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Mesalands selected to participate in prestigious program to further undergraduate research

Mesalands Community College has been selected to participate in the Western Consortium Watershed Analysis, Visualization and Exploration (WC-WAVE), Undergraduate Visualization and Modeling Network  (UVMN) Program. This program is a collaborative effort of Idaho, New Mexico, and Nevada’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), which is funded by the National Science Foundation. The UVMN program gives students the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research and provides professional development for instructors.

Caption. (Left to right) Nadine Carter, Army Corps of Engineer Ranger at Conchas Dam with Mesalands Community College students, Nikki Vazquez  and Sanda Garret. Mesalands students collect water samples and test for pH levels and dissolved oxygen.  The data collected will be combined with previous data provided by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Caption. (Left to right) Nadine Carter, Army Corps of Engineer Ranger at Conchas Dam with Mesalands Community College students, Nikki Vazquez and Sanda Garret. Mesalands students collect water samples and test for pH levels and dissolved oxygen. The data collected will be combined with previous data provided by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“It’s exciting and such a great accomplishment, for a community college to be selected as part of this project,” said Gretchen Gurtler, Director of the Mesalands Community College’s Dinosaur Museum and Natural Sciences Laboratory.

Three institutions from each of the three states were chosen for this program. In addition to Mesalands Community College, New Mexico Highlands University and the University of New Mexico were selected from the State of New Mexico. The faculty member overseeing this program at each institution, chose a student researcher to assist in this project. Nikki Vazquez, a recent Mesalands graduate in Wind Energy Technology, will be assisting Gurtler with this research project. Vazquez will be awarded a $4,000 scholarship and Gurtler will receive $5,000 to fund research projects. Vazquez and Gurtler will continue their water research at Conchas Dam, in collaboration with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. They also plan to work with other EPSCoR members from other institutions. The WC-WAVE program at Mesalands Community College will continue until May 2015.

“This program has broadened my horizons and has made me interested in more than wind energy,” said Vazquez. “I hope to work with the Army Corps of Engineers and forestry department, after I get my bachelor’s degree.”

Vazquez plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a natural sciences discipline.

“This program is one that has provided great opportunities for Mesalands Community College students to jump start their career, while helping our region better understand the impact on drought conditions on our water supply,” Dr. Thomas W. Newsom, President of Mesalands Community College said.