There’s one word that sums up New Mexico Highlands University’s professors: passion. Our professors have a passion for their fields and share that passion with their students. Many of our faculty have been recognized for their research and work by agencies like the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, NASA, and many professional organizations. And, unlike larger research universities, our professors teach at every level from freshmen to graduate courses.
Here's some exciting news about Highlands University professors:
Brandon Kempner, English, and April Kent, Library, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association to put on a “Let’s Talk About It” reading group at Donnelly Library for fall 2013. For more details, visit http://www.nmhu.edu/newsroom/hotnews.aspx?recid=926
Carol Linder, Biology, was awarded sabbatical leave for the fall semester to work at Johns Hopkins in the laboratory of Dr. Carolyn Machamer. Linder is studying a genetic defect in the male reproductive system that causes defects in sperm development and male infertility. Linder’s infertile mice are missing a protein that Carolyn Machamer's laboratory has studied for over 20 years. For more details, visit http://www.nmhu.edu/newsroom/hotnews.aspx?recid=921
Cheryl Zebrowski, Library, was elected President-Elect of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. She was co-chair of a successful Symposium entitled: “Sustaining Digital Content: Planning for Its Future.” For more details, visit http://calendar.sla.org/index.php?eID=154
David Sammeth, Chemistry, was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to fund the acquisition of an Automated TL/OSL Luminescence Reader, Gamma Spectrometer, and Portable Field Gamma Spectrometer for the Dating of Sedimentary and Archaeological Materials. Total funds awarded were $384,926.00.
Edward A. Martinez, Forestry, accompanied 17 NMHU students to the Valles Caldera National Preserve on September 27-29, 2013 to participate in a USDA sponsored workshop focusing on student-skill building and providing career-track opportunities for Hispanic students.
Erika Derkas, Sociology and Women's Studies, published an article, "New Mexican Chiles: Sentinels of Hispano Identity and Cultural Heritage." in Digest: A Journal of Foodways and Culture, Fall 2013.
Gloria Gadsden, Criminal Justice, presented an original research paper titled “Reviving Shaft: The Presence of the Perpetual Image of Dangerous Black Masculinity in Common Law” at the Annual Meetings of the Pacific Sociological Association in March 2013.
Karen Brooks, Nursing, has completely revised and updated the Health Law course she first developed in 2008. She developed and revised the course using her expertise as an attorney.
Kristie Ross, History and Women's Studies and Erika Derkas, Sociology and Women's Studies, will be presenting on, “Theatre of the Oppressed: A Pedagogical Find" at the 39th Annual Research on Women and Education Conference at NM State University, October 3-5.
Thomas C. Donnelly Library’s Preservation Committee completed the library’s disaster plan. Members of the committee include: Peter Linder, History; Todd Christensen, Art; Linda LaGrange, Academic Affairs; Leslie Broughton, Library; Irisha Corral, Library; Jim Mandarino, Alumni Office; Linda Gegick, City Museum; Martha McCaffrey, community member; and Cheryl Zebrowski, Library.
Anacondas in Venezuelan Llanos
Internationally known wildlife biology professors Jesus Rivas and Sarah Corey-Rivas took three of their students on their latest anaconda field research expedition deep in the Venezuelan Llanos, a vast tropical grassland plain that floods seasonally.
The ultimate goal of the professors’ green anaconda molecular research is to protect the legendary species, the largest snake in the world. “Anacondas are top predators and require a pristine environment,” said Rivas, who founded the Anaconda Project in 2002. “Understanding the microhabitat needs of anacondas, what they require to live, is a big piece of our research,” Corey-Rivas said. The professors, who are married, are also studying New Mexico species of concern, like bison.
Paleoclimate Change Study at Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge
Natural resources professor Edward Martinez is the lead investigator for a study that delves into the paleoclimate changes of the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge. Geology professors Jennifer Lindline and Michael Petronis are co-investigators for this NSF-funded research that analyzes sedimentary core samples from the Great Ice Age.
“Using a multidisciplinary approach is an excellent means to gauge environmental change and climate variability,” Martinez said. “This paleoclimate study will give the wildlife refuge a more detailed geologic history.” Refuge manager Rob Larranaga said the study will give new perspective and ideas for how the refuge manages water and other resources.
Computer science professor Gil Gallegos wrote software in 2010 for a state-of-the-art robotics research project at the Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque. The robot is designed for both national security and exploration in unknown environments. Jeff Thornton, one of Gallegos’ students, worked alongside his professor at Sandia as part of an innovative DOE and NSF research program.
“We wrote all the software controls for the robot,” said Gallegos, who is also a visiting faculty member at Sandia. “The robot looks like a Mars rover but is much bigger. It has twelve joints: six wheels and six shoulders.”
High Plains Aquifer Research
Geology professor Michael Petronis will drill for rock core samples deep into the Central High Plains Aquifer for a National Science Foundation-funded research study that will produce the first subsurface geologic map of the aquifer, providing vital information for future water management. Water levels are declining in this large aquifer that supplies nearly 30 percent of the groundwater in the United States.
“Groundwater is a finite, nonrenewable resource,” Petronis said. “The goal of this research is to model groundwater flow throughout the aquifer. This will give state and local agencies information to manage water resources more effectively in a sustainable manner.” Petronis is collaborating with University of Kansas geology professor Jon Smith on the study.