By Catherine Ortega Klett, Program Manager
Over the past dozen years, the NM WRRI has received state funding periodically to support the NM WRRI Student Water Research Grant Program. The institute has been fortunate in the past three years to have the support of the New Mexico State Legislature and able to offer the grants to students conducting water-related research throughout the state. Since its inception in 2003, 90 university students in New Mexico at the undergraduate and graduate levels have received awards.
The grants support the training of New Mexico’s future water experts and have been acknowledged as an often critical factor in the ability of students to conduct research and complete their degree programs. Dr. Marv Lutnesky, of Eastern New Mexico University stated: Without this [WRRI Student Research Grants] funding, neither [of my two graduate] students would have been able to focus on their studies [and earn] a Master of Science degree. Dr. Laura Crossey of the University of New Mexico commented: All three [of my] students benefitted from writing the proposal, being responsible for the award budget and implementing the work, and writing the reports upon completion. Being highlighted in the newsletter was another facet of the process – and I feel that the opportunity also highlighted my own research program to other institutions and individuals within New Mexico. New Mexico Tech Professor Emeritus John Wilson indicated: [WRRI] Student Water Research Awards play a significant role in the career development of graduate student hydrologists at NM Tech . . . Almost inevitably my students . . . that received this support leveraged it to develop federally sponsored research projects with a financial value fifty times larger than their . . . award, and used their findings to address problems of state, regional and national importance. As a catalyst these awards provide more dollar for dollar value than any other grants our students get.
A 2014 student grant recipient, Michael Wine of New Mexico Tech, has just published a paper with his former student grant advisor, Dr. Dan Cadol, entitled: “Hydrologic effects of large southwestern USA wildfires significantly increase regional water supply: fact or fiction?” in Environmental Research Letters (18 August 2016). http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/8/085006/pdf. Now a PhD student slated to graduate in 2017, Michael recently talked about the importance of the student grant he received: ”Receipt of an NM WRRI student grant provided a unique opportunity to procure state-of-the-art hydrologic modeling software and computational hardware. In this way the NM WRRI grant jump started our modeling progress at NM Tech and creates new knowledge and trains water resources professionals with state-of-the-art expertise specific to our state. As our climate changes, large changes in our water cycle have already occurred. NM WRRI grants, especially student grants, are singularly well-positioned to improve our understanding of future water availability in New Mexico.”
Students and faculty advisors can click here to get more information and proposal guidelines for the 2017 NM WRRI Student Water Research Grant Program.