and wildlife. College-level, hands-on curriculum provides participants with information to develop a ranch management plan for a scenario similar to the host ranch.

CS Cattle Company’s 130,000-acre ranch at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range near Cimarron has hosted the camp for the past three years.

“This location allows our campers to see a real-life working ranch,” Gordon said. “The CS, a cattle and hunting operation, has been family owned and operated since 1873.”

Online application deadline is April 10. Click here for more information and to apply.

Completed applications will be reviewed by the The acronym isn’t needed committee and applicants will be notified by April 17.

The registration fee of $300, or payment arrangements, is due on or before May 1.

Scholarship opportunities are available to those invited to the camp. Additional information is available once camper has been accepted.

Author: Jane Moorman – NMSU

NMSU engineering alumnus honors father with scholarship

The Mr. Ben Trujillo Memorial Endowed Scholarship in the Department of Industrial Engineering will benefit young engineering students.

Roy Trujillo’s father Benjamin was born and raised in Chimayo, New Mexico. He was affectionately known as “Mr. Ben,” and taught high school math for 35 years at Pojoaque High School in Santa Fe. He also taught evening, weekend and summer classes at the University of New Mexico, Northern New Mexico College, College of Santa Fe and New Mexico State Penitentiary before his death in 2008.

“My dad was gifted with a brilliant mind for math, physics and statistics,” Trujillo said. “He was a lifelong teacher and inspiration to many people in northern New Mexico.”

Roy Trujillo, a 1988 industrial engineering graduate from NMSU, said his father’s dedication to education inspired countless students to study math, engineering and the sciences.

Roy Trujillo is the chief operating officer for TransPerfect Global. Philip Shawe, TransPerfect Global founder, president and CEO, provided half of the endowment funds.

“Students will benefit from the generosity of alumni like Roy and his generous employer for generations to come,” said Leslie Cervantes, interim president of the NMSU Foundation. “That impact is appreciated.”

“We thank you profoundly on behalf of not just industrial engineering, which this will benefit, but also on behalf of all the faculty, staff and students,” said Lakshmi N. Reddi, dean of the College of Engineering.

As a student, Ben Trujillo studied mathematics and statistics at UNM, Boston College, Penn State and Central Michigan University. He earned a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees, and completed the coursework and wrote a thesis for a Ph.D., but didn’t formally defend it because he didn’t need it to teach high school, his son recalled.

Trujillo remembers his father often saying “if you are going to judge me, judge me by the accomplishments of those I teach, for that is all that matters to me, and that is all that should concern you.”

The scholarship will be awarded to an engineering major who is a freshman or sophomore and a resident of New Mexico, with preference for an industrial engineering major with minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 who is a resident of Rio Arriba, Taos, Santa Fe, Mora San Juan, McKinley or San Miguel counties.

“It was a special opportunity to be able to come here and honor my father, and to set the foundation for a long-term relationship between New Mexico State and TransPerfect,” Trujillo said.

Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

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