Aggie, Ingeniero February 2012


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Engineers make the world go round

Engineers on the campus at New Mexico State University and across the nation recently celebrated National Engineers Week (Feb. 19-25) under the theme 7 billion people, 7 billion dreams, 7 billion chances for engineers to turn dreams into reality.  There are many challenges facing our world that require immediate engineering solutions and this week is set aside to acknowledge the positive contributions that engineers make to improving society.

Engineering is the hub of innovation that radiates to almost all important aspects of modern life— energy, manufacturing, basic infrastructure, healthcare, environment and security. Engineers apply math and science to design innovative technologies that lead to business development which, in turn, creates jobs. Many Fortune 500 businesses such as Intel, Apple, Boeing, and Raytheon, to name a few, are based on the development of technology. Intel alone employed 82,500 people worldwide in 2010, including those that reside right here in New Mexico.

As New Mexico’s oldest and largest engineering college, NMSU has made significant contributions to the economy as well as impact on the state’s historical technological leadership through our national laboratories, military bases, and New Mexico engineering-based businesses, many of which were launched by our graduates. We contribute to NMSU’s land-grant mission by fulfilling a critical role in serving the educational needs of diverse populations through comprehensive programs of education, research, outreach and public service.

Offering 23 different undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs, we take pride in our commitment to providing a highly skilled and ethnically diverse talent pool for the region’s high-tech businesses that is prepared to meet real-world challenges. We promote innovation through new patents (three of them within the past two months), licenses and spin-off businesses, thereby strengthening the economy. We also work to make sure that roads, bridges, water and electricity continue to meet societal needs.

Our research program brings in millions of dollars in funding and at the same time commands worldwide recognition. During the 2010-2011 academic year, our research expenditures exceeded $16 million and NMSU ranked 10th in the nation for total research and development expenditures in engineering-related projects by the National Science Foundation.

As engineers, we are committed to helping businesses grow and expand, as well: Our Engineering New Mexico Resource Network delivers professional development programs to ensure a technically skilled workforce that remains adaptable, innovative and relevant to the needs of the state. The network provides technical support, prototype development and proof of concept assistance to improve productivity of New Mexico-based businesses. Over the years, our engineers have provided assistance to businesses across the state.  And we are expanding our workshop offerings in water management, renewable energy, pollution prevention and energy efficiency to assist small businesses, agribusinesses and homeowners.

Perhaps even more important are the College of Engineering K-12 programs that support educational attainment in career fields that require critical thinking, problem solving and a desire to advance society. Last year we reached more than 5,250 students through hands-on experiences designed specifically to pique their interest in science, technology, engineering and math. Our commitment is to students that possess a desire for improving the world through innovation, entrepreneurship, and most importantly, service to others.

Data derived from a recent economic impact study of the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation, administered through the College of Engineering, shows that graduates in STEM fields are expected to surpass their counterparts with non-STEM degrees in terms of future economic contributions. The study shows that STEM graduates have an earning differential of $23,105, as compared to non-STEM graduates. The study goes on to show that New Mexico AMP graduates remaining in the state had $33,633,455 in cumulative higher earnings than would have been the case without a STEM degree.  And that an additional 285 jobs resulted from these higher earnings, producing $9,496,311 in labor income in the state. To read more about this Impact Statement, visit http://www.nmsu.edu/~nmamp.

Our state leaders have recognized the value in supporting STEM education. The formula for funding higher education institutions has been recently revamped to drive outcome measures that include increasing the number of students graduating with STEM degrees needed to attract and retain high-tech business within the state. We are committed to meeting this challenge.

As you go about your daily routine this week, driving a car, using a cell phone, turning on your lights, taking a nice hot shower, or surfing the Internet, join us in celebrating everything that engineers do to make our world a better place.

Ricardo B. Jacquez, Ph.D., P.E.
Dean and Regents Professor
College of Engineering
New Mexico State University

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