November 2020


Research and Creativity Week 2020

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


Kudos to University Research Council (URC) and Graduate Student Council (GSC) for organizing what promises to be a rich and exciting, second annual Research and Creativity Week (RCW). This year, Graduate Research and Arts Symposium 2020 is co-hosting RCW. Many thanks to members of the URC planning committee and to the executive leadership of GSC.

RCW2020 will include a diverse program of contributed talks and posters by NMSU faculty, staff and students to the tune of 225 abstracts that are organized by 10 topic categories.  The presentation schedule is found at Thank you to topic conveners.

Unfortunately, and owing to COVID-19, the event will be virtual.  Events will either be on the ePosterboard platform or zoom. The majority of events are on ePosterboard. Please to go to find out which platform to use for a given event/presentation.

Showcasing research and creative activity, particularly when it reaches beyond peers to the public, communicates and enhances the value of student and faculty work. For students it offers a venue to be discovered, opening up professional opportunities. RCW is an opportunity for students to test-drive talks and posters designed for national conferences. RCW is also practical and affordable for students in areas that have limited funds to cover meeting registration and travel costs. Please take the time to REGISTER and be there to support colleagues and student presenters.

As in 2019, you can look forward to a wide variety of keynote, plenary and highlighted talks in 2020:

Tuesday November 10

  • Dr. Ellen Ochoa, first Hispanic woman astronaut and former director of NASA Johnson Space Center will be hosted by NM SpaceGrant director, Dr. Paulo Oemig; 12-1 pm MST
  • Dr. Akasha Faist, associate professor of Animal and Range Sciences and URC Early Career Awardee; 1:10-1:40 MST
  • Dr. Punam Thakur, research and lab affairs office at the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center and URC Research Recognition Awardee; 1:50-2:20 pm MST
  • Dr. Graciela Unguez, professor of Biology and recently appointed Regents Professor; 2:30-3:00 pm MST
  • Dr. Julia Barello, professor and academic department head in Art and recently appointed Regents Professor; 3:10-3:40 pm MST
  • Drs. Laura Anh Williams and M. Catherine Jonet, associate professors of Interdisciplinary Studies and URC Team Awardees; 3:50-4:20 pm MST

Wednesday November 11

  • Dr. Jen Heemstra, associate professor of Chemistry at Emory University and social media expert hosted by VPR and Dean of Graduate School Luis Cifuentes will discuss the value of social media for faculty and scholars; 12-1 pm, MST
  • Dr. Igor Sevostianov,  professor of Mechanical Engineering and URC Distinguished Career Awardee; 2-2:30 pm MST

 Thursday November 12

  • Dr. Christine Sleeter, author and education reformer hosted by President John Floros, 12-1 pm, MST
  • Dr. Rolston St. Hilaire, professor and academic department head of Plant and Environmental Sciences and recently appointed Regents Professor; 1:30-2 pm MST
  • Dr. Pei Xu, professor of Civil Engineering and Inaugural RCW Faculty Plenary hosted by Provost Carol Parker will speak on water research at NMSU, 3:30-4:30 pm MST

Friday November 13

  • Dr. Erica Alston, deputy NASA SpaceGrant manager of the Office of STEM Engagement hosted by President Floros; 12-1 pm, MST
  • Dr. France Córdova, astrophysicist and 14th NSF director hosted by Chancellor Dan Arvizu, will speak on the future of science and technology in the COVID-19 era; 3-4 pm. MST

Elsevier will host two Scholarly Workshops: The Basics of Journal Publishing and For Authors (Wednesday, November 11, 1-2 pm) and Looking to Publish or Become Involved in Editorial Work (Thursday, November 12, 1-2 pm).

Finally, Judy Collins, who has long inspired audiences with sublime vocals, boldly vulnerable songwriting, personal life triumphs, and a firm commitment to social activism, will conduct a virtual performance and interview moderated by distinguished professor of music, Jim Shearer, Tuesday November 10 at 7pm MST. Encourage your friends in the community to REGISTER and attend.

Hope that you can participate and enjoy this event!!





Using Remote Work Options for Personnel Who Commute from El Paso

By JoAnne Dupre, Biosafety and Export Control Manager, RIC


Recent Texas health orders and rapidly-changing COVID-19 conditions in El Paso have caused questions about a two-week period of restricted travel for residents of the city of El Paso and El Paso county. The health and wellness of all NMSU personnel is our highest priority, and we are reminded that this is a good time to review requirements for those individuals who need flexibility in their work arrangements. 

Principal Investigators with approved safety plans for Return to Research and Creativity (RTRC) activities cannot require any personnel to commute from El Paso county to Las Cruces. 

  • For employees and students who request remote work options due to residence in Texas, please determine how this can be accomplished.
  • Contact Human Resources as needed to set up alternative work arrangements (AWA), by sending an email to
  • A limited range of research activities may be exempt as an Essential Activity under the order. 
    • National Critical Functions are defined at, to include supply chains that provide material and operational support to defense contractors, research and development.
    • Please consider each individual’s situation on a case-by-case basis.
  • For all on-site activity, continue to use the daily self-check screening process and conduct activities in compliance with social distancing requirements.

Research Administration will continue to monitor the travel announcements from Texas and in New Mexico, and send updates as information develops. Please stay in communication with your immediate reporting lines to adjust activities as needed.

Questions about the RTRC safety plans can be directed to me ( or Dave Schoep ( at Environmental Health, Safety, & Risk Management. Be safe and take steps to stay healthy.




Joanne Dupre, Biosafety
and Export Control, RIC

"100 in October Challenge" Deadline Extended

By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


The "100 in October Challenge" has been extended. 

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate School is targeting submission of 100 proposals by the end of November 30. To achieve this goal, OVPR is offering an incentive to submit a proposal: $250 stipend in addition to up to $1000 in Indirect Cost (IDC) generated from an award for each PI/co-PI on proposal. Multiple individuals may collaborate and submit the proposal as PI or co-PI. Limit of 1 stipend per person deposited in an unrestricted account. Proposal budget should be in excess of $5000 x [number of PI(s) + number of co-PI(s)].

For eligibility criteria, submission process and other information about this opportunity visit


New Faculty Startup Policy Available

By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


NMSU’s new faculty startup policy is now available. NMSU strives to recruit outstanding faculty with substantial research and scholarly capacity to join the university’s already vibrant community of scholars. Startup packages allow colleges to provide initial funds to early career faculty to initiate and grow their research endeavors. Initiated by VPR and Dean of the Graduate School, Luis Cifuentes, the policy has taken into account input from the deans and associate deans for research and has been taken to the President’s Executive Team for approval. The new policy offers clarity regarding startup periods and structuring. It also provides clear methodology regarding central administration contributions to startup funds, based on the alignment of the candidates’ capabilities with NMSU’s strategic research areas, as well as their potential for garnering external funding once they join NMSU. You may find the policy at FacultyStartupPolicy.pdf





NMSU's Areas of Research Strength: We Want Your Feedback!

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


The Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate School (VPRGS) drafted statements regarding institutional research strengths and emerging areas of research. These statements are a work in progress and will ultimately provide VPRGS with a roadmap for investment in NMSU’s research and creative activity enterprise. At the October 19th Town Hall, University Research Council chair Dr. Tanner Schaub and Associate Vice President for Research Dr. Phillip De Leon were joined by faculty panelists who provided their expert voice to this critical strategic process. On October 29th, Dr. Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, Director of National Science Foundation, met with APLU Council of Research and discussed major priorities and vision for his six-year term.

Take the time to review the draft VPRGS document in the context of NSF’s priorities and vision. Do the same with other key agencies that support your research and scholarly interest.  We want your feedback.




NM-C3 Outreach Project to Address Gaps in PreK-12 Education during the Pandemic

By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

NMSU is leading a statewide effort to support teachers, families, and caregivers in establishing effective online and remote learning for early PreK-12 students. The project, titled New Mexico: ConnectED Communities Collaborative (NM-C3), is competitively funded by New Mexico Governor’s Emergency Education Relief program and is led by Principal Investigator Wanda Bulger-Tamez, the director of NMSU’s STEM Outreach Center.

As Dr. Bulger-Tamez explains, while schools are doing their best to develop effective teaching and learning systems during this pandemic, there are still gaps that this project aims to address. For example, not all educators, caregivers, and students are fully equipped with skills to engage in online and remote learning situations. They also have unmet social-emotional needs that should be addressed to create flourishing academic learning environments. 

The project’s overarching goals are 1) to make instructional providers proficient in providing quality remote and online learning experiences for all students, 2) to equip families, caregivers, and students with skills in remote and online learning, including technological and pedagogical aspects, 3) to create sustainable strategic partnerships to leverage resources to ensure all communities and families have access to equitable quality education in the state.

The NM-C3’s outreach activities are organized around three working groups (pods): the Technology Support pod, Family and Caregivers pod, and Content Development pod. Each pod is led by experts in the field. Dr. Lauren Cifuentes, an expert in distance learning, cognition, and learning design, in College of Education’s Educational Design and Learning Technologies program, will lead the technology support pod. The Family and Caregivers pod will be led by Dr. Karim Martinez, an extension family life specialist in the College of Agricultural Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Dr. Jeanne Brown, an early childhood specialist and Dr. Christopher Aiken, a behavioral scientist with specializations in cognitive performance and human movement, both in the College of Education. The Content Development pod will be lead by Dr. Mary Fahrenbruck, who specializes in literacy resources, strategies, and opportunities for educators to provide access to literacy for all students, and staff of Mathematically Connected Communities and STEM Outreach Center who have extensive experience in professional learning design for educators.

Ms. Susie Yturralde, Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in Gadsden Independent School District, Dr. Karen Trujillo, superintendent of LCPS, and other district administrators will serve a as advisors to the project.

For more information please contact Dr. Bulger-Tamez at


Wanda Bulger-Tamez, Director,
STEM Outreach Center,

The Principal Investigator Academy to Hold a Webinar on Research Compliance Issues  

By Cindy Ramirez, Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


The Principal Investigator (PI) Academy will host its next online session on research compliance on Tuesday November 10 from 3:00pm - 4:00pm.  The webinar will be presented by Dr. JoAnne Dupre, NMSU’s Biosafety and Export Control Manager, Michelle Gavin, Research Integrity Coordinator and Dr. Merranda Marin, NMSU’s IRB Chair. While the primary audience of this webinar is PI Academy members, the webinar is open to all faculty and researchers interested in obtaining crucial information and research compliance issues.

To register for this webinar, please send email to



Research Administration Spotlight: Vicki Morgan

By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Sr. Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


Research Administration staff owe a great deal to Ms. Vicki Morgan, for she is the reason our unit runs smoothly as it does. Her knowledge of NMSU’s hiring process, her excellent technical and communication skills, and being an excellent multi-tasker coordinating process requisitions and purchase orders all the while organizing and facilitating meetings have made her the backbone of Research Administration Services. “We are so grateful for Vicki.  Her enduring kindness and support bind our work family—she makes us all better people,” says Assistant Vice President for Research Alisha Giron. 

Before joining RAS in 2013, Vicki worked at NMSU's Allumni office. And now she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Individualized Studies. Vicki’s hobbies include traveling, dancing, and reading.

Vicki can be reached at


Vicki Morgan, Research
Administration Services, NMSU

DOE 2021 Early Career Pre-proposals Due November 20

By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


This is to remind NMSU’s early career faculty that the deadline to submit mandatory pre-proposals in response to DOE Early Career Research Program funding opportunity for FY 2021 is due November 20.

Eligible applicants must be untenured, tenure-track assistant or associate professors at a U.S. academic institution or a full-time employee at a DOE national laboratory. Applicants must also have received a Ph.D. within the past ten years.

Only those invited will be eligible to submit full proposals by Tuesday, February 16, 2021. DOE supports successful applicants with an average of $750,000 for five years. For more information please download the funding opportunity DE-FOA-0002421 at



Pivot Funding Opportunity Database


This is a reminder that in order to assist NMSU faculty and staff in locating external funding opportunities, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate School has purchased a subscription to ProQuest’s Pivot software available at

To create an account with Pivot for the first time

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

 To request a one-on-one or group Pivot training, send email to



Limited Submission Funding Opportunities


The Office of Research Administration Services lists limited submission funding opportunities at We encourage NMSU faculty and staff to periodically visit the site and if they are interested in any of the opportunities to please inform us by sending email to As a reminder, the site is only accessible on campus. Accessing the site using off-campus computers require first downloading and logging in through NMSU's VPN at



Graduate School

Caring Conversations

By Luis A. Vazquez, Regents Professor and Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies


There was much to contemplate as we prepared our newsletter this month given the times and living with the rules of the pandemic. One idea kept surfacing regarding the upcoming breaks, Holidays.”  They mean a lot to many of us and we wondered what it could be like for others.  We thought about having “caring conversations,” - what it means when a true holiday of gathering is upon us.  The possibility of seeing immediate family members, getting together with friends, and traveling to see other loved ones is very exciting.  So, the question is, “how should we do this?”  Can we experience a holiday where we all get to sit outside (this sounds like a cold option to consider, especially if it is snowing, but a safer one)?  I guess we could gather inside, where it is warm, cozy, but at a higher risk to spread the virus?  Another option is coming to the realization that we will not be getting together and not going home, in order to protect our loved ones, as well as ourselves.  These are very hard decisions to make at a time when we should be looking forward to respite care and some well needed support, along with the experience of peace, love and comfort.  What has become very clear is that there is no such thing as a 100% safe way to enjoy the holiday.  What things or issues should you consider, if you are going home for the holiday? 

  1. Going home for the holidays? Having Caring Conversations
  • Time to have “the caring conversation” about what to expect, rules, what’s allowed and not allowed, have you all agreed, group support to keep the rules of engagement, physical distancing, ...

Read more


Introducing Graduate Fellowships for STEM Diversity

By Chong-Hwey Fee, Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


Formerly known as National Physical Science Consortium, Graduate Fellowships for STEM Diversity (GFSD) offers fellowships to graduate students in the physical sciences and engineering fields, with the goal of recruiting a diverse applicant pool. Students at any stage of their graduate program can create an account and submit applications, at which point they will be entered into an applicant pool. The GFSD partners (funding agencies/employers) select the students from the applicant pool and provide $20,000 a year to the fellow's chosen university for up to 6 years. Eligible applicants must be U. S. citizens in STEM or STEM-related fields, who are available to work 2 summers of paid internships.


Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions.


Chong-Hwey Fee, Proposal
Development Special
Specialist, RAS 

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