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[l] at 7/8/20 4:00pm
NMSU STEM Outreach Center awarded $2.7 million for community learning centers

Date: 07/08/2020
Writer: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, adchavez@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University’s STEM Outreach Center recently received $2.7 million from the New Mexico Public Education Department to fund out-of-school-time STEM programs in the Las Cruces and Gadsden school districts for one year.

The grant was awarded by the New Mexico Public Education Department through the national 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program to implement programs in schools in the Gadsden Independent School District and Las Cruces Public Schools. The funding will allow the STEM Outreach Center, which is housed in the NMSU College of Education, to provide its programming to qualifying elementary and middle schools in each district in the 2020-21 academic year. Another $250,000 was awarded for summer STEM programs for K-8th grade students. Those programs will be offered from June through August 2021.

NMSU College of Education interim Dean Susan Brown said the funding will help provide STEM programs to thousands of students.

“I congratulate (STEM Outreach Center Director) Wanda Bulger-Tamez and (center co-director) Sara Morales for leading the team,” Brown said. “Because of their wonderful record providing the best program in the state, they will continue to provide professional development for our out-of-school-time teachers and provide over 6,500 K-8th grade students exciting, innovative, interactive STEM out-of-school-time programs for the academic year 2020-21.”

The STEM Outreach Center-led community learning centers will offer programs that support local schools in preparing students with age-appropriate knowledge, attitudes and behaviors to succeed at college, in a career and in life. Students will participate in the center’s activities outside of regular school hours.



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[l] at 7/7/20 4:00pm
NMSU welcomes Anna, Age Eight Institute

Date: 07/07/2020
Writer: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, adchavez@nmsu.edu

On July 1, New Mexico State University will be home to the Anna, Age Eight Institute, which seeks to prevent adverse childhood experiences among New Mexico’s children.

Under an agreement with Northern New Mexico College, where the institute was established in 2019, NMSU will house the institute within the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. This will allow the institute to work with NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service infrastructure to expand its services throughout the state.

“We are pleased to welcome the Anna, Age Eight Institute to its new home here at NMSU,” said NMSU President John Floros. “The move will allow the institute to build on the good work that began at Northern New Mexico College to create a statewide network to support children and their families experiencing trauma and social adversity.”

Anna, Age Eight Institute uses a data-driven process focused on building the capacity of local government, non-governmental agencies and the business sector to provide the surviving and thriving services that community members need to strengthen health, safety and resilience.

“We are honored to have served as the host institution for the inaugural year of the Anna, Age Eight Institute at Northern New Mexico College,” said NNMC President Richard J. Bailey, Jr. “The Institute is the first of its kind in the nation, committed to overcoming – and ultimately eradicating – childhood and family trauma in our communities. We applaud the institute’s expansion into a statewide initiative under the leadership of our friends at New Mexico State University, and are committed to working together as a state on this ambitious but necessary endeavor.”

The institute’s co-directors are Katherine Ortega Courtney and Dominic Cappello. Cappello is a New York Times bestselling author with decades of experience advocating for public health, safety and systems of care. He and Courtney co-authored, “Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment,” a call-to-action for each state to end adverse childhood experiences, trauma, social adversity and health disparities.

Courtney earned a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Texas Christian University, where she studied at the Institute of Behavioral Research. Courtney worked with the State of New Mexico for eight years, first as the Juvenile Justice Epidemiologist, then as bureau chief of the Child Protective Services Research, Assessment and Data Bureau.

Gregory Sherrow serves as the institute’s director of information technology and communications. Sherrow has decades of experience in creating educational, nonprofit and commercial technology solutions.

As part of the agreement with Northern New Mexico College, NMSU will continue to support the institute’s work in three pilot counties – Socorro, Rio Arriba and Doña Ana – in implementing its 100% Community Initiative. NMSU will also continue to support work in Taos Pueblo, and Santa Fe and San Miguel counties.

For more information about the institute, visit https://www.annaageeight.org/.



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[l] at 7/7/20 4:00pm
NMSU welcomes Anna, Age Eight institute

Date: 07/07/2020
Writer: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, adchavez@nmsu.edu

On July 1, New Mexico State University will be home to the Anna, Age Eight Institute, which seeks to prevent adverse childhood experiences among New Mexico’s children.

Under an agreement with Northern New Mexico College, where the institute was established in 2019, NMSU will house the institute within the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. This will allow the institute to work with NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service infrastructure to expand its services throughout the state.

“We are pleased to welcome the Anna, Age Eight Institute to its new home here at NMSU,” said NMSU President John Floros. “The move will allow the institute to build on the good work that began at Northern New Mexico College to create a statewide network to support children and their families experiencing trauma and social adversity.”

Anna, Age Eight Institute uses a data-driven process focused on building the capacity of local government, non-governmental agencies and the business sector to provide the surviving and thriving services that community members need to strengthen health, safety and resilience.

“We are honored to have served as the host institution for the inaugural year of the Anna, Age Eight Institute at Northern New Mexico College,” said NNMC President Richard J. Bailey, Jr. “The Institute is the first of its kind in the nation, committed to overcoming – and ultimately eradicating – childhood and family trauma in our communities. We applaud the institute’s expansion into a statewide initiative under the leadership of our friends at New Mexico State University, and are committed to working together as a state on this ambitious but necessary endeavor.”

The institute’s co-directors are Katherine Ortega Courtney and Dominic Cappello. Cappello is a New York Times bestselling author with decades of experience advocating for public health, safety and systems of care. He and Courtney co-authored, “Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment,” a call-to-action for each state to end adverse childhood experiences, trauma, social adversity and health disparities.

Courtney earned a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Texas Christian University, where she studied at the Institute of Behavioral Research. Courtney worked with the State of New Mexico for eight years, first as the Juvenile Justice Epidemiologist, then as bureau chief of the Child Protective Services Research, Assessment and Data Bureau.

Gregory Sherrow serves as the institute’s director of information technology and communications. Sherrow has decades of experience in creating educational, nonprofit and commercial technology solutions.

As part of the agreement with Northern New Mexico College, NMSU will continue to support the institute’s work in three pilot counties – Socorro, Rio Arriba and Doña Ana – in implementing its 100% Community Initiative. NMSU will also continue to support work in Taos Pueblo, and Santa Fe and San Miguel counties.

For more information about the institute, visit https://www.annaageeight.org/.



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[l] at 7/7/20 4:00pm
Department of Energy renews funding for NMSU-administered Carlsbad environmental monitoring facility

Date: 07/07/2020
Writer: Linda Fresques, 575-646-7416, lfresque@nmsu.edu

Continuing a relationship that began in 1991, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management, Carlsbad Field Office, has renewed a grant to New Mexico State University. The project value is $14,470,270, with a five-year project period. Administered by the NMSU College of Engineering, environmental monitoring will be performed at the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center.

Woman laying on table under device.
A volunteer performs a lung and whole-body count at Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center’s Internal Dosimetry facility, which provides full-spectrum dosimetry services to evaluate internal radiation exposure to radiation workers and members of the public. The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management, Carlsbad Field Office, has renewed a grant to New Mexico State University for $14 million. (NMSU photo)

CEMRC is a 26,000-square-foot, internationally recognized research facility that conducts environmental and human health monitoring for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant—the nation’s only deep geologic repository for defense-related transuranic nuclear waste. WIPP is the world’s third deep geological repository and is licensed to store radioactive waste for 10,000 years. The WIPP facility is located some 40 miles outside of Carlsbad.

“Since its beginning, CEMRC’s primary mission has been to sustain an independent health and environmental monitoring program in the vicinity of the WIPP facility, making results easily accessible to stakeholders. This provides an independent demonstration of transparency in DOE’s activities as well as environmental stewardship,” said Anderson Ward, site regulatory specialist and technical monitor for the CEMRC grant. “This is achieved through an intensive combination of sampling, analysis, data quality-assurance and scientific interpretation. Current programs include environmental monitoring for naturally occurring radionuclides and those managed at WIPP, volatile organic compounds, in vivo and in vitro bioassay, whole-body dosimetry, as well as soil, water and air characterization.”

The CEMRC-NMSU relationship affords unique opportunities for researchers and employment for graduates in both the hard and soft sciences. Scientists at the facility continue to lead in the development and publication of innovative methods for the analysis of trace amounts of radionuclides.

“Currently, there is a low-background radiation experiment led by scientists from NMSU, which is aimed at understanding the effect of natural radiation on living organisms and will ultimately help to redefine policy on radiation protection,” Ward said. “Also, with the new grant, there will be work to understand the behavior of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Radioactive Materials. These materials are generated by the oil and gas industry during hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, but some may be present in WIPP wastes so it is important that we be able to identify their source. Also, CEMRC’s experience in monitoring VOCs, will be brought to bear in new initiatives being developed to monitor greenhouse gases in the Permian Basin.”

CEMRC offers a unique range of radiochemistry, environmental, human health monitoring services and is on the lookout for the impact of national and international releases that could impact the U.S. Because of methods developed in house by radiochemist Punam Thakur, CEMRC was the first to detect global fallout from the 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident, and provided independent verification of a 2014 unplanned release from WIPP.



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[l] at 7/7/20 4:00pm
KRWG to showcase NMSU CMI students’ pandemic films July 9, 11, 12

Date: 07/07/2020
Writer: Minerva Baumann, 575-646-7566, mbauma46@nmsu.edu

Ilana Lapid’s film students were halfway through the spring semester when the worldwide pandemic hit and the New Mexico State University campus transitioned to online instruction. Students in Lapid’s Border Documentary Film Production and the Social Impact of Film classes were left wondering what to do next. Three students had filmed enough material to complete their border-themed documentaries. The rest were forced to abandon those projects and come up with something new.

Head and shoulders of a woman
Ilana Lapid, associate professor of NMSU’s Creative Media Institute. Students from her classes in Border Documentary Film Production and the Social Impact of Film created documentaries that will be shown on KRWG-TV Thursday, July 9. (Courtesy photo) Screen with colorful animation figures
"Cosplay Lockdown," a documentary by Michael Steward is one of six films by New Mexico State University Creative Media Institute students created while they were at home without benefit of CMI cameras and other equipment. (Courtesy photo) Two people on a Zoom spit screen
New Mexico State University film students Araceli Hernandez (left) and Dominic Rascon are among the Creative Media Institute students whose films made while they were isolated at home will be aired on KRWG, Las Cruces Public Television. Rascon and Hernandez documentary called "Success" is one of six that will be broadcast July 9, 11 and 12 on cable channel 22. (Courtesy Photo)

“Across the board, my students rose to the occasion and impressed me with their creativity, flexibility and resourcefulness, in spite of the many challenges they were dealing with,” said Lapid, associate professor of NMSU’s Creative Media Institute. “Virtually from one day to the next, their lives had radically changed. Many were forced to move back home with their families. They had to adjust to the reality of online classes. Some had lost their jobs and sources of income.

“They had to pivot mid-semester and begin a new film project, which they would have half the time to complete, without access to CMI’s equipment.”

Out of the chaos emerged six short documentaries that speak to the heart of family, community and human resilience in the time of COVID-19. Lapid was so impressed with the students’ films that she approached KRWG-TV to air them on Las Cruces’ public television. KRWG-TV will broadcast the “Creative Media Showcase,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 9, on cable channel 22. The program will be repeated at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 11, and at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 12.

“They made incredible films,” Lapid said. “They threw themselves into their projects and their final films are by turn thoughtful, moving, funny and poignant. Across the board, all the films are socially relevant.”

Christina Zuni focused her film, “Protecting Native Nations,” on the impact of COVID-19 on Native American communities.

“Although I am a hands-on filmmaker, I was able to put my producing skills to the test and put out a call sheet for submissions via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,” Zuni said. “Within a two-month time frame, I had gotten submissions from over 15 people from three different tribes in New Mexico and South Dakota.”

Gabe Balderas’ documentary “How to Keep Dad Safe” hits close to home and is very personal.

“My dad is currently on peritoneal dialysis. He has been for a year now, as we await the go-ahead for a transplant,” Balderas said. “Mostly people don’t know that or the fact that I plan to donate one of my kidneys to him. That was a matter I always wanted to keep private. However, I have no idea how much time my loved ones have left in this world, or even me for that matter, so I decided to make this film. I owe that man my life, and the least I can do is make a film about him.”

Araceli Hernandez and Dominic Rascon’s short documentary idea began with immigration, took a few turns and ended with “Success!” – sort of.

“The first half of the semester was focused on capturing stories from the Mexican-American border,” Rascon said. “While working on that project, I learned a lot about the lives of immigrants and how unique every single story truly is. The doc was about two women who spent 14 months helping Central American immigrants begin their lives in the U.S., and it was life-changing.”

The team had to set the immigration documentary aside temporarily and begin another project. When that too failed, their third try was something completely different.

“After our attempts to find good news stories within our community failed, we decided we would make a documentary about making a documentary,” said Hernandez. “We kind of just went with it and tried to make light of our failed attempts.”

“‘Success!’ is really a documentary about failure and how to learn from it, and taking something that didn't turn out so well and making it better,” Rascon said.

Hernandez agreed. “We would just like for people to laugh with us and be able to laugh at their own setbacks, too. I guess we just felt that the world needed a little more optimism considering everything that’s going on. We just wanted to create something lighthearted and fun.”

Michael Stewart’s documentary “Cosplay Lockdown” centers on the art of cosplay ¬– the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game.

“My film is about wanting to cosplay during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown,” Stewart said. “I express how, for some people, cosplaying is a way to express oneself and bring out their creative side. I hope people can see that there are cosplayers in New Mexico, and not just cosplayers, but Black cosplayers as well. I want to show that there are cosplayers still creating their visions even during the lockdowns.”

Lily Valerio’s film “The Girl in A302” turns the camera on her roommate as the NMSU senior negotiates her final days toward graduation amidst the pandemic.

“What I wanted to explore in my film was the way that people were adapting their daily life routines to the quarantine, and I knew that Yamilex, my roommate, would be a good subject for it,” Valerio said. “She is very opinionated and has no problem expressing her thoughts and feelings. Besides, she has an amazing personality that I knew would transmit through the camera.”

Joshua Trinidad’s film “Alone Together” is about his experience practicing social distancing with his family.

“I wanted my film to evoke a sense of positivity in a world full of pessimism and negativity, to inspire others to look around their own lives and find fulfillment,” Trinidad said. “My family was always a constant driving force to achieve the best. This documentary is a tribute to them. With every project I get involved in, I always put my heart into it with the idea that I can make a change in the world. Even if the world doesn't change, you keep going and keep creating. That is something Illana taught us very well – to be resilient.”

As the global pandemic continues to evolve, Lapid said CMI remains committed to training students to become skilled visual storytellers, working across media platforms. CMI faculty will continue to keep NMSU students safe while providing them with opportunities to make films. She added the department will create new protocols in keeping with the government health organizations and university policies, perhaps smaller crews filming in open spaces where students can maintain social distancing.

“I’m very proud of everyone on the CMI faculty who worked extremely hard to innovate their teaching methodologies while still holding true to learning objectives,” said Amy Lanasa, department head of NMSU’s Creative Media Institute. “The work from Ilana’s classes is a great representation of how our faculty and students rose to the challenge. But we’re also built for this kind of thing. Filmmaking is, by nature, an exercise in creative problem solving.

“Ilana helped her students navigate this new terrain with such empathy and enthusiasm, which resulted in this beautiful, often vulnerable work, created in a non-traditional manner, during a very weird time in the world,” Lanasa said. “I’m so grateful to see that such things can still exist.”

Broadcast Advisory Watch this video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/1yAR84Nedp4
For questions, contact Minerva Baumann 575-646-7566.


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[l] at 7/7/20 4:00pm
NMSU continues temporary suspension of workouts for student-athletes

Date: 07/07/2020
Writer: Justin Bannister, jbannist@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University will continue its temporary suspension of student-athlete workouts as additional COVID-19 test results are gathered. Last week, the university suspended workouts at the recommendation of the University Athletics team doctor after six student-athletes and a sports performance staff member tested positive for the virus.

Additional tests have resulted in 135 negative cases, 20 positive cases and seven others are still awaiting their results. The cases affect multiple sports. Workouts and other team activities will resume once medical personnel give approval.



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[l] at 7/6/20 4:00pm
NMSU temporarily closes O’Donnell Hall to repair fire damage

Date: 07/06/2020
Writer: Carlos Andres Lopez, 575-646-1955, carlopez@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University has temporarily closed O’Donnell Hall on the Las Cruces campus to begin repairing damage caused by early morning fire reported Monday, June 6.

The exterior of a building of O’Donnell Hall at New Mexico State University
A fire damaged New Mexico State University’s O’Donnell Hall Monday, June 6. The building, which primarily houses the College of Education, will remain closed until Aug. 19 as crews repair and clean the fire damage. (NMSU photo by Samuel Horstman)

The NMSU Fire Department responded to the fire after a water-flow alarm in the basement of O’Donnell Hall, which primarily houses the College of Education, went off at 2:48 a.m. Monday.

A crew of student firefighters and three command staff, equipped with an engine and aerial unit, arrived on the scene to find heavy fire emanating from the southwest corner of the building in a courtyard area. The crew successfully extinguished the fire from the exterior, while an indoor sprinkler system contained flames inside the building. No firefighters or civilians were injured.

NMSU fire investigators have determined the fire likely started outside O’Donnell Hall but entered the building through a nearby window, causing smoke damage throughout the three-story structure, which underwent a major renovation between 2006 and 2008. Heavy water damage also occurred in an office area that was under construction and nearly finished.

University officials are still determining the damage estimate.

O’Donnell Hall will remain closed for the time being as crews work to repair and clean the fire damage. But university officials anticipate that the building will reopen when the fall 2020 semester begins Wednesday, Aug. 19.

The NMSU Police Department, meanwhile, has arrested a Las Cruces man in connection to the fire. The man, 27-year-old Andrew Caldera, has been charged with arson resulting in more than $20,000 in damage, a second-degree felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.

NMSU police urge the campus community to immediately report suspicious activities by calling 575-646-3311.



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[l] at 7/6/20 4:00pm
NMSU gets state funding to digitize and create maps of water rights

Date: 07/06/2020
Writer: Amanda Adame, 575-646-7953, aadame4@nmsu.edu

Although New Mexico relies on both groundwater and surface water to supply the needs of the state, about 87 percent of the public water supply comes from groundwater, that is, water held in underground aquifers. But who owns that water?

Man smiling
NMSU department of geography associate professor Christopher Brown (NMSU photo by Carlos Trujillo). Man smiling
Geography graduate alumni Joel Cisneros will work on these maps gaining first-hand experience geo-referencing. (Courtesy Photo) Computer screen with digital maps
Screenshot of the tools being used to digitize the water rights maps. (Courtesy Photo)

Under New Mexico water law, all ground and surface waters belong to the public but they are subject to appropriation under the Water Resources Allocation Program. Under this program, the Office of the State Engineer is tasked with keeping track of these water rights. Thanks to a grant from the state engineer, New Mexico State University will be digitizing the state’s water rights database in map form by the new completion date, the end of the year, due to delays with COVID-19.

“Proper management of water resources in New Mexico is very important to the State’s economy and the quality of life of the people that live in the State,” said Christopher Brown, associate geography professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and co-director of the Spatial Applications Research Center.

“An important element of sound management is to understand the historical arc of water use, and the project we have been funded to do will allow us to capture in digital form the historic maps of the hydrographic survey of New Mexico.”

The Water Resources Allocation Program at the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer is responsible for processing water rights applications, conducting the scientific research for making those water rights decisions, maintaining water rights records and enforcing any conditions or restrictions on water use.

Daniel Estrada, a geographic information systems analyst at OSE, advocated for NMSU to head the project.

“Having been a student at NMSU in the department of geography, I know firsthand that NMSU has the capability to provide quality GIS products and services,” Estrada said. “NMSU has the Spatial Applications Research Center that has the ability to contribute to our state by providing geospatial services to the state of New Mexico.”

“Tasks involved in the project start with the transfer of digital scans of paper survey maps from the NMOSE to NMSU, this being 888 digital files. Using georeferencing tools in the ESRI geographic information system, Joel Cisneros, the staff person working on the project, then georeferences these images so they are located in correct geographic space,” Brown said. “As we proceed on the project, we are sending batches of maps to Daniel Estrada at the NMOSE for review, and then making any edits required to the maps. As this process moves forward we then mosaic the georeferenced maps sheets into a seamless data layer for the State.

Although he will not actually create the maps, he is helping encode the geographic coordinates of each water rights location, which will be incorporated into the map through the use of black and white aerial photography.

“These types of projects provide students an excellent opportunity to deploy skills that they acquire in class to real-world applied geographic riddles and tasks,” said Brown. “This work also provides professional development skills, in that students develop a work flow for the tasks at hand, conduct the specific technical work involved, work with the sponsor to execute quality control/quality assurance, make any needed edits, and track the entire work flow, all skills that the professional workplace requires.”

“This is an applied project that came through the NMSU SpARC Lab, and Joel actually developed the work flow being used in a pilot project. As work progressed on the project, Joel graduated with his master’s in applied geography, and he is continuing this work as a staff person working in the SpARC Lab. We are fortunate to have him on our team.”

Some of the maps currently being used by the Office of the State Engineer are 100 years old and all are in paper format. Creating a geo-referenced and digital library for these maps will help the state better archive and protect the state’s water rights documentation and help in the allocation of water rights in the future.

“Having these maps geo-referenced is going to allow the Water Rights Division the ability to analyze the areas and provide the best information to the people of New Mexico when they need assistance with their water rights,” Estrada said.

Estrada believes the research experience at NMSU is a factor that can make a big difference when graduates like Cisneros are out looking for jobs.

“The New Mexico State University Department of Geography’s undergraduate and graduate applied geography programs have produced some of the best geographers and GIS professionals that are employed in many state agencies,” Estrada said.



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[l] at 7/2/20 4:00pm
NMSU Library to begin pilot curbside pickup service July 6

Date: 07/02/2020
Writer: Tiffany Acosta, 575-646-3929, tfrank@nmsu.edu

The New Mexico State University Library will begin a pilot service for curbside pickup Monday, July 6. The free service for NMSU faculty, staff and students will run through the end of the July and offers access to general circulation items located in Zuhl and Branson libraries.

Exterior of building.
The New Mexico State University Library will offer a curbside pickup service for NMSU faculty, staff and students July 6-31. The pilot project will offer access to general circulation items located in Zuhl and Branson libraries. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

An NMSU ID is required and must be presented at pickup. Faculty can designate a proxy, but a form must be submitted prior to pickup. Forms are available upon request by calling the Zuhl help desk or online at the library website.

Individuals must reserve titles online through the NMSU Library website via Primo. Once items are available, individuals will be emailed and will have seven days to pick up items. To schedule a pickup, individuals must reserve a slot for a 30-minute park time on the Curbside Pick-Up page of the NMSU Library website. Curbside pickup hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday.

To pick up items, individuals should park curbside on Breland Drive and call the Zuhl access service desk at 575-646-6910. A staff member will approach vehicles to confirm NMSU ID and then place items in a trunk or back seat to minimize contact.

Returns must be made in the outside book drop near the curbside pickup location. Staff members cannot accept returns.

For more information, visit https://nmsu.libguides.com/covidlibrary.



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[l] at 7/1/20 4:00pm
NMSU collaborates on new career-building contests for youth

Date: 07/01/2020
Writer: Carlos Andres Lopez, 575-646-1955, carlopez@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, in collaboration with the New Mexico State Fair Commission, has developed two new contests for youth to showcase their public-speaking and scientific-reasoning skills.

An infographic of new fair contests.
New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the New Mexico State Fair Commission collaborated to develop two new contests for youth to showcase their public-speaking and scientific-reasoning skills at this year’s New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque. (Courtesy photo) A female student gives a speech.
New Mexico State University student Annalisa Miller, who served as the 2018-2019 state president of the New Mexico FFA, gives a speech during an FFA event. The New Mexico State Fair will introduce in September two new contests, developed by NMSU and the New Mexico State Fair Commission, for youth to showcase their public-speaking and scientific-reasoning skills. (Courtesy New Mexico FFA)

The contests, Agricultural Public Speaking and Agricultural and Natural Resource Science Fair, will take place virtually, following the cancellation of this year’s New Mexico State Fair.

New Mexico youth ages 8 to 18 are eligible to enter each contest for a chance win cash prizes or scholarships to attend NMSU, with participants competing in either the junior (ages 8 to 13) or senior (ages 14 to 18) divisions. Entries are due Aug. 1.

“These contests were developed to provide new avenues for more youth to participate as agricultural exhibitors, in addition to helping them develop career-building skills,” said Frannie Miller, ACES assistant professor and contest coordinator.

The contests would have made their debut in September during the state fair, but late last month, officials canceled this year’s event due to concerns over COVID-19. Miller immediately pivoted plans to continue the contest in a virtual format, she said.

“When I heard about the cancellation of the state fair, I was crushed. Not only because my kids won’t get to show their dairy heifers, but because we really love the New Mexico State Fair,” she said. “It’s not how we wanted to kick off the first year of these contests, but at least we can make sure that this is one event that still offers scholarships, that still offers some of the fun of just competing to be the best.”

For the Agricultural Public Speaking contest, participants will have to deliver an original six- to eight-minute speech based on one of eight topics: New Mexico agricultural heritage; agriscience technology; agricultural advocacy/leadership or communication; agribusiness or agrimarketing; plant or animal science; rural economic development; environment and natural resources; or agricultural policy.

For the Agricultural and Natural Resource Science Fair contest, participants will have to complete a project based on one of six categories: animal systems; environmental and natural resource systems; food products and processing systems; plant systems; power, structural and technical systems; and social systems. They must also create a display board, give a three- to five-minute presentation and answer follow-up questions from the judges.

Each contest will include a preliminary round and a final round for the top 10 participants.

ACES Dean Rolando Flores said the contests will help the college further its mission of public service and outreach.
“Agriculture in New Mexico has always had numerous challenges for which the College of ACES has been an inseparable companion of the farmers, ranchers and food processors in the state, assisting with the solutions to those challenges,” Flores said. “Working with the youth to develop the needed leadership to solve future challenges is one of our priorities. These new contests are part of our work in developing and strengthening the youth of New Mexico.”

Miller, who teaches in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business, encourages youth to hone their public-speaking and problem-solving skills from an early age.

“Public speaking is such a valuable skill to have throughout your professional career,” she said. “If we can help kids in our state develop this skill early on, they will have so much more confidence and will be able to compete at the national and international levels for any job or scholarship opportunities. The same is true for the scientific-reasoning and problem-solving skills learned through our science fair contest.”

Miller advises participants in both contests to reach out to ACES faculty members for help and guidance on their speeches or projects.

“We hope they will use ACES faculty as a resource,” she said. “This will provide them a chance to network with professors who they’ll hopefully be studying under in the future.”

Entries for both contests must be submitted via email to nmyouth@nmsu.edu by Aug. 1. For complete rules and entry forms, contact Miller at 575-636-9305.



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[l] at 6/30/20 4:00pm
NMSU College of Education to receive nearly $3.5 million in federal funding for scholarships

Date: 06/30/2020
Writer: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, adchavez@nmsu.edu

The College of Education at New Mexico State University is set to receive nearly $3.5 million from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to fund scholarships for economically disadvantaged students and underrepresented minorities.

Group photo
Members of the New Mexico State University Counseling and Educational Psychology faculty. The department is set to receive nearly $3.5 million from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to fund scholarships for economically disadvantaged students and underrepresented minorities. The scholarships will benefit doctoral students studying counseling psychology, and master’s students studying clinical mental health counseling, over the next five years. (Courtesy photo)

The scholarships will benefit doctoral students studying counseling psychology, and master’s students studying clinical mental health counseling, over the next five years.

Eve Adams, interim head of the Counseling and Educational Psychology department, is also the training director of the counseling psychology program at NMSU and will oversee the scholarships for counseling psychology doctoral students as project director. Andres Perez-Rojas, admissions coordinator for the counseling psychology program, is the project co-director.

Adams said among the objectives of the grant are to achieve a 60 percent enrollment rate of disadvantaged students within the counseling psychology Ph.D. program; achieve a 33 percent enrollment rate of underrepresented ethnic minority students within the program; and achieve a 100 percent graduation rate of economically disadvantaged and underrepresented ethnic minority students within the counseling psychology Ph.D. program. In total, the scholarships will be awarded to 20 counseling psychology doctoral students each year.

“Given the huge burden of student loan debt that so many doctoral students have when they enter a Ph.D. program, this award will be very helpful in recruiting doctoral students from around the country,” Adams said. “Providing this level of financial support to students from disadvantaged backgrounds aligns with the goal of NMSU’s strategic plan, NMSU LEADS 2025, to enhance students’ social mobility.”

The clinical mental health counseling program will use the funding to emphasize diversity, multiculturalism and social justice in serving medically underserved communities. Among the program’s goals are to achieve a 50 percent enrollment rate of economically disadvantaged students within the NMSU master’s in clinical mental health counseling program and a 40 percent enrollment rate of underrepresented ethnic minority students, as well as achieve a 100 percent graduation rate of economically disadvantaged and underrepresented ethnic minority students. The grant will fully fund about 50 percent of program students over the next five years.

“Consistent with the missions of our university, college and department, our program is strongly committed to both providing training in culturally competent care to all students and actively recruiting and retaining students who come from disadvantaged and underrepresented minority backgrounds,” said Anna Lopez, training director of the clinical mental health counseling program at NMSU and grant project director. The program’s admissions coordinator, Michael Kalkbrenner, will serve as the project co-director.

The counseling psychology program was previously awarded scholarship funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in 2012 and 2016. This year marks the first time the clinical mental health counseling program has received U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration funding for scholarships.

“While many students will benefit from these much-needed grants, communities in the state that have traditionally lacked in mental health services will benefit as well, ” said College of Education interim Dean Susan Brown. “This will also help create a multicultural workforce that is sensitive to the needs of our diverse population.

The scholarships will be awarded beginning this fall.



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[l] at 6/30/20 4:00pm
Activities in NMSU’s Coca-Cola Weight Training Center temporarily suspended

Date: 06/30/2020
Writer: Justin Bannister, jbannist@nmsu.edu

Activities in New Mexico State University’s Coca-Cola Weight Training Center have been temporarily suspended. The university made the decision at the recommendation of the University Athletics team doctor after six student-athletes and a sports performance staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The university is working to identify other NMSU students and personnel who may have come in contact with those who tested positive. The facility will reopen after further testing can be completed.


Activities in New Mexico State University’s Coca-Cola Weight Training Center have been temporarily suspended after six student-athletes and a sports performance staff member tested positive for COVID-19. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

University Athletics continues to operate under its COVID-19 plan, which was reviewed and approved by experts at the university and at the New Mexico’s Department of Health. For the latest updates on the NMSU system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit https://ready.nmsu.edu.



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[l] at 6/29/20 4:00pm
NMSU researchers find out what causes insect eggs to open and close like a flower

Date: 06/29/2020
Writer: Melissa R. Rutter, 575-646-4211, mrrutter@nmsu.edu

It was another normal day of collecting and examining insect eggs in the lab for New Mexico State University grad student Danielle Lara and entomology professor Scott Bundy. On this particular day though, something happened that caused Lara to distrust her own eyes.

Insect egg under microscope
While working with the eggs of the assassin insect, New Mexico State University grad student Danielle Lara and entomology professor Scott Bundy noticed the tops of the egg masses all started to open up like flowers, in sync. Images from a microscope helped Lara and Bundy to see what the cell was doing and how the water was traveling through the egg causing the movement. (Courtesy photo) Diagram of insect eggs
Assassin insects are common in North America and around the world and many are beneficial insects because they eat other insects which has drawn interest to them from researchers, but a lot about their biology is not known, Scott Bundy entomology professor at New Mexico State University said. (Courtesy photo)

An assassin bug that the duo had collected earlier had laid eggs over the weekend. Bundy collected the eggs and placed them in a petri dish and told Lara to take a look at the egg mass the assassin bug had laid.

“I placed the eggs under the microscope and noted the eggs looked similar to other assassin bug egg masses I had seen,” Lara said. “Upon further examination, I realized the tops of the egg masses all started to open up like flowers, in sync”

Doubting her eyes and sanity, Lara asked Bundy to look at the eggs to check to see if he was seeing the same thing.

“Sure enough, he saw them react the same way,” Lara said.

Bundy explained that assassin insects are common in North America and around the world and many are beneficial insects because they eat other insects. This has drawn interest to them from researchers, but a lot about their biology is not known.

“When we first witnessed these tiny eggs reacting in such a bizarre manner, we thought surely this has been researched or written about before,” Lara said. “We were only able to find one paper on the subject matter, but we got excited because we knew we could expand on what was going on with the eggs. The paper we found was rather brief but it gave us a starting point on where to begin our research.”

Bundy said that’s when the detective work started.

“The fact that the top part of the egg moved while the rest of it stayed still is so fascinating,” Bundy said. “We had to figure out the mechanism. The way it moved, we thought it had to be something that’s living that was causing it, but we had eggs that were about two years old that were also moving the same way. So, we looked at them up close, used lasers to reflect off of their structures, and started putting the pieces together.”

The researchers initially thought it could be light that was causing the top of the eggs to react.

“I think we both thought the eggs were reacting to light, especially since when we first observed the eggs moving, they were under a microscope light. We ran a few trials to test this theory and soon realized this wasn’t the case,” Lara said.

After many test trials to rule out potential causes of movement, they finally found their answer.

“When we finally figured out water was the mechanism behind the movement of the eggs, I remember feeling relieved and excited. I thought: ‘Yes! Finally, an answer!’” Lara said.

Images from a microscope helped Lara and Bundy to see what the cell was doing and how the water was traveling through the egg.

“The flower-like part of the egg is called the corolla. The cells there receive the water and funnel it through the egg and allow water to be sucked in and out of the egg,” Bundy said. “The fact that an egg that was two years old was still moving shows that this is a physical property of the egg, which is so interesting.”

Bundy explained that other assassin bugs have unusual eggs, but nothing like this, as it is only a certain genus of the assassin bug’s eggs that does this.

Bundy’s and Lara’s research appeared in the April issue of Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. Bundy said he would like to look more into the evolutionary reasons of why this mechanism evolved, but doesn’t have any immediate plans to work on it now.



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[l] at 6/29/20 4:00pm
NMSU researchers examine robotic harvesting, data gathering in chile pepper fields

Date: 06/29/2020
Writer: Jane Moorman, 505-249-0527, jmoorman@nmsu.edu

Increasingly scarce irrigation resources and labor availability are key components impacting the sustainability of the New Mexico chile pepper industry.

Three people standing in shade
New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and College of Engineering are teaming up to research using robotics in green chile pepper fields to gather data regarding drought stress on plants and to harvest chile peppers. Pictured are, from left, Mahdi Haghshenas-Jaryani, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Stephanie Walker, associate professor and Extension vegetable specialist; and Manoj Shukla, professor of plant and environmental sciences. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman) Man looking at robotic arm
Mahdi Haghshenas-Jaryani, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, shows a simple robotic arm used in the robotics lab for teaching. He will be building and programing a mobile robotics with an arm to study if robotics can be used in the green chile pepper field to harvest the chile pods from the plant. The robotics will also have sensors to gather data to study drought stress on the plants. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

New Mexico State University’s Center of Excellence in Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems is providing a grant for the first year of research in the use of mobile robotics to address both of these issues.

“The purpose of the seed grant is to foster multi-departmental and inter-college collaborations and to enhance interdisciplinary research efforts in areas relevant to sustainable food and agricultural systems,” said Natalie Goldberg, director of the center. “This proposed research is a good example.”

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the College of Engineering are joining forces to determine if green chile peppers can be harvested using a mobile robotic manipulator to replicate hand harvesting. The researchers will also use robotics to evaluate drought stress on the chile plant.

Mechanized harvest
“This is exciting research,” said Stephanie Walker, NMSU vegetable specialist. “Robotic harvest could address both harvesting and pedicel removal, commonly known as destemming, at the same time.”

Over the last 12 years, a breeding line has been developed by Walker for mechanization efficiency. The new breeding lines incorporate traits including reduced force needed to remove the pods from plants, and more complete pedicel removal from the fruit.

“Despite these genetic advances, when these lines are harvested with a double-helix picking machine, the vast majority of marketable fruit harvested keep their stem intact,” Walker said. “Over the years we have not been able to resolve the destemming issue.”

Hand harvest is still the best for removing the entire pedicel including the full stem and calyx from the chile pod while picking it from the plant.

“The use of a robotic system, with controlled motion and force to replicate hand harvesting, could be a potential solution to propel mechanization of New Mexico-type green chile,” said Mahdi Haghshenas-Jaryani, assistant professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering, who has worked in robotics for many years but never in the agricultural setting.

Haghshenas-Jaryani will be dealing with several issues while programing the mobile robot and the attached robotic arm, including mobility in a field environment, identification of the ripe chile pod and the amount of force required to pick the fruit without damaging it.

“Robotics is being used to pick other types of produce, but usually in a greenhouse setting, not in a field,” he said. “Secondly, in other applications the fruit is of a different color than the plant, not so with green chile peppers. Third, we do not have quantitated data regarding the force required to pick the chile pepper.”

Drought stress on plants
Many chile farmers rely on past field history to determine when to water their fields. Instrumentation to gauge plant stress is seldom utilized.

“Advanced technologies that have benefited other crops have not yet been explored for chile pepper production,” said Manoj Shukla, professor in plant and environmental science. “This project seeks to embrace one of these technologies – sensor-equipped mobile robots – to provide real time data on actual plant and soil status in the fields.”

The study will investigate water use efficiency of the chile plants being watered with a gravity micro irrigation system The information will allow for informed decisions regarding timing and quantity of irrigation watering.

“Data-driven field management decisions will allow for increased water use efficiency and irrigated water saving; more efficient, higher yielding plants; and allow producers in the state to better respond to erratic climatic conditions experienced more frequently due to climate change pressures,” Shukla said.

To investigate the impact of drought stress on chile plants, the mobile robot can be equipped with sensors to determine the soil moisture, the air temperature under the plant’s canopy and between the rows, and wind velocity. There will also be a camera to visually record the condition of the plant.

“This labor-intensive task of vast data collection on farm can be efficiently carried out using ground robots,” Shukla said. “Robotic systems have been steadily integrated in the agriculture and farming systems to address challenges and problems, such as water scarcity, soil salinization and increasing need to monitor crop health for yield production. This is the first time this technology is being investigated for New Mexico-type green chile production.”



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[l] at 6/29/20 4:00pm
NMSU assisting with cyberattack investigation at the NMSU Foundation

Date: 06/29/2020
Writer: Justin Bannister, jbannist@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University and the NMSU Foundation are investigating a cyberattack and possible data loss involving information stored on NMSU Foundation computers.

A photo of Dove Hall at NMSU.
New Mexico State University and the NMSU Foundation, housed in Dove Hall at the Las Cruces campus, are investigating a cyberattack and possible data loss involving information stored on NMSU Foundation computers. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

After noticing unusual network activity late last week, NMSU and NMSU Foundation security personnel jointly began an investigation and removed all affected devices from the network as a precaution. There is no evidence of any data theft at this time, but the investigation is ongoing.

“From the start, we have moved quickly to contain possible data loss and are conducting a thorough investigation with the assistance of law enforcement officials and security experts,” said Derek Dictson, president of the NMSU Foundation and NMSU’s vice president for university advancement. “Although we have no evidence of any misuse of information, we are providing notice to our broader university community out of an abundance of caution.”

The Foundation is in the process of hiring an external cybersecurity forensics company to determine exactly what occurred and confirm the security of the network. NMSU security personnel do not see evidence of the attack outside of the NMSU Foundation’s network, which is separate from the NMSU network. Both entities will continue to monitor the situation closely.

As this investigation continues, the university and NMSU Foundation will provide additional information.



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[l] at 6/26/20 4:00pm
Finalists for NMSU Honors College dean announced

Date: 06/26/2020
Writer: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, adchavez@nmsu.edu

After a national search, two candidates have been named finalists for the position of the next dean of New Mexico State University’s William Conroy Honors College.

The finalists are Phame Camarena, Ph.D., who has served as director of the Honors Program at Central Michigan University for the past nine years; and Joshua Ozymy, Ph.D., who has served as director of the Honors Program at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for the past four years.

Camarena earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and master’s and doctoral degrees in human development and family studies from Pennsylvania State University. Ozymy earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Texas Tech University.

The search committee is chaired by James Hoffman, dean of the NMSU College of Business. Hoffman will host a virtual open forum with each finalist July 6. Members of the NMSU community are invited to attend and may submit questions for the finalists in advance. Information about how to attend the virtual open forum, how to submit questions and a feedback form for the candidates, along with their CVs and letters of application, may be found on the search website, https://webcomm.nmsu.edu/hire/honors-college-dean/.

Honors College Dean Miriam Chaiken, who has served as dean for the past six years, will retire July 15.



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[l] at 6/25/20 4:00pm
NMSU Provost names inaugural Faculty Fellows

Date: 06/25/2020
Writer: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, adchavez@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University Provost Carol Parker has announced two NMSU professors will be the first Provost’s Faculty Fellows to lead efforts in globalization and border relations.

Head and shoulders of a man outdoors
New Mexico State University associate sociology professor David G. Ortiz has been named the Faculty Fellow for the Center for Latin American and Border Studies by NMSU Provost Carol Parker. (Courtesy) Head and shoulders of a man
New Mexico State University Provost Carol Parker has named NMSU associate geography professor Christopher Brown as the Faculty Fellow for the Beyond Borders Community of Practice. (NMSU photo by Carlos Trujillo)

NMSU associate geography professor Christopher Brown has been selected as the Faculty Fellow for the Beyond Borders Community of Practice, while NMSU associate sociology professor David G. Ortiz has been named the Faculty Fellow for the Center for Latin American and Border Studies (CLABS). Both will begin their work as Faculty Fellows in August, Parker said.

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Brown and Dr. Ortiz will be serving in these new roles,” Parker said. “As the inaugural Provost’s Faculty Fellows, they will be in a position to influence the direction of our international and border initiatives for some time to come. I am happy that we are able to take this next step toward implementing more of our LEADS 2025 Strategic Plan goals.”

“I am delighted and heartened by the interest Provost Parker has shown in ‘rebooting’ border studies, research and outreach activities at NMSU, and her bold initiative to establish and support the Beyond Borders Community of Practice (BBCoP),” Brown said. “Being selected as the Inaugural Fellow for the BBCoP is a great and humbling honor, and I look forward to working with Dr. Ortiz, the Provost and members of the NMSU and broader community to advance this exciting initiative.”

In February, Parker launched a search for a faculty fellow to serve as the founding leader and convener for Beyond Borders, a community of practice that focuses on international, hemispheric and border regions in alignment with the NMSU LEADS 2025 Global Challenge. The quarter-time faculty fellow will work closely with faculty and academic leaders from across NMSU and with members of the external community.

Parker also launched a search for a quarter-time faculty member to serve as the leader, convener and fellow for a newly reinvigorated Center for Latin American and Border Studies, which will focus on promoting excellence in scholarship, research and creative works on topics and issues concerning Latin America, the U.S.-Mexico border and general border studies across NMSU. The work of the center will be informed by input from a campus-wide faculty advisory group.

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve as the Inaugural Fellow for the Center for Latin American and Border Studies,” Ortiz said. “Latin American and Border Studies should be an essential part of a borderlands university such as NMSU, and I am committed to seeing the center grow and thrive to become a cornerstone of the University. I am excited to work with Dr. Brown, the Provost and the CLABS Executive Committee to strengthen NMSU’s existing community of scholars and to help shape the future of Latin American and Border scholarly pursuits at NMSU.”

Ortiz is founding editor-in-chief of “Mobilizing Ideas,” the leading scholarly blog on social movement research. His areas of substantive interest include social movements, political sociology, Latin American studies, sociology of disasters, digital media communication and research methods. He has explored the influence of time on protest-repression dynamics, the effects of disasters on social movements, the relationship between digital media and activism, and state repression and mobilization in Latin America. Before arriving at NMSU in 2015, Ortiz had appointments at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research at Tulane University. Since arriving at NMSU, he has actively participated in previous CLABS initiatives. He was appointed to the International and Border Program Recruitment Advisory Board as a representative of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2017 and is part of the NMSU LEADS 2025 Healthy Borders Strategic Initiative Task Force.

Brown became interested in U.S.-Mexico border issues while doing his Ph.D. research in the early 1990s. He has been actively involved in studying binational water resource issues on the U.S.-Mexico border. Brown’s specific areas of interest include binational water resource policy and water quality and supply in U.S.-Mexico border twin city regions. Of special interest to NMSU’s Beyond Borders Community of Practice effort, Brown has worked to develop metrics by which the quality of life of U.S.-Mexico border residents can be measured, specifically developing a human development index for Doña Ana County. Brown has also provided leadership to the Good Neighbor Environment Board, the Association of Borderland Studies, the Western Social Science Association and the Ocotillo Institute for Social Justice.



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[l] at 6/25/20 4:00pm
NMSU provost names inaugural Faculty Fellows

Date: 06/25/2020
Writer: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, adchavez@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University Provost Carol Parker has announced two NMSU professors will be the first Provost’s Faculty Fellows to lead efforts in globalization and border relations.

Head and shoulders of a man outdoors
New Mexico State University associate sociology professor David G. Ortiz has been named the Faculty Fellow for the Center for Latin American and Border Studies by NMSU Provost Carol Parker. (Courtesy) Head and shoulders of a man
New Mexico State University Provost Carol Parker has named NMSU associate geography professor Christopher Brown as the Faculty Fellow for the Beyond Borders Community of Practice. (NMSU photo by Carlos Trujillo)

NMSU associate geography professor Christopher Brown has been selected as the Faculty Fellow for the Beyond Borders Community of Practice, while NMSU associate sociology professor David G. Ortiz has been named the Faculty Fellow for the Center for Latin American and Border Studies (CLABS). Both will begin their work as Faculty Fellows in August, Parker said.

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Brown and Dr. Ortiz will be serving in these new roles,” Parker said. “As the inaugural Provost’s Faculty Fellows, they will be in a position to influence the direction of our international and border initiatives for some time to come. I am happy that we are able to take this next step toward implementing more of our LEADS 2025 Strategic Plan goals.”

“I am delighted and heartened by the interest Provost Parker has shown in ‘rebooting’ border studies, research and outreach activities at NMSU, and her bold initiative to establish and support the Beyond Borders Community of Practice (BBCoP),” Brown said. “Being selected as the Inaugural Fellow for the BBCoP is a great and humbling honor, and I look forward to working with Dr. Ortiz, the Provost and members of the NMSU and broader community to advance this exciting initiative.”

In February, Parker launched a search for a faculty fellow to serve as the founding leader and convener for Beyond Borders, a community of practice that focuses on international, hemispheric and border regions in alignment with the NMSU LEADS 2025 Global Challenge. The quarter-time faculty fellow will work closely with faculty and academic leaders from across NMSU and with members of the external community.

Parker also launched a search for a quarter-time faculty member to serve as the leader, convener and fellow for a newly reinvigorated Center for Latin American and Border Studies, which will focus on promoting excellence in scholarship, research and creative works on topics and issues concerning Latin America, the U.S.-Mexico border and general border studies across NMSU. The work of the center will be informed by input from a campus-wide faculty advisory group.

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve as the Inaugural Fellow for the Center for Latin American and Border Studies,” Ortiz said. “Latin American and Border Studies should be an essential part of a borderlands university such as NMSU, and I am committed to seeing the center grow and thrive to become a cornerstone of the University. I am excited to work with Dr. Brown, the Provost and the CLABS Executive Committee to strengthen NMSU’s existing community of scholars and to help shape the future of Latin American and Border scholarly pursuits at NMSU.”

Ortiz is founding editor-in-chief of “Mobilizing Ideas,” the leading scholarly blog on social movement research. His areas of substantive interest include social movements, political sociology, Latin American studies, sociology of disasters, digital media communication and research methods. He has explored the influence of time on protest-repression dynamics, the effects of disasters on social movements, the relationship between digital media and activism, and state repression and mobilization in Latin America. Before arriving at NMSU in 2015, Ortiz had appointments at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research at Tulane University. Since arriving at NMSU, he has actively participated in previous CLABS initiatives. He was appointed to the International and Border Program Recruitment Advisory Board as a representative of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2017 and is part of the NMSU LEADS 2025 Healthy Borders Strategic Initiative Task Force.

Brown became interested in U.S.-Mexico border issues while doing his Ph.D. research in the early 1990s. He has been actively involved in studying binational water resource issues on the U.S.-Mexico border. Brown’s specific areas of interest include binational water resource policy and water quality and supply in U.S.-Mexico border twin city regions. Of special interest to NMSU’s Beyond Borders Community of Practice effort, Brown has worked to develop metrics by which the quality of life of U.S.-Mexico border residents can be measured, specifically developing a human development index for Doña Ana County. Brown has also provided leadership to the Good Neighbor Environment Board, the Association of Borderland Studies, the Western Social Science Association and the Ocotillo Institute for Social Justice.



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[l] at 6/24/20 4:00pm
NMSU Air Force ROTC commander promoted

Date: 06/24/2020
Writer: Amanda Adame, 575-646-7953, aadame4@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University’s Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps commander was promoted last month to colonel.

Women smiling in front of flags
Col Wendy Woodard, NMSU Air Force ROTC commander. (Courtesy Photo)

Col. Wendy Woodard has been commander of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 505 Pistoleros since 2018. Before coming to NMSU, she was at Joint Base San Antonio – Randolph, where she was an instructor pilot.

Woodard became a reservist in 2008 but transitioned back into active duty in order to take her position as head of aerospace studies at NMSU.

“Typically, those detachment commanders who are promoted are moved to another job even if they have not completed their full detachment commander tour,” Woodard said. “However, I am an unusual case, since I’m officially an Air Force Reservist serving on active duty orders for this assignment. This means that I get to stay in place here at NMSU.”

Woodard’s duties include leading and overseeing all training activities and academic courses for all current cadets. Woodard is also the department head and professor of aerospace studies for all senior level cadets.

“Having a third year with them means I get to see and hopefully impact their continued development as officer candidates, students, and citizens. It is my hope that they will be proud of all that they have achieved during their cadet years, and I’m grateful to have been able to be a small part of that development.”

Woodard began her service at NMSU with two main goals, recruitment and building community relations.

“This is a true gift because I am able to continue building relationships with the community, university and especially the cadets in Detachment 505 at NMSU,” Woodard said.

NMSU ROTC is located in Young Hall. Students who are interested may contact the Air Force ROTC office at afdet505@nmsu.edu or 575-646-2136.



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[l] at 6/24/20 4:00pm
NMSU Provost names interim Chicano Programs director

Date: 06/24/2020
Writer: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, adchavez@nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University Provost Carol Parker has appointed Associate Professor Judith Flores Carmona as interim director of Chicano Programs effective July 1.

Woman standing next to a statue
New Mexico State University Provost Carol Parker has appointed Associate Professor Judith Flores Carmona as interim director of Chicano Programs effective July 1. (Courtesy photo)

Flores Carmona started her tenure-track position in 2012 in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education, with a joint appointment in the Honors College. In 2019, she was appointed as Faculty Fellow in the Honors College.

Flores Carmona came to NMSU after completing a two-year Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human communication with a focus in American studies and a master’s degree in multicultural education from California State University, Monterey Bay. She earned a doctorate from the University of Utah in sociology of education, with cognate courses in educational leadership and policy.

In 2017, she earned a second master’s degree in Educational Administration from NMSU to further understand how theories, policies and praxis merge in higher education to better serve diverse student populations and communities.

“This commitment is clearly reflected in her work and publications with undergraduate and graduate students and she constantly strives to enhance and strengthen their approach to education in critical ways with an aim to achieving social justice,” Parker said.

Flores Carmona draws from her areas of specialization to teach from an interdisciplinary, intersectional approach by merging critical pedagogy, Chicana/Latina feminist theory, critical race feminist theories and testimonio methodology and pedagogy.

“I am enthusiastic about this position because it allows me to continue my life’s commitment and responsibility of strong teaching-learning, research and service that promotes access and success for historically underserved and underrepresented and borderlands students in higher education,” Flores Carmona said.

She has been recognized at NMSU and nationally as a critical qualitative researcher whose scholarship and teaching purposefully addresses and examines inequities and social justice issues in schools, communities and in society.

Flores Carmona succeeds Laura Gutiérrez-Spencer who served as director of Chicano Programs since 1996.



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[l] at 6/24/20 4:00pm
NMSU Arrowhead Center’s Carlos Murguia named director of Foster Innovation Exchange

Date: 06/24/2020
Writer: Cassie McClure, 575-312-3242, cassie@mcclurepublications.com

Carlos Murguia of New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center has been named director of the Foster Innovation Exchange (FIX), the premier collaboration space and network for entrepreneurs and emerging business leaders in the regional Borderplex.

Man seated on a stage speaking into a microphone
Carlos Murguia speaks during Innovation Week in Chihuahua City, Mexico, May 28, 2019, during the panel “Promotion and collaboration of regional innovation ecosystems.” Murguia has been named director of the Foster Innovation Exchange (FIX), the premier collaboration space and network for entrepreneurs and emerging business leaders in the regional Borderplex. (Courtesy photo)

“FIX is an ecosystem where innovative, entrepreneurial students, universities, economic development organizations and community-based projects are cultivated, where new connections are made, and where vital partnerships are forged,” said Murguia.

Currently an Arrowhead Center economic development officer, Murguia is a former entrepreneur in Mexico who earned a master’s degree in industrial engineering from NMSU and is a 2017 NMSU Outstanding Graduate awardee.

“The call is out for researchers, students, industry, government entities, and community agencies to use the resources of FIX to address challenges facing the Borderplex,” he said.

The Borderplex is the unique and booming tristate and binational economic region of Las Cruces, New Mexico; El Paso, Texas; Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; and Chihuahua, Mexico. According to the Borderplex Alliance, it is home to 2.5 million individuals and one of the world’s largest bilingual workforces in the fourth largest manufacturing hub in North America.

In November 2019, Arrowhead Center signed a memorandum of understanding with the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, to enhance entrepreneurial and business collaboration between both sides of the border. A key component of that collaboration on the Arrowhead Center side is FIX.

FIX was first established in 2017 and allows members to get detailed help with building their business initiatives from the ground up, developing new relationships to take them to the next level, or transferring their business into a global arena. FIX helps businesses with technology challenges, soft landing services for startups looking to move to the U.S., and hosts business accelerators in Spanish and English.

Murguia will be guiding FIX to even expand its expert networking services, like Enterprise Advisors, to Santa Teresa, El Paso and Chihuahua. He hopes to continue two flagship programs: Product Design Awards and Community Entrepreneurship Partnerships, thanks to support by the Foster Family.

“Paul Foster and Alejandra de La Vega Foster understand the potential for business opportunities that is enhanced by our location on the border and that our global competitiveness needs a place to grow and explore,” said Murguia. “We hope to build on the energy, innovation and mindset that we see in our region to enhance even greater community entrepreneurship partnerships.”

Partnerships allow smaller companies to gain technical assistance they may not have dedicated staff for yet. For example, the FIX Product Design Awards allow inventors and entrepreneurs in the Borderplex region to apply for assistance with CAD modeling, 3D printing, prototyping, and manufacturing for physical products. Another program, the Foster Community Entrepreneurship Partnership, seeks to make entrepreneurial opportunities available to broader audiences, will focus on two minority entrepreneurship populations: women and armed services veterans.

“Arrowhead Center is committed to making entrepreneurship accessible to all, particularly groups who traditionally have fewer opportunities to launch their own ventures,” said Kathryn Hansen, Arrowhead Center director. “By teaming Arrowhead staff, programs and networks with community-based partners for outreach and delivery efforts, this program will strive to increase the number of women- and veteran-led businesses in the Borderplex region.”

If you are interested in solving Borderplex issues or would like to learn more about what Arrowhead Center’s FIX could offer your business, contact Murguia at cmurguia@nmsu.edu, 575-646-2025 or visit: https://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/program/fix/



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[l] at 6/23/20 4:00pm
New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge begins second year, NMSU to host showcase event with COVID-19 safety precautions

Date: 06/23/2020
Writer: Tiffany Acosta, 575-646-3929, tfrank@nmsu.edu

New Mexico high school students have the opportunity to use their problem-solving skills to compete in the second New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge program.

People standing around an exhibit in a high school gym.
A statewide STEM Showcase at Los Lunas High School in December 2019 was the final event for the first-ever New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge program. More than 600 students from 65 New Mexico high schools attempted the challenge. New Mexico State University will host the 2020 statewide showcase Dec. 5. (Courtesy photo) Logo image
New Mexico high school students have the opportunity to use their problem-solving skills to compete in the second New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge program. New Mexico State University will host the 2020 statewide showcase Dec. 5. (Courtesy photo)

Ten-person student teams will work on a solution to the question “how can you combine New Mexico’s natural resources with technology to address regional/global needs?” New Mexico State University formulated the question and criteria for this year’s NM Governor’s STEM Challenge. Winners will be determined by industry employers in the state. The top teams will win up to $5,000. Student teams will present a prototype model at the statewide STEM Showcase at NMSU Dec. 5.

Maintaining COVID-19 safety precautions as outlined by the governor, NMSU, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, Los Alamos National Labs and the New Mexico Public Education Department are coordinating the 2020 NM Governor’s STEM Challenge. Based on daily COVID-19 updates, the STEM Challenge Showcase team intends to host an in-person Showcase event in December. If safety guidelines prevent a formal Showcase from occurring, a virtual Showcase will be held as a contingency plan for all participants.

“The New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge is a wonderful initiative that gives New Mexico high school students the chance to develop valuable skills in STEM fields,” NMSU President John Floros said. “We know giving students opportunities like this program not only help them prepare for college but also steer them toward STEM careers. We are very excited to host the statewide STEM showcase in December. I cannot wait to see the solutions that the talented students of New Mexico present.”

“New Mexicans who pursue a career in STEM will not only be contributing to our state’s economy and earn a great salary, but will directly improve the lives of our families and communities,” said Bill McCamley, Secretary of the NM Department of Workforce Solutions. “We are so proud of all the partners in the process, including the Public Education Department, NMSU, Los Alamos National Labs and our wonderful employer sponsors in making sure that our students have the best chance learn and grow.”

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 challenge reinforces skills such as teamwork, problem solving, innovation, STEM development, breakthrough technologies and presentation skills. NMSU will work with higher education institutions across the state to identify subject matter expert mentors to support the student teams.

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

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



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