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New Mexico State University

New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation
College of Engineering

New Mexico AMP Reports and Publications

February 2012- Currents

In an effort to record and report New Mexico AMP news and events more regularly, each year, we will publish four issues of the more condensed Currents newsletter and two issues of the more comprehensive Horizons newsletter. We welcome your contributions and ask you to send information to garland@nmsu.edu that informs the New Mexico AMP community about student and faculty accomplishments, program activities and events, institutional news, and proposal/grant funding success.

Welcome to the New Institutional Coordinators!
We want to welcome the new Institutional Coordinators who will take over IC duties at four of our partner institutions. Dr. Elizabeth Juarros, fulltime faculty member of Science, Math, and Engineering Technology, is the new IC at Luna Community College, replacing Dr. Andrew Feldman, who is the Director of Science Math, and Engineering Technology. Dr. Phillip Kaatz, Mathematics/ Physical Science Instructor, is the new IC at Mesalands Community College. Also, Dr. Brooke Zanetell, Math and Sciences Instructor, will serve as Co-IC at UNM-Taos, assisting Dr. Richard Niemeyer, who serves as Chair of Sciences, in addition to his role as Co-IC. Lastly, Lillian Armijo, Director of Student Affairs, will serve as IC at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, replacing Allison Costello. Allison and Andrew, thank you for your faithful service to our statewide students! We welcome Elizabeth, Phillip, Brooke, and Lillian to New Mexico AMP and look forward to working with you for years to come!

Institutional Coordinator Videoconference Meeting Held on February 17
The Institutional Coordinators (ICs) from several of our partner institutions met together via videoconference on Friday, February 17, 2012. The purpose of the meeting was twofold: 1) to provide announcements of important events and program dates, and 2) to perform a collaborative exercise that focused on the “Most Significant Challenges or Changes” in New Mexico AMP. Although National Science Foundation (NSF) has not yet released the solicitation for the renewal of the New Mexico AMP proposal, we anticipate a fall 2012 submission date for the proposal. Therefore, the motivation for the collaborative exercise discussed at the IC Meeting was the renewal proposal. With the program in its 19th year of the 5-year funding cycles, New Mexico AMP is in the 4th cycle of funding, with the current cycle ending in 2013. Therefore, the exercise, facilitated by Dr. Nancy Carrillo, Senior Evaluation Specialist for Apex Education, will be used to develop the qualitative data presented in the renewal proposal. Those in attendance included the New Mexico AMP staff, Nancy Carrillo (APEX), Tarlochan Dhillon (DACC), Vince Lombraña and Jennifer Smith (NMSU-A), Robyn Hayes (NMSU-Carlsbad), Allison Castillo and Lillian Armijo (New Mexico Tech), Brian Pasko (ENMU), Jonathan Hebert (NMSU-Grants), Elizabeth Juarroz and Andrew Feldman (Luna CC), David Torres (NNMC), Phyllis Baca (SFCC), Nader Vadiee (SIPI), and Cedric Page (UNM-Los Alamos).

New Mexico AMP Partner Institution News

  • Santa Fe Community College (SFCC): 1) On February 16, 2012, the STEM Club met with the Solar Club, the Biofuels Club, and the Master’s Program for Early College Charter High School students. The groups made plans to hold other collaborative activities, with the STEM Club as the umbrella organization. 2) In addition, seniors in the STEM Club who have served as workshop presenters in Explora! will provide training for other members to learn how to present workshops to Explora! high school participants. The opportunity to serve as Explora! presenters could lead into mentorship roles for the STEM Club members, as well. 3) On February 11, 2012, seven STEM Club members attended an SFCC rebroadcast of presentations from the 2011 Bioneers Conference and were provided facilitated discussions after the viewing. As a result of viewing the presentations, one of the STEM Club students is interested in bringing a fungus growing lab to SFCC. 4) Steve Peralta, Director of Engineering Student Services for University of New Mexico, spoke to the SFCC STEM 111: Introduction to Engineering class, focusing on the challenges of transferring to a four-year school.

  • Luna Community College (Luna CC): 1) College Night took place on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. The purpose of the event was to provide information about programs at Luna CC to further inform prospective students and the community-at-large. Fulltime faculty members disseminated information about their specific programs, which gave the audience an opportunity to meet the faculty and ask questions about specific aspects of their programs. 2) Dr. Elizabeth Juarroz has attended two workshops for physics faculty that were sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant. These workshops are intended to disseminate the latest innovations in introductory physics curriculum based on physics education research. As a result of her participation in these workshops, Dr. Juarroz has incorporated many of the ideas into the physics courses she teaches at Luna CC, directly impacting the majority of the STEM students. 3) Dr. Andrew Feldman, Director of Technologies at Luna CC, is a participant on a grant entitled “Technical Training and Job Placement” that provides internship opportunities to Luna CC’s STEM students. 4) Luna CC and New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) are collaborators on a Department of Educationfunded grant entitled Pathways to Achievement and Student Success (PASS) that provides tutoring and computer lab access to STEM students. Moreover, this grant supports Student Instructional Learners in the classroom, which encourages peer instruction.


  • Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI): 1) Approximately 25 SIPI engineering and engineering technology students attended an hour-long webinar on internship and scholarship opportunities for Native American students at NASA. The NASA “One Stop Shopping Internship” (OSSI) program was described and students were walked through the process of online registration and application. Mr. Alex Grandon, from the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), conducted the webinar and answered the students’ questions. The students also discussed the reactivation of the SIPI American Indian Science Engineering Society (AISES) chapter and spring 2011 Student Research Experience Projects. 2) Dr. Nader Vadiee, SIPI Engineering Programs faculty, attended the NSF AIHEC 2011 STEM Leaders Forum in Sept. 2011. As an invited speaker, Dr. Vadiee gave a presentation entitled “SIPI VIP ROSE STEMS Program” and shared his proposal for a new program entitled “The STEM Education Corps of America” for Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU’s). Dr. Vadiee will also participate on a Best Practices National Science Foundation Panel at the NSH-AIHEC grant-writing workshop on January 20-21, 2012 in Tempe Arizona.

  • Mesalands Community College: Dr. Phillip Kaatz is the Project Director of a grant anticipated to total $3.8 million in five years. The Department of U.S. Department of Education’s Hispanic Serving Institutions’ Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (HSI STEM) program was established to increase STEM enrollment and improve opportunities in STEM. Through the grant, the College will renovate two science laboratories and transform a current classroom into a science laboratory, and the construction has already begun. The award will also fund additional computers, match funds raised for scholarships through the Mesalands Community College Foundation, Inc. for STEM students, improve an existing teleconferencing system providing synchronous delivery of STEM instruction, and develop a math-science learning center as well as summer bridge programs and tutoring services. Other New Mexico partner institutions who also received an HSI STEM grants are Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Highlands University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, NMSU-Alamogordo Community College, Northern New Mexico College, University of New Mexico, and UNM-Valencia.

  • Participation of IC’s at the New Mexico Higher Education Assessment and Retention (NMHEAR) Conference: On Friday, February 24, several IC’s participated in the NM Hear Conference. SFCC Institutional Coordinators, Phyllis Baca, Director of STEM Initiatives and faculty in the Department of Technologies and Robert Salazar, Chair of the Department of Technologies, presented “Engineering: A Holistic Approach to Engaging and Retaining Underrepresented Minorities.” The presentation included the ways in which they’ve customized for their students best practices of New Mexico AMP and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP). Cathy Aguilar Morgan, former IC and Assistant Division Head, Math and Engineering at NMSU-Alamogordo, presented “Educational Leadership Program Legacy Project and Leadership Style Paper.” Also, Dr. Phillip Kaatz attended the conference.

New Mexico AMP Partner Student News
  • Amber Ortiz, University of New Mexico (UNM) Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA), is a Chemistry major, with a minor in Mathematics. Amber presented her research at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference in fall 2011, and she will present at the UNM Biology Research Day and at the UNM Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference in Spring 2012. Amber’s anticipated date of graduation is spring 2012, after which she is planning to pursue the Ph.D.

  • Amanda Kuker, URA at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech), along with two other Materials Engineering majors, won $500 in a 2011 Materials Radio Podcast competition. Amanda, Kat Mireles, and Sara Waters wrote lyrics and recorded “Brown Nails,” a song about corrosion that laments how shiny hardware turns brown and rusty. They composed the rap song for the competition that required the song focus on a materials engineering-related issue for an audience of future scientists – namely, middle school students. In addition, serving as Director and editor, Amanda submitted a video about steel to a contest hosted by the Association for Iron and Steel Technology. The video can be viewed at http://www.nmt.edu/nmt-news/336-2011/4306-techmaterials- students-enter-. Amanda will graduate in 2012 and plans to attend graduate school

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