NMSU Undergraduate Symposium: URCAS!

Hold the date for URCAS 2024:

Friday, April 12, 2024, in Corbett Center





URCAS poster session

URCAS lunch friends

Devynne Hadley and Agora 2023 team



Download the URCAS 23 PROGRAM

Thank you to all who presented at URCAS 23!

Yunnel Acevedo, Art
Charity Amezcua, Art
Mohammad Badawy, Chemical Engineering, Microbiology; AMP
Autumn Bandy, Biology
Katie Banga, Genetics and Biotechnology
Victor Baquera, Biology; AMP
Julissa Barrera, Chemical Engineering
Kaihre Brightwater, Biology; MARC
Paulina Burnside, English, Spanish
Hiram Camarena, Microbiology, Chemistry; AMP
Jessica Camargo, Art
Nakeisha Campbell, Anthropology; Honors Capstone; McNair Scholars Program
Bethany Chacon, Electrical and Computer Engineering; ROLE
Ruth Christensen, Art History, Graphic Design
Jonathan Davis, English, Creative Writing
Francisco J. Dena, Animal Science
Phoenix Dendera, Biology
Jacob DeVargas, Microbiology; AMP
Jeffrey Dominguez, Animal Science; AMP
Abdalrahman Elaksher, Chemical Engineering; AMP
Annie Ersinghaus, Digital Film Making
Ruben Nathaniel Escandon, Biochemistry; AMP
Jordy Espino Lopez, Social Work, Spanish; Honors Capstone; McNair Scholars Program
Emily Fernandez, Art
Elizabeth Gamez, Plant and Environmental Sciences; ENHANCEMENT
Antonio Garcia, Languages and Linguistics; Honors Capstone; McNair Scholars Program
Adrian Gomez, Electrical and Computer Engineering; ROLE
Christopher Gomez, Horticulture; MARC
Horacio Gonzalez, Cybersecurity; S-STEM
Shane Griffin, Industrial Engineering; AMP
Michelle Gutierrez, Animal Science; MARC
Devynne Hadley, English, Rhetoric and Professional Communication; Honors Capstone
Savannah Hair, English
Darcy Harman, Theatre Arts
Cesar Herrera, Civil Engineering; AMP, MARTE
Pamela Herrera-De Los Santos, Art
Angie Hernandez, Digital Filmmaking and Computer Science; S-STEM
Joshua Jackson, Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management; Honors Capstone
Kenzie Keith, Chemical Engineering; Honors Capstone
Mariah Leonard, Biology; MARC, Minimizing Health Disparities (UA MHD)
Mike Lopez III, Biology; MARC
Aaron Lopez Gonzalez, Engineering Physics; AMP
Sam Lucero, Chemical Engineering
Evan Ludwig, Biochemistry
Jonah Madrid, Mechanical Engineering; AMP
Madison Marcus, Chemical Engineering
Marcos Marmolejo,Microbiology; MARC
Kaitlin Marry, Environmental Science; MARC, Honors Capstone
Jacob Martinez, Fisheries and Wildlife; MARC
Marco Martinez, Mathematics; AMP
Natalia Martinez, Art History; Minor: Museum Conservation; Honors Capstone
Kari Melander, Human Nutrition and Dietetic Sciences
Isaac Melendrez, Chemistry and Biochemistry; MARC
Melissa Mejorado, Chemical Engineering
Nico Mendoza, Industrial Engineering; AMP
Matthew Miranda, Genetics & Biotechnology; Honors Capstone
Kayla Moehn, Genetics and Biotechnology; Honors Capstone
Daniel Montes, Biology; MARC
Nora Nava, Physics; AMP
Ian Nelson, Biology
Erick Nevarez, Computer Science; S-STEM
Karla Ortega Sandoval, Chemical Engineering; MARC
Marissa Padilla, Biology; MARC
Daniela Palacios, Chemical Engineering; AMP
Elena Pearson, Biology; MARC
Kennedi Pyper, Genetics and Biotechnology; AMP
Julian Rivera, Art
Edward Rivota, Electrical and Computer Engineering; ROLE
Isabella Rodriguez, Microbiology, Chemistry, East Asian Studies; AMP
Abril Romero, Biochemistry; MARC
Meghan Romero, English; Honors Capstone
Miguel Salazar, Horticulture; ENHANCEMENT
Nadia Samaniego, Biochemistry
Ian Sanchez, Art
Gloria Sepulveda, Chemical Engineering; AMP
Emilio Serrano, Mechanical Engineering; AMP
Emily Stutesman, Kinesiology; Discovery Scholars Program
Julian A. Vazquez, Mechanical Engineering; AMP, MARTE



Fountain Room

Doña Ana Room

Senate Chambers

Senate Gallery


8-9 Registration & Set Up




Panel 1. *8:30am* Sustainability in HRTM

Joshua Jackson

Conveners: Dr. Jean Hertzman, Dr. Anne Hubbell



Poster Set Up in Central Ballroom






Panel 2. Life Sciences 1

Katie Banga,

Phoenix Dendera,

Ian Nelson

Conveners: Dr. Brook Milligan, Dr. Donovan Bailey, Dr. Soyoung Jeon

Panel 3. Life Sciences 2

Kaihre Brightwater, Christopher Gomez, Kaitlin Marry

Conveners: Dr. April Ulery, Dr. Anne Hubbell

Panel 4. Creative Media & Writing

Meghan Romero,

Jonathan Davis,

Annie Ersinghaus

Conveners: Dr. Tyson Stolte, Dr. Cat Jonet 

Panel 5. Physical & Life Sciences

Daniel Montes,

Daniela Palacios

 Conveners: Dr. Graciela Unguez, Dr. Tracey Miller-Tomlinson




Roundtable for Students and Faculty on Undergraduate Research Mentorship

Abdessattar Abdelkefi,

Adriana Romero Olivares

Jennifer Hernandez Gifford

Sergio Martinez 

Jennifer Randall

Conveners: AMP Director Jeanne Garland, Dr. Tracey Miller-Tomlinson

Panel 6. Computer Science

Angie Hernandez,

Erick Nevarez,

Horacio Gonzalez

Conveners: Dr. Soyoung Jeon, Dr. Anne Hubbell

Panel 7. Communication & Design

Antonio Garcia,

Ruth Christensen, et al.,

Devynne Hadley, et al.

Conveners: Prof. Brita d'Agostino, McNair Director Marko Mohlenhoff

Panel 8. Life Sciences 3

Jacob Martinez,

Kayla Moehn,

Mariah Leonard

Conveners: Dr. April Ulery, Samantha Valentino



Poster Session & Panels

11:15 Welcome










­12-1: Leaves from Registration Table: curator tour of the Juried Student Art Show in Devasthali Hall

Panel 9. 11-12. Arts Across Borders

Nakeisha Campbell,

Jordy Espino Lopez

Darcy Harman

ConvenersMcNair Director Marko Mohlenhoff, Dr. Judith Flores Carmona

Panel 10. 12-1. Shakespeare

Jonathan Davis,

Savannah Hair,

Meghan Romero

Conveners: Prof. Larissa Lury, Prof. Lisa Hermanson


Poster Session




Welcoming Remarks by Dr. Luis Cifuentes at 11:15am



& Awards


Keynote: Dr. Nancy McMillan, Geology, “In Praise of One-Offs”


1:45pm Awards





PACR-U54 Reception on Cancer Research and Health Disparities








Reception for Opening of the Honors Art Collective



ISABELLA M. CROUCH READER’S THEATRE in the Communication Building:

Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters, adapted by Stephen Briggs.  Dir. Darcy Harman (EMBER Theatre Company)

7:30pm: Friday and Saturday; 6pm: Sunday.  Tickets $10.


URCAS Panel & Keynote Recordings

Dona Aña Room

Panel 1. Sustainability in HRTM:


 Panel 3. Life Sciences 2:

Keynote: Dr Nancy McMillan & Awards:


Fountain Room

Panel 2. Life Sciences 1:


Round Table for Students and Faculty on Undergraduate Research Mentorship:


Senate Gallery

Panel 5. Physical & Life Sciences:


Panel 8. Life Sciences 3:


Panel 4. Creative Media & Writing:


Panel 7. Communications & Design:


Panel 9. Arts Across Borders:


Panel 10. Shakespeare:


General information on URCAS 23

When: Friday, April 14, 2023, 8am-2pm (registration & poster setup, 8-9)

Where: Corbett Center, 3rd floor

How can I take part?

Present a poster (email tomlin@nmsu.edu to use the CURCA printer)

Give a 15-minute talk about your work

Perform or exhibit creative work

Why present at URCAS?

Gain professional experience in a friendly environment      

Share your work with peers and faculty      

Practice academic and career skills of presenting and networking      

Build your resume with presentation experience

Learn what other undergraduate scholars are doing on our campus,

Join in the vibrant intellectual life of the university


Set-up for poster session, 8-9am

Talks/Presentations, 8:30am-1pm

Poster Session, 11am-1pm, with light lunch

Remarks by Dr. Cifuentes during Poster Session

Keynote, 1pm: Dr. Nancy McMillan, Geology and Discovery Scholars

Presentation of Awards, 1:45pm

Reception on Cancer and Health Disparities Research: hosted by the Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research/U54, 2-3pm

Reception for the Opening of the Honors Art Collective, 5:30pm in Conroy Honors Center

EMBER Student Theater Company, dir. Darcy Harman, performs Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters, a comedy arranged by Stephen Briggs and based on Macbeth and Hamlet, 7:30pm in the Reader's Theater, tickets $10

What is URCAS?

The Undergraduate Research & Creative Arts Symposium (URCAS) is NMSU's showcase of undergraduate intellectual enterprises. ALL NMSU students are welcome and encouraged to take part, not just Crimson Scholars or Honors students.  Highlighting student research, artwork, performances, and more, URCAS is a great way to get experience presenting in your field.  Come also to support your friends and classmates and find out what might be possible for you to accomplish at NMSU. URCAS is coordinated by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA), housed in the Honors College and serving all students at NMSU.

Just a few examples of URCAS presentations:

  • a paper or project for a course or a directed study  
  • results from lab research or other study, analysis, or experiment 
  • a research component for an internship 
  • a design solution to an industry need or engineering problem 
  • an original work of art, literature, or film 
  • musical or play performance 
  • a magazine, journal, or website
  • an exhibit you curated 

You can share your work in a 15-minute presentation or via a poster or exhibit, and individually or as a group.  For resources on how to submit your abstract or start a project, check out the links in the sidebar. A poster printer is available for your use in CURCA at Conroy Honors Center.  Have questions? Please reach our to CURCA director Dr. Miller-Tomlinson at tomlin@nmsu.edu or (575)646-2005.

Two of the hallmarks of a great university include excellence in undergraduate education and a vibrant community of scholars propelling advancements across all fields of study.  For over a quarter of a century now, NMSU has featured what happens when we bring these two together at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium!
Congratulations to all the undergraduate students contributing new knowledge and creative work in this annual symposium.  Thank you to all the advisors and supervisors that helped make these contributions possible!

--Dean Phame Camarena, PhD, William Conroy Honors College

2023 URCAS Faculty Mentors

Faculty Mentorship roundtable at URCAS 2023

2023 URCAS Roundtable on Faculty Mentorship

Dr. Abdessattar Abdelkefi, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Dr. Jeffrey Amato, Geology
Dr. Amanda Ashley, Chemistry and Biochemistry 
Dr. Donovan Bailey, Biology
Professor Susan Beck, Library
Dr. Catherine Brewer, Chemical Engineering 
Dr. Phame Camarena, Dean of Honors
Dr. Rebecca Campbell, Honors
Dr. Cecilia Contreras Aguirre, Educational Leadership and Administration
Dr. Douglas Cortes, Civil Engineering
Dr. Stephen Cowen, University of Arizona
Dr. Jennifer Curtiss, Biology
Professor Brita d’Agostino, MFA, Art
Dr. Ehsan Dehghan-Niri, Civil Engineering
Adan Delval, Computer Science
Dr. Glenn W. Fetzer, Languages and Linguistics;
Dr. Judith Flores Carmona, Borderlands and Ethnic Studies
Dr. Luis Rodolfo Garcia Carrillo, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dr. Ivette Guzman, Plant and Environmental Sciences
Dr. Mahdi Haghshenas-Jaryani, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Dr. Kathryn Hanley, Biology
Professor Lisa Hermanson, Theatre Arts
Dr. Jennifer Hernandez Gifford, Animal and Range Sciences
Dr. Jean Hertzman, HRTM
Dr. Jessica Houston, Chemical Engineering
Dr. Kevin Houston, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Michael Hout, Psychology
Professor Ilana Lapid, MFA, Creative Media
Professor Larissa Lury, Theatre Arts
Dr. William Maio, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Shadai Martin, Family and Consumer Sciences
Dr. Sergio Martínez Monteagudo, Family and Consumer Sciences
Dr. Tracey Miller-Tomlinson, English
Dr. Brook Milligan, Biology
Dr. Eric Nielsen, Astronomy
Dr. Teri Orr, Biology
Dr. Megan Papesh, Psychology
Dr. Moire Prescott, Astronomy
Dr. Jennifer Randall, Plant Molecular Biology
Dr. Alvaro Romero, Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Weed Science
Dr. Adriana Romero Olivares, Biology
Nathaniel Roth, Experimental Psychology
Dr. Soum Sanogo, Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Weed Science
Dr. Mary Alice Scott, Anthropology
Scarlet Sellers, Biology
Dr. Juie Shetye, Astronomy
Dr. C. Brad Shuster, Biology
Dr. Lois Stanford, Anthropology
Dr. Tyson Stolte, English
Dr. Liang Sun, Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Rodolfo Tello-Aburto, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. April Ulery, Plant and Environmental Sciences
Dr. Graciela Unguez, Biology
Samantha Valentino
Abhilasha Vishwanath, University of Arizona
Dr. Timothy Wright, Biology
Dr. Erik Yukl, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Stefan Zollner, Physics

2022 URCAS Faculty Mentors

Abdessattar Abdelkefi (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering)
Christopher Aiken (Kinesiology)
Amanda Ashley (Chemistry & Biochemistry)
Ryan Ashley (Animal and Range Sciences, endocrinology)
Christopher Baker (Chemistry)
Catie Brewer (Chemical Engineering)
Maria Castillo (Immunology)
Kevin Cheung (Public Health, Cancer Research)
Douglas Cortes (Civil Engineering)
Lon Chaffin (Music Composition)
Christopher Cramer (Crop Genetics, Plant and Environmental Sciences)
Jennifer Curtiss (Biology & Genetics)
Ehsan Dehgan-Niri (Structural Engineering)
Marlene Fraune (Social Robotics, Psychology)
Kathryn Hanley (Virology)
Jessica Houston (Chemical Engineering)
Kevin Houston (Chemistry)
Colleen Caldwell (Fish, Aquatic Ecology)
Phame Camarena (Sociology, Family and Consumer Sciences)
Rebecca Campbell (Education)
Ivan de la Rosa (Social Work)
David Dubois (Climatology)
Luis Rodolfo Garcia Carrillo (Electrical Engineering & Robotics)
Hilda Cecilia Contreras Aguirre (Educational Leadership, TPAL)
Judith Flores Carmona (Education, Borderlands & Ethnic Studies)
Jeff Frawley (Creative Writing)
Paul Furth (Engineering Technology)
Motoko Furuhashi (Art)
Andreas Gross (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering)
Ivette Guzman (Plant and Environmental Sciences, Medicinal Plant compounds)
Mahdi Haghshenas-Jaryani (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering)
Neil Harvey (Government)
Sabine Hirschauer (Government)
Omar Holguin (Water Resources)
Sang-Rok Lee (Exercise Physiology)
Shelley Lusetti (Chemistry)
Nancy Macmillan (Geology)
Michael Mapp (Music and Bands)
Sergio Martinez (Family and Consumer Sciences)
Tracey Miller-Tomlinson (English)
Martha Mitchell (Chemical & Materials Engineering)
Shannon Norris (Agricultural Leadership & Communications)
Kathryn Olszowy (Biomedical Anthropology)
Teri Orr (Biology, Bat Lab)
Young Park (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering)
Nicole Pietrasiak (Soil Sciences, PES)
Adriana Romero-Olivares (Biology)
Soum Sanogo (Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Weed Science)
Sergio Soto (Animal Science)
 Julie Steinkopk (Sociology)
Marat Talipov (Chemistry)
Mary Alice Scott (Medical Anthropology)
Elba Serrano (Neuroscience)
Charles Shuster (Biology)
Sarah Thomson (Museum of Natural History and Science)
Patrick Traino (Applied Statistics)
April Ulery (Plant and Environmental Sciences)
Graciela Unguez (Biology, muscle development)
Lee Uranga (Chemistry)
Delia Valles-Rosales (Industrial Engineering)
Timothy Wright (Biology, Avian Behavior)
Stefan Zollner (Experimental Physics)
Jiannong Xu (Biology)
Meng Zhou (Chemical Engineering, Energy Storage)