NMSU to receive more than $4 million in funding to bolster diversity in STEM research

Las Cruces News

Professor Ehsan Dehghan-Niri, NMSU photo by Vladimir Avina

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — New Mexico State University is set to receive more than $4 million in research funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Among the award recipients is Ehsan Dehghan-Niri, assistant professor of Civil Engineering at NMSU, who received a 2021 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award for his research project on aye-ayes, an unusual primate from Madagascar.

More than $500,000 of the grant is part of the $4,086,244 in funding awarded to NMSU faculty and staff.

Many of the grants focus on increasing the number of women, Hispanics, Native Americans and other historically underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

“NSF funding supports high-quality research and results from the efforts of our superb faculty and research scientists,” said Luis Cifuentes, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School. “NMSU aspires to Carnegie R1 ranking; continued success with NSF funding is a key to accomplishing this goal.”

The funding aligns with NMSU’s goal to focus on bolstering research and creativity while also increasing equity and diversity within STEM fields.

“New Mexico’s public colleges and research universities add tremendous value to our state, helping to position us as national and international leaders in innovation,” New Mexico Higher Education Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said in a press release about the funding. “It is especially important that we empower students from all backgrounds for successful careers in science, technology, engineering and math with mentorship and research experience during their academic careers.”

NMSU’s funded research projects include:

  • $1,190,460 to conduct research into biofilm, through which students will be co-mentored by a team of scientists and have the opportunity to conduct research at national laboratories
  • $475,685 for the purchase of a Bio-AFM microscope to support the research and training of investigators and students at NMSU, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and Eastern New Mexico University
  • $301,999 to envision, design and engage in worker-oriented research and training related to the proliferation of automation in the hospitality industry, which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • $299,733 to increase the participation of women and Hispanic high school students in computer science 

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