Meet the local leaders for the HSI STEM Resource Hub.
Department of Computer and Information Technology Chair | DACC Regents Professor | HSI STEM hub Co-PI
Jon Juarez is a New Mexico State University Regents Professor and Chair of the Computer Information and Technology Department at Dona Ana Community College. He has authored eight database application textbooks published by McGraw-Hill. He serves as co-chair of the New Mexico Collegiate Business Articulation Consortium, board member of the New Mexico Association for Career and Technical Education, and member of NMSU College of Engineering Information Technology Degree Advisory Committee. He has served as the New Mexico Coordinator of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society.
Dr. Sonya Cooper
College of Health and Social Services Interim Dean | NMSU Regents Professor | HSI STEM hub Co-PI
Dr. Sonya Cooper is a Regents Professor and the academic associate dean in the College of Engineering at NMSU. She has been a member of the Engineering Technology & Surveying Engineering department over 24 years, serving as department head prior to becoming associate dean. In addition to the college academic administrative duties, she teaches courses in civil engineering topics and serves as co-advisor for several student organizations. She is very active in the community and state as a board member of non-profit organizations and practicing engineer for structural and historic preservation projects across the country. Dr. Cooper has held officer positions in state and national professional societies and education committees, and has served as a national engineering accreditation commissioner and evaluator.
Dr. Martha Desmond
NMSU Regents Professor | HSI STEM hub Co-PI
Dr. Martha Desmond is a Regents Professor at NMSU in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology. She received her BA in Environmental Studies from Wells College and MS and PhD In wildlife ecology from the University of Nebraska where she studied burrowing owl population ecology. She completed an NSF International Postdoctoral Fellowship working with the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua and Texas A&M. Her avian ecology research focuses on birds in grassland and aridland systems as well as urban environments. While working in the border region, she became interested in educational programs for diverse communities. Educational programs that she has developed have mentored thousands of students locally and nationally across natural resource fields, working collaboratively with federal agencies on the development of diverse workforces.
Dr. Monica Torres
DACC Interim President | HSI STEM hub Co-PI
Dr. Monica Torres oversees the planning, development and implementation of educational programs at Dona Ana Community College. She works collaboratively with deans, division directors, department chairs and program directors to meet the needs of a diverse community of learners at the community college and the community at large. Dr. Torres has also previously served as an assistant professor, associate professor and department head at NMSU’s Department of English. There, she taught classes, advised graduate students and performed research. As department head she oversaw the operation of the department including curricular, teaching and administrative functions. Torres has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from NMSU. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in American Studies with an emphasis in Cultural Studies.
Dr. Elba Serrano
NMSU Regent’s Professor | HSI STEM hub Principal Investigator
Dr. Elba Serrano, NMSU Regent’s Professor, earned her Ph.D. in biological sciences from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Rochester. Her laboratory investigates brain therapeutics that target neuroglia cells, sensory disorders of hearing and balance, and neurogenetics. At the national level, Dr. Serrano is a prominent contributor to the development of policy for STEM research and workforce development. She has served as a member of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins and as co‐Chair of the NIH ACD Working Group on Diversity. Dr. Serrano is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and her achievements in promoting student success have been recognized with a SACNAS Distinguished Mentor Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Distinguished Mentor Award, and a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mentoring in Science, Engineering, and Math.
Dr. MariaElena Zavala
CSUN Professor | HSI STEM hub Principal Investigator
Dr. MariaElena Zavala has been a professor at CSUN for the last 30 years, where she has pioneered the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) and Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) diversity programs for STEM. She earned her undergraduate degree in Botany from Pomona College and her PhD in Botany from UC Berkeley. Dr. Zavala’s research focuses on the developmental regulation of plants. She served as president of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), and was elected to the ASPB Executive Committee. Her achievements in research and mentoring have been recognized with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering, the CSU Trustee Faculty award, and her societal appointments as a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society for Plant Biology, and American Society for Cell Biology.
Dr. Jorge Iniguez
Pasadena City College Adjunct Faculty | HSI STEM hub key personnel
Dr. Jorge Iniguez earned a Ph.D. in Biological sciences from UC Irvine, and an undergraduate degree in cell and molecular biology from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). He has served as an instructor at CSUN and Pasadena City College (PCC). Dr. Iniguez is improving student success by providing research opportunities at PCC. His peer-reviewed publications facilitated a partnership with CSUN that brought the NIH BUILD PODER program to the biology department at PCC. He has received over $90,000 in scholarships and fellowships and plans to use his persuasive writing skills to provide additional funding for the project. He has experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and is committed to providing equitable access for all students to achieve personal development, critical thinking, information literacy and literacy competence.
Dr. Delia Valles-Rosales
NMSU Associate Professor | HSI STEM hub key personnel
Dr. Delia Valles-Rosales is Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at NMSU, where she received her Ph.D. She is originally from Mexico. Her research uses nature to inspire the development of innovative manufacturing processes, new processes of biomass utilization in the plastic industry, and models and algorithms for system optimization in agriculture, industry, and service areas. Dr. Valles-Rosales has been investigating various biomass resources as fibers to be coupled with polymers for fulfilling the need of new applications. Her research has studied the effect of materials and particle size on the mechanical properties represented by tensile, bending, impact resistance, and water absorption properties. Dr. Valles-Rosales is currently the NMSU Director of the Wheels of Change: A Consortium to Develop Champions in Agriculture in the Areas of Sustainable Energy and Natural Resource Management Program funded by USDA.
Dr. Luis A. Vázquez
NMSU Associate Vice President for Research | HSI STEM hub key personnel
NMSU Regents Professor Dr. Luis A. Vázquez served as interim vice president for research from 2016-2018. From 2007-2011, he served as associate dean of NMSU’s Graduate School. From 2001-2007, he served as department head in Counseling and Educational Psychology in the College of Education. In 2006, Vázquez was selected as a Regents Professor. He served as an associate professor in Counseling and Educational Psychology from 1999-2005, being promoted to full professor in 2005. Vázquez holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Illinois State, a master’s in counseling and human development from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology, also from the University of Iowa. Vázquez served as an assistant professor for graduate programs in the Division of Counselor Education from 1993-1995 and was a senior staff psychologist in the University Counseling Service from 1990-1993 at the University of Iowa.
Dr. Bleu Knight
HSI STEM hub Senior Program Manager
Dr. Bleu Knight has diversified STEM at New Mexico State University over the last four years through coordinating research education activities for the Student Training & Research through United Partnerships (STARTUP) component of the Minority Biomedical Research Support Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement program. Prior to that, she spent two years developing and teaching undergraduate curricula comprising professional development activities, scientific writing, and ethics training for underrepresented undergraduate students interested in neuroscience research careers (participants in the NIH BLUEPRINT_ENDURE Neuroscience Research Program) at NMSU. Her research uses transcriptomics to illuminate programs that underlie developmental and transformative biological processes.
HSI STEM hub Program Coordinator
Karen Garcia graduated from CSUN with her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Psychology. During her last 2 years, she was accepted into the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program and is where she met Dr. Zavala and became interested in research. She went on to work in a lab at CSUN and was accepted to the UCSD STARS Program twice as a summer intern. She just applied for her Masters in Clinical Psychology and hopes to get her Ph.D. in clinical health psychology and work with cancer patients in the Latino community.
HSI STEM HUB
Resource for Hispanic Serving Institutions that promotes collaborations for STEM research education, develops research capacity, and enhances STEM pedagogy.