October 2012- Conference Issue
Two-hundred sixty (260) New Mexico AMP community college and university students, staff, faculty, and administrators, along with representatives from the New York City LSAMP attended the 2012 New Mexico AMP Student Research Conference at New Mexico State University (NMSU) on October 5th. Of the 260 participants,62 New Mexico MESA high school juniors, seniors, and advisors from the New Mexico Math, Engineering, Science Achievement, Inc. (NM MESA) program, attended the event. The University Research Council (URC) held faculty poster presentations concurrently with the conference, providing an excellent opportunity for conference participants to network and learn more about research at NMSU.
The conference started with a Welcome Address from Dr. Wendy Wilkins, NMSU Executive Vice President and Provost. Then Dr. Van D. Romero, Vice President for Research; Professor of Physics; and the Chief Officer of the Research and Economic Development Division at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech), presented the keynote address that kicked off the conference. Dr. Romero, who has extensive research experience has appeared on three episodes of the Discovery Channel’s MythBusters and has helped produce five additional episodes. Holding the interest of the students, Dr. Romero explained the process of setting up various experiments at New Mexico Tech for MythBusters. He said that the purpose for the show is to set up experiments to test various myths to prove or disprove their validity. In a very engaging talk, Dr. Romero provided several examples of myths they have tested, explaining the preparation, effort, and outcomes of the experiments. He ended his talk by encouraging the students to continue in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) research, reminding them of the difference they can make, both locally and globally. Then at the conference luncheon, Aaron Garcia, Chief Executive Officer of SiliconMesa Corporation, provided the Luncheon Address. Mr. Garcia shared how his background as a student in engineering at NMSU and his 18 years of leadership and management experience at Intel Corporation provided skills, knowledge, training, interest, and passion to run his own business. He asked the students to consider the many possibilities for their future, calling them to think outside of the box and asking them to consider how they could connect their science and engineering skills with entrepreneurship. Using his own example, he shared how his education and work experience provided what he needed to form a company that met a real need in the medical industry. SiliconMESA provides Cloud-based software and secure data storage solutions, and their flagship product SiliconMesa EHR, is an affordable, highly secure, and fully integrated Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Practice Management solution that is customized to fit the existing workflow of medical practices. By illustrating with his own example, students were encouraged to visualize their own possibilities.
Student research presentations took place throughout the day, with 12 oral and 30 poster presentations. Eight (8) oral presentations and all the poster presentations competed for awards. Winners for the Oral Presentation category include the following: First Place (Tie) Awardee, Arwen Gwyneth Hubbard, Northern New Mexico College (NNMC), Life Science, presented “Assessing Crop Biomass and Soil Responses to Varying Biochar Particle Sizes.” First Place (Tie) Awardee, Lucas Guaderrama, NMSU, Civil Engineering, presented “Compressive Stress-Strain Behavior of Ultra High Performance Concrete using Local Materials.” Second Place Awardee, Miquela Trujillo, New Mexico Tech, Mechanical Engineering, presented “Effect of Biodiesel-Ethanol- Diesel Blends on the Emission Characteristics of a Diesel Engine.” Third Place Awardee, Marco Dunwell, Chemical Engineering, NMSU, presented “Synthesis and Analysis of Vanadium (V) Oxide Nanostructures as a Cathode Material in Lithium-Ion Batteries.” Winners for the Poster Presentation category include the following: First Place Awardee, Lisa Martinez, Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU), Chemistry, presented “Development of Two Complementary Assays Probing Protein Stability/Interaction in a Plate Reader.” Second Place Awardee, Shawn Charles, City College of New York, Mechanical Engineering, presented “Tracking the Development of Localized Storms Over Cities.” Third Place Awardee, Rachel Ridgeway, Luna Community College, Physical Science, presented “Surfactant Free Emulsions.”
Students viewed posters and met with NMSU faculty members to discuss their research during the University Research Council (URC) Poster Presentations, and then they had the opportunity to attend an NMSU Information Fair, with assistance from several NMSU ethnic offices and student services. The NM MESA students attended a seminar led by Dr. Elizabeth Juarros, Professor of Physical Science at Luna Community College. The seminar,entitled “Fun With Physics: Exploring the Ultracold Realm,” included various demonstrations that were very engaging to the students. Then, Josh Bowen, Head of Engineering Operations for LIMBS International at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) spoke to the high school, community college, and university students about his work with LIMBS International. His presentation focused on the profound difference that those who use their STEM education and training can make in the lives of others. Mr. Bowen shared stories of amputees around the globe whose lives have been deeply affected by LIMBS International by providing them with a chance for mobility. Calling the students to use their STEM training and education to improve the lives of others, Mr. Bowen shared how fulfilling it has been to use his engineering degree to make a difference in other’s lives.
Twenty (20) statewide community college students attended the 2012 Pre- and Post- Conference Workshops. The community college students came from seven (7) partner institutions, including Doña Ana Community College, Luna Community College, NMSU-Alamogordo Community College, NMSU-Carlsbad Community College, NMSU-Grants Community College, Santa Fe Community College, and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute. The pre-conference workshop was held the day before the conference to help them navigate the conference and make the most of the conference experience. The post-conference workshop held the day after the conference targeted transfer issues to make the transition easier for students to move from community college to four-year universities. In addition, Dr. Terry Cook, Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement in the Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Unit at NMSU, provided a workshop for community college faculty. In the workshop, Dr. Cook focused the discussion on the transition and challenges students face in the transition from community college to four-year institutions.