ACES Impact Stories

Family Development and Health of New Mexicans

The family is the fundamental institution of society. The College of ACES conducts research on human behavior, child and adolescent development, human nutrition and food science, clothing and textiles, and family resource management. The College's research and Extension programs on human nutrition and wellness are aimed at keeping people from getting sick, and might be considered "preventive medicine" programs.

4-H State Shooting Sports Championships

Nearly 300 senior 4-H members gathered at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton to compete in the New Mexico 4-H State Shooting Sports Championships. Through these competitions, youth learned valuable skills including sportsmanship, responsibility and made life-long friendships. A 4-H member that has attended for the past seven years stated, "I have learned more from shooting sports than any other project in has not only taught me marksmanship, but also how to set goals and be a team player".

Craig Painter,, State 4-H Agent

NM 4-H Food Challenge Teaches Youth Teamwork, Nutrition and Food Safety

Partnerships with New Mexico State Fair, NMDA, HRTM and Department of FCS provided a new avenue to engage youth in food related education and career prep through the NM 4-H Food Challenge. One 4-H'er shared her experience stating, "I was excited about this event because it was a chance for me to experiment with my cooking skills. Our team had practiced and prepared and spent a lot of time going over food safety, we won the 'Mr. Clean' award and first in our age group." This event builds on experiential learning experiences to teach valuable life skills to NM youth.

Mindy Turner,, Extension 4-H/Youth Specialist

NM 4-H Home Economics School engages teenagers in leadership roles.

Teen 4-H members provide instruction to younger members during the NM 4-H Home Ec School. This opportunity to "learn by doing" provides positive interactions for teens. One participant stated, "None of my 4-H experiences compare to the opportunities I have had this year to influence the younger kids by serving as a Junior Instructor." Another shares, "By participating in leadership activities, such as being a Junior Instructor at Home Ec School, I improved my leadership and communication skills as an individual and as a team member."

Mindy Turner,, Extension 4-H/Youth Specialist

Enhancing Public Education through the Extension and Research Youth Agricultural Science Center

The NMSU Extension and Research Youth Agricultural Science Center enhances educational opportunities for youth in agricultural science and related STEM programs, agricultural literacy, and the production of fresh and nutritious food. The Center delivers high value programs at a low cost to about 750 youth annually. The youth exposed to the Center model score significantly higher in agriscience and have significantly higher science scores on State mandated assessments. Indirectly, the community benefits from a more educated populace, access to fresh food that improves quality of life, and a community space for non-formal agricultural innovation demonstrations.

Peter Skelton,, Associate Professor & Director

Community-based intervention helps New Mexicans living with chronic conditions manage and improve their health

With $184,050 in funding (2016 - present), NMSU Extension is subcontracted through the NM Department of Health to engage in statewide efforts to increase the participation in, access to, reach and effectiveness of evidence-based English and Spanish Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs for adults of all ages with diabetes and related chronic health conditions, including those with disabilities. Primarily serving southern NM, community workshops have reached close to 125 participants from six counties and trained 37 individuals enabling them to offer local workshops with support from NMSU Extension.

Sonja Koukel,, Extension Community & Environmental Health Specialist

Stress management and resiliency programs

tress is associated with chronic disease, poor quality of life, and increased risk of health issues. A program on Managing Stress and Building Resiliency was developed by NSMU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences and delivered to nearly 1,000 people across the state, including employees of the state, middle-school to college level students, collegiate athletes, and community members. Participants in the program demonstrated increases in knowledge, skills, and motivation to better handle stress and engage in practices that enhance resiliency. This program has the potential to improve health-related risks due to stress and enhance the quality of life of New Mexicans.

Raquel Garzon,, Extension Nutrition and Wellness Specialist

New debt elimination program helps New Mexicans get a handle on their finances

The number one cause of financial stress in New Mexico is debt. With the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation, residents might rely on credit, leading to increased levels of debt. New Mexico State University's debt elimination program focuses on helping individuals and families understand their spending, stop going deeper in debt, and begin the process of eliminating their debt. Impacts show that 100% of participants improved their knowledge, attitudes, and skills regarding debt elimination, 93% intended to pay off their debt as soon as possible, and 93% planned to create a debt-elimination plan to accelerate paying off their debt.

Bryce Jorgensen,, Extension Personal and Family Finance Specialist

After a year-long hiatus, The National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) will be brought back to NMSU Extension in 2018

Extension is beginning the implementation of NDPP in three counties. Having received Pending Recognition from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, Extension will begin the process of monitoring participants weight loss by tracking food intake and participation in physical activity. Research shows that people with prediabetes who take part in a structured lifestyle change program, like NDPP, can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%. With additional funding from Health Insight, Inc., Extension will be able to play a large role in creating future sustainability for NDPP, while forging statewide reach.

Lucinda Banegas,, Extension Associate II

NMSU is one of 90 universities participating in Fruved, a USDA approved joint research project focused on helping students manage their weight and live healthier lives

The project is focused on three areas: improving dietary intake, increasing physical activity, and improving overall stress management skills. Healthy Halls Week, a collaboration with Student Housing, have students fill out the national survey while enjoying a healthy breakfast on their way to class. On campus audits were performed at dining facilities and a recreational facility to analyze nutrition and physical activity. Of the surveys completed, 74% found it very important/important to provide healthier food options and indicated that the university should offer an incentive program to encourage students' healthy behaviors. University of Tennessee is analyzing the national data. A write up of the collaboration with the healthy halls event is at:

Lourdes Olivas,, Extension Associate II

Kitchen Creations: a cooking school for people with diabetes and their families

The Center for Disease Control estimates 10.5% of adults in New Mexico have been diagnosed with diabetes. A study in Diabetes Care estimated diabetes/prediabetes costs the state about $2 billion annually. Extension has partnered with the NM Department of Health and 21 other organizations to provide 29 Kitchen Creations cooking schools. Participants learned how to plan meals that manage carbohydrates and promote heart health. 470 adults have participated in the cooking schools, with all participants reporting they understand the strategies to plan/prepare healthy meals and 79% reporting they were following three or more of the recommended eating practices.

Cassandra Vanderpool,, MS, RDN, LD, Extension Diabetes Coordinator

Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition (ICAN) brings healthy eating and a local foods focus to limited-resource populations across New Mexico

Reaching over 80,000 families every year, ICAN provides face-to-face nutrition education in low-income communities where the average family of four lives on $237 a week. Operating statewide as part of NMSU Extension, ICAN also fosters the development of community gardens, school salad bars, and other healthy lifestyle initiatives. Partnering with farmers markets allows ICAN to teach participants how to buy locally grown produce. ICAN works to improve New Mexico's quality of life and reduce future healthcare costs associated with obesity, and 84% of participants eat healthier after taking ICAN classes. ICAN is funded by the USDA's SNAP-Ed and EFNEP grants.

Donna Sauter,, MS, RDN, ICAN Program Director

County Equine Expos' youth and adult participants promote healthy living and sustainable future for the $750 million NM equine industry

Since 2008, several setbacks have contributed to the decline in number of participants in the once vibrant New Mexico equine industry. The Expos seek to provide SAFE horsemanship instruction along with education on equine management in a FUN environment that encourages novice and intermediate riders to develop their skills and continue their pursuit of healthful equestrian activities. These events, held in rural areas to provide access to underserved audiences, also bring "new" revenue to community businesses.

Jason L. Turner,, Extension Horse Specialist

Teaching and training the next generation of dairy professionals

Despite declining resources to teach young dairy professionals modern dairy management, NMSU Dairy Extension leads a consortium of universities to provide practical dairy teaching in a 6-week intensive summer program. Total reach in 10-yrs.: 427 students from 48 universities. Impact: 4 out of 5 students employed in agriculture, 2 out of 3 students employed in dairy industry, 1 out of 3 students working on/managing a dairy. Program received 2017 Dairy Sustainability Award in Community Partnerships.

Robert Hagevoort,, Extension Dairy Specialist

Development, evaluation and implementation of a dairy safety awareness program

Goal: develop effective training tools appropriate for a predominantly Hispanic, literacy challenged dairy workforce. Individual, interactive safety awareness training delivered via m-learning to approximately 2,000 individuals on 60 dairies in 8 states. Effectiveness evaluation indicates appropriateness of delivery method and significant improvement of both comprehension and retention. Expectation: improved safety awareness among dairy workers. Impact: regional program adaptation and implementation by dairy associations and cooperatives. Assessing appropriateness for national program implementation, the creation of industry advisory board, and establishment of a certificate program.

Robert Hagevoort,, Extension Dairy Specialist

Maximizing voluntary compliance in antimicrobial stewardship programs

As part of the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria aimed at better surveillance of antimicrobial resistance, better diagnostic testing, and the development of new vaccines and antibiotics, NMSU Dairy Extension is collaborating with several partners in a large research project with the goal to evaluate current antimicrobial protocols to determine if being more cautious than manufacturer's labels require aids in gaining ground on antimicrobial resistance. Outcomes may lead to the development of additional protocols and decision making tools to further antimicrobial stewardship programs for producers.

Robert Hagevoort,, Extension Dairy Specialist

Cooperative Extension Service educates New Mexicans on integrated wildlife damage management techniques

Although New Mexican's greatly enjoy their wildlife, at times wildlife create human health and safety concerns and damage property. Annually, wildlife is responsible for greater than $1 billion in agricultural production losses and $25 billion in losses to homes, businesses and municipalities, nationwide. New Mexico State University, Cooperative Extension Service trains urban and rural New Mexicans to safely and effectively address wildlife damage issues in their homes, ranches, farms and communities using environmentally responsible methods. Impacts show 94% of participants improved their knowledge of integrated wildlife damage management and 82% would use knowledge gained.

Samuel T. Smallidge,, Extension Wildlife Specialist

Stronger Economies Together (SET)

SET is a USDA Rural Development program in partnership with the nation's Land Grant Institutions. The SET program seeks to address the economic development challenges that rural communities and areas face today by encouraging, facilitating and supporting efforts to design and implement multi-county economic development plans and projects that strategically build on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region. New Mexico State University has facilitated the establishment of nine SET regions involving 32 of the state's 33 counties.

Michael Patrick,, Associate Professor, Extension. Specialist/Economic Dev. Coordinator

Multi-Scale Biodiversity Metric Mapping for Ecosystem Services (Regional to National Landscape Scales)

Human health and well-being benefit from healthy ecosystems and associated ecosystem services. In partnership with EPA and USGS, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology at NMSU has mapped metrics of biodiversity and representative ecosystem services from 1,590 terrestrial vertebrate models across the United States. Metrics provide land managers and the public a method to view ecosystem services related to food and fiber production, recreation, culture and aesthetics and biodiversity conservation via the EPA's EnviroAtlas tool ( The harvestable species metric represents an annual contribution of $346 billion to the US economy and $267 million to New Mexico GDP.

Ken Boykin,, Research Associate Professor

New MexicoView (NMView) Program Development and Operations for the State Of New Mexico

NMView is a member of the AmericaView Consortium, a nationally coordinated network of academic, agency, industry partners, and cooperators that promote the use of remote sensing. NMView seeks to advance the use of remotely sensed data through education, research, outreach, and technology transfer to the public and private sectors in New Mexico. NMView working with AmericaView provided a poster for Earth Observation Day to 14,000 teachers across the United States in support of Earth Sciences Week. NMView provided the Spanish translation for that poster (available at

Ken Boykin,, Research Associate Professor

40-Fold Extension for Water Contaminant Treatment Life

Recalcitrant water contaminant treatment requires strong oxidants when traditional methods are inhibited, but oxidant decay is rapid. We all drink groundwater, contaminants impact drinking water, and these contaminants are typically carcinogenic. A novel molecular container, Hydroxypropyl-ß-cyclodextrin, was used, by NMSU (KC Carroll) and University of Alabama (Geoffrey Tick) researchers, to stabilize ozone (O³). O³ half-life increased up to 40-fold, which advanced O³ water treatment knowledge, extended O3 feasibility, and enabled treatment of contaminated water. This new water treatment method will decrease human exposure to carcinogens. Results can be used worldwide at water treatment plants, enabling cleanup of contaminated groundwater.

Contact: K.C. Carroll

Pillars: Water Use and Conservation, Family Development and Health of New Mexicans, and Environmental Stewardship

Discovery of a New Groundwater Contaminant Remediation Technique

Typical cleanup methods are ineffective for groundwater contaminated with organic liquids (e.g., gasoline spill). Groundwater contaminants affect drinking water, and typically carcinogenic. NMSU (KC Carroll) and University of Alabama (Geoffrey Tick) researchers invented an organic liquid contaminant treatment using vegetable oil injection, which incased the organic liquid contaminant, reducing contaminant transfer to groundwater, and eliminated groundwater contamination and the need for continuous contaminant treatment. This new water treatment method will decrease human exposure to carcinogens, and could save a million dollars per year at each contaminated groundwater site compared to above-ground treatments.

Contact: K.C. Carroll

Pillars: Water Use and Conservation, Family Development and Health of New Mexicans, and Environmental Stewardship

Health Outreach on Navajo Nation

Our outreach research on the Navajo Nation is increasing community and backyard gardens and shows the potential for modest increases of healthy foods in the diet. The prevalence of diabetes among the Native Americans is 15.9%, more than double the rates compared to the non-Hispanic/Caucasian population (7.6%; National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014). Our pilot work showed that home gardeners consume more fruits and vegetables than non-gardeners and highlighted the importance of family in shaping health behaviors. The Navajo Nation identifies gardening and healthy eating as priorities and our research has the potential to influence tribal policy at the highest level.

Contact: Kevin Lombard

Pillar: Family Development and Health of New Mexicans

Gold King Mine Spill Response

We were first responders in evaluating and monitoring the impacts of the 2015 Gold King Mine spill into the Animas River. We had the trust of the Navajo people to sample farmland during the emergency response as EPA responders were being expelled. Our data is showing that heavy metals like lead are below regulatory limits and our outreach is helping farmers to have confidence in resuming their activities. Our data is making huge contributions into the scientific body of knowledge regarding farm-land downstream of a legacy mining district.

Contact: Kevin Lombard

Pillars: Environmental Stewardship, Water Use and Conservation, Family Development and Health of New Mexicans