February 2024


Celebrating a Campus Culture of Intellectual Exploration and Engagement


By Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for Research, Creativity, and Economic Development

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet face to face with Dr. Ranjit Koondali, our new dean of the graduate school. We exchanged thoughts about our experiences in academia and nostalgically reflected on the time dedicated to profound scholarly issues that initially drew us to the academy. Unfortunately, our university's campus culture, its collegiality, intellectual exploration, and engagement, has been adversely affected by the challenges posed by the Covid epidemic. We find ourselves in a new normal with fewer opportunities for scholarly dialogue and fellowship.

As we navigate through this evolving landscape, it is crucial to adapt and find new ways to foster a sense of academic community. In line with this, I am excited to announce Research and Creativity Week (RCW) 2024, scheduled from February 26 to March 1. This tradition, initiated in 2019, dedicates a week of our academic calendar to celebrating a key pillar of our Land Grant university: Research, Scholarship, and Creativity.

I encourage each one of you to actively participate in this collective experience. Let us come together to support students, staff, and faculty as they showcase their works and contribute to the vibrant atmosphere of RCW. Additionally, take the opportunity to engage in key dialogues that are essential as we navigate the challenges of the demographic cliff and work towards achieving Carnegie R1 university status.

February 26

  • Keynote address, Why you shouldn't make Art in your Kitchen, by renowned artist Celia Alvarez Muñoz, 6 to 7 PM at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts. Reception from 7 to 8 PM at the University Art Museum following the address. Open to the public, no registration is required.
  • Musical event, NMSU Wind Symphony, 7:30 to 8:30 PM at Atkinson Hall. Open to the public, no registration required.

February 27

  • Workshop, Innovation Unleashed: MSIs at the Heart of Data Science Evolution, by Dr. Justin Ballenger, Deputy Director of the AUC Data Science Initiative, 9 to 10:30 AM at Corbett Center Senate Chambers, Room 302. Not open to the public, click hereto register.
  • Critical Dialogue, HSIs and Artificial Intelligence: Challenges, Opportunities, Ideas moderated by Dr. Enrico Pontelli, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, 12 to 1:30 PM at the Fulton Center. Open to the public, click hereto register.
  • Borderlands and Ethnic Studies Panel, What does decolonizing research look like? 2 to 3 PM, Corbett Center Ballroom West. Open to the public, no registration required.
  • Dance Recital, 5:30 to 6:30 PM, Renfrow Hall. Open to the public, no registration required.
  • Musical event, NMSU Faculty Brass Quintet, 7:30 to 8:30 PM at Atkinson Hall. Open to the public, no registration required.

February 28

  • NEH Presentation, National Endowment for the Humanities Grants to Support Collaboration: Programs, Resources, Approaches, 9 to 10:15 AM, Corbett Center Otero Room. No registration required.
  • Postdoc Lighting Talks, 9 to 11 AM, Corbett Center Dona Ana Room. Open to the public, no registration required.
  • Borderlands and Ethnic Studies Showcase, 10 to 12 PM, Garcia Center, Lobby and BEST Suite, 2nd Floor. Open to the public, no registration required.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Reception and Open Mic Night, 5:30 to 7:00 at Pete’s Patio. Appetizers provided. No registration required. Those interested in sharing their artistic talents at the open mic, should send email to hamid@nmsu.edu by February 26

February 29

  • Critical Dialogue, Creating a Robust and Intersectional EID Framework to Strengthen STEAM Grant Proposalsmoderated by Dr. Teresa Maria "Linda" Scholz, Vice President of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, 12 to 1:30 PM at the Fulton Center. Open to the public, click here to register.
  • McNair Scholars Event, panel from 2 to 3 PM at Corbett Center Otero room and posters from 3:30 to 5 PM in the Aggie Lounge. Open to the public, no registration required.
  • Keynote on Demographic Cliff, New Mexico’s Demographic Outlook: Stagnant Growth and an Aging Population, by New Mexico State Demographer, Robert Rhatigan, and Senior Research Scientist, Jacqueline Miller, 2:30 to 4 PM at Hardman Jacobs Learning Center 125. Open to the public, click here to register.
  • Graduate Student Council Lightning Talks, 1:30 to 3:30 PM, Corbett Center Auditorium. Open to the public, no registration required.
  • Faculty Plenary, Public Health: For the People, of the People, by the People by Jagdish Khubchandani, 4 to 5:15 PM, Dona Ana Room, 312. Open to the public, no registration required.
  • URC Awardees and Faculty Plenary Celebration, 5:30 to 7 PM, Bobbly Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine (Gerald Thomas Hall). No registration required.
  • Musical events, NMSU Woodwind Quintet, 7:30 to 8:30 PM at Atkinson Hall. Open to the public, no registration required.

March 1

  • 3-Minute Thesis Competition, 9 to 11 AM, Domenici Hall Room 109. Open to the public, no registration required.
  • Critical Dialogue, What Kind of R1 does NMSU Want to be?moderated by Dr. Alan Shoho, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, 12 to 1:30 PM at the Fulton Center. Open to the public, click here to register.
  • Poetry Reading, Rodrigo Figueroa Obregon, Poems in English/Spanish by Students, 4:30 – 6 PM, Grounded Coffee. No Registration required.









News from Infrastructure and Partnerships


By Dr. Tanner Schaub, Assistant Vice President for Research

This has been an exciting start to the semester. The Infrastructure and Partnerships unit is highly active on behalf of faculty researchers, with some exciting opportunities and actions on the horizon. I want to make everyone aware of a few topics:

Guest Discussion | Research Computing: On Wednesday, March 13th at 3-4 pm , Dr. Robert Cunningham  will join (virtually) our NMSU Research Computing Advisory Council discussion, to provide his insights on institutional research computing. Dr. Cunningham is Vice Chancellor for Research Infrastructure at the University of Pittsburgh, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute, and Chair of the Center for Research Computing Advisory Committee. If you are interested, please let me know, and I will send the meeting link.

Postdoc Association Faculty Fellow: RCED seeks a faculty fellow to work with our team of active postdocs to implement activities such as mentorship planning (to be disseminated to all new faculty/postdoc teams upon hiring), mentorship training for faculty mentors, resume and career planning for postdocs, social events, etc. Our office will pay a 1-year stipend of $10k for this role. Interested faculty should send me their CV and statement of interest at tschaub@nmsu.edu. VPR Dr. Luis Cifuentes will choose the Fellow.

Vivarium Management: The Biomedical Research Facility Management Committee has begun to meet and formulate the management of the two new vivariums in the Biomedical Research Building. This week, I was fortunate to have the input of two highly experienced vivarium managers: First, Tim Wright and I spoke with Dr. Jerry Zamzow, who is the Associate Vice President for Research at Iowa State and the former director of their Laboratory Animal Resources operation and its Attending Veterinarian. Second, I spent an hour (virtually) with Dr. Jane Strasser, the senior Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Cincinnati and former director of their Laboratory Animal Services. These folks armed us with tremendous feedback that we will incorporate into our management model for the new facilities. Faculty that anticipate utilizing these facilities should contact me or one of the committee members, to help us with usage planning and species-specific information. The committee is: Tim Wright (chair), Ryan Ashley, Alfredo Montoya, Shanna Ivey, Alisha Giron, Michele Shuster, Matthew Gompper, Sang-Rok Lee, JoAnne Dupre, Tim Dobson, and VPR Luis Cifuentes









News from Workforce and Strategic Engagement


By Dr. Patricia Sullivan, Director, Workforce and Strategic Engagements

NMSU hosted a meeting of the Permian Energy Development Laboratory (PEDL) program to advance research, innovation, and outreach collaborations among the respective partner organizations. PEDL received a National Science Foundation Innovation Engine Type I planning award to begin developing a multi-state collaboration on advanced energy technologies and aligned workforce development in the Permian Basin Region. An outcome of recent collaborations includes the development of a regional socioeconomic analysis of counties within the Permian Basin. This analysis is helping to guide research, innovation and outreach programming across the multi-state region as part of the Type I planning efforts. Partners in the PEDL initiative include UT Austin, NMSU, NM Tech, UTEP, UT Permian Basin, Odessa College, Midland College, the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, GTI Energy, National Energy Renewable Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories.




Recognizing Large Proposal Submitters (January 2024)


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS 

Congratulations to Drs. Sam Fernald, Connie Maxwell, and John Idowu for submitting large proposals in the month of January




Drs. Sam Fernald, director of the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI), and Connie Maxwell, research scientist at WRRI, co-lead a $1.9 million proposal to the New Mexico Environment Department. The goal of this proposal is to address the critical challenges facing communities who depend on New Mexico’s river valley ecosystems. The proposed effort is an extension (Phase 2) of an ongoing River Stewardship project. This new phase would be undertaken by Dr. Fernald and his team who include Drs. Connie Maxwell, project lead, Huidae Cho, co-lead for monitoring restoration effects of surface water flows, and Santiago Utsumi, project lead for virtual fencing (VF) technology and co-lead for integrating grazing and wildlife habitat management strategies into the watershed-scale river restoration plans and management. External collaborators on this project are personnel from the Caballo Soil and Water Conservation District, NM Tech, Libbin Underwood Engineering and Surveying, Resources Management Services, and High Desert Native Plants.

For more information, please contact Dr. Fernald at afernald@nmsu.edu.



Drs. Sam Fernald and Connie Maxwell, NMSU

Dr. John Idowu, professor and extension agronomist in the College of Agricultural Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) submitted a collaborative proposal with colleagues at Auburn University as the lead. This $1.4 million proposal (NMSU’s share) to the NSF EPSCoR program is titled “Enhancing Plant Resilience through Biomimetic and Genetic Phloem Studies in Climate-Vulnerable Communities.” The NMSU team, Drs. Idowu, and Richard Heerema, extension pecan specialist at ACES will lead the research and extension activities in New Mexico. Other New Mexico collaborators include Dr. Sanna Sevanto from Los Alamos National Laboratory. If selected for funding the proposed project will hire a post-doctoral researcher and two graduate students.

For more information about this proposal contact Dr. Idowu at jidowu@nmsu.edu.


Dr. John Idowu, NMSU

Save the Date for NEH Program Officer Presentation: February 28, 2024


By Dr. Allison Layfield, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

Dr. Julia Nguyen, a program officer in the Division of Education Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities, will give a public presentation, “NEH Grants to Support Collaboration: Programs, Resources, Approaches.” The presentation will be held from 9:00-10:15 am on February 28, in the Otero Room, Corbett Center.

In 2022, the NEH allocated $93 million of its budget to collaborative grant programs. Dr. Nguyen’s presentation will provide a brief overview of the agency, as well as a program officer’s perspective on successful collaboration, and how to elevate your grant proposal from “good” to “excellent.” Q&A session to follow.

Faculty and staff are also encouraged to sign up for an individual (or team) consultation with Dr. Nguyen to discuss project ideas and potential funding opportunities. Consultations are by appointment only and there is limited availability; reserve your spot here:

Sign Up!

To help faculty and/or staff prepare for Dr. Nguyen’s visit, Research Administration will be hosting a one-hour workshop, “Ace the NEH Campus Visit: Preparing for Consultations” to help faculty and staff prepare to make the most of Dr. Nguyen’s visit. Participants will learn about two grant programs in Dr. Nguyen’s division, practice analyzing NEH grant program guidelines, and learn tips for interacting with program officers.

The “Ace the NEH Campus Visit” workshop will be held on Zoom, 12-1pm on Friday, February 16. To register for the workshop, email Allison Layfield at layfield@nmsu.edu.






Dr. Julia Nguyen, NEH

Mountain West CTR-IN Annual Conference


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS 

The Mountain-West Clinical & Translational Research Infrastructure Network (MW CTR-IN) held its annual conference in Las Vegas, NV on January 30 and 31. An NIH-funded Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program established in 2013, the MW CTR-IN is led by the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and serves to connect early career investigators to mentors, collaborators, biostatisticians, communities, and funding opportunities.

The theme of this year’s conference was Advancing Clinical & Translational Research: Eliminating Health Disparities, which was praised by Dr. Rina Das, the director of the Division of Integrative Biological and Behavioral Sciences at National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities, present in the conference.

NMSU is one of the 12 members of the MW CTR-IN, with Drs. Rebecca Palacios, professor of Public Health, serving as the MW CTR-IN Community Engagement and Outreach Support (CEO) site director,  and Charlotte Gard, associate professor of Economics, Applied Statistics, and International Business who serves as a MW CTR-IN Biostatistician and as an associate director of the Mentoring Unit of the Professional Development core. Many of our faculty have been able to secure competitive pilot grants offered by the MW CTR-IN. Those include Drs. Humairat Raham, Dejan Magoc, and Jagdish Khubchandani from the Department of Public Health, Lori Saiki (School of Nursing), Kathryn Olszowy (Anthropology), and Chris Sroka (Economics, Applied Statistics, and International Business). Since its inception, the MW CTR-IN has supported 136 faculty in its member universities which has contributed to faculty retention and their success in their research endeavors.

This year, Dr. Humairat Rahman was presented with the Outstanding Poster Presentation award for her poster titled, "Arsenic Contamination and Zinc Concentration in Well Water." Congratulations to Dr. Rahman for this great achievement!

Our committee (CEO) has many accomplishments in the past five years to celebrate, states Dr. Palacios.  These include Community Engagement Grants being added to the MW CTR-IN funding opportunities, working with Community Advisory Boards to identify research needs in collaborating states, creation of the CEO Resource Library, and the CEO Monthly Training Videos. “In addition, we have added the Physician Based Research Network (PBRN) to engage and support physicians in research addressing healthcare disparities to the next five-year funding cycle,” states Dr. Palacios. “This way, MW CTR-IN will provide physicians with little research experience the training and support they need. We will also connect physicians with similar healthcare concerns.”

The MW CTR-IN services include Grant Writing workshops available to faculty in the member universities. I would highly encourage our faculty to take advantage of these workshops. “Through these workshops, our faculty can learn from successful grant writers what works and what doesn’t and save themselves time and frustration” states Dr. Charlotte Gard. She also encourages faculty to talk to the program officers. “Find the funding mechanism that fits your research; don’t try to make your research fit the funding mechanism,“ she adds. According to Dr. Gard, we need to establish a mentoring climate, which as she states “is especially valued by women, and reward mentoring.” Dr. Gard couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of psychosocial support (encouragement, role modeling, and friendship) in mentoring.

To learn about the MW CTR-IN funding opportunities send me an email at hamid@nmsu.edu.





Dr. Rebecca Palacios, NMSU


Research and Creativity Week Open Mic!


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS 

As part of the Research and Creativity Week, we are hosting an Open Mic on Wednesday February 28, from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. We invite NMSU's performance artists to join us to help celebrate NMSU's accomplishments. To sign up, please send me an email at hamid@nmsu.edu.    



Limited Submission Funding Opportunities


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

Research Administration Services maintains a list of limited submission funding opportunities for NMSU research community.  The list is accessible through a link on the Research website, through the Research Administration tab. NMSU users can also access the list directly on SharePoint.  We encourage NMSU researchers to periodically visit the site and if they are interested in any of the opportunities to please inform us by sending email to ras@nmsu.edu. 



Pivot Funding Opportunity Database


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

This is a reminder that in order to assist NMSU faculty and staff in locating external funding opportunities, the RCSI has purchased a subscription to ProQuest’s Pivot available at https://pivot.proquest.com/session/login.  

To create an account with Pivot for the first time

Click on the Sign up link.DO NOT CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT!
Choose New Mexico State University from the Institution drop down menu.
You will be prompted to log in using your NMSU username and password.
Follow the process for NMSU's 2-Factor Authentication (2FA).

 To request a one-on-one or group Pivot training, send email to hamid@nmsu.edu





Graduate School

No news this month. 

Questions and comments regarding NMSU’s Research Digest should be directed to Hamid Mansouri Rad, Ph.D. at hamid@nmsu.edu, (575) 646-6429.