November 19, 2020

2020 New Mexico Research Symposium Highlights

By Sara Pichette

What do you get when you combine topical COVID talks, ovarian cancer research, nearly 30 virtual posters in four categories, and over 250 attendees via Zoom? The 2020 New Mexico Research Symposium, hosted in collaboration with the New Mexico Academy of Science (NMAS)! 

This year’s Research Symposium was held virtually November 9 to 13, 2020. The program was topical and hosted a variety of speakers, posters, and awardees honoring science, STEM, and research contributions in New Mexico. 

The Symposium commenced with Dr. Bette Korber’s rousing and informative opening keynote address, “Our Immune System, Vaccines, and Vaccine Strategies for AIDS and COVID-19.” Her contemporary talk provided keen insights and explanations for how vaccines are made, tested, and distributed with specific attention to COVID-19. Dr. Korber is a Laboratory Fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group where her work focuses on viral evolution, the human immune response to infection, and vaccine design. To view Dr. Korber’s opening keynote, click here.

On Tuesday, the virtual poster session opened with nearly 30 posters in four categories from all corners of the state including Central New Mexico Community College, Eastern New Mexico University, University of New Mexico, Navajo Technical University, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, and University of the South West. Needless to say, the competition was stiff.

Click here to view the 2020 NMRS Virtual Poster Session Gallery

This year’s winners are: 

Graduate Category 

1st place

Laramie Mahan, ENMU, “Assessment of freshwater turtle populations on the Pecos River in New Mexico and Texas

1st place graduate session winner
Laramie Mahan











2nd Place

Sundar Sapkota, ENMU, “Prospects of Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) as a Future Crop in New Mexico

2nd place graduate session winner
Sundar Sapkota











3rd Place

Owana Marzia Moushi, NMT, “Optimal Power Flow for a Power System with Grid-scale Energy Storage Systems, Varying Wind Generation and a Fluctuating Load

third place winner graduate category
Owana Marzia Moushi












Undergraduate Category

1st Place

Joshua May, CNM & Althea Denlinger, UNM Los Alamos “Hierarchical Structure of Microgrid Control Systems

image of 1st place winner
Joshua May













2nd Place

Clayne Williams, ENMU, “The Trouble with Traffic

2nd place winner
Clayne Williams













3rd Place

Jacobo Giron, NMSU, “A Machine Learning Model to Predict Groundwater Levels in the Mesilla Transboundary Aquifer” 

Picture of 3rd place undergra winner
Jacobo Giron













“Better Poster” Winner

Hirbod Norouzianpour, UNM Graduate student, “How the Built Environment Can Help Employees to Experience Lower Occupational Stress

better poster winner
Hirbod Norouzianpour













People’s Choice Winner

Seyyed Ali Ghorashi Khalil Abadi, UNM Graduate Student, “Cooperative Dynamic Power Balancing and Smoothing in a Photovoltaic/Hybrid Energy Storage System Using Multiple Reactive Agents” 

People's choice winner
Ali Ghorashi














Keep an eye out for the New Mexico Journal of Science in early 2021, where all abstracts will be published. Congratulations to all poster winners and participants. 

NMRS also hosted the SMART Grid Center Seminar where four graduate students presented their research on a range of topics relating to the SMART Grid. Topics presented included “Resiliency enhancement of the Smart Grid considering time-varying priority of dynamic loads” and “Resiliency enhancement of the Smart Grid considering time-varying priority of dynamic loads”. Thank you to Shubhasmita Pati, NMSU, Jesse Kaczmarski, UNM, Seyyed Ali Ghorashi Khalil Abadi, UNM, and Anju K. James, NMSU for their informative updates on their research and answering questions. To view a recording of the seminar, click here

Finally, the Symposium concluded with the closing keynote and awards ceremony. Click here to watch it!

Angela Wandinger-Ness, Ph.D., faculty in the Department of Pathology at the UNMHSC and a member of the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center gave the closing keynote. She presented “GTPases to Cures: My Path to Discovery and Innovation,”, about ovarian cancer research and how mentorship and collaboration were vital to her work and success. Dr. Wandinger-Ness was recognized with the 2020 NMAS Outstanding Contributions to Science in New Mexico.

NMAS, along with the American Chemical Society, presented the 2020 Outstanding Science Teacher Awards. Since 1968, NMAS has recognized science teachers who provide exemplary opportunities for students’ STEM learning. The 2020 awardees are Eva Abeyta, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Lena Eddings, La Cueva High School, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ms. Abeyta is a seasoned educator with over 25 years of experience, 13 of them teaching in Los Alamos, where she has taught a variety of science and language courses. She is currently teaching middle school science courses online during the pandemic. Ms. Eddings is a Physics Instructor, and Science Department Chairperson at La Cueva High School where she aspires her students to use their problem-solving skills and knowledge to gain life experiences. Congratulations to the 2020 Outstanding Science Teacher award recipients. 

Winners of the 2020 Outstanding NM science teachers
The 2020 Outstanding New Mexico Science Teacher Award Winners



















Thank you to all the poster judges, industry partners, sponsors, and attendees who made this event possible. We look forward to seeing you at the next Research Symposium in November 2021.