January 1, 2023 • Volume 109, No 1
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In this issue

Members Elect David Schultz, Vice-President

The NMAS board accepted the December 2022 election results naming David Schultz as Vice-President. In a personal statement prior to the election, David said this of joining the Academy board:  

“It would be an honor to serve the Academy, its members, educators, students, and other New Mexico stakeholders. I certainly understand the central importance of STEM education and workforce development to the state’s economy and citizens’ wellbeing, as well as the social and cultural enrichment flowing from the “ecosystem” of schools, institutions of higher education, laboratories, businesses, stage agencies, and society. I would be glad to partner with these New Mexico constituencies to help advance the Academy’s mission in science education, cooperation, and public awareness, and in providing relevant informed and unbiased advice regarding science and STEM education.”  

David Schultz's biography is printed below as an introduction for NMAS members.

Dave is a member of the executive team of Universities Research Association (URA, a group of more than 90 universities founded in the 1960’s to operate laboratories inthe national interest) and director of URA’s Sandia Site Office, which supports in a variety of aspects Sandia’s science and engineering groups and reports to Sandia’s Chief Research Office.

Before joining URA, he served as Vice President for Research at Northern Arizona University (NAU), with responsibility for the university’s office of sponsored projects, office of research compliance, and intellectual property management organization, and was a faculty member in the Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science and Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science. He also served prior to that as Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development at the University of North Texas(UNT), where he was first chair of the Department of Physics when arriving at UNT. He started his career as a researcher and research manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory where he also held an appointment as Research Professor at the University of Tennessee.

Dave is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and has served APS in a variety of roles such as member of its Council of representatives and Chair of the Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics. He has served on many advisory and review committees such as the National Research Council’s Committee on Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Sciences and as a consultant to the International Atomic Energy Agency. His research interests are in atomic physics, particularly as applied in plasma science and astrophysics, and his research and that of his research groups have been supported by the US Department of Energy, NASA, NSF, and other agencies. With an h-index of 41, he is author of 220 scholarly publications.

Academy of Science Names Outstanding Science & Math Educators for 2022 

The Outstanding Science Teacher Award given by the New Mexico Academy of Science honors New Mexico science and math educators. The Academy recognizes educators who provide opportunities for students to succeed in science. The award has been given since 1968 and nominations are open to all preK-12 and informal science educators throughout New Mexico.  The American Chemical Society also provides a monetary award to the winners. This year, our two amazing awardees are Hope Cahill, from Santa Fe, and Colleen Fordyce, from Albuquerque. Awards were presented at the NMAS annual meeting co-sponsored with EPSCoR New Mexico.  Congratulations Hope and Colleen. 

Hope Cahill

Hope Cahill and Alex Edgar, Section Chair,  Central NM Chapter American Chemical Society.  Photo by Bret Latter.  
Hope Cahill began as a Language Arts and Creative Writing teacher. Since 2012, she has been a science teacher for 6th and 7th grades at el Dorado Community School in Santa Fe, who occasionally picks up a section of language arts. She has fostered connections between the NM content standards and curriculum and New Mexico’s rich geologic and scientific history. She has integrated literacy and technology into her instruction and has created curriculum that accommodates a variety of abilities and learners within the classroom setting. She authored the article Place-Based Educational Activities (Inspired by the Socorro Magma Body) in the Summer 2021 issue of The Earth Scientist, a quarterly journal of the National Earth Science Teachers Association.

Over the years she has assumed additional responsibilities, including the remote-learning Science Design Team, Middle School Science Fair Coordinator, Global Warming Express mentor, Mentor for Santa Fe High School Supercomputing Challenge team, and STEM Pathways for Girls Conference planning committee and group guide.

She is a 2020 recipient of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching and a 2021 recipient of the Partners in Education Teachers Who Inspire Award. She was a Thornburg Corporate Giving Program grant recipient in 2021.

One of her nominators, a former Assistant Principal said:
“One of Ms. Cahill’s biggest strengths as a teacher is that her genuine love of science is felt by her students. She exhibits a deep passion for science teaching and learning and cares deeply about her students. She never stops creating and sharing her expertise with her students and her community. As an outreach project, Ms. Cahill worked with Tesuque Pueblo to share resources acquired through her Thornburg Grant. And she is working toward El Dorado becoming a pilot site for a project based solar technology education program. From a parent’s perspective, I was incredibly lucky to have my own middle school daughter in Ms. Cahill’s science class. After 2 years in Ms. Cahill’s class, my daughter left as a confident science student and has pursued science beyond middle school. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the Outstanding NM science teacher award than Ms. Cahill. She has endless energy and drive to make the world a better place through her gifts as a science educator.”

Colleen Fordyce

Colleen Fordyce (left) with Jayne Aubele, NMAS Director Teacher Awards, Lecture Committee, NMMNHS Museum Liaison.  Photo by Bret Latter.
Colleen Fordyce earned a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from UNM. She pursued postdoctoral studies at the University of California, San Francisco where she applied insights from her doctoral studies to describe cellular responses to telomere shortening which were associated with increased risk for breast cancer. While pursuing a career as a research scientist Dr. Fordyce also sought out opportunities to teach. Ultimately, Dr. Fordyce decided to hang up her pipettes and pursue teaching full-time. She has taught at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque since 2017 and currently teachers biology and AP biology. Dr. Fordyce is motivated by several factors, including a desire to prepare her students to be empowered science consumers and to inspire them to pursue STEM fields in college. She is humbled and inspired by her amazing students who laugh as hard as they work.

She brings her experience as a research scientist to her classroom and has developed unique labs that expanded the hands-on experience for students while linking to real world problems. For example, her AP biology students recently used chemistry and the properties of water to examine data collected on the surface of Mars and her freshman biology class recently completed a case study of the polio vaccine. She uses her ties to researchers to bring guest speakers to her students and during 2019, when APS schools closed, she created a virtual scientific conference with a series of weekly virtual seminars for her students presented by researchers from across the country.

During the summer of 2020, Dr. Fordyce co-authored an entire NGSS-aligned Biology unit which could be delivered virtually for APS schools. The unit allowed students to explore the relationship between global warming, the decline of Piñon-Juniper woodlands in New Mexico, and their impact on the ecosystem. Students were encouraged to develop potential solutions to combat the decline in piñon-juniper woodlands.

She is the La Cueva HS Science Bowl Mentor and a member of several teams of teachers at La Cueva HS who support struggling students and identify areas and strategies for school-wide improvement.

In 2019 she co-facilitated a district-wide instructional workshop on NGSS standards for biology teachers. She has prepared unit and lesson plans for AP Biology using NM-PED, NGSS, and Common Core Standards.

One of her nominators said:
“As impressive as her accomplishments are, they fail to capture the joy and enthusiasm that Dr. Fordyce brings to her students. Her expectations of her students are high and yet, her students rise to meet them – in part because she provides consistent encouragement and a curriculum that is carefully designed to meet students where they are, while also pushing them forward.”

NMAS Co-Sponsors Annual Meeting with EPSCoR New Mexico 

By Sara Pichette  (EPSCoR NM)
Photos by Brett Latter
After two years online, the 2022 New Mexico Research Symposium (NMRS) returned in person, welcoming over 150 people from all over the state. Held at The University of New Mexico Student Union Building in Albuquerque on Saturday, November 5th, this year's programming saw old favorites and welcomed additions in one jam-packed day.

Hosted in collaboration with NMAS, the Symposium kicked off with four themed oral sessions ranging from NASA EPSCoR to Chemistry. The other 2022 NMRS partners included: the Central New Mexico Chapter of the American Chemical Society, New Mexico Space Grant, UNM Center for Water and the Environment, National Center for Genome Resources, NM INBRE, Sandia National Laboratories, Air Force Research Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratories. These partners provided 22 poster judges for the competition.

Student researchers from 11 different institutions presented nearly 40 posters on topics ranging from tree growth in water versus soil and using machine learning techniques to examine patterns in science fiction novels. Posters were judged throughout the session, with winners announced at the end of the event. 

We were thrilled to welcome this year’s keynote speaker, David Bustos, Resources Program Manager at White Sands National Park. His presentation “Life before the Ice Melted: Racing to preserve fossil footprints and traces of people from 23,000 years ago” presented the findings of 61 human footprints 10 millennia older than Clovis humans.
Anton Sumali, President NMAS (left) with David Bustos, White Sands National Park.

The most exciting addition to this year's event was the Rio Grande Research SLAM. The SLAM’s 12 contestants from each of the four New Mexico Research Institutions (Air Force Research Laboratory, Los Alamos National Lab, Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico EPSCoR) competed in the regional event. Using one static slide, contestants had three minutes to present their research to judges and the audience. 

Outstanding Scientist Award 

research newsSince 1962, the Academy has intermittently presented awards to distinguished New Mexicans for their outstanding contributions to science or science education. The award is given across all science disciplines for works supporting the purposes of the Academy. The main purpose of the Academy is to increase public awareness of the role of science in human progress and human welfare and to promote science and science education within the State of New Mexico. It includes these points:
  • to improve communication among scientists, science educators, the New Mexico general public, and governmental representatives
  • to recognize excellence in scientists, science educators, and science students
  • to encourage scientific research
  • to increase public awareness of the role of science in human progress and human welfare
Awardees in the past have included Dr. W. Randolph Lovelace II, Chief of the U.S. Army Air Corps Aero-Medical Laboratory and founder of Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, Clyde Tombaugh, NMSU, the discoverer of Pluto, and Norris Bradbury, Los Alamos, for whom the Bradbury Museum is named. The award was last presented in 2020, to Dr. Angela Wandinger-Ness, UNM.

If you have a worthy candidate who exemplifies the goals or mission of the New Mexico Academy of Science, submit this person for the NMAS Outstanding Scientist Award. Complete information is available on the website.

Support Science & Science Education

newsHow can you help?
  • Advertise and post announcements for science organizations.  
  • Encourage membership and/or donations to science organizations in the community.  
  • Provide volunteers for the established programs including NM regional Science Fairs, Jr. Academy of Science, Jr. Science & Humanities Program, Science Olympiad, Super-Computing competitions and others.  
  • Continue your sponsorship of science-events and competitions at your specific site and help competitions adapt to virtual presentations as needed due to state-wide Covid mandates. 
Become familiar with the New Mexico Academy of Science and its programs for  educators, students, and the general public. Access information on the NMAS website
1.    Junior Academy of Science, annual written research paper for students, grades 6-12
2.    Outstanding Science Teacher Award for formal or informal educators, grades 6-12
3.    Annual meeting / symposium for undergraduate and graduate students
4.    Journal of Science annual publication of research from science professionals and students
5.    National Youth Science camp for high school seniors

Thank you,
NMAS Board of Directors 2023


Want to be a part of your local science community? Becoming a member will help support events such as the Junior Academy's paper competition, our National Youth Science Camp selection, and the Outstanding Educator awards. Our membership is our greatest asset when advocating for science education, so please renew today.

It is easy to become a member! We have a very simple way to do it via PayPal from our website. You can use any credit or debit card (you do not need a PayPal account). This also allows us to add your email directly to our mailing list. Here is the link

Membership categories are:
  • Regular Membership ($25/year)
  • Student Membership ($15/year or included with NMJAS entry)
  • Institutional Membership (Libraries Only; $25/year)
  • Life Membership (3/4 of Amount Goes to NMAS Endowment; $400)
Our mailing address is ​P.O. Box 36885 • Albuquerque, NM 87110
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