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[l] at 9/25/20 4:00pm
NMSU celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month with virtual events

Date: 09/25/2020
Writer: Carlos Andres Lopez, 575-646-1955, carlopez@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University’s Chicano Programs is inviting students from all ethnic backgrounds to commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month by participating in virtual events from now until Oct. 15.

Headshots of women.
New Mexico State University Chicano Programs will present a live-streamed lecture by Barbara Kessel and Belinda ‘Otukolo Saltiban Oct. 15 as part of events celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. (Courtesy photo)

“We’ve been working really hard to deliver programming that is inclusive of the Latinx community,” said Chicano Programs Interim Director Judith Flores Carmona, who developed this year’s roster of events for Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

The all-virtual format for this year’s events is a departure from previous years, Flores Carmona said, but was necessary because of COVID-19. The lineup includes panel discussions and group activities, some of which are collaborations with other NMSU programs and universities across the country. The full list of events is available at https://chicano.nmsu.edu.

Anita Tijerina Revilla, a Muxerista and Jotería activist-scholar and professor at Cal State Los Angeles, gave the first lecture in the series, which drew more than 200 viewers on YouTube, Facebook Live and Zoom, Flores Carmona said. Revilla’s talk is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzTb-2r6xzY. Chicano Programs then partnered with NMSU’s First-Year Initiatives program to host a Zumba class on Zoom.

Next month, Barbara Kessel, who helps small businesses and nonprofit organizations improve equity, diversity and inclusion, will present a lecture with Belinda ‘Otukolo Saltiban, the chief inclusion and diversity officer at Utah Valley University. The live-streamed lecture will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 on YouTube. To watch, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi_McWwSz6s.

“We will conclude Hispanic Heritage Month with two speakers who will have a cross-racial dialogue on inclusion, equity and diversity,” Flores Carmona said of the culminating event. “The presenters will demonstrate how having difficult conversations across our differences can benefit all of us.”

“Given the challenges caused by COVID-19,” she added, “it is critical to show how Latino and other students of color add value to NMSU because of our cultural wealth.”

Students from NMSU’s Hispanic Council are also already planning multiple events for the spring 2021 semester, Flores Carmona said.

“We are a Hispanic- and minority-serving institution, so I think we should celebrate Latinx/Hispanic heritage all year – not only one month,” Flores Carmona said. “Serving these student populations should be infused in everything that we do academically and socially.”

Flores Carmona has served as the interim director of Chicano Programs since July 1. Chicano Programs is a support service that promotes student success through education, advocacy and development of cultural literacy, serving hundreds of students throughout the year.

Students may visit the Chicano Programs office in Garcia Center, Room 138, by appointment only. To make an appointment, call 575-646-4206.

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[l] at 9/25/20 4:00pm
NMSU Office of Experiential Learning to host 22nd annual Graduate and Professional School Fair

Date: 09/25/2020
Writer: Patricia Leyba, 575-646-1631, oel@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University’s Office of Experiential Learning will host the 22nd annual Graduate and Professional School Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7. This event will be held virtually via Handshake.

Exterior of Corbett Center
New Mexico State University’s Office of Experiential Learning will host the 22nd annual Graduate and Professional School Fair virtually via Handshake from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

Representatives from more than 60 graduate and professional schools are scheduled to participate. NMSU students, alumni and the general public are invited to meet and talk to representatives about admission requirements, financial aid and other school related information.

Graduate schools scheduled to attend include NMSU, University of New Mexico, Clemson University, Midwestern University, Texas A&M University, University of Colorado Denver, St. Mary’s University, USC and Texas Tech University to name a few. Professional programs represented include law schools, medical schools, pharmacy schools, physical therapy schools, veterinary schools and other specialized areas of study. All workshops and information sessions are available to view on Handshake.

For a full list of participants, please log into Handshake at https://nmsu.joinhandshake.com/. Students, alumni and guests must create a Handshake account in order to access the virtual career fair. Handshake is accessible on the OEL website at oel.nmsu.edu or https://nmsu.joinhandshake.com/.

It is recommended that students research potential graduate and professional schools in advance of the virtual fair. Participants should sign up for group and one-on-one sessions prior to the day of the event to maximize opportunities.

For more information, contact the NMSU Office of Experiential Learning at 575-646-1631.

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[l] at 9/25/20 4:00pm
NMSU professor named Soil Science Society of America Fellow

Date: 09/25/2020
Writer: Jane Moorman, 505-249-0527, jmoorman@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University environment soil physics professor Manoj Shukla has been nominated and elected as a 2020 Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America.

Head shot of man in suit jacket
Manoj Shukla has been named a Soil Science Society of America Fellow (Courtesy photo)

This designation recognizes Shukla’s contributions and achievement in research of soil, water and plant processes.

“I am honored to receive this designation that is the highest recognition bestowed by the society,” said Shukla, who also serves at the director of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences global initiatives programs – ACES Global and Aggies Go Global.

He will be recognized during the Soil Science Society of America Hall of Fame program during its annual meeting Nov. 9-12 in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Recognition that professional organizations at the national and international level give to our faculty is extremely important for NMSU to achieve the Research-1 level we aspire to reach,” said College of ACES Dean Rolando Flores. “Faculty like Dr. Shukla, who are highly dedicated to their field and contribute to the ACES mission, make the difference for NMSU and New Mexico.”

“We are pleased to learn that Dr. Shukla is receiving this award,” said Rolston St. Hilaire, NMSU Plant & Environmental Sciences department head. “His research in beneficial reuse of brackish and oil field produced water for agriculture and water use efficiency of chile plants are both critical issues for sustainability of New Mexico’s two key industries.”

As the recipient of the Nakayama Research Excellence Professorship for the past six years, Shukla provides research leadership, including as chair of two Western multi-state research projects and is the College of ACES representative on the NMSU University Research Council.

His current research focus is on assessing and modeling the impact of abiotic stresses caused by brackish groundwater irrigation on soil, plants and microbial communities, as well as modeling water, nitrate and energy transport through soil-plant-atmosphere continuum.

Internationally recognized for his research related to soil, water and plant processes, Shukla has been invited to speak at meetings and conferences in the United States, Australia, China, India, Israel and Mexico.

He has also served on several international expert panels, including China Agricultural University – engineering program review, United States-Mexico Border Health Commission, and International Arid Lands Consortium.

Shukla has served as visiting professor at China’s Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University.

He serves as associate editor of the Soil Science Society of America Journal, as well as an executive board member for the Vadose Zone Journal, and is its book review editor.

He chairs the Agronomy, Crop and Soil – Tri Society’s presentation contest committee, as well as being a member of the American Geophysical Union’s unsaturated zone technical committee.

The recipient of the Patricia Christmore Faculty Teaching Award and the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture award is also active on NMSU campus and college committees, including a steering committee member of advancing leadership program of NMSU.

Prior to arriving at NMSU in 2005, Shukla was a research faculty member at Ohio State University, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and University of Agriculture Science in Vienna, Austria.

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[l] at 9/24/20 4:00pm
NMSU Extension presents youth webinar on skills for success beginning Oct. 1

Date: 09/24/2020
Writer: Jane Moorman, 505-249-0527, jmoorman@nmsu.edu

Academic success is important whether continuing to higher education or pursuing a career after high school.

Developing effective skills is key for student success, especially when transitioning into the higher demands and workloads experienced in high school and post-secondary education.

New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service 4-H and Youth Development program will host a five-week webinar series, “Take it to the Next Level: Skills for Student Success,” for youth ages 12 to 18 to help them build and advance skills for student success in school, work and their personal lives.

The 30-minute sessions will be at 7 p.m. every Thursday in October, beginning Oct. 1. To register for the webinar, visit http://rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/nextlevel.

“This webinar series is presented by the Aggie Next Step: Post-Secondary Success program,” said Newt McCarty, NMSU Extension 4-H and youth development agent. “This is the first outreach of the Aggie Next Step program that will be introduced in January and piloted in some eighth-grade classrooms throughout the state.”

The October webinar will include sessions on personal responsibility, study skills, goal setting, organizational and time management skills, and positivity.

“Being academically successful is challenging for many students, even in traditional school settings. Our current learning environment has increased those challenges significantly,” McCarty said. “The skills presented in this series, if practiced, will help students become more successful in their academic career.”

“This series is exciting in that it provides opportunity for youth across the state to experience and benefit from 4-H, even if they are not yet enrolled in the 4-H program,” said Laura Bittner, NMSU Extension 4-H and Youth Development interim department head.

“It aligns with the 4-H program’s goals of providing opportunities for young people to develop leadership skills, positive self-esteem, effective communication skills, a solid sense of personal responsibility and the ability to make sound decisions,” she said. “The life skills learned in 4-H enable youth to become productive, well-informed, self-reliant responsible adults.”

Aggie Next Step: Post-Secondary Success program is being developed and implemented through NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences’ 4-H and Youth Development Program.

“Aggie Next Step will guide eighth- to twelfth-grade youth in developing and enhancing key life skills in three major focus areas: academics, career and personal,” said McCarty. “The sooner youth develop and advance the skills necessary for academic and career success, the better.”

For information on the Next Level Series or Aggie Next Step program, contact Newt McCarty, jnewton3@nmsu.edu.

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[l] at 9/24/20 4:00pm
After additional feedback, ‘Gateway to NMSU’ project moves forward with combined design

Date: 09/24/2020
Writer: Justin Bannister, jbannist@nmsu.edu

Construction of the “Gateway to NMSU,” a large-scale construction project on the east side of New Mexico State University’s Las Cruces campus, is set to begin in approximately 12 months. The monument, coinciding with the massive Interstate 25/University Avenue reconstruction project, is designed to welcome students, employees and visitors to campus.

Construction of the “Gateway to NMSU,” a large-scale construction project on the east side of New Mexico State University’s Las Cruces campus, is set to begin in about 12 months. The monument, coinciding with the massive Interstate 25/University Avenue reconstruction project, is designed to welcome students, employees and visitors to campus. (Courtesy photo)
Construction crews work on the I-25 interchange at University Ave. Pictures is the location of the future roundabout and gateway to NMSU. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)
Construction continues on the I-25 interchange at University Ave. Pictured is the future roundabout and gateway to NMSU. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

“This presents a fantastic opportunity for us to plan, design and construct monumental signage inside the new roundabout, which will welcome everyone to our campus,” NMSU President John Floros said. “We’re always looking for opportunities to make ourselves more accessible to the Las Cruces community and we believe this project will encourage more visitors and help inspire a sense of pride in what we do.”

University planners developed two possible designs for consideration: “NMSU Bold,” which is consistent with other stone and metal signage around campus, and “Aggie Gates,” based on the original entry gates to the university. NMSU conducted a 10-day survey soliciting feedback for designs, which was sent to the NMSU campus community. After some initial feedback, the survey was modified to accept a broader array of responses and was extended for an additional nine days for submissions. In the end, more than 4,100 responses were gathered, with more than two-thirds of responses coming from NMSU students. More than half of those responding preferred the “Combined NMSU Bold and Aggie Gates” option.

“For a project of this size, scope and importance, a great number of university stakeholders must be consulted, and that’s why we have engaged so many individuals,” Floros said. “We were pleased with the number of responses we received throughout this entire two-year planning process and we worked to incorporate as many of the suggestions as we could.”

The project has been reviewed and approved by NMSU’s Campus Planning Committee, Regents Real Estate Committee and the NMSU Board of Regents. It must still go before the New Mexico Higher Education Department and the State Board of Finance.

Total cost for the project is approximately $1.1 million, which will be paid for by the sale of land for the I-25/University Avenue construction project and additional funding which can only be used for capital improvements and projects of this kind. Construction for the project cannot begin until the I-25/University Avenue project is completed, tentatively scheduled for September 2021.

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[l] at 9/23/20 4:00pm
NMSU Extension’s NM EDGE delivers classes, graduation online

Date: 09/23/2020
Writer: Jane Moorman, 505-249-0527, jmoorman@nmsu.edu

Public servants across New Mexico became distance learners as the New Mexico EDGE program moved its certified public manager program core classes online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Screen shot of zoom event
New Mexico EDGE summer graduates participated in an online graduation ceremony. Among the New Mexico Certified Public Official graduates were, top from left, Samantha Armijo, San Miguel County deputy clerk; and David Hyder, Valencia County Commissioner; and Lawrence Ortega, Santa Fe County senior appraiser. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

“We didn’t let the COVID-19 social distancing requirements prevent us from offering professional development classes,” said Mary DeLorenzo, program director for NM EDGE, which stands for Education Designed to Generate Excellence in the public sector.

“During the first five months of the pandemic, we maintained scheduled classes by conducting 400 hours of online training with public officials from counties, municipalities, and state agencies,” she said.

Nor did the pandemic restrictions prevent the program from honoring its most recent graduates, who join the 520 public officials who have completed approximately 835 individual certifications in a variety of designations.

“Annually during the New Mexico Counties summer conference, NM EDGE graduates receive their diplomas of certification,” DeLorenzo said. “This year because of the social distancing requirements, we honored the recent program graduates online with a program that allowed them to share how the course work has impacted their careers.”

Among the graduates were eight individuals who completed the certified public official designation, the first tier of the New Mexico Certified Pubic Management Program. They join 315 other public officials across the state who have earned this designation.

Other graduates completed work in public sector specialized certificates.

Eight individuals, including six from Luna County, earned the certified jail specialist designations. Four NMSU Extension agents obtained certified Extension professional designation.

Three became certified advocates for public ethics, while two are now certified treasury officials, one a certified county clerk, and one a certified public purchasing professional. Two individuals received diplomas in two certifications.

To obtain a certification designation, the students must complete a number of classes, along with a portfolio demonstrating their application of the competencies learned in the classes. For more information about the designations, visit https://nmedge.nmsu.edu./.

The nationally accredited NM EDGE is administered by New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service.

“The pivoting of the NM EDGE core classes to online demonstrates our commitment at NMSU to be an engine for economic development, which takes many shapes, including the mission of NM EDGE to work towards better government through education,” said Jon Boren, NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences associate dean and director of the Extension service.

Receiving diplomas were:
- Chaves County: Stephen M. Castro, road maintenance foreman, certificate advocate for public ethics; Stephanie Eldridge, bureau of election deputy, certified county clerk; and Elvira Lupien, detention office administrator, certified jail specialist.
- Eddy County: Rhonda Hatch, assessor’s office manager, certified public official.
- Grant County: Veronica Rodriguez, chief deputy treasurer, certified treasury official.
- Luna County: Detention personnel Derek Apodaca, Patty Armendariz, Richard Casillas, Javier Gallegos, Estefania Gomez, and Sean Reinheimer, all search the certified jail specialist designations.
- San Juan County: Carol Taulbee, chief deputy treasurer, certified treasury official.
- San Miguel County: Samantha M. Armijo, deputy clerk, certified public official; and Vidal Martinez, county manager; certified public official.
- Santa Fe County: Lawrence A. Ortega, senior appraiser, certified public official.
- Taos County: Andrew Montoya, sheriff lieutenant, certified public official.
- Torrance County: Joanna Romero, assistant finance director, certified public official.
- Valencia County: David Hyder, county commissioner, certified public official.
- Los Lunas Schools: Heather Rindels, purchasing agent, certified public purchasing professional.
- New Mexico Commission on Disability: Stan Ross, architectural access specialist, certified advocate for public ethics.
- New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service: Earning certified Extension professional designations were Bea Favela, Dona Ana County family consumer science agent; Dianne Christensen, Bernalillo County family consumer science agent; Nicole Jacobs, Bernalillo County 4-H agent; and Jerry Shockey, Eddy County 4-H agent.
- New Mexico Unemployment Office: Leona Vigil, customer service agent, certified public official

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[l] at 9/23/20 4:00pm
NMSU’s Electrify New Mexico sheds light on opportunities for beneficial electrification

Date: 09/23/2020
Writer: Sara Patricolo, (575) 646-2066, spatrico@nmsu.edu

In a continued dialogue of advancing a statewide clean energy economy, New Mexico State University invites interested individuals to join a discussion on beneficial electrification from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 14. The discussion will focus on new technologies, related opportunities and challenges, and strategies for educating an associated workforce. The event will take place online via Zoom.

Solar panel parking structure
New Mexico State University will host an Electrify New Mexico online event Oct. 14. The discussion will focus on new technologies, related opportunities and challenges, and strategies for educating an associated workforce. (Courtesy photo)

As New Mexico transitions to a clean energy economy, beneficial electrification could be a viable option for advancing low-carbon energy use. Like most states, however, New Mexico needs to expand investment in infrastructure, research, energy storage and interconnections to make electrification a reliable and economic success.

The Electrify New Mexico initiative seeks to address these challenges as opportunities by building collaborative, community-driven efforts with industry, utilities, national laboratories, governmental agencies, investors and end-consumer stakeholders as partners. Electrify New Mexico invites these partners to contribute their knowledge base, networks and other assets to accelerate the adoption of electrification where beneficial.

“The collective support of New Mexican stakeholders will be critical in this effort,” said Patricia Sullivan, director of NMSU’s Office of Strategic Initiatives. “Electrify New Mexico is intended to advance a dialogue on opportunities to leverage the state’s vast renewable resources while exploring innovation to diversify the state’s economy and workforce. NMSU is well-positioned to bring people together to facilitate this work.”

Keven Groenewold, who represents the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association, described how utilities will play a critical role in any collaborative plan that accelerates electrification.

“Utilities must be proactive in working with industry to determine infrastructure requirements, to reduce economic obstacles while our industry partners consider opportunities to pilot electric technologies coming out of our national labs and universities,” Groenewold said. “We all have a role to play in a clean energy economy.”

The Oct. 14 agenda will include a keynote by NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu, retired director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as well as breakout sessions on technology, public policy and market development with speakers representing diverse interests throughout the state.

The event is hosted by NMSU’s Office of Strategic Initiatives and College of Engineering in association with the Beneficial Electrification League and Tri-State Generation and Transmission.

View the agenda and register to attend at http://bit.ly/ElectrifyNM or call 575-646-7852. There is no cost to participate but advance registration is required.

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[l] at 9/23/20 4:00pm
November ballot includes funding for NMSU agricultural modernization

Date: 09/23/2020
Writer: Amanda Bradford, 575-646-3223, ambradfo@nmsu.edu

New Mexico voters will be asked on Nov. 3 to approve several general obligation bond questions, including two that will provide critical funding for the New Mexico State University system. There is no tax increase associated with approval of these bonds.

Drawing of building
An early architectural rendering of how the food science building might look in the agricultural district at New Mexico State University’s Las Cruces campus. The building’s design is underway using general obligation bond funding approved by voters in 2018 – Phase 1 of the Agricultural Modernization and Educational Facilities project. Another $18 million for the project’s second phase is part of the 2020 GO Bond on the ballot Nov. 3. (Image courtesy fbt architects) Drawing of building
An early architectural rendering of how the feed mill might look in the agricultural district at New Mexico State University’s Las Cruces campus. The building’s design is underway using general obligation bond funding approved by voters in 2018 – Phase 1 of the Agricultural Modernization and Educational Facilities project. Another $18 million for the project’s second phase is part of the 2020 GO Bond on the ballot Nov. 3. (Image courtesy fbt architects) Drawing of building
An early architectural rendering of how the biomedical research building might look in the agricultural district at New Mexico State University’s Las Cruces campus. The building’s design is underway using general obligation bond funding approved by voters in 2018 – Phase 1 of the Agricultural Modernization and Educational Facilities project. Another $18 million for the project’s second phase is part of the 2020 GO Bond on the ballot Nov. 3. (Image courtesy fbt architects)

If approved by voters, GO Bond C will provide $30.46 million for construction, renovation and modernization projects across the NMSU system, including $18 million for biomedical and agricultural facilities at its Las Cruces campus. GO Bond B will provide $3 million statewide for university library resources, of which the NMSU system will receive a portion.

The first phase of NMSU’s Agricultural Modernization and Educational Facilities project, which is currently in the design and planning process, is supported by $25 million in general obligation funding approved by voters in 2018. The New Mexico Legislature approved $18 million of the $25 million requested by NMSU in the 2020 bond issue for the project’s second phase, which will focus on improved laboratory, research and classroom spaces for the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

NMSU Architect Heather Watenpaugh said plans for the agriculture district at NMSU’s Las Cruces campus include new facilities, renovations and demolition designed to provide premier agriculture education facilities for teaching and outreach, increase hands-on experiential learning, increase opportunities to partner with industry leaders, and support safety with facility design.

The ACES Student Learning and Livestock Outreach Center will provide a central location for both experiential and distance learning models, as instructors create innovative hybrid lessons in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also offer a space for community youth events and Therapeutic Riding sessions, and will be a future home for statewide 4‐H and FFA conferences, when they can safely be held in person.

“These new and modernized facilities will provide a central location to teach and conduct cross-disciplinary biomedical research,” said Rolando A. Flores, dean of the College of ACES. With the right tools and facilities, NMSU research teams can continue their work to help the world understand, prevent, and manage disease outbreaks. Building and updating these facilities supports NMSU’s mission to serve the people of New Mexico through teaching, research and extension.”

The College of ACES advances NMSU’s mission by being an engine for the economic and community development of New Mexico. Agriculture and food processing industries generated nearly $11 billion and 51,000 jobs for the New Mexico economy, according to a recent study. Modernization and expansion of learning environments helps to create an agricultural workforce prepared to advance the industry and grow New Mexico’s economy.

The last major facility added to the agriculture district at NMSU’s Las Cruces campus was Skeen Hall, constructed in 1999 as the Center for Sustainable Development of Arid Lands. Much of the agriculture district, the campus livestock, education, and research center, consists of dilapidated and disused facilities whose conditions and use do not align with the needs of the College of ACES or the academic advancement trajectory of NMSU in general, Flores says.

NM GO Bond C includes $3 million for NMSU’s statewide Agricultural Science Centers, which support fundamental and applied research under New Mexico’s varied environmental conditions to meet the agricultural and natural resource management needs of communities in every part of the state. Without major repairs, significant building system improvements and site remediation, Watenpaugh says those facilities will struggle to continue serving the needs of New Mexico’s diverse population.

The bond also includes $3 million for data center infrastructure upgrades in Milton Hall and improvements to the information technology system campus‐wide to replace outdated or deficient systems and create technology for today’s learning environment. The project will include upgrades and replacement of data centers, computer systems and equipment, campus infrastructure and classroom technology.

Another $6.46 million will campus-wide infrastructure improvements, renovations and equipment at NMSU’s community college campuses in Grants, Doña Ana County, Carlsbad and Alamogordo.

In total, the 2020 Capital Projects General Obligation Bond Act will issue just over $156 million in general obligation bonds for institutions of higher education, special schools and tribal schools in New Mexico. For more information, visit gobond.nmsu.edu.

Important Dates
Election Day: Nov. 3
Last day to register to vote: Oct. 6
Absentee voting: Oct. 6 to Nov. 3
Early in-person voting:
- Oct. 6 to 31, Doña Ana County Government Center
- Oct. 17 to 31, alternate voting locations

NMSU Community College Projects
- Doña Ana Community College creative campus media building and safety/security upgrades in Doña Ana County: $1.86 million
- Renovations to the Physical Plant building and mechanical ductwork for NMSU-Alamogordo campus in Otero County: $1.8 million
- Site, parking and infrastructure renovations at NMSU-Carlsbad campus in Eddy County: $1.5 million
- Renovations to Martinez Hall at NMSU-Grants campus in Cibola County: $1.3 million

Agricultural Science Center Needs* (Unranked)
Alcalde Sustainable Agriculture Science Center: The Alcalde Sustainable Agriculture Science Center needs repairs to its plumbing infrastructure, connectivity of community water to its temporary housing for graduate students and visiting scientists and repairing or replacing condemned adobe storage sheds.

Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center (College Ranch): The Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center serves New Mexico’s livestock industries and natural resources management agencies by providing an outdoor laboratory for livestock grazing management and range management. The center needs to renovate the antiquated headquarters buildings (including asbestos abatement) and the headquarters corral.

Clayton Livestock Research Center: The Clayton Livestock Research Center conducts research to improve health of newly received beef cattle and performance of finishing beef cattle. The center needs to upgrade the plumbing and insulation in its cattle processing barn.

Clovis Agricultural Science Center: The Clovis Agricultural Science Center has a need for temporary living quarters for visiting scientists, along with upgrading the electrical wiring in the office building. In addition, the irrigation wells need repairs.

Corona Range and Livestock Research Center: The roofs of the Headquarters residence and the North Camp residence of the approximately 28,000-acres Corona Range and Livestock Research Center are very old and require replacement.

Fabian Garcia Research Center: The Fabian Garcia Research Center is an outdoor horticultural laboratory. The center needs to remodel the research greenhouses for plant breeding research.

Farmington Agricultural Science Center: Funds would be used to renovate the shop building at the Farmington Agricultural Science Center. This will require 180 square feet of asbestos abatement.

Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center: The Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center is an outdoor laboratory for agronomic research. The center needs to replace its irrigation infrastructure and add an additional irrigation well.

Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center: The Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center serves the greater Albuquerque area and the Middle Rio Grande Valley with urban horticulture, entomology, and wine grape programs. The Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center also cooperates with the co-located USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center to test plant varieties for reclamation and conservation issues. The center needs to renovate the greenhouse/headhouse/lab to be able to provide desk and lab space for research faculty.

Rex E. Kirksey Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari: The center was founded in 1923. The funds will permit the center to renovate its aging and inadequate shop, lab, and office buildings.

*Individual needs will be prioritized and addressed as funding allows

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[l] at 9/22/20 4:00pm
NMSU professor on regional panel discussing impact of COVID-19 on higher ed

Date: 09/22/2020
Writer: Minerva Baumann, 575-646-7566, mbauma46@nmsu.edu

The Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders and Western Academic Leadership Forum has invited a New Mexico State University professor and a leading researcher in emerging infectious diseases to speak at an upcoming virtual forum titled “The New World of Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities of COVID-19.”

Head and shoulders of a woman
New Mexico State University Regents Professor of biology Kathryn Hanley will speak on a panel at virtual forum on Friday, Oct. 2 titled “The New World of Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities of COVID-19.” (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)

Kathryn Hanley, NMSU Regents Professor of biology who was recently tapped to head one of 11 new Centers for Research of Emerging Infectious Diseases funded by the National Institutes of Health, has led NMSU’s efforts regarding campus COVID-19 strategies.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to offer my thoughts on what has worked, and what has not, as we attempt to leverage our skills and knowledge as academics to safeguard our campuses and their surrounding communities from the COVID pandemic,” Hanley said.

The event on Friday, Oct. 2 brings together the provosts, vice presidents and chief academic officers from member universities and community colleges, respectively, to discuss common issues impacting Western institutions of higher education.

These member organizations are located in the 15 Western states and the U.S. Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming plus the Northern Marianna Islands and Guam).

Hanley graduated magna cum laude with a major in biology from Amherst College and completed her Ph.D. in Biology at the University of California, San Diego. She conducted post-doctoral research at UC Davis, the University of Maryland and the National Institutes of Health, where she participated in the development of the NIH dengue virus vaccine.

Since joining NMSU in 2004 Hanley has investigated the ecology and molecular biology of arboviruses, those transmitted to humans primarily through the bites of infected mosquitoes, ticks, sand flies, or midges, both in the laboratory and in the field. Her field studies have shed light on the risk of emergence of new virus strains across the tropics, and the potential for transmission of mosquito-borne viruses in the U.S.

Her laboratory studies have focused on identifying the factors that shape the evolution of viruses such as dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya and Zika and more recently SARS-CoV-2 and on developing new drugs to treat these viruses.

Hanley’s presentation will address the challenges between science and policy during the pandemic as well as strategies for higher education institutions in the COVID-19 era.

“It is now clear that SARS-CoV-2 will be with us for a long time, as it seems to have established itself as an endemic human disease like flu,” said Hanley. “So our challenge now is to deal with immediate crises while at the same time planning for a future in which SARS-CoV-2 remains a persistent, though hopefully less pervasive, threat.”

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[l] at 9/22/20 4:00pm
NMSU launches program to support minority students with $1 million grant from USDA

Date: 09/22/2020
Writer: Carlos Andres Lopez, 575-646-1955, carlopez@nmsu.edu

A $1 million grant from the National Institute of Food and Agricultural will support an innovative cross-campus collaboration at New Mexico State University that aims to transform the educational experience and increase accessibility and workforce opportunities for underrepresented students in natural resources and agriculture.

Headshot of a man
Alvaro Romero, associate professor of urban entomology at New Mexico State University, will lead a new cross-campus collaboration that aims recruit, retain and prepare underrepresented minorities in natural resources and agriculture. (Photo by Lucia A. Torres)

Alvaro Romero, associate professor of urban entomology in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, will lead the collaboration, known as “Enhancing Hispanic Access to Natural Resource and Agricultural Careers through Education, Mentorship, and Training,” or “ENHANCEMENT.” The NIFA is part of the research, education and economics arms of the United States Department of Agriculture and administers federal funding to programs that advance agriculture-related sciences.

“Our major goal with this four-year collaboration,” Romero said, “is to recruit, retain and prepare underrepresented minorities to enhance their competence for professional positions and contribute to workplace diversity.”

Recruitment for the first cohort of students will begin this fall semester, he said.

Faculty from NMSU’s main campus and its four community colleges in Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Grants will work to identify and prepare underrepresented students to transition from the branch campuses into a four-year degree program, Romero said.

“Our ultimate goal is transitioning these students into a graduate degree program,” he said. “The novelty of this project is that undergraduate students will interact with graduate students by developing research linked to the graduate students’ research, and faculty supervise these mentorships.”

The program also will provide graduate assistantships to students and connect them to internships and other professional development and training opportunities that will prepare them to enter the workforce.

“Another component of the program,” Romero said, “is the institutionalization of spot-hiring events through NMSU Career Services and USDA agencies that will foster a clear transfer pathway of the students.”

Faculty participating in the program include: Wiebke Boeing, professor of fish, wildlife and conservation ecology; Amy C. Ganguli, associate professor of rangeland ecology; Omar Holguín, associate professor of plant and environmental sciences; Martha Desmond, Regents Professor of fish, wildlife and conservation ecology; Richard Wiedenmann, professor of biology at NMSU Carlsbad; Concepcion Martinez Miller, assistant Pprofessor of science at Doña Ana Community College; Jennifer Smith, professor of biology at NMSU Alamogordo; and Anne Semrau, assistant professor of biology at NMSU Grants.

For more information about the program, contact Romero at 575-646-5550 or aromero2@nmsu.edu.

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[l] at 9/21/20 4:00pm
NMSU Extension to host sustainable agriculture webinar series beginning Oct. 1

Date: 09/21/2020
Writer: Jane Moorman, 505-249-0527, jmoorman@nmsu.edu

It’s not too soon to start preparing for next year’s growing season, and New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service is hosting a six-part online series on sustainable agriculture topics to help growers get a head start this fall.

Man pointing at seeds in chile pod
Brad Tonnessen, New Mexico State University Extension vegetable project manager, will talk about seed saving at the first sustainable agriculture webinar, 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. To receive an invitation to attend the Zoom meetings, register at https://aces.nmsu.edu/programs/sare/news-and-events. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

“Due to the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the New Mexico Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program is forgoing the traditional fall conference this year,” said Brad Tonnessen, NMSU Extension senior program vegetable specialist. “In its place, a series of webinars will be presented that focus on the many aspects that make a farm sustainable in New Mexico.”

The free webinars will be 3 to 4 p.m. every Thursday from Oct. 1 through Nov. 5. To receive an invitation to attend the Zoom meetings, register for each session at https://aces.nmsu.edu/programs/sare/news-and-events.

The session schedule is as follows:
- Oct. 1: “Seed Saving and On-farm Breeding,” presented by Tonnessen.
- Oct. 8: “Strategies to Prevent Development and Spread of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds,” presented by Brian Schuttle, NMSU associate professor, and Leslie Beck, NMSU Extension week specialist.
- Oct. 15: “Beneficial Insect Identification and Habitat Management,” presented by Amanda Skidmore, NMSU Extension integrated pest management specialist and Miranda Kersten, NMSU senior program specialist.
- Oct. 22: “Growing Vegetables in New Mexico – Managing challenges for an abundant harvest,” presented by Stephanie Walker, NMSU Extension vegetable specialist.
- Nov. 5: “Drip Irrigation on the Small Farm,” presented by Tonnessen.

The webinar is funded by Western SARE, a regionalized national program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture that provides funding for farmer-focused research and education.

For more information about the webinar, contact Tonnessen at btonn@nmsu.edu.

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[l] at 9/21/20 4:00pm
NMSU researcher co-authors article on damaging effects of social isolation due to COVID-19

Date: 09/21/2020
Writer: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, adchavez@nmsu.edu

While scientists and doctors are still working to understand the virus that causes COVID-19, the pandemic has also had many indirect effects on the health of people working remotely while in isolation.

Man wearing a mask and bicycling safety gear in front of a sign
Joseph Berning, interim head of the Department of Kinesiology and Dance at New Mexico State University, helped co-author a research article suggesting strategies for physical activity that could help mitigate the negative ramifications of isolation and sedentary behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy of Joseph Berning) Head and shoulders of a man
Joseph Berning, interim head of the Department of Kinesiology and Dance at New Mexico State University, is part of a group of researchers from Australia and the U.S. who recently co-authored an article for the International Journal of Sports Science offering tips to increase physical activity, which will not only benefit physical health but mental health as well. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

A group of researchers from Australia and the U.S., including New Mexico State University, recently co-authored an article for the International Journal of Sports Science offering tips to increase physical activity, which will not only benefit physical health but mental health as well.

Joseph Berning, interim head of the Department of Kinesiology and Dance in NMSU’s College of Education, co-authored “COVID-19: Sedentary Isolation – A Bad Combination.” The article states that before the COVID-19 virus outbreak was declared a pandemic in March by the World Health Organization, people were already living mostly sedentary lifestyles.

“While some people have bits and pieces of exercise equipment laying around at home, most do not and find themselves developing cabin fever staying at home,” Berning said. “The walls may seem to be closing in around you, which can be a source of stress in and of itself. Often times, unfortunately, when boredom or stress works its way into our lives, we tend to binge eat. Before you know it, you’ve gained five to 10 pounds of fat weight, the exact opposite of the definition of good health.”

Berning and the article’s co-authors have experience in higher education and research in applied and clinical exercise physiology for almost three decades each. Berning said he and his colleagues have adopted health and wellness as a lifestyle and exercise is a part of their normal daily routines.

“When COVID-19 set in, nothing changed for each of us and our training routines,” Berning said. “In fact, because so many of us are working from home, we found we could actually increase workouts.”

However, Berning and his colleagues have had to adapt to more time in front of their computers as online meetings have become the norm.

“Online hasn’t always made things easier and an argument can be made that online has actually created more meetings and therefore decreased our physical movement,” Berning said. “I admit, I find myself standing behind a computer from morning to night, and often seven days a week. I know the only way to combat this is to force yourself to get out and move.”

According to the article, social isolation has been recognized to have a profound impact on health and longevity. Anxiety, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, among other mental health issues, have been shown to be related to social isolation. Major chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity and weakened immune systems are also exacerbated by social isolation.

“Our body was designed to work, be active and move,” Berning said. “We know relative to positive health, people who perform regular daily exercise live longer, experience less damaging health risks, experience fewer sick days per year, sleep better, perform better academically, decrease stress and maintain a higher quality of life.”

Berning said that once people adopt physical exercise as a lifestyle, getting up to exercise isn’t a “forced” activity, but a welcome one.

“This research is so important because it reminds all of us that we need to keep moving,” said Henrietta Pichon, interim dean of the College of Education. “Hopefully, this can serve as a reminder to individuals that now is the best time to start or restart an exercise routine.”

The article offers the following tips for physical activity:
• Move more, sit less.
• Accumulate at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, such as walking briskly, dancing or general yard work; or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity such as jogging, energetic dancing or heavy yard work.
• Perform muscle strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups two to three days a week.

“The bottom line: don’t make excuses.” Berning said. “Get up and off the chair or couch several times a day if even for 10 minutes at a time. This isn’t about the perfect exercise prescription. This is about being active and the mental and physical health benefits associated with human movement.”

Phillip Post, interim associate dean for academics in the College of Education, said the work and recommendations made in the article by Berning and his colleagues are more important than ever.

“Currently there is no medication that can do what exercise can do for the body and mind,” Post said. “We know that exercise enhances the immune system, cognitive functioning, physiological functioning and emotional well-being. Given COVID-19, we could all reap the benefits of moving more and regularly incorporating exercise into our daily routine. I hope our community reads and adopts Dr. Berning’s physical activity recommendations.”

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[l] at 9/18/20 4:00pm
NMSU Arrowhead Center’s Innoventure program to host K-12 Business Pitch competition

Date: 09/18/2020
Writer: Cassie McClure, 575-312-3242, cassie@mcclurepublications.com

If your kids are trying to sell you their latest invention at the dinner table, let them try to sell it to a larger audience by participating in Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University’s new and free-to-enter K-12 Business Pitch competition.

Girl holding and pointing to a container filled with red liquid
Innoventure High School Challenge participant Bella Roy, a student at Portales High School, describes the prototype she and teammate Nakia Jackson created in 2019 for the “Nice Needle,” a device to make getting a shot less scary for children. The Innoventure program at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center is hosting a new competition for elementary, middle and high school students in the Las Cruces area who have a business idea. (NMSU photo by Justin Santiago)

“We are looking for real ideas, like a unique angle on a slime business, new ideas about sneaker re-selling, or a desire to make beautiful necklaces,” said Lydia Hammond, deputy director of Arrowhead Center’s K-12 program, Innoventure. “It can be a new idea or a business idea that they are already working on. We want them to take pride in owning their idea, and to learn be comfortable standing up and sharing their ideas with the world.”

The new competition is for elementary, middle and high school students in the Las Cruces area who have a business idea and want to get a chance to pitch it to win prizes, and maybe local support by getting their product, name or website out to the community. The competition is supported by Arrowhead Center along with community co-sponsors Doña Ana Community College, the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, City of Las Cruces Economic Development Office, Kids Can of Community Action Agency and The Bridge of Southern New Mexico.

“There are no themes or specific design structure for the business,” Hammond said. “The pitch itself will be done via video and the student, or business team, must complete a simple business plan, with the complexity of the plan varying by age.”

There will be two Zoom classes for participants to help student with their submissions. They will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 14. More information and a link to register can be found at http://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/innoventure/pitch.

“You may not know all there is to know about business planning, pitching an idea or videography and that’s OK,” said April Christensen, founder of the Kids Can youth entrepreneur program. “We are here to guide you through the process with our two-part workshop.”

First-, second- and third-place winners for elementary, middle school and high school levels will receive tech prizes such as laptops and tablets. At the high school level, the first-place business idea will also win a yearlong mentorship with industry experts, thanks to the Las Cruces Greater Chamber of Commerce.

The competition will be held in October. Registration will open Oct. 1 and students must submit their pitch video and simple business plan by Oct. 30 to be considered for prizes.

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[l] at 9/17/20 4:00pm
NMSU professors join global network researching emerging infectious diseases

Date: 09/17/2020
Writer: Minerva Baumann, 575-646-7566, mbauma46@nmsu.edu

Last week the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, announced that it has awarded 11 five-year grants valued at approximately $82 million to establish the Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID).

Head and shoulders of a woman
New Mexico State University Regents Professor of Biology Kathryn Hanley is a co-principal investigator of one of the 11 new Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID). (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)
New Mexico State University geography associate professor Michaela Buenemann is a co-investigator in CREATE-NEO.

New Mexico State University Regents Professor of biology Kathryn Hanley, who has conducted extensive research on mosquito-borne Zika, chikungunya and dengue viruses, is a co-principal investigator for one of these centers along with her long-term collaborator, Nikos Vasilakis, professor and Vice Chair for Research at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Michaela Buenemann, associate professor in NMSU’s geography department, and Ben Althouse, affiliate professor in NMSU’s biology department, will participate in this research as co-investigators. Buenemann previously worked with Hanley on related projects in New Mexico, Senegal, Malaysian Borneo, and Brazil.
The center, called Coordinating Research on Emerging Arboviral Threats Encompassing the Neotropics (CREATE-NEO), will focus on chikungunya, dengue, Mayaro, yellow fever and Zika viruses. The project will combine arbovirus surveillance across Central and South America with predictive modeling efforts to better anticipate and counter arbovirus emergence to forewarn local, regional, and global public health agencies of those with a particularly high risk of spillover, emergence into transmission among humans, and/or international spread.

“I am incredibly excited to grow our research program in the neotropics and to strengthen our collaborations within NMSU, among our partner institutions in the U.S., including UTMB, MIT, and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and among our many collaborators in Brazil and Panama,” Hanley said.

Each center in the larger CREID network will involve collaborations with peer institutions in the United States and 28 other countries. Research projects will include surveillance studies to identify previously unknown causes of illnesses that cause fever in humans; find the animal sources of viral or other disease-causing pathogens; and determine what genetic or other changes make these pathogens capable of infecting humans.

CREID investigators also will develop reagents and diagnostic assays to improve detection of emerging pathogens and study human immune responses to new or emerging infectious agents.

Overall, the breadth of research projects in the CREID network will allow for study of disease spillover in multiple phases of the process: where pathogens first emerge from an animal host; at the borders between wild and more populated areas, where human-to-human transmission occurs; and, finally, in urban areas, where epidemic spread can occur.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the critical importance of catching new pathogens before they have achieved full-blown emergence into the human population,” Hanley said. “It is equally important to discover how anthropogenic changes, such as deforestation, may accelerate pathogen emergence. CREATE-NEO will let us pursue both of those goals.”

“My role as a geographer on the CREATE-NEO team is to direct and oversee all geospatial analyses,” said Buenemann. “This includes activities such as selecting field sampling sites; mapping land cover using satellite imagery, developing and maintaining a geodatabase of all spatial data produced during the project; assessing relationships between habitat characteristics and vector and virus distribution, abundance, and diversity; and generating risk maps for sylvatic arbovirus emergence, transmission, and spillback.”

Hanley, Buenemann and Althouse will be focused on Central and South America, where they will study the known pathogens described above, but will also be poised to study any newly emerging pathogen, dubbed “pathogen X.”

An award to RTI International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, in collaboration with Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, will fund a CREID Coordinating Center. This center will support network-wide activities such as data management, outbreak research response and quality control for biospecimens, assays and reagents. It will also administer a pilot research program for early career investigators.

For more information about the CREID network, visit: https://creid-network.org/

Editor's Note The grant number for the Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID) funding is U01AI151807.

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[l] at 9/17/20 4:00pm
NMSU to award posthumous degree to beloved Las Cruces educator

Date: 09/17/2020
Writer: Amanda Bradford, 575-646-3223, ambradfo@nmsu.edu

Jed Hendee was close to completing his dissertation on his path to earning his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration from New Mexico State University’s College of Education when he passed away in May, following a six-year battle with brain cancer. On Friday, NMSU will honor his lifelong commitment to education and the impact he had on students throughout New Mexico by approving conferral of a posthumous doctoral degree on Hendee during a meeting of the Board of Regents.

New Mexico State University will honor the lifelong commitment of Las Cruces educator Jed Hendee on Friday by approving a posthumous doctoral degree during a meeting of the Board of Regents. (Courtesy photo)
Jed Hendee, who passed away at 49 after a battle with brain cancer, served as principal of Las Cruces High School and Zia Middle School in Las Cruces, as well as Gallup Middle School in northern New Mexico. Most recently, he was the executive director of teaching and learning for Las Cruces Public Schools before retiring in August 2019. His wife, Susie, is the principal at Centennial High School. (Courtesy photo)
Jed Hendee and his three children model their #HendeeStrong shirts, showing one of many ways the Las Cruces Public Schools community supported the Hendee family during Jed’s illness. (Courtesy photo)

The meeting, which begins at 8 a.m., will be available to watch online at https://panopto.nmsu.edu/bor/. The meeting agenda is available at https://regents.nmsu.edu/agenda/.

Hendee, who was 49, served as principal of Las Cruces High School and Zia Middle School in Las Cruces, as well as Gallup Middle School in northern New Mexico. Most recently, he was the executive director of teaching and learning for Las Cruces Public Schools before retiring in August 2019. His wife, Susie, is the principal at Centennial High School.

A popular and respected educator, Hendee was diagnosed in 2014 with glioblastoma multiforme, a rare form of brain cancer, but continued for years to serve students at Las Cruces High School and the entire school district. LCPS Superintendent Karen Trujillo described Hendee as “a leader, a fighter and a compassionate member of the LCPS family for 12 years.”

“He was beloved by students, teachers, and colleagues alike – a welcoming and encouraging leader who was deeply committed to social justice and the power of education to uplift lives,” said Deputy Superintendent Wendi Miller-Tomlinson in a letter supporting his degree. “His advocacy for Las Cruces High School and its students was fierce, as was his unwavering commitment to the well-being of all those in his charge. His determination not to let cancer stand in his way inspired students and colleagues alike.”

Hendee had completed all of his coursework in the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program in the College of Education, and had passed his comprehensive exam. His research and writing for his dissertation were underway when he was forced to step back from his academic work due to the impact of his cancer treatment.

The faculty of the Educational Leadership and Administration Division at NMSU voted unanimously to support awarding the degree, which will be accepted by Hendee’s wife, Susie, and three children during the meeting.

NMSU Provost Carol Parker, who will present the degree recommendation to the board, said Hendee’s passion and dedication to his students and community reflect the very best in educational leadership.

“Mr. Hendee – Dr. Hendee – was a man whose compassion and impact continue to be felt by the students and colleagues he supported throughout his distinguished career,” Parker said. “We are honored to acknowledge the hard work and leadership growth he continued to pursue despite his illness.”

Susie Hendee said earning his doctoral degree had been an important goal for her husband.

“Jed worked hard to get to this level in his academic career,” she said. “He worked closely with Dr. Malu Gonzalez, who was a great mentor to him. He would be very proud and humbled to be receiving this degree today.”

NMSU Regent Arsenio Romero, who is superintendent of Deming Public Schools and a longtime educator himself, said the opportunity to fulfill this goal for Hendee and his family is an honor and a privilege for the board.

“Dr. Hendee was more than an educator to the students he served,” Romero said. “He was a role model and a friend. I hope his example of great leadership inspires future graduates of NMSU’s College of Education to make a similar impact in their schools and communities.”

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[l] at 9/16/20 4:00pm
New state 4-H leadership team planning virtual workshops for club members

Date: 09/16/2020
Writer: Jane Moorman, 505-249-0527, jmoorman@nmsu.edu

A team of 10 new officers and ambassadors are entering their term as New Mexico’s 4-H state leadership and feeling enthusiastic about serving the organization and their fellow members.

Green poster with 10 photos
The 2020-21 4-H Leadership Team are, top row, Tatumn O’Toole of Luna County, president; Avery Feldman of Colfax County, vice president; Elida Miller of Dona Ana County, secretary; Austin Rhames of San Juan County, reporter; Kyleigh Kelly of Valencia County, song and recreation leader; and, bottom row, ambassadors Christopher Turner of Santa Fe County, Aimee Coletti of Dona Ana County, Ashlyn Ahlgrim of Valencia County, Cassidy Jimenez of Rio Arriba County and Emily Kitseallyboy of San Juan County.

The common desire of the young leaders is to share with other youth the many personal benefits of being a 4-H member, as well as to further develop their own leadership skills.

The group is beginning to plan the three annual state-wide events, as well as hosting virtual workshops during the fall.

Having experienced the first virtual state conference in July, creative ideas are flowing for upcoming virtual events.

“Hopefully, we will be back to in-person events by next summer for the state conference, but meanwhile the team is developing virtual events for the Senior Leadership Retreat in January,” said Cheryl Butterfield, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service state 4-H agent.

Selected during the annual state conference in July, the 2020-21 4-H Leadership Team includes Tatumn O’Toole of Luna County, president; Avery Feldman of Colfax County, vice president; Elida Miller of Dona Ana County, secretary; Austin Rhames of San Juan County, reporter; Kyleigh Kelley of Valencia County, song and recreation leader; and ambassadors Christopher Turner of Santa Fe County, Aimee Coletti of Dona Ana County, Ashlyn Ahlgrim of Valencia County, Cassidy Jimenez of Rio Arriba County and Emily Kitseallyboy of San Juan County.

Serving as the team advisor is Katie Sharpton, NMSU Extension 4-H and family and consumer science agent in McKinley County.

“The officers and ambassadors will do the traditional task of their office, plus we have added a few other responsibilities,” Butterfield said. “The officers will each chair a standing committee and the ambassadors will serve in focus areas.”

O’Toole will chair the election and selection committee for next year’s leadership team.

Feldman will chair the outreach and workshop committee. Miller will chair the service project committee. Rhames will chair the communication committee. Kelley will chair the assemblies committee.

“They will lead the committee members to accomplish the specific task established by the group,” Butterfield said.

Focus areas are a new concept for the ambassadors.

“We asked the ambassador candidates to list three areas they want to promote while serving in the position,” Butterfield said. “They will each develop a plan to promote their focus area and help county agents with workshops when appropriate. We have already had one ambassador help with a virtual baking workshop.”

The ambassador focus areas are livestock by Turner, shooting sports by Coletti, gardening by Ahlgrim, family and consumer science by Jimenez and culture of New Mexico by Kitseallyboy.

Each ambassador is teaming with an officer to present a virtual workshop for 4-H members across the state during the fall. The first was Aug. 31 about livestock presented by Turner and O’Toole.

Being in a leadership role is not new to these 10 youth. Each has served in officer positions in their club and county.

They have also participated in national 4-H events, including National 4-H Congress, Coletti, Ahlgrim, Jimenez and Rhames; Citizenship Washington Focus, Miller, Rhames and Kitseallyboy; National Healthy Living Conference, Jimenez and Turner; and O’Toole at the National 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation; and competitions including Rhames in family, consumer science skill-a-thon at the National Western Roundup.

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[l] at 9/15/20 4:00pm
Startup launches child safety app with mentorship from NMSU Arrowhead Center

Date: 09/15/2020
Writer: Cassie McClure, 575-312-3242, cassie@mcclurepublications.com

Securing the best interests of your children is much harder when their interests take them online. For parents who want to keep an eye on their child, it may be hard to continuously monitor what happens virtually. With mentoring from Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University, New Mexico-based startup Parental Values is aiming to give parents better tools to manage online dangers their children may face.

Photo of child looking at a handheld device
New Mexico-based startup Parental Values allows parents to monitor and filter online content for their children. With mentoring from Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University, Parental Values is aiming to give parents better tools to manage online dangers their children may face. (Courtesy photo)

As a parent of two, Jason Boxum, president and founder of Parental Values, saw the dangers first-hand when his son went into an unmoderated chatroom. He’s sought to align Parental Values – and its app with the same name – with the Federal Trade Commission and its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

The act designates children under the age of 13 as a special class of citizen that requires parental oversight and permission to collect, store, or transfer any personal information about them. Boxum said it was key to make sure that legal issues were covered before the app’s use was expanded, especially with regard to sensitive data obtained about fitness tracking and precision location tracking.

Parental Values, currently downloaded onto phones using the Android operating system, features call blocking, text message and screen time monitoring, and web content filtering. It allows children and parents to schedule online activities and also uses location tracking to detect when a child leaves an area and let parents know where their children are in real time.

Parental Values’ customer development process involves constant customer feedback as well as highly focused mentoring through New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Accelerator.

“I have been excited to work with NMSU researchers as a think-tank about innovating safety features using machine learning while complying with legal regulations about children’s personal information,” Boxum said.

Boxum has a military background and spent time working at Honeywell and Boeing.

“I enjoy innovating and solving problems: complex systems are just problems broken down into smaller pieces,” said Boxum. “For the app, we are using machine learning to look for patterns. When it comes to social media, there are indicators that might lead a parent to initiate a conversation with their child. We want to promote that parental involvement with as much information as possible.”

“Our SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) accelerators provide participants access to experts who may already be looking an issue, such as data gathering in protected classes, in Parental Values’ case,” said Dana Catron, Arrowhead Center SBIR program director. “We also help them identify federal funding that will allow them to validate their technology and move towards commercialization.”

Children’s smartphone sensor data could allow Parental Values to continue developing “Echo Alert,” a feature that will automate gunfire recognition and response to law enforcement in active shooter situations, and ultimately save time and lives.

“It needs more crunching of numbers to create a repeatable process, particularly in New Mexico,” Boxum said. “We have downloads from around the world including China, Germany, Iran and France, but we need feedback from our target audience here in New Mexico to improve Parental Values. Once we can organize mobile data usage and recognize patterns through features like our Fitness Tracker, we can use that as a proof of concept to move into active shooter scenarios.”

Parental Values was New Mexico’s 2018 Innovation Voucher recipient and a product of various accelerators and mentorships through WESST, SCORE and the Santa Fe Small Business Development Center, and was a participant in University of New Mexico’s Entrepreneurial Showcase.

“We’re looking for more support from not just parents, but leaders who want to support the safety of our children,” said Boxum.

For more information about how to download the app, visit https://www.parentalvalues.com/.

For more information on expanding your business, visit Arrowhead Center’s SBIR Accelerator at: https://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/program/nm-fast/acsa/acsa-nsf/.

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[l] at 9/15/20 4:00pm
NMSU selects counties for pilot program designed to strengthen rural economies

Date: 09/15/2020
Writer: Jane Moorman, 505-249-0527, jmoorman@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University has selected a multi-county region in the state to participate in the “CREATE BRIDGES” program to build up rural economies.

CREATE BRIDGES stands for Celebrating REtail, Accommodations, Tourism and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovation and Developing Growth Economies.

The program was recently launched in New Mexico, Illinois and North Carolina with the help of a $2 million grant from Walmart to the Southern Rural Development Center, housed at Mississippi State University.

NMSU Cooperative Extension Service has received a $300,000 multi-year grant to implement the Northeast New Mexico CREATE BRIDGES project in Union, Colfax, Harding, Mora, San Miguel, Quay and De Baca counties.

As part of this initiative, NMSU Extension economists and county agents will collaborate with the Northeast Economic Development Organization-NM and regional economic development and education leaders to pilot a process to help rural communities build their capacity for strengthening the retail, tourism, hospitality and entertainment sectors, which provide jobs and business opportunities that frequently boost rural economies and have been notably impacted by COVID-19.

CREATE BRIDGES provides opportunities to customize implementation according to community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The CREATE BRIDGES program provides NEEDO-NM with a unique opportunity to achieve the business and workforce development goals established for the region during NMSU Extension’s Stronger Economies Together program,” said Michael Patrick, NMSU Extension economic development specialist.

NEEDO-NM was chosen to implement the project for its clear desire to grow its tourism and retail industries as well as its demonstrated commitment to CREATE BRIDGES businesses.

“NEEDO-NM region has worked in collaboration as a non-profit EDO for the past eight years and sees this as a real opportunity to continue that collaboration and pursue the goals established in its strategic plan,” said Pat Vanderpool, NEEDO-NM president and Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation executive director.

“Generally, the retail sector in rural communities often fills local needs and serves as an entry point for new workers,” Patrick said. “However, entry level workers do not always understand the career paths available that would allow them to move up or train for supervisory and management roles.”

NEEDO-NM will work with economic development and small business development professionals to facilitate a business retention and expansion program and a CREATE Academy for regional leaders.

It also will coordinate with the Eastern Plains Council of Governments, North Central New Mexico Economic Development District, Eastern Area Workforce Development Board and Northern Area Local Workforce Development Board to identify opportunities for workforce training focused on incumbent and new workers.

The program also will look at workforce solutions to retain workers and promote from within.

CREATE BRIDGES builds upon Stronger Economies Together, a collaborative effort across 32 states led by the Southern Rural Development Center that helps rural counties work together to develop and implement an economic development plan for their multicounty region.

Northeast New Mexico CREATE BRIDGES is being developed by a team of experts including Patrick and the Southern Rural Development Center’s Rachel Welborn and Grace Langford.

For more information, contact Patrick at 575-202-4253.

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NMSU researcher part of study on New Guinea’s rich plant diversity

Date: 09/14/2020
Writer: Jane Moorman, 505-249-0527, jmoorman@nmsu.edu

A New Mexico State University scientist was part of an international effort to document the vast array of plant life on New Guinea. – a study that found it to be the most species-rich island in the world for plants.

Man sitting at table
New Mexico State University’s Herbarium curator and botanist Zachary Rogers was among 99 scientists from 56 institutions across 19 countries to analyze and document plant species collected in New Guinea since the 1750s. Man saving plants samples
Zachary Rogers, shown here collecting plant species, helped identify 13,634 flora species in New Guinea, 68 percent of these plant species cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Tropical island holds the title as the most species-rich island in the world for plants.

Zachary Rogers, NMSU Herbarium curator and botanist in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, was among 99 scientists from 56 institutions across 19 countries who began analyzing and documenting the island’s plants in 2018.

“A major finding was that the island holds the title as the most species-rich island in the world for plants, based on the team’s comprehensive inventory list of 13,634 identified species, 68 percent endemic to the area,” Rogers said. “For comparison, New Mexico only has a total of about 3,900 plant species.”

Of all the plant groups, the largest plant family by far in New Guinea is the beautiful, well-known orchid family, which accounted for about 20 percent of the total number of species.

The final results of the study were published in August in Nature, one of the world’s leading peer reviewed journals.

Before this study, there had been no serious attempt to inventory all of the plant diversity on the world’s largest tropical island. Earlier reports estimated that there could be as few as 9,000 plant species or possibly as many as 25,000.

“Without such a large team of experts, with each one focusing on their own particular plant group specialties, the study would have probably taken 20 years to complete,” Rogers said. “Instead, it only took a couple of years.”

The study was mainly based on more than 700,000 digitized plant specimens collected from New Guinea over the past 250 years.

“You can think of each specimen like a historical artifact, a snapshot in time,” Rogers said.
The specimens are stored long-term in an herbarium.

“This allows the original specimens to be reanalyzed as experimental techniques improve and as new research questions are raised,” he said. “Old plant specimens can help us confront modern problems facing our society, like how climate change affects plant populations over time, and will help climate scientists build more accurate predictions for the future.”

Now that a more accurate inventory exists of which plants occur in New Guinea, there is more work to be done.

“We estimate there could still be as many as 4,000 additional plant species lurking on the island.” Rogers said. “It will take a good deal of field work to arrive at a final number. Collecting more herbarium specimens to scientifically document those discoveries will be key, especially with trips concentrating on the many remote, mountainous regions.”

Probably the most important message from the study is that 68 percent of the more than 13,000 plant species in New Guinea cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

“This fact makes many of those rarer species very susceptible to habitat destruction and possibly even extinction due to unsustainable logging, slash and burn agriculture practices and harmful mining activities,” he said.

“The rarest species will need to be prioritized for formal protection to ensure their long-term survival,” he added. “We cannot attempt to protect a species if we do not know it exists yet.”

NMSU has a large herbarium of more than 100,000 specimens on campus, and is the oldest in New Mexico, dating back to 1890 when the first New Mexico specimens were collected by NMSU’s own professor Elmer Otis Wooton.

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NMSU Museum receives NAGPRA grant to consult Native American tribal groups

Date: 09/14/2020
Writer: Amanda Adame, 575-646-7953, aadame4@nmsu.edu

The University Museum at New Mexico State University recently received a Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Consultation/Documentation Grant from National Park Service to assist in consultation with Native American tribal groups pertaining to NAGPRA-related human remains and funerary objects.

The New Mexico State University Museum recently received a Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Consultation/Documentation Grant from the National Park Service. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

“Since 1990, Federal law has provided for the repatriation and disposition of Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony with culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. This is called Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act,” said Fumi Arakawa, associate professor of anthropology, University Museum director and principal investigator of the grant.

“The aim of the grant is to facilitate contact with culturally affiliated Indian tribal governments and to carry out the consultation pertaining to human remains and funerary objects curated at the University Museum with them.”

Arakawa will oversee and supervise several steps of this consultation process. Stan Berryman, NMSU affiliate anthropology faculty, will work as a contractor. An NMSU graduate student will also assist during the process.

“One NMSU graduate student will re-inventory all human remains and funerary items curated at the museum and develop a master database prior to the consultation meeting,” Arakawa said. “The graduate student will use this project as her non-thesis internship.”

Arakawa described the grant as government-to-government partnership, which will be enhanced through the support and involvement of NMSU’s administration with several Native American tribal groups.

The University Museum intends to work with partners identified during the NAGPRA process to continue the partner relationship beyond the NAGPRA undertaking into other museum activities, and the museum staff hopes to develop a Native American Advisory group based on the consultation and collaboration processes.

The project will run through September 30th, 2022. To learn more about the University Museum and its collections, please visit https://univmuseum.nmsu.edu/.

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New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge goes virtual, registration extended to Sept. 24

Date: 09/14/2020
Writer: Tiffany Acosta, 575-646-3929, tfrank@nmsu.edu

Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the 2020 New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge has transitioned to an all virtual event including the statewide STEM Showcase to be hosted by New Mexico State University Dec. 5, and the registration deadline has been extended to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24.

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The 2020 New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge program will be an all virtual event this year due to COVID-19 safety precautions. The program gives New Mexico high school students an opportunity to use their problem-solving skills. (Courtesy photo)

The NM Governor’s STEM Challenge partners including NMSU, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation and the New Mexico Public Education Department will be joined by industry partners from across the state.

Registration is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NBNYGBY. All information including important updates and deadlines will be accessible via Canvas.

“The New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge presents an opportunity for students to be creative and to collaborate on STEM solutions to issues we face in the state and across the globe,” said NMSU President John Floros. “While there is great value to in-person peer-to-peer learning, our students are also developing important skills in learning and collaborating with peers in the virtual world. Going virtual with this challenge will make it accessible to additional students and better serve them and their families.”

In its second year, the NM Governor’s STEM Challenge is an opportunity for New Mexico high school students to use their problem-solving skills. The 10-person student teams will compete to find a solution to the question “how can you combine New Mexico’s natural resources with technology to address regional/global needs?” Winners will be determined by industry employers in the state. The top teams will win up to $5,000.

“I am proud of our students’ tenacity, and I know New Mexico’s diverse student population recognizes the potential that STEM jobs have to address local, state and global challenges,” said New Mexico Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart. “The NM Governor’s STEM Challenge is the ideal venue for students to practice their collaborative problem-solving and presentation skills, while utilizing engineering design, science and engineering practices to construct project models that could become the innovations of tomorrow.”

In the first year of the program, 65 New Mexico high schools and more than 600 students attempted the challenge. One of the program’s goals is to encourage the state’s students and teachers to integrate and use NM STEM Ready! Science Standards in daily classroom curriculum.

“The Governor’s STEM Challenge is all about using science and technology to solve problems” said Bill McCamley, Secretary of the NM Department of Workforce Solutions. “Giving students a successful experience while keeping them, their teachers and our sponsors safe will be us putting this idea in to practice.”

The challenge reinforces skills such as teamwork, problem solving, innovation, STEM development, breakthrough technologies and presentation skills.

“The NM Governor’s STEM Challenge offers New Mexico’s youth an opportunity to shine and have their ingenuity recognized. It is a chance for youth and their mentors to work and grow together to creatively solve real world problems,” said Kersti Tyson, LANL Foundation’s Director of Evaluation and Learning.

Companies participating include Air Force Research Labs, Boeing, Chevron, Deloitte, El Paso Electric, Facebook, Freeport McMoran, Health Sciences Center, Intel, LANL/Triad, N3B, Lovelace, Molina Health Care, Pattern Energy, PNM, Presbyterian, Sandia National Laboratories, URENCO, Virgin Galactic and URENCO.

For specific information about the challenge visit https://nmsu.edu/community/STEM-challenge.html.

Editor's Note The news release was updated Sept. 21 with the extended registration information.

As of 9/25/20 4:33pm. Last new 9/25/20 3:01pm.

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