July 2021


Faculty Mentoring Critical to LEADS 2025 Success


By Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate School


“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou


Suffice it to say I was not a highly motivated student at Kensington Junior High School and, as is the case for much of my youth, I do not recall much of what transpired there. I do remember vividly my 8th grade science teacher telling me I would never amount to much in life. It made me feel insecure and angry and I have not forgotten it. Admittedly, my obnoxious, smart-alecky, and lazy behavior likely conspired with his bad day to provoke that unfortunate, undisciplined remark. But it should have never been said …

I do admit to ascribing academic success to those whom I wished to prove wrong.  Most of the credit, however, must go to mentors who helped me along the way.  The list is long and includes Dr. Paul Mangelsdorf, my physics professor at Swarthmore College, who spent summers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and ignited my interest in marine science.  My doctoral advisor at the University of Delaware, Dr. Jon Sharp, who taught me how to conduct research and modelled personal and professional ethic.  My post-doctoral advisor at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, Dr. Marilyn Fogel, who shared her passion for science and personal wisdom generously (she is now a member of the National Academy of Sciences).  My faculty mentor at Texas A&M University, Dr. John Morse, who patiently helped me navigate the promotion and tenure process.  Finally, interim dean, Dr. Mary Jo Richardson, who both gave me my first administrative job and counselled me along the way.

For the most part, I was lucky to get diverse, strong, positive mentoring at the academy. It was not by design.  When I started my academic career in the late 1980s, Texas A&M University had not institutionalized faculty mentoring. Today, many universities advertise mature faculty mentoring programs.  Federal funding agencies (e.g., NSF, NIH, Dept. of Education) fund innovative approaches. Although critical to achieving LEADS 2025 tactics:

  • 4.1.2 Attract, support and retain diverse faculty and staff, and
  • 4.1.4 Enhance relationships with student, faculty and staff organizations, and improve capacity to address issues and advance trust and respect,

NMSU does not yet have formal, campus-wide faculty mentoring.   


There are various definitions of mentoring and what it takes to be a mentor.  With respect to the latter, David Clutterbuck defines a mentor as “a more experienced individual willing to share knowledge with someone less experienced in a relationship of mutual trust.” Mentees must trust the mentor in order to listen to them. In turn, mentees must both listen to and act on the shared knowledge for it to have an impact.  Lastly, mentors cannot be opaque to how their words make the mentee feel. This takes self-awareness and discipline. This takes intentionality. This takes education.

Historically, NMSU has relied on a decentralized approach to faculty mentoring.  In the future, discipline based mentoring programs for faculty at all levels must be augmented with resources, training, and services. Services need to be provided centrally under the guidance of a team comprised of leadership from the Provost’s office, colleges, and our new Vice President for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity.  





Actions Taken toward Achieving NMSU LEADS 2025, Goal 2


By Dr. Phillip De Leon, Associate Vice President for Research and Professor of Electrical Engineering

NMSU LEADS 2025 Goal 2 aims to "Elevate Research and Creativity" which is coupled to achieving R1 status as one of the three components in our Vision. The Goal 2 team, led by Vice President for Research Luis Cifuentes and Director of the Arrowhead Center Kathy Hansen, has developed 22 actions/tactics specifically designed to achieve this goal. Team members act as "champions" for these actions. I am champion for two actions: "create competitive faculty startup packages that are based on data indicating what supports faculty success" and "encourage and support faculty and students to engage in funded creative activities." I take both of these tactics seriously as they have impact on several of the variables related to R1 status. Goal 2 champions were encouraged to convene a group to analyze, discuss/debate, and make recommendations for advancing the action. For the faculty startup tactic, the group includes Matthew Gompper, David Jauregui, Teresa Keller, and Shelley Lusetti and for the externally funded creative activities tactic, the group includes Julia Barello, Fred Bugbee, Kerry Banazek, Elizabeth Horodowich, and Jim Murphy. I appreciate the commitment of my colleagues in advancing these and the other 20 actions toward achieving Goal 2.


Dr. Phillip De Leon, Associate Vice President for Research 

Dr. Peter Cooke's Retirement


By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


The Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate School (OVPRGS) and Research Cores Program thank Dr. Peter Cooke, director of the Microscopic Imaging Core Suite (MICS), for his years of service to NMSU students and faculty researchers. Dr. Cooke retired on June 30th and his expertise and helpful demeanor will be sorely missed by the NMSU research community. On his retirement, Dr. Cooke made the following remarks:


“I am gratified to have spent over a decade at NMSU, following the impressive footsteps of many including Owen Weeks who brought the first electron microscope to campus and later, professors Joe LaPointe and Robert Liefeld, who established the Electron Microscope Laboratory with the help of many expert NMSU professors and student researchers over the past fifty years, who helped to make a name for NMSU in the world of microscopic imaging.  It has been a pleasure, and I hope to learn more about new developments in microscopy and imaging within the Research Cores Program at NMSU in the future.  Think small, but go big.”


“During his time at NMSU, Dr. Cooke has trained, taught, and lent a helping hand to many hundreds of student researchers,” says Dr. Tanner Schaub, who directs the Research Cores Program. “Peter brought tremendous expertise to NMSU and those who worked with him value him without exception. We wish him well and he will be missed.”


The Research Cores Program has initiated a search for a new MICS director, with an anticipated hire date of mid Fall 2021.  Faculty members who wish to provide input about the future direction of MICS are encouraged to do so at: MICS Survey


Dr. Peter Cooke, retired director of Microscopic Imaging Core Suite


Streamlyne to Replace ARGIS and Eventually Maestro


By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


The OVPRGS is happy to announce that Streamlyne has been selected as the next electronic Research Administration (eRA) system for the NMSU research enterprise replacing ARGIS and eventually Maestro, filling in existing gaps in our current systems, and adding new features and capabilities. The implementation team includes, Phillip DeLeon (Associate Vice President for Research, OVPRGS) Alisha Giron (Assistant Vice President for Research, OVPRGS) Rita Parra (Director, Pre-Award Administration, OVPRGS), Pam Jeffries (Director, Enterprise Application Services, ICT), and Paul Lucero (Manager, Enterprise Information Services, ICT). We invite the NMSU research community to view the Streamlyne Research Highlights video on YouTube. Please direct questions related to NMSU's implementation of Streamlyne to streamlyne@nmsu.edu and periodically visit https://research.nmsu.edu/NewsAndBlogs/Streamlyne.html for up-to-date information.




Crucial Conversations with John Villescas, NMSU/RAS Grants and Contracts Administrator


By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


Ever wondered why Research Administration Services (RAS) requires complete proposals five working days prior to the funding agency deadlines? I have been asked that question many times. Last week I had the opportunity to talk to John Villescas, one of the Grants and Contracts Administrators at RAS and ask him questions about the proposals he has been involved in. I highly recommend our brief conversations to NMSU principal investigators, in particular early career faculty, who submit proposals or are planning to submit proposals in the future as, among other things, John touches on his interactions with agency portals and the unexpected issues that often arise during proposal submission. 

If you have any questions for John, please feel free to contact him at johnvill@nmsu.edu.      


 John Villescas, Grants and Contracts Administrator, NMSU Research Administration Services

NASA-in-the-Classroom Educator Professional Development Workshop: July 2021 Sphero Virtual Training 


By Cristina Esquivel, Program Specialist, New Mexico Space Grant Consortium


New Mexico Space Grant Consortium selected 20 New Mexico secondary school educators, grades 6-12, to participate in the NASA-in-the-Classroom Educator PD Workshop - 2021 Sphero Virtual Training. This professional development (PD) workshop will teach participants how to integrate coding into their curriculum. Participants will receive a free Sphero robot, a stipend and will have an opportunity to apply for a one graduate Continuing Education Credit (CEU) through NMSU. In addition, participants will be able to interact with NASA STEM education experts, as well as learn about other NASA education and funding opportunities to stay involved throughout the year.


The virtual training will be held on July 20, 22, 27 and 29 through NMSU Canvas. If you have any questions, please contact Paulo Oemig at poemig@nmsu.edusmart0;


Credit: Sphero.com

DoD SMART Scholarship Program: A Webinar on July 22, 2021

By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


The OVPRGS is hosting a webinar introducing the SMART program which offers full scholarships, internships, and career opportunities to STEM students. SMART supports the Department of Defense’s goal to build the next-generation STEM workforce. NMSU STEM faculty and students are highly encouraged to attend this webinar to learn about the program and the application process directly from Army SMART Liaison, Ms. Jessica Molina and SMART Sponsoring Facility Point-of-Contact, Ms. Teressa Doonan from the Army Test and Evaluation Center.

To register for the webinar send email to hamid@nmsu.edu.


Physical Science Laboratory Turns 75!


By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

NMSU Physical Science Laboratory (PSL) was established in 1946 to assist the Army Ballistic Research Laboratory with the V-2 rocket test flights at White Sands Proving Ground. Throughout the years PSL has evolved into a unique national resource that provides expertise in sub-orbital platforms, information modeling for predictive decision making, specialized
advanced NASA scientific exploration and experimentation, and homeland security sensing and detection technologies to strengthen our national security. PSL operates a FAA approved Unmanned Aerial Systems Test at the Las Cruces
Airport, using public non-restricted airspace. 

Watch a special KRWG report, including conversations with Eric Sanchez, the Director of PSL, and Bernie McCune retired PSL technical staff. For more information, visit: https://psl.nmsu.edu .


Limited Submission Funding Opportunities


By 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


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

To create an account with Pivot for the first time

  1. Click on the Sign up link.
    1. On the next page, click on Use email address/create password.
    2. Enter your name.
    3. Enter your NMSU email address.
    4. Create a password.
    5. Choose New Mexico State University from the Affiliated Member Institution drop down menu.
    6. Check the consent checkbox.
    7. Check the reCaptcha check box.
    8. Press the Create my account button.

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



Graduate School

HEERF for New Graduate Student Enrollment


By Dr. Carol Flinchbaugh, Associate Professor of Management and Graduate School Faculty Fellow


The Graduate School is excited to offer each college Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) for new enrollments into their graduate programs. Each college will be provided with monies for three (3) 9-month Graduate Assistantships and includes $5,000 for tuition for one year. In addition, up to $225,000 is available for new student enrollment in Professional Master’s Degree Programs in FY22.

Dr. Flinchbaugh can be reached at cflinch@nmsu.edu.


Need Guidance on Securing External Funding? Contact Me!


If you are an NMSU graduate student or post-doctoral scholar needing guidance on securing external funding, please contact me at fee@nmsu.edu. Please also visit the list of current funding opportunities that I maintain and let me know if you have any questions.


Chong-Hwey Fee



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