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New Mexico State University

New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation
College of Engineering

New Mexico AMP Horizons


New Mexico AMP and Bridge to the Doctorate students receive prestigious award and recognition from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).

Gerardo Martinez
Gerardo Martinez, GRFP Fellow from NMSU
Alex NeresonAlex Nereson, GRFP Fellow from UNM

NMSU Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA) Gerardo Martinez, and Bridge to the Doctorate VIII participant Alex Nereson have been awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) scholarship for 2011-12. In addition, Jeffrey Samson, Bridge to the Doctorate VIII fellow, was recognized with an Honorable Mention by the program.

Gerardo Martinez, who graduated from New Mexico State University (NMSU) in May 2011 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, is a first-generation student, the first in his family to graduate from high school or college. Gerardo has served as a research assistant to Dr. Ou Ma, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, in the Dynamics, Robotics, and Controls Lab since Jan. 2009. Gerardo has assisted Dr. Ma in experimental research by designing, manufacturing, testing, and implementing specialized hardware. Currently, he is involved with a project focused on air bearing experiment and flight data analysis, and manages and leads
his own resaerch project entitled “A Suborbital Flight Experiment for Validating a Satellite Inertia Identification Method.”

Gerardo lives out his belief that people should give back to others what they have been given, serving as a peer mentor to many groups and students in their respective research projects. In summer 2010, his team mentored two Summer Community College Opportunity for Research Experience (SCCORE) students, and this summer, he will mentor two more. He has also mentored high school students and undergraduate students.

Alex Nereson, Bridge to the Doctorate VIII participant at University of New Mexico (UNM), earned the B.S. in Earth and Planetary Science and is currently working toward the Ph.D. in the same major. The quiet tranquility of Minnesota’s lakes and plains always prompted Alex to think of the land surface as a place of stability and permanency, and the realization that today’s land surface looks nothing like it did in the past compelled Alex to learn more and progress to graduate school. From high school on, Alex has been involved in environmental science and activism, frequently volunteering with the National Park Service, writing grants to fund fledgling recycling programs, and even being nominated and confirmed by his hometown city council to serve on Oakdale’s Environmental Management Commission. Alex’s research is focused on tectonic geomorphology, fueling his questions of landscape evolution in New Mexico. He is interested in the western Great Plains as a place of a dynamic, rather than static, landscape. Specifically, he is addressing how flow within the earth’s mantle may be shaping surface topography by driving recent and dramatic erosin in New Mexico and Colorado. Once he finishes the Ph.D., Alex plans to work for a federal government agency, with a focus on influencing public policy.

Jeffrey Samson, who earned an Honorable Mention by the NSF GRFP, is a Bridge to the Doctorate VIII fellow with an M.S. in Mathematics Education. His experience of teaching math led to his interest in continuing on to graduate school in engineering. He is involved with Engineers Without Borders, particularly on a project tht is focused on bringing clean water to two small villages in Bolivia. Jeffrey is currently working toward the M.S. in Civil Engineering at UNM and plans to continue to the Ph.D. and enter the professoriate one day.

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