Dr. Selena Connealy Accepts Position as Associate Director of NM EPSCoR

Headshot of Dr. Connealy
Brittney Van D… April 21, 2021

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Selena Connealy has been appointed to the position of Associate Director for the New Mexico Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NM EPSCoR) after six months serving as Interim Associate Director following the departure of Anne Jakle in late 2020. As Associate Director she is responsible for program management and fiscal oversight of National Science Foundation (NSF) NM EPSCoR awards, including the current $20 million, 5-year award—the New Mexico SMART Grid Center—that funds microgrid research at New Mexico’s research universities and primarily undergraduate institutions.

If you are reading this article, odds are you have met Selena. She's been involved with NM EPSCoR for over 10 years and in that time has done everything from website development to program administration. Most recently, she served as the NM EPSCoR Education and Outreach Manager in the current Track I "NM SMART Grid Center" NSF EPSCoR award. In this position she lead workforce development and external engagement activities such as faculty training, undergraduate and graduate student programs, and public outreach.

Dr. Connealy and NM EPSCoR

Selena's first foray into the world of NM EPSCoR began in 2008 when the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, where she was working as the Chief of Education, received a subaward under the Track I "NM NEW" NM EPSCoR project to do water education programs with middle and high school students. Shortly after, on the Track I "Climate Change Impacts on New Mexico's Mountain Sources of Water" NM EPSCoR project, she was contracted to make project data available to teachers, an assignment which resulted in the Teach Data website and the Teacher's Guide to Valles Caldera: The Science website. Over the course of the project she also supported the Fire and Water Town Hall held in 2012, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, and a cohort of northern NM teachers participating in a Summer Institute for Teacher Professional Development. In 2013, when NM EPSCoR received funding for the "Energize New Mexico" Track I proposal, she accepted a part-time position on the project as Education and Outreach Coordinator, heading workforce development and external engagement activities. The part-time aspect is relevant given she devoted her "free time" to a Track 2 EPSCoR award, "WC-WAVE" and completing a Ph.D.

Academic Career and Professional Service

Dr. Connealy holds a BA from Rice University, an MAT from The George Washington University, and a PhD from Texas Tech University. STEM education equity is her passion and she advocates for systemic solutions to engage all students in STEM in both formal and informal learning environments. Her devotion to this issue goes far beyond words, as illustrated by her role as PI for New Mexico in a National Science Foundation (NSF) Cultivating Indigenous Research Communities for Leadership in Education and STEM (CIRCLES) Alliance grant that was funded in late 2020. The award spans across six states (New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming) and leverages existing partnerships with tribal colleges and communities to increase the representation of American Indian and Alaska Natives in STEM fields. Fun Fact: Her co-PI for New Mexico on this award is Dr. Lani Tsinnajinnie, an EPSCoR alumni from the "Climate Change Impacts on New Mexico's Mountain Sources of Water" award, now an assistant professor of Community and Regional Planning at the UNM School of Architecture, Water, and Natural Resources.

Selena’s professional service includes five years on the board of the New Mexico Association of Museums (2006-2011) and sixteen years on the board of the New Mexico Partnership for Mathematics and Science. Additionally, she served on the panel that developed the New Mexico Science Education Standards, was recently appointed to the NM State Parks Advisory Board, and is currently active in the effort to promote environmental literacy in New Mexico.

NM EPSCoR Project Director William Michener enthusiastically welcomes Dr. Connealy to her new position. “Dr. Connealy is ideally suited to her new role and brings a wealth of expertise with respect to STEM education and research at all levels in New Mexico, as well as her prior experience with EPSCoR as our Education and Outreach Manager.”


Please join us in welcoming Dr. Connealy as the Associate Director of NM EPSCoR.