Fall 2016 URS Student Profiles – NMSU

Photo of Pascual Camacho
Pascual Camacho
Major: Civil Engineering Mentor: Dr. Brad Weldon, Associate ProfessorCivil Engineering Department at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

A few years ago, when I was in my junior year of high school, my dad received a job offer to relocate from Mexico to Saint Louis, Missouri, this was a huge opportunity for our family and he told us that we would move. When I arrived to the United States, it was an experience that marked my life for the reason that it was a tough challenge to adapt to a new culture, a new language, and a new life. I overcame this hardship and took advantage of the benefits it presented. This led me to challenge myself in different ways including reading very intensively during my spare time, which changed my way of thinking and viewing things. I discovered that physics was a passion I had, as well as solar energy and renewable energy sources in general, and I confirmed that I wanted to be an engineer and contribute with innovation to improve the world and the society we are all part of.

I decided to attend New Mexico State University, where I have further challenged myself. I am currently a sophomore studying Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Structures and a dual minor in Mathematics and Economics. After my first semester I received the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. David Jauregui, Department Head of Civil Engineering, in a consulting project for the New Mexico Department of Transportation were we have evaluated bridge load rating. Dr. Brad Weldon, Assistant Professor, has been my mentor in research through New Mexico AMP on Recycled Concrete Aggregates. This research has been my interest because the world supply of virgin aggregates is declining and by analyzing the performance of recycled aggregates costs can be minimized and in the future infrastructure can be maintained with recycled aggregates. This would avoid depletion of virgin aggregates and reduce environmental impact. As a side project I have been part of Studio G, a student business accelerator at NMSU, were I have received mentorship to develop a new business as well as many resources and funding to continue business research.

After receiving my Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering, I plan to attend graduate school and pursue a master’s degree in structural engineering as well as an MBA and hopefully be able to start a company with the goal of contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable future.

Photo of Jocelyne Chavez
Jocelyne Chavez
Major: Chemical and Materials Engineering Mentor: Dr. Reza Foudazi, Assistant Professor,Department of Chemical Engineering at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement 

My name is Jocelyne Chavez and I am currently a sophomore pursing a BS in Chemical Engineering with an anticipated graduation date of 2019. I chose this major due to the vast applications it has and because of my love for science and math. I have always been intrigued by patterns and processes, which are all, encapsulated by many roles that chemical engineers partake in. Additionally, obtaining an undergraduate in Chemical Engineering will help challenge me and prepare me for the rigorous coursework encountered in medical school.

Support from the Alliance for Minority Participation program as an Undergraduate Research Scholar (URS) has provided me with the opportunity to become involved with research and introduced me to a team of very successful students, all with the help of my research advisor, Dr. Reza Foudazi, who is an assistant professor for the Department of Chemical Engineering. This team is exceptional in the fact that we are encouraged to take our knowledge a step further in an attempt to provide answers to difficult questions. Also, we are pushed to think outside of the box and develop critical thinking skills.

My research is focused on Carbon Dioxide emissions and using what we know about carbon absorbing minerals known as Zeolites, to imitate their structure and generate synthetic organic-metal frameworks with an enhanced ability to absorb carbon dioxide. Given greenhouse gasses and their adverse effects on our environment, this project is of great importance, as further advancements in this field will hopefully provide a method for reducing the concentration of pollutants in our atmosphere and addressing a growing global issue.

With the help and support from the AMP program I am on my way to improving my scientific method skills meanwhile gaining ample amounts of laboratory experience. Although my future plans involve a career in medicine, engaging in research will help me with many of the skills that are important for both a doctor and a professional chemical engineer.

Photo of Jesus De La Cruz
Jesus De La Cruz
Major: Human Nutrition/Dietetic Science/Food Science Mentor: Dr. Efren Delgado, Assistant ProfessorFamily and Consumer Science at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

My ultimate career goal is to work in a community practice as a Registered Dietitian specializing in Diabetes Education. I intend to achieve my goal by completing a Bachelor of Science Human Nutrition and Dietetic Sciences. Following this, I intend to apply for the NMSU combined Master’s Degree and Dietetic Internship. After successfully completing this program, I will test to become a Registered Dietitian. Finally, I will complete the hours and requirements needed to become a Certified Diabetes Educator and practice in a setting that allows me to help and work with my community.

There were several factors that influenced my decision to pursue the dietetics profession. One of the biggest factors was learning how nutrition can have such a great impact in controlling and preventing some of the most prevalent diseases such as Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. Diabetes Mellitus has become an epidemic in the Hispanic and Latino community; I have experienced this first hand, with several of my uncles, mother, and grandfather suffering from this chronic disease. Poor glycemic control and diabetes management can cause devastating complications. My goal is to use my education to become a registered dietitian certified in diabetes education. I want to work with the Hispanic population living in the border, where there is a high prevalence of diabetes. I want to educate them and give them the tools necessary to control their diabetes and have a higher quality of life.

My grandfather was recently hospitalized due complications caused by uncontrolled diabetes. Due to my family’s high history of diabetes and unhealthy lifestyle, my mother was also diagnosed with diabetes. I know personally what family members feel when one of their loved ones is diagnosed with diabetes. I have been able to work with my family to control their diabetes. Luckily, we have been successful so far; I would like to help my family and community control this devastating disease by becoming a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator.

I believe that I have several strengths that have helped me to get to this point in my career goals. They include having accountability; I accept responsibility for all of my actions, whether or not they have good or bad outcomes. I am also bilingual, speaking both, English and Spanish, are great advantages especially living in a border city with Mexico. I also have team management skills and self-initiative; I consider myself and always try to be a leader and not a follower. I like to speak out my ideas and work on a plan to implement them. Furthermore, I possess integrity; in both, my professional and personal life, I hold my moral principles and know the value of honesty in everything I do. I also really enjoy public speaking; giving presentations and educating others is something I have learned to love.

One of my greatest weaknesses is that I lack patience for unmotivated individuals. I have to admit that at times I may get frustrated when an individual is not willing to work, and expects teammates to pick up their slack. However, this is something I am working on; building patience and trying to come up with different ways to help motivate individuals who may seem unmotivated at times.

Other information that I find important for the selection is how the references describe the individual. When a person has more than five references, that demonstrates that he/she is a hard working individual who is motivated. It is important to see what others think about the individual, it is one of the ways to identify character in a person. It is not just the number of references, but how these references know the person and what they have to say about him/her.

Photo of Avien Flores
Avien Flores
Major: Major: Engineering Physics and Mechanical Engineering Mentor: Dr. Michael DeAntonio, Associate Professor, Physics andDr. David Dubois, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

I chose engineering physics because I not only wanted to understand the laws that governed the physical world but I also wanted to create. I am currently a senior at NMSU and anticipate graduating in May 2017. I have participated in NM AMP undergraduate research scholars for the fall semester 2016. My participation in NM AMP URS program has helped me to reach my goals by providing necessary funding for me to participate in a dual research project that combines mechanical engineering and physics. My research focus is on developing an early monitoring system of dust storms to alert the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) to set up necessary safety precautions to maximize the health of NM travelers and NM citizens.  Before NM AMP URS I had participated in the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium (NMSGC) working on a joint space exploration project with Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Jet Propulsion Lap (JPL) on developing an infrared sensor to detect whether a mineral sample came from a biological source. I have participated in Society of Engineering physics (SEPh) and Society of Physics Students (SPS) in my early years attending NMSU. I am now the co-founder of a new STEM student group focused on bringing together engineering and physics to expand student’s professional and technical skills. My current research interests are in the development of sensor systems for monitoring of physical models. My future long term goals are to attend graduate school and pursue my PhD in physics.

Photo of Crystal Hernandez
Crystal Hernandez
Major: Biology Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Curtiss, Associate ProfessorBiology at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

Currently I am a majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. I am pursuing to graduate with a Bachelors in Science in Spring 2018.  I am participating in the New Mexico AMP Undergraduate Research Scholars program. I have been part of the IMBRE-NISE program during the summer of 2016 at New Mexico State University. Participating in both the AMP-URS and the IMBRE-NISE program allowed me to experience what research is and interested me in pursuing a master of science along with a medical degree after I graduate with a Bachelor’s degree. My research is based on understanding the mechanisms in which cells communicate for cell proliferation and differentiation to occur. For my research, I use the Drosophila melanogaster eye as a model to study the different signaling pathways that a cell goes through to differentiate. Working in a lab has allowed me to increase my academic skills and understand various concepts in Biology, Chemistry, and Fluorescence microscopy.

Photo of Victor Lara
Victor Lara
Major: Civil Engineering Mentor: Dr. Zohrab A. Samani, Professor,Civil Engineering Department at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

I am Victor Lara, and currently on my final semester of my Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering at New Mexico State University. I am originally from Honduras, but raised in Seattle, WA. Being from a country in Central America makes me a first generation American, and the first in my family to go to college. The journey that led me to seeking a higher education was not an easy one, nor was it a direct path after high school. Due to different twists and turns in life, I had to take a ten year break; thus, I am a non-traditional student. Although, I have faced many challenges along the way, I have taken my education very seriously since day one, and the institutions I have attended along the way have recognized me for my efforts and have reciprocated by facilitating the many accomplishments I now am proud to share. New Mexico State University has been very accommodating to my learning and this is where I had a chance to meet my research mentors, Dr. Bandini and Dr. Samani. My investigation has been on the production of a Liquid Organic Fertilizer. The research directly impacts the environment by exploring the possibility to reuse grass clippings and other yard waste as a natural substitute to chemical fertilizers that are known to be harmful for the environment. I am really excited to be part of this project and currently find myself considering the possibility of continuing the research with Dr. Samani in a Graduate program.

Photo of Travis LeDoux
Travis LeDoux
Major: Chemical and Materials Engineering Mentor: Dr. Catherine Brewer,Chemical & Materials Engineering Department at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

Currently studying Engineering with the intent to end up in renewable energy at some point. As I began my College Career I had toured the chemical engineering department with intent to apply, but as the nature of things, I was swayed to do civil engineering. You may ask why? Well, you see, I come from a family of civil engineers, and naturally they pushed me in the direction that they knew worked for them. I had intended to pursue chemical engineering as I have a love for math and chemistry. Having always been fascinated with chemistry, especially as I grew up as a young boy, and ultimately let me wanting to excel in advanced classes growing up, so as to later prepare myself for what I would encounter when I got to College.

I am currently studying to obtain a BS of Chemical and Material Engineering with an anticipated graduation date of May 2018. Eventually pursuing a MS in Chemical Engineering, or Computer Science. I have been fortunate enough to have had opportunities to take part in several programs that not only allow me to travel abroad while still studying Engineering without disrupting my time line for graduation, but to also obtain valuable research opportunities. Highly recommend broadening one’s own scope by traveling abroad. There is no comparison for the experience it leaves you with.

Having had an internship with Los Alamos National Labs, New Mexico AMP has lent its self to provide this wonderful research opportunity. In which, I have gained insight while studying Hydrothermal Depolymerization of Algae in Batch and Continuous Flow Reactor Designs. Being able to work in a lab has allowed me to understand myself better and because of such, I have a much more definitive idea that lab work and research is in fact what I would like to do later in my career.

Photo of Sicilee Macklin
Sicilee Macklin
Major: Chemical and Materials Engineering Mentor: Dr. Catherine Brewer,Chemical & Materials Engineering Department at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

When I was nineteen-years-old I took an Introduction to Biochemistry course. Though unbeknownst to me at the time, this course would initiate in me an unyielding desire to immerse myself in the field of organic chemistry. As a chemical engineering major at New Mexico State University, it is a requirement to complete two organic chemistry courses. With conclusion of the second course, I was entirely convinced I had discovered my passion in life.

Organic chemistry has opened up a new world for me. It’s taught me a different approach to viewing and tackling problems, forced me to think creatively and critically, and challenged me in ways no other discipline has before. I am determined on pursuing graduate studies in this scientific field and have begun research involvement in preparation.

My goal is to use my background in chemical engineering, love of organic chemistry, and deeply-rooted set of morals and standards such as sustainable practices and vegan stance to make this world a better place. This combination of skills and passions has given me a rather unique outlook on life, and I believe there are great things to come. As someone wise once put it, “The only limits are, as always, those of vision.”

Lizet Martinez
Major: Biology Mentor: Dr. Michele K. Nishiguchi, Regents Professor,Biology Department at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

I am currently a junior working on a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and plan to also graduate with a minor. I first began my research experience in Summer Community College Opportunity for Research Experience program, SCCORE, in the summer of 2016. Before the SCCORE program I had a mindset of attending medical school after graduating, however, having the opportunity to get hands-on in a research laboratory opened up more options that I even knew that I had. This led me into the Undergraduate Research Scholars program here at NMSU. I have always been fascinated in how the body functions and in the mechanisms that it used to defend itself from other organisms which is why my interested was highly directed towards medical school. Now that I realize what opportunities research has to offer I plan to attend graduate school for a PhD program in either virology or immunology.

Photo of Manuel Martinez
Manuel Martinez
Major: Chemical and Materials Engineering Mentor: Dr. Reza Foudazi, Assistant Professor,Chemical & Materials Engineering Department at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

Working on attaining my undergraduate degree has been a journey full of personal growth and self-discovery. I began my studies as a chemistry major at the University of Texas at El Paso, following my longtime favorite subject. Throughout my coursework, I began to develop a strong liking for organic chemistry which then led me to ask my professor for an opportunity to participate in undergraduate research. After completing my sophomore and a year of research, I began to look for internships and I was fortunate enough to complete three internships at the Western Refining laboratory.

My internship experiences were a turning point in my academic career since these opportunities introduced me to the chemical engineering field and made me realize how much more fascinated I felt about that field. After some decision making, I decided to transfer to New Mexico State University and pursue a BS in Chemical Engineering.

Currently, I am in my junior year of the chemical engineering program and plan to graduate in May 2018. I applied for the NM Alliance for Minority Participation Undergraduate Research Scholar (URS) program for Fall 2016 and since have been conducting research under Dr. Foudazi’s Soft Matter Research & Technology research group. Where my current research consists of the introduction of Polymerization-Induced Microphase Separation (PIPS) for the development of water filtration membranes.

Photo of Jaime Moya
Jaime Moya
Major: Engineering Physics Mentor: Dr. Stefan Zollner, Academic Department HeadPhysics at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

I am a proud native New Mexican who is expected to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics in the Spring of 2017.  After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school.  I am currently applying to graduate schools in both engineering and physics.  In engineering, I am interested in the field of fluid dynamics.  As for physics, I am interested in materials.  I am excited to evaluate my options, and see where life takes me.  My goal is to eventually use my degrees to bridge the gap between science and technology.

I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the New Mexico AMP Undergraduate Research Scholars Program for the Summer of 2015 through the Fall of 2016.  During my time in the program, I have learned about characterization techniques for materials, including taking x-ray reflectivity, x-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, and ellipsometry measurements as well, as analyzing the data.

Aside from school, I am the vice-president of the Aerospace Honors Society, Sigma Gamma Tau.  On my spare time, I enjoy a nice bike ride through the pecan orchards, brewing a batch of home-brewed beer, and collecting baseball memorabilia.

Photo of Andrew Rodriguez
Andrew Rodriguez
Major: Mechanical Engineering Mentor: Dr. Andreas Gross, Assistant ProfessorMechanical Engineering at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

Greetings! My name is Andrew Rodriquez. I am currently a junior at New Mexico State University. I am studying to get a Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) in Mechanical Engineering. I chose mechanical engineering because growing up I caught interest in building and designing small things with my dad. As I grew the stuff we would build began to get more complex. So basically I grew into this field. My expected graduation date is December 2018. I transferred to New Mexico State from NMSU-Carlsbad in the fall semester of 2015. Since entering college, I have been involved in two New Mexico AMP programs, as a SCCORE intern and as a URS student. I am currently a URS student. The opportunities the NM AMP has given me really helped me learn more about engineering and how to research more efficiently and effectively. I am currently researching about a solar assisted model aircraft for rangeland monitoring. This research interests me because I am getting hands on work and computer work with this project. I am able to give my input on designing the aircraft and I get to build it from scratch. I plan to get my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering then enter the work field. Once I obtain a steady job I plan to go back to school for a Master’s of Science (M.S.) in Mechanical Engineering, hopefully on my companies expense.

Photo of Felicia Rodríguez
Felicia Rodríguez
Major: Chemical and Materials Engineering Mentor: Dr. Feifei Li, Assistant Professor,Chemistry and Biochemistry at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

I am currently a sophomore at New Mexico State University studying Chemical and Materials Engineering. During my senior year of high school, I was discovering my love of chemistry; my advanced placement chemistry teacher peaked my general interest and advised I look into a dual credit class at NMSU where I could further explore my interest in chemistry. Later that year, I enrolled in an Honor’s College journey of discovery class about plants, brains, and the senses. Dr. Serrano was the instructor of this class and she really inspired me to see and appreciate the chemistry in everyday life and biological functions. My freshman year of college I began doing research in Dr. Li’s lab from the department of chemistry. Under Dr. Li, I began synthesizing complexes to model enzymes with key biological functions. Once there is solid understanding of these enzymatic functions, we can develop synthetic versions or better inhibitors to these enzymes depending on the biological implications and importance. During 2016, I was accepted into the NM AMP Undergraduate Research Scholars program which would help fund my research in this area. I plan to continue conducting research under Dr. Li and hopefully, co-author a paper to be published on our findings before I graduate with my B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Then, I would like to go to graduate school to obtain a M.S. in Materials Engineering.

Photo of Ivana Rodríguez
Ivana Rodríguez
Major: Biology Mentor: Dr. Immo Hansen, Associate Professor,Biology at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

My undergraduate years have helped me expand my perspective as a scientist and have changed how I see the universe. I have always had a passion for learning, with an inquisitive mind to match, which led me to produce more questions than I could answer. When I began my college career, and with the support of brilliant, exceptionally inspiring professors, I learned how to seek answers in my own creative manner.

My journey  into research began just over three years ago, when I was accepted into the RISE program for underrepresented minorities at my home university. As a sophomore, I was a neophyte in the field of applied biomedical research. The RISE program was the first internship in which I learned how to critically analyze scientific knowledge, collaborate with peers in a self-propelled research project, and ask relevant, significant questions.

The following semester, I participated in an organic chemistry lab, which taught me the importance and beauty of biochemical interactions as the basis for all of life. I not only learned how to synthesize organic compounds, but I also acquired some understanding of the foundations from which genetic interaction is based upon.

I wanted to explore different research topics around my campus before settling on a long-term project, so the following spring I volunteered in a developmental neurobiology lab. In this setting, I was exposed to the different facets of neurobiology, including physiology, genetics, and signaling pathways. This volunteering position allowed me to expand my thinking and incorporate a more interdisciplinary approach to neuroscience. In fact, it was in this lab that I first learned to appreciate the fascinating relationship between genetics and neuroscience (my two foremost passions).

That summer, I was accepted into an internship at the University of Georgia, where I learned several new (or arguably dated—depending on who you ask) cytogenetic techniques. In this program, I assisted in a project involving the first construction of a complete karyotype for cultivated peanut. I became so immersed in plant genetics as a model for understanding genomics that in the summer of 2015, I applied for an enriching internship with the Boyce Thompson Institute on the Cornell University campus. This thrilling opportunity gave me the chance to acquire new skills in bioinformatics and pipeline streamlining. Additionally at BTI, I gained an extensive appreciation for the complex nature of the genome, and how it so beautifully orchestrates every function, every trait, that an organism can acquire. My experiences in the university have given me knowledge which transcends academic philosophies: it is in fact my research that always prompted me to ask the most significant questions; to challenge, dispute and critique every aspect of my work; to appreciate failure; and not to merely accept every fact, but rather, to be receptive to e very possibility.

I ultimately dream of making a great contribution to our understanding of pervasive neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, in hopes that my efforts will make a difference in the lives of those who suffer and struggle with them. My ideal career would involve researching the genetic mechanisms which drive these types of disorders and propagating scientific knowledge as a professor.

As an American Latina, I believe I can contribute a unique perspective to a global scientific community. I desire for my accomplishments in research not only to greatly impact science, but moreover, I want my passion for research to inspire other young women like myself, by demonstrating that a student is limited by nothing more than her passion and curiosity. Throughout my journey (and the struggles that came with it), I learned to cherish the people in my community—especially the rare mentors who understood and helped with my financial, academic, and personal battles. It was the diverse faculty and mentorship that largely supported me through my academic achievements. I have taken all of my hurdles in stride and have continued on in academia, determined to make a great change in science. I am driven both by my passion for learning, but even more so by my determination to change the lives of my family members whom have suffered with neurodegenerative disease.



Photo of Andrea Salazar
Andrea Salazar
Major: Chemical and Materials Engineering Mentor: Dr. Catherine Brewer, Assistant Professor,Chemical and Materials Engineering at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

Throughout my college career I have had many opportunities to receive and offer help. New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation (NM AMP) has been an amazing source of inspiration ever since I was accepted during the second semester of my freshman year. For example, during an NM AMP meeting there was a presentation about studying abroad while finishing a STEM degree. Fast-forward 6 months and I was awarded the Gilman International Scholarship that allowed me to finance my study abroad experience for a year in Seoul, South Korea for my major in Chemical Engineering. As part of my time in South Korea I was also able to volunteer at the Sogang University research laboratory. As an ambassador for the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University, it has been my task for 3 semesters to connect with current and future students in the form of mentoring, participating in outreach events, and hosting college information sessions locally. While in the Society of Women Engineers, I spoke to groups of young women in an effort to spark their interest in STEM. Next, I plan to extend the reach of my activism to female underclassmen and other minorities to raise awareness about the benefits of undergraduate research along with the opportunities the NM AMP program presents.

I have been able to zero in on my passion: to use environmental, economic, and social knowledge to help save the world from itself in terms of its resource and energy consumption. I want to be an engineer that can help create and implement sustainable solutions because I understand that resource scarcity affects the most vulnerable people in our communities first. As part of my research I have analyzed the viability of local invasive plant species biomass as a feedstock for producing biochar in effort to create a sustainable supply chain of crop soil additive that has the potential to increase soil water retention. I can draw many parallels between my passion and my research especially in effort to have a broader impact on my community and this region.

Photo of Griselda Saucedo
Griselda Saucedo
Major: Mechanical Engineering Mentor: Dr. Delia J. Valles-Rosales, Associate ProfessorIndustrial Engineering Department at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

I am currently an undergraduate student at New Mexico State University (NMSU) seeking a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. My expected graduation date is December 2016.  When I graduated from high school I knew that I wanted to choose a major that could help people out and that was challenging. I was never exposed to engineering as a child, but nothing stopped me to get into the engineering program. I transferred from El Paso Community College (EPCC) in August 2013 to start my bachelor’s degree at NMSU. At first it was hard to adapt to the new system, but at the end I ended up joining engineering societies (SWE and MAES) that helped me through the transferring process. After I get my bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering I would like to get a Master’s Degree in either Mechanical or Optical Engineering. I have worked with the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation in the Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) program along with Dr. Delia Valles in her Rapid Prototyping Laboratory and 3D printing research. I have also had an internship for the summer in the Hands-on Micro/Nano IMPACT REU program. I worked on an MEMS Pressure Sensor Fabricated using Next Generation 3D Printing and was able to present in the National NSF Conference in Arlington, Virginia.

Photo of Katherine Sweebe
Katherine Sweebe
Major: Mathematics Mentor: Dr. Jianjun Paul Tian, Associate ProfessorMathematical Sciences at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

I currently attend New Mexico State University and am majoring in Mathematics.  During my first two years of schooling, I studied Fine Arts.  I developed a love for mathematics by studying renaissance artists and architects.  After a few degree changes, I found myself finally majoring in and conducting research in a field I love.  I currently am studying the dynamics of microglial cell populations in a normal brain.  My research is being conducted under Dr. JianJun Tian.

My current research applies mathematical modeling to biological processes.  Microglial cells are the primary immune defense of the central nervous system.  Microglia were long thought to be passive cells but current research shows that microglia are much more active than we once thought.  A glioma is a type of tumor that starts in the central nervous system that arises from glial cells.  Immune responses to glioma have dual functions, dependent upon the type of activation that microglia undergo.  One of the responses fights tumor growth while the other appears to aid tumor growth.  Understanding the function and dynamics of microglia aids in gaining a greater understanding of the seemingly paradoxical immune responses to glioma.

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Glen Throneberry
Major: Mechanical Engineering Mentor: Dr. Abdessattar Abdelkefi, Assistant Professor,Mechanical Engineering at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

I am a senior at New Mexico State University posed to graduate in May 2017 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. I am the current president for Society of Automotive Engineers Baja at NMSU, an active member of Lambda Chi Alpha, and work in the Student Project Center for the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. I have also been given the opportunity to work on my research focused on Vehicles the optimization of Flapping Wing Micro Air with Dr. Abdelkefi through the NM AMP program. I have also had the opportunity to have two summer internships with Chevron and will be going on my third in following graduation. Upon graduation and completion of my internship I plan to attend graduate school New Mexico State University and work to obtain my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. Upon obtainment of my Ph.D. I hope to work in industry to gain real world knowledge and valuable experience that I hope I can one day bring back to a classroom as a professor. I hope that I can teach and motivate young engineers to pursue a field that motivates them and they are passionate about.

Photo of Anneliese Trujiilo
Anneliese Trujiilo
Major: Chemical Engineering Faculty Mentor: Dr. Champa Sengupta Gopalan, ProfessorDepartment of Plant and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

I am currently a junior at New Mexico State University (NMSU) majoring in Chemical Engineering and Pre-medicine. I anticipate graduating from NMSU in May of 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, and complete medical school perquisites with a 4.0 GPA. My future long-term goals are to gain acceptance into medical school, preferably at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. I am in the New Mexico AMP Undergraduate Research Scholars program, and this program made it possible for me to conduct research as an undergraduate student. I started this program in the Summer of 2015. Receiving this research scholarship enabled me to not have to work part-time outside of school, and I am able to stay on campus and attain valuable research skills. I won first place at the 2015 and 2016 New Mexico AMP Student Research Conference. Academically, I have gained knowledge on the various techniques used while conducting research and an in-depth understanding on subjects that include and are not limited to: biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, statistics, and biochemistry through hands on learning. Medical schools like for applicants to have research experience and would like to see around 40 hours of experience. However, I will have over 1,200 hours of research experience. I thoroughly enjoy my research and am incredibly thankful to have such a wonderful mentor, who was originally my genetics professor, and introduced me to the art of genetic engineering.

Amadeo Trujillo
Major: Civil Engineering Mentor: Dr. Lambis Papelis, Associate ProfessorCivil Engineering Department at New Mexico State University

Personal Statement

I am a 23-year-old Hispanic male who has been attending NMSU since the Fall of 2012. I graduated from a small high school located in northern New Mexico called Taos High School, and it was there that I gained an interest in math and science which is what drove me towards the Civil Engineering profession. As I have grown older and really became a professional at NMSU my interests have only furthered and it has been the perfect environment for me to develop the skills necessary to prosper in this field. My work experience in the engineering field all consists of laboratory work, specifically, work in the environmental engineering laboratory under a faculty mentor. I have worked two summers and two semesters in a program called AMP which allowed me to gain the funding necessary for my participation in various undergraduate research projects. My long term career goals are to gain my Masters in Environmental Engineering followed by a professional license in order to enter the industry and provide sustainable design and development techniques going into the future.