November 21, 2023

New Mexico Research Symposium Showcases Scientific Excellence

students sitting at a table

Angelah Magofna, NMSU; Jacqueline Chavez, ENMU; Stone Davis, NMSU; Elena Pearson, NMSU.

By Brittney Van Der Werff



On November 4th, researchers from across the state convened for the 2023 New Mexico Research Symposium (NMRS), an annual event jointly organized by NM EPSCoR, New Mexico Academy of Science, and the Central New Mexico Local Section of the American Chemical Society. 

This year's event opened with a keynote talk by Demitri Maestas, a machine learning practitioner at Sandia National Labs. His talk about the role of artificial intelligence in education, research, and everyday use was the first of many highlights of the day.

📸 Link to full event photo album

NMRS 2023 Keynote

Next, 25 oral presenters from five institutions shared their work in six thematic sessions including Water, NASA EPSCoR, Biochemistry and Genomics, Research in New Mexico, Quantum Photonics, and Directed Energy and Renewable Energy

people presenting
Brittney Seaburn, UNM; Isaac Ramirez, ENMU; Subhashree Seth, UNM


 Shortly after the poster session began and featured poster presentations from over 40 researchers hailing from 14 different institutions.

people presenting their posters
Bernadette Romero-Benally, NMSU; Jose Montoya, UNM; Rukayat Hassan, ENMU; Aaron Torres, UNM






As the attendees sat down for lunch, the 2023 Outstanding New Mexico Science Teachers Awards were presented by the New Mexico Academy of Science and the Central New Mexico Chapter of the American Chemical Society. The awards were given to Chris Speck (left) from Garfield STEM Magnet & Community Middle School and Roy Biñas Basa (right) from Twin Buttes Cyber Academy. 





two women holding an award
Lynn Branvold, left. Malva Knoll, right.




The New Mexico Academy of Science also honored Lynn Brandvold with the Director Emeritus award for her exceptional tenure with the Academy and over 30 years of promoting young student scientists. 







people listening to someone on stage
SLAM judges and Byron Morton



In the afternoon, local meteorologist Byron Morton from KOAT emceed the second annual Rio Grande Research SLAM. The dynamic competition featured nine postdoctoral researchers from three New Mexico research institutions (NM EPSCoR, Sandia National Laboratories, and Los Alamos National Lab) and tasked contestants with presenting their research to a public audience in three minutes with one static slide. 


This year's SLAM winners are:

photo of michael lively


1st Place
Michael Lively, LANL
Giving a Supernova a Shower



photo of nikki maphis   

2nd Place
Nikki Maphis, NM EPSCoR 
Drinking to Dementia




photo of Brian Jujn

3rd Place
Brian Jun, LANL 
From Animals to Chips: The Future of Drug Testing



The event closed with an awards ceremony announcing the poster competition winners and thanking event partners. Extra gratitude to the poster judges for lending your time and insights. 

Congratulations to the poster winners:

2023 Poster Competition Winners:

pic of soneya shakya

1st Place - Graduate Category

Soneya Shakya, ENMU
“Stock Price Prediction using Sentiment Analysis and Machine Learning”



pic of nicholas adu-effah

2nd Place (tie) - Graduate Category 

Nicholas Adu-Effah, NMHU
“Computational Study on Structure, Electronic, and Optical Properties of Non-Canonical Adenine Dimers”



pic of ange gloire zaina demeyo yamba

2nd Place (tie) - Graduate Category 

Ange Gloire Zaina Demeyo Yamba, NMHU
“Synthesis of Amidine Copper Complexes with First Row Transition Metal”



pic of andre ortiz


2nd Place (tie) - Graduate Category 

Andre Ortiz, NMT
“Genome-Wide Patterns of Homoeologous Gene Flow in Allotetraploid Coffee”



Elena Pearson


1st Place - Undergraduate Category 

Elena Pearson, NMSU
“Effects of PKCαβ and mROS Inhibition on Streptozotocin-Induced Alzheimer's Disease in Mice”



Jessica Weber,


2nd Place - Undergraduate Category  

Jessica Weber, NMHU
“Establishing the Biological Production of Perthiols by a Human Enzyme”



Scott Kilgore


3rd Place - Undergraduate Category 

Scott Kilgore, ENMU
“Identifying Code Quality Issues Among Computing Undergraduates”



*In honor of the exceptional keynote address given by Demitri Maestas on artificial intelligence, we used AI to help compose the first draft of this article.