NMSU Research Programs

Undergraduate research programs provide funding, course credit, and/or other support to students who work with faculty on scholarship in an academic discipline.  Many programs help students find a faculty mentor and research placements and provide training and professional development.  Read on for programs hosted by NMSU for students in all fields as well as specific disciplines:

Capstone Project: Honors Program

Yes, the NMSU University Honors Program is a research program!  The full University Honors Program culminates in either in a senior capstone research project or internship conducted under the supervision of faculty mentor and overseen by the Dean of Honors. All students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher are eligible to complete a thesis or internship through the Honors College.  Those with a GPA below 3.5 can petition the Dean of Honors to make their case for waiving the minimum GPA.  Students already completing a thesis for their major can also arrange with the Honors College in advance to satisfy the requirements for Honors capstone credit.  

Honors projects can vary widely, depending on the students' interests and proposed approaches. All Honors capstones will:

  • Be a significant project beyond the work completed in a standard three credit class
  • Be proposed in advance with approval from an advisor and/or the Honors Office
  • Require work at a high level (early professional level) appropriate to the field
  • Generate an original final product that can be submitted to the Honors Office for documentation
  • Be shared with others beyond the advisor and Honors Office
  • Be a useful enterprise that elevates student achievement with preparation for next steps beyond NMSU

Discovery Scholars

The Discovery Scholars Program (DSP) was founded in 2014 as an Arts & Sciences-wide celebration of undergraduate scholarship. It is now collaborating with the Honors College and CURCA to support the undergraduate researchers across the university.  DSP aims to nurture undergraduate discovery through research with faculty mentors and encourage students to continue their education in graduate or professional school. Any undergraduate who is engaged in scholarship with faculty guidance outside of regular class activities can join the program as a DSP Scholar. Scholars may be supported by other undergraduate research programs (e.g., MARC, AMP, PARC, or BRIDGES), working on an Honors College thesis, or even working independently with a faculty mentor. While working to complete their project, DSP Scholars also identify and work toward the completion of different benchmarks, which DSP celebrates along the way with DSP swag. DSP scholars and mentors receive a T-shirt when they enter the program, messenger bags and hoodies after completing portions of the benchmarks, and a graduation stole upon completion.  For more information, email the Associate Director of DSP, Dr. Michael C. Hout (mhout@nmsu.edu) or Director of DSP, Dr. Nancy McMillan (nmcmilla@nmsu.edu).



McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program

The federally-funded McNair program is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.  McNair participants have demonstrated strong academic potential and are either first-generation college students with financial need or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and. The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented segments of society.  In addition to other forms of support, the NMSU McNair program helps McNair Scholars prepare for undergraduate opportunities in research and creative endeavor.  For more information, contact director Marko Mohlenhoff at markom@nmsu.edu.

Field-Specific Programs

ACES Undergraduate Research Program

The ACES Undergraduate Research Program supports awarded researchers with $1,000 in funds distributed in two equal payments at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters of the award year. Up to $500 will be provided for research supplies.  Proposals should be developed in conversation with a mentor and be submitted with their endorsement.  For more information, contact director Dr. Jennifer Hernandez Gifford at gifford@nmsu.edu.

Avian Migration Research Program 

Paid undergraduate research and agency internships are available in this USDA & NIFA-funded program studying bird migrations, which can help us understand the impacts of climate change and human actions on wildlife.  The Avian Migration Program focuses on preparing students for careers in applied conservation.  The program connects with a team of research mentors, summer internships with federal and state agencies, core courses that include a field component in Costa Rica, professional development and more. For more information, contact Dr. Tim Wright at wright@nmsu.edu.

iCREDITS Center for Smartgrid Technologies 

Established in 2014, the interdisciplinary Center of Research Excellence in Design of Intelligent Technologies for Smartgrids (iCREDITS) is focused on increasing the participation of underrepresented minorities (URM) in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) while bringing together experts in computer science, electrical engineering,mathematics, and education. The project is now in its second phase, seeking sustainable solutions to gaps created by ever-changing technologies, threats posed by aging infrastructures, severe weather, and malicious intents, and the changes in energy production, technology policy, regulations, and customer needs. Undergraduate research assistants work closely with faculty and graduate students on specific projects.


Enhancement Research Program in ACES 

Contact participating faculty on flier 

The Enhancement program offers opportunities to minority undergraduate students in the areas of biological sciences, natural resources, agriculture, wildlife biology, aquatic entomology, urban entomology and ornithology.  This is a stellar opportunity for community college students in ecology fields who are interested in transferring to the main campus.  The next cohort will be chosen in January.  Now is the right time to make contact with faculty with expertise in the areas that interest you.  To get started, contact Dr. Alvaro Romero, Project Director, at aromero2@nmsu.edu to discuss research lab options. 


Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) 

NOTE: the MARC program is not current recruiting.  MARC was established in 1975 to increase the numbers of underrepresented groups in the biomedical and behavioral sciences and to diversify the research workforce. The MARC program at NMSU has been funded since 1977 to aid students obtaining advanced degrees in the biomedical research sciences through support and training. MARC offers: 

  • Approximately 18 Undergraduate Scholars positions 
  • Support to present research at national professional conferences 
  • Various workshops throughout the year 
  • Special courses to earn honors credits 
  • Summer research opportunities at leading institutions around the country

To be eligible for MARC you must be an NMSU student enrolled in at least 15 credits, have a minimum 3.2 GPA, and have two years remaining. Students must also be majoring in one of the following: Animal & Range Science, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Entomology Plant Pathology & Weed Sciences, Fishery & Wildlife Science, Genetics, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Chemical Engineering, and Physics. 


New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP) 

A Partnership of 14 Institutions statewide, with NMSU serving as the Lead Institution, the STEM AMP program is a partnership of the state's two-and four-year colleges and universities, with a primary goal of increasing the number of B.S. degrees awarded to underrepresented students in New Mexico. AMP offers: 

  • Scholarships and research assistantships through programs such as STEM Prep, Undergraduate Research Scholars, Transfer Scholarship, and International Research and Education Participation 
  • Professional development opportunities 
  • Support to present research in statewide symposiums 

To be eligible for participation in AMP you must be enrolled at a New Mexico community college or four-year university. Additional requirements vary by program. 

New Mexico IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) 

INBRE is a statewide network that encourages the development of innovative research environments for students engaging health initiatives, and basic, clinical, and translational research in New Mexico. INBRE offers four summer experiences: 

  • NISE-Prep - a research laboratory experience for students without previous experience 
  • NISE-Bootcamp - a laboratory- and lecture-based program for students with little to no research experience 
  • NISE-Internship - an independent biomedical research experience for advanced students 
  • Undergraduate Pipeline Network (UPN) - biomedical research at the UNM Health Sciences Center

To be eligible for participation in INBRE, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and must have full-time summer availability (cannot be enrolled in summer classes). At present, NMSU students are eligible to apply for the NISE internship in Bioinformatics.


Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research (PACR) 

PACR is a collaboration between NMSU and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Together, we are dedicated to improving cancer health equity by providing opportunities for research, education, training, and community engagement for underserved populations in the U.S. Southwest and Pacific Northwest. PACR offers: 

  • Summer Undergraduate Research Program 
  • Cancer Research Internship for Graduate Students 
  • Funding for conference presentations 
  • Undergraduate and graduate student positions in research projects and labs 
  • Workshops and lectures open to all students 

To be eligible to participate in PACR programs you must be a full-time student at NMSU. Internships are available to juniors, seniors and graduate students with U.S. citizenship only. Students interested in public health and biomedical research are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Research-Oriented Learning Experiences (ROLE) Program

The Research-Oriented Learning Experiences (ROLE) program at New Mexico State University (NMSU) provides Latino/a college students with the tools and knowledge required to succeed in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) majors in particular, and in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)-related degrees in general. ECE is a field of great relevance for our modern society, and where Latinx are commonly underrepresented. This project encourages minorities, in particular Latina undergraduates, to participate in high-impact research-oriented educational activities, where they conduct research in collaboration with minority and/or Latinx graduate students and ECE faculty, leading to pathways to graduate programs. This project also trains Latinx graduate students to mentor a selected group of undergraduates, in order that they can strengthen and refine their mentoring and leadership skills, which are very useful in STEM-oriented academia and industry positions.

New Mexico Space Grant Consortium Scholarships and Fellowships

New Mexico Space Grant Consortium offers scholarships and fellowships for the fall and spring semesters. The application period typically closes in early April. NMSGC offers scholarships and fellowships to students enrolled in any community college or university in New Mexico. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and must be majoring in a STEM field, with exception of the Pre-Service Teaching Undergraduate Studies Scholarship and the In-Service Teacher Graduate Studies Fellowship. The fall 2022-spring 2023 undergraduate scholarships and fellowships offered are:

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship
  • Community College Student Scholarship
  • Pre-Service Teaching Undergraduate Studies Scholarship

For questions, contact Cristina Esquivel at cmesquiv@nmsu.edu

NMSU S-STEM Program in Computer Science

The overarching goal of the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) New Mexico STEM Scholars program is to help prepare academically talented low-income students to enter the computing workforce or advanced studies in computing disciplines.  The S-STEM program engages scholars in professional development activities, which will provide them with tools and mastery experiences to strengthen their preparation and effectively orient them in their academic trajectories. The CAHSI NM S-STEM scholars are financially supported and selected from among qualified student in computing degree programs.

STEM Summer Programs Affiliated with NMSU

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

An REU consists of a small group of undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where they work closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. An REU Site may be at either a US or foreign location. You can look for REUs around the world here, but:

Several important summer REUs are are coordinated by NMSU faculty!  

NSF-REU on Immigration Policy and US-Mexico Border Communities

The NSF-REU Collaborative Site Program on Immigration Policy and US-Mexico Border Communities is designed to provide undergraduate students with training in research methods and opportunities to conduct collaborative projects with community partners on the nature and impacts of US immigration policy in the Paso del Norte borderlands region of Las Cruces-El Paso-Ciudad Juárez. 30 undergraduate students from NMSU, UTEP and around the United States have participated in 10-week summer programs. For more information, see https://borderreu.nmsu.edu/ . Contact: Dr. Neil Harvey, NMSU Department of Government (nharvey@nmsu.edu).

NSF-REU BIG Data Analytics for Cyber-physical Systems

The goal of this REU site initiative (BIGDatA- BIG DatAnalytics for Cyber-physical Systems) is to inspire and prepare undergraduate students to pursue academic studies and careers in STEM with a focus on big data analytics for cyber-physical systems (CPS).
The site’s research projects will focus on equipping students with skills and knowledge related to big data analytics in CPS. The CPS will be exemplified by four main application areas: smart grids, wireless sensor networks, smart homes for the elderly and disabled, and disaster response. For more information, see the website at https://www.cs.nmsu.edu/reu/ . Contact: Dr. Huiping Cao, Department of Computer Science (hcao@cs.nmsu.edu) or Dr. Tuan Le, Department of Computer Science (tuanle@nmsu.edu).

NSF-REU Jornada Basin LTER

Jornada Basin LTER was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the causes and consequences of desertification through long-term research now in its 40th year. The Jornada Basin LTER has funding to support a modest number of undergraduate research (JRN-REU) fellowships each summer. Students will work with mentors associated with JRN-LTER or NMSU on research related to Jornada LTER research themes.  For about the REU program, please see website.  Applications are typically due in early March.  Contact Niall Hanan (nhanan@nmsu.edu) or Email Madeleine Moss (msoss@nmsu.edu) with any questions.


Related NMSU Support

Aggie Innovation Space and Workshop

Located on the second floor of NMSU’s Engineering Complex 1, the AIS is a student-managed makerspace established to give access to state-of-the-art resources to help foster innovation and entrepreneurship. The Innovation Space serves as a gathering point where students, researchers, and everyone in between can connect to work on projects.  Students have access to experienced mentors, new technologies and the latest engineering design software and tools.  The AIS is equipped with 3D printers, a fully-stocked electronics lab, a variety of sensors and programmable development boards, robotics kits, extensive multi-disciplinary software, and low-resolution prototyping materials to aid in the creation of innovative technologies.  The Aggie Innovation Workshop provides students with access to some of the most cutting-edge machinery in the region. Aggie_Innovation_Space_Hannah-Linder-eng-3d-crop-Josh-Bachman-copy.jpeg

Studio G: turn your idea into a business

Studio G, Arrowhead Center’s student business incubator, provides student and alumni clients with mentoring, business development support, and access to entrepreneurial training. Studio G’s Summer Startup Accelerator will begin June 2nd; application open now.  Arrowhead Center also offers free prototyping assistance and social media supportWomen entrepreneurs network at the WE Mean Business Virtual Coffee Meetups. This and other events are posted on the Arrowhead Center Facebook page. 


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