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New Mexico State University

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NMSU among 21 finalists for 2018 Excelencia in Education recognition

Excelencia in Education is the only national organization that recognizes evidence-based programs that accelerate Latino student success in higher education.


Group of people standing in front of a building
NMSU RISE program professors including Elba Serrano, far left, along with RISE students and mentors stand for a group photograph outside Foster Hall. (Photo by Darren Phillips)

NMSUís Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement: RISE to the Post-Doctorate is among 21 finalists overall and one of only three graduate level finalists competing to be named 2018 Examples of Excelencia.

The organization will name one winner in each of four categoriesĖ Associate, Baccalaureate, Graduate, and Community-Based Organizations Ė at its annual Celebracion de Excelencia Thursday, Oct. 11 in Washington, D. C.

The RISE program works to diversify biomedical and biobehavioral fields by focusing on underrepresented groups for Ph.D. completion. The program prepares masterís degree and doctoral level students for the next step in their careers through research mentorship, professional development, workshops and more.

Over the last 18 years, the NMSU RISE program has supported degree completion by 36 Latino Ph.D. students and 45 Latino masterís degree students with 94 percent completion rate for Ph.D. students and 84 percent completion rate for masterís students. Combined with other minority students, the RISE program has supported graduate degree completion by 91 NMSU STEM graduate students over 18 years.

Biology professor Marvin Bernstein, now retired, founded the RISE program at NMSU in 2000 with funds from a five-year award from the National Institutes of Health. He was succeeded by NMSU Regents Professor Elba Serrano, who led the program from January 2008 through July 2018, joined by biology professors Shelley Lusetti and Graciela Unguez in August 2013. The program was renewed for a fifth cycle of NIH support in August 2018 under the guidance of Michele Nishiguchi, biology professor and department head, Igor Sevostianov, mechanical engineering professor,and Dean of the College of Engineering Lakshmi Reddi.

To view a video about the NMSU RISE programís history, visit the Excelencia in Education website at https://www.edexcelencia.org/programs-initiatives/growing-what-works-database/research-initiative-scientific-enhancement-rise .