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Retired chemical engineering professor takes on new challenge

Following a 27-year career as a dedicated leader and professor, Martha C. Mitchell has retired from New Mexico State University. Her new endeavor is to be the research manager for the High Energy Density Physics Theory Department at Sandia National Laboratories. The department is part of the Pulsed Power Sciences Center, which includes the Z-Machine, one of the Nation’s flagship High Energy Density facilities.


“One of the most rewarding aspects of my career at New Mexico State was my opportunity to support the students, both inside the classroom and outside. It was an honor to listen to them, connect them with resources and see them succeed. I appreciate the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department and the College of Engineering for creating an environment where that could happen,” said Mitchell. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to pursue collaborations in order to strengthen internal and external partnerships.”


Mitchell’s history of contributions to NMSU began in 1996 as assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and climbed the ranks to be full professor in 2007.


Along with her active teaching and research load, Mitchell held several important leadership positions. She served as chemical engineering interim academic department head for the chemical engineering department for a year before being named academic department head, serving in that position from 2005-2012. She then was appointed College of Engineering associate dean of research, leading research activities and responsible for research grants and contracts totaling approximately $15 million per year until 2015.


While maintaining an active research program and teaching agenda, Mitchell also served her profession and NMSU through various leadership roles. Off campus, Mitchell served on the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Education and Accreditation Committee, Engineering Research Council Board of Directors and the New Mexico Society of Professional Engineers Board of Directors. At NMSU, she served as chair of the College of Engineering Scholarship Committee and the NMSU ADVANCing Leaders Committee. She was an NMSU Teaching Academy Fellow.


Aside from her many academic and administrative contributions, Mitchell’s generous mentorship to colleagues, dedicated advising of students and ardent advocacy for diversity in education may have provided the most lasting impact she has made on those whose lives she has touched.


“We would all like to thank Martha for her many years of service to Chemical and Materials Engineering, the College of Engineering and to NMSU,” said Chemical Engineering Department Head Joseph Holles. “Martha has done everything including strong, student-focused teaching, excellent undergraduate and graduate research and important, often unrewarded, service. She was always ready to step up and advocate for anyone that needed help.”