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NMSU to host virtual Research and Creativity Week Nov. 10-13

New Mexico State University will host a completely virtual Research and Creativity Week Nov. 10-13 to highlight scholarly research and creative activity of faculty, staff and students. The interactive program is open to the NMSU campus and community.


Head shots of six women
New Mexico State University’s Research and Creativity Week will include speeches from (clockwise from top left) Erica Alston, France Córdova, Jen Heemstra, Pei Xu, Christine Sleeter and Ellen Ochoa. (Courtesy photo)
Illustration of virtual lecture hall
New Mexico State University’s Research and Creativity Week will be virtual this year, and speakers will present in the interactive lecture hall. (Courtesy photo)
Illustration of virtual poster hall
New Mexico State University’s Research and Creativity Week will be virtual this year, and student and faculty posters will be presented in the interactive poster hall. (Courtesy photo)

The online platform provides virtual conferencing to help simulate an in-person event including a lobby area, which will highlight colleges and units on campus, lecture hall, where speakers will present, and poster hall, where posters will be presented.

“RCW is a celebration of creative scholarly activity at NMSU,” said Tanner Schaub, chair of the University Research Council. “While preparing for this event, I have had broad exposure to the range of incredible talent that NMSU has, and I am excited that all of these stellar faculty, staff and students are taking the time to share their work with NMSU and the local community. If you have friends and family that would enjoy attending, please encourage them to show up. It is free – all you need to do is register with an email address. We have some fantastic keynote speakers lined up as well.”

“Showcasing research and creative activity, particularly when it reaches beyond peers to the public, communicates and enhances the value of student and faculty work,” said Luis Cifuentes, vice president for research and dean of the graduate school. “For students, it offers a venue to be discovered, opening up professional opportunities.”

Research and Creativity Week attendees must register at https://rcw.nmsu.edu/.

Research and Creativity Week will include keynote addresses, highlight talks from Regents Professors and University Research Council awardees, talks and posters from faculty, staff and students, short performances and musical events, presentations of film, theatre and the arts, and media installations, along with career development discussions for faculty and students.

Ellen Ochoa, vice chair of the National Science Foundation National Science Board, will give the first keynote speech of the week Tuesday, Nov. 10. Ochoa was the first NASA Johnson Space Center Hispanic director and second woman to serve in that role. Ochoa, who joined NASA in 1988, retired in 2018. Selected as an astronaut in 1990, she became the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission on the space shuttle Discovery in 1993.

Jen Heemstra, associate professor at Emory University’s Department of Chemistry, will deliver the keynote speech Wednesday, Nov. 11. Heemstra’s talk with focus on encouraging faculty to use social media. At Emory, Heemstra’s research is focused on harnessing the molecular recognition and self-assembly properties of nucleic acids for applications in biosensing and bioimaging.

On Thursday, Nov. 12, Christine Sleeter, professor emerita in the College of Education at California State University, Monterey Bay, will give the keynote address. Her work focuses on multicultural education, preparation of teachers for culturally diverse schools and anti-racism, and she is the author of more than 22 books.

Erica Alston, deputy space grant manager of NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement, will present the final keynote address Friday, Nov. 13. She joined NASA in 2004. In her current role, Alston is working to increase K-12 involvement in NASA projects, enhance higher education, support underrepresented communities, strengthen online education and boost NASA’s contribution to informal education. The goal of NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement is to prepare a generation to code, calculate, design and discover its way to a new era of American innovation.

All of the keynote addresses will be from 12 to 1 p.m., each day of the event. Judy Collins, an award-winning singer and songwriter, will give a musical performance and interview moderated by Jim Shearer, music professor, at 7 p.m. Nov. 10.

Pei Xu, NMSU civil engineering professor, has been selected as the inaugural RCW Faculty Plenary Speaker. She will present at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 12. Three newly-appointed Regents Professors will give highlight talks: Graciela Unguez, biology professor, at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 10, Julia Barello, art department head, at 3:10 p.m. Nov. 10, and Rolston St. Hilaire, plant and environmental sciences department head, at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 12.

University Research Council awardees also will give highlight talks: early career honoree, Akasha Faist, animal and range sciences assistant professor, at 1:10 p.m. Nov. 10; research recognition honoree Punam Thakur, Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center research and lab affairs officer, at 1:50 p.m. Nov. 10; team award honorees Laura Anh Williams and M. Catherine Jonet, interdisciplinary studies associate professors, at 3:50 p.m. Nov. 10; and distinguished career honoree Igor Sevostianov, mechanical engineering professor, at 2 p.m. Nov. 11.

Chancellor Dan Arvizu will host a discussion with France Córdova, former National Science Foundation director, about the future of science and technology in the post-COVID-19 era at 3 p.m. Nov. 13.