New Mexico Tech has jokingly been called a research institution that happens to have a university. In reality, it’s not far from the truth. However, the vast majority of research projects have a strong academic component, which includes student researchers.
Nearly all professors in every academic department maintain active research projects that involve undergraduate students. Also, more than 400 graduate students conduct research – along with their academic advisors and committees – to finish their master’s and doctorate degrees.
New Mexico Tech recognizes the importance of research projects to prepare all students for their career. Therefore, all faculty members are strongly encouraged to hire students and give them active roles in projects. All Tech students have the opportunity to get research experience as undergraduates – either as paid researchers or through their regular curriculum. Not only does this ensure a high-quality education, but Tech students are also supremely prepared for careers in industry, academia or national laboratories.
In all the engineering departments, seniors finish their undergraduate careers with a “capstone” project. In these Senior Design classes, students work as teams, just as they will once they begin their engineering careers. They also often with off-campus sponsors who present a challenging project to Tech students. These sponsors often become active partners, mentoring and advising seniors. Senior Design truly gives students a taste of what they will experience once they enter the workforce.
Some of the partners include General Electric, Yates Petroleum, NASA, Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory and numerous other high-tech companies – both in New Mexico and beyond.
New Mexico Tech has more than a dozen research divisions that work with private industry, government agencies and other universities.
These divisions employ undergraduate students, offer research opportunities for graduate students and contribute ground-breaking research to the scientific canon and the world of industry, science and engineering.
Petroleum Research and Recovery Center
The PRRC works with funding from numerous state and federal government agencies on projects that maximize and revolutionize oil and gas exploration and production.
Students from petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, materials engineering, math and management conduct research through the PRRC.
The Center serves as a liaison between the world of academic research and the petroleum industry. The innovations and inventions developed on campus are designed to be of use in the field.
Institute for Complex Additive Systems Analysis
ICASA is a computer security and forensics division that develops and implements software and hardware to combat cyber-terrorism and computer-based crimes. The Institute also specializes in complex computer modeling in a variety of industries, including energy.
One of the current projects that involves students is a multi-layered modeling approach that will eventually help integrate wind energy into existing power grids.
Energetic Materials Research Testing Center
New Mexico Tech’s largest research division, EMRTC conducts numerous research projects involving explosives. EMRTC also hosts terrorism-response training classes for first responders from around the nation and the world.
With more than 250 employees, EMRTC has ample work and research opportunities for students in chemistry, chemical engineering, materials engineering, mechanical engineering and other fields.
IRIS-PASSCAL Instrument Center
The PASSCAL Instrument Center is the world’s largest lending library of seismology equipment. The Center supports seismology and Earth science research on every continent. Scientists and technicians (and many students) have helped develop many innovative instruments for deployment in the harshest of conditions through the PASSCAL Polar Programs.
Universities and research programs around the world use PASSCAL instruments for seismic studies all over the world.
Magdalena Ridge Observatory
This facility includes a 2.4-meter optical telescope and will soon be home to a world-class interferometer. This single telescope works with the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation and NASA to track and characterize “near-Earth objects,” such as comets, asteroids and satellites. This telescope is also used by Tech students in two different classes.
New Mexico Tech also is developing and designing a 10-unit optical interferometer set to see “first light” in 2011, along with our partners at the University of Cambridge.
Students in physics – both graduates and undergraduates – will have the opportunity to use this phenomenal facility to conduct astronomical research.
National Center for Genomic Research
Based in Santa Fe, the NCGR has cutting-edge DNA sequencer machines that are periodically available for use by biology students conducting genetic research. The Center has set the industry standard for speed in sequencing genomes. Tech professors and students have used the Center’s facilities to conduct ground-breaking biological research in several different areas.
National Cave and Karst Research Institute
Based in Carlsbad, the NCKRI is a fledgling organization that sponsors student research in biology and Earth sciences. The Institute is a strong resource for students interested in the study of geology and hydrology.
The Institute serves as the national clearinghouse for scientific research on karst systems, which are vital conduits of much of the nation’s potable water.
Langmuir Laboratory for Atmospheric Research
The nation’s first lab devoted to lightning research, Langmuir hosts researchers from around nation every year. Physics students have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge research projects in a variety of atmospheric studies.
New Mexico Bureau of Geology
A non-regulatory agency of the state, the Bureau of Geology serves as a clearinghouse for statewide information and research. The Bureau often serves as an impartial agency, providing studies to state agencies and private industry.
The Bureau’s projects include studies of mineral resources, hydrology studies, aquifer mapping, publications, geochemistry and geochronology. The Bureau has staff experts in petroleum geology, mineral geology and other mining disciplines vital to the state of New Mexico.
Also, the Bureau’s experts serve as adjunct professors, passing their knowledge and expertise to the next generation of scientific leaders. In addition, many state-of-the-art laboratories are often used by students conducting research in a variety of Earth science disciplines.