The 2021 NMAS Board of Directors is being led by President Gretchen Gurtler; President-Elect Dr. Anton Sumali; and Vice-President Dr. Babu Chalamala. The officers have backgrounds in paleontology, mechanical engineering, and physics. Their wide-ranging expertise will provide a solid background for the coming years.
The Academy is led this year by President Gretchen Gürtler, the Director of Museums at Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center in Abiquiu, NM. She began serving on the board in 2015 as a Director at Large. Ms. Gürtler holds a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts degree in Museum Science from Texas Tech University, where she conducted paleontological research. She is the advocacy representative for New Mexico Association of Museums, a board member of The New Mexico Partnership for Math and Science Education (NMPMSE) through New Mexico First, and a participant in New Mexico Informal Science Education Network (NMISE).
Dr. Anton Sumali is the 2021 President-Elect of the New Mexico Academy of Science (NMAS). Dr. Sumali received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 1997 from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA and is currently a Research and Development Manager at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. Dr. Sumali was an R&D staff member there from 2002 to 2011. From 1997 to 2002, Dr. Sumali was an Assistant Professor at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Dr. Sumali has served on NMAS Board since 2013. As the new Editor-in-Chief of the New Mexico Journal of Science, Dr. Sumali has attracted manuscripts and formed an editorial board for the journal with peer-reviewers from Sandia National Labs, UNM, Harvard, Intel, Princeton, ENMU, MIT, Oxford, and other research institutions..
Serving in 2021 as Vice President is Dr. Babu R. Chalamala. He is Manager of the Energy Storage Technology and Systems Department and Laboratory Program Manager for Grid Energy Storage at Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM. Prior to joining Sandia in 2015, he spent twenty years in industrial R&D, mostly recently as a Corporate Fellow at MEMC Electronic Materials where he led R&D and product development in grid scale energy storage.
Dr. Chalamala spent the early part of his research career at Motorola and Texas Instruments where he made contributions to electronic materials and display technologies. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, Academy of Sciences St Louis, and a Life Member of the Electrochemical Society. Dr. Chalamala has a PhD in Physics from the University of North Texas and has authored 120 papers and has 10 US patents.
Other members of the board can be found on the Board page.
CLIMATE CHANGE ON CROCODILIANS: MODELING THE EFFECTS OF VARIATIONS IN RAINFALL ON CROCODILIANS AND THEIR ECOSYSTEM
Karin Ebey, Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos
Climate change is projected to cause significant changes to global precipitation patterns. To explore how crocodilians and their ecosystems are impacted by variations in rainfall, a model of was created using a novel adaptation of the Lotka-Volterra equations. The model uses a time step of months, and includes a crocodilian, three plant species, and eight other animal species. Each year, populations are impacted by predator-prey interactions and reproduction. Rainfall only impacts the ecosystem through the plant populations. This model was validated by running it with Louisiana rainfall data from 1970-2018 and comparing the outputs to measured alligator nest count data. The populations in the model followed a similar pattern to the nest count data, showing that the model accurately describes how rainfall affects the ecosystem. Changes in the amount of rainfall caused the populations to increase or decrease in proportion to the rainfall. Changes in the timing of rainfall affected the seasonal variation of plant populations, which caused animal populations to increase or decrease depending on whether the plant populations were above or below average when they reproduce. Crocodilians and their ecosystems are likely to be harmed by climate change and developing management programs will be important to protect them.
By Lynn Brandvold, NMJAS Director
The American Academy of Science (AJAS) is an Honor Society for students who have done outstanding scientific research projects and is a program of the National Association of Academies of Science (NAAS) of which NMAS is a member. AJAS meets annually in conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference. Each State Academy nominates students who are invited to attend the conference and be inducted into the AJAS Honor Society. The program is not a competition but rather an opportunity for national exposure to science professionals from colleges and laboratories.
During a normal year the event starts on a Wednesday evening and concludes on a Saturday evening. During the conference, AJAS delegates tour local institutions of scientific importance, share their research with their peers and with other scientists, attend conference sessions, and are inducted as lifetime Fellows into the American Junior Academy of Science. They present their posters to the AAAS attendees and give oral presentations to each other.
Prior to 2009 NMJAS had the funds to send students and a chaperone to the national conference, but in recent years have not had the funding. Winners of our NMJAS state research paper competition were notified that they were eligible to attend but would need to provide or raise their own funding. Unfortunately, none of the students accepted the invitation.
This year, because of the pandemic things are different and the conference is being held virtually with very minimal registration fees. The opportunity to attend was offered to the top three 2020 state competition winners. The first place winner, Karin Ebey, accepted the invitation and since every student must have a chaperone, I get to attend also! Karin has submitted her abstract and poster titled “Modeling the Effects of Variations in Rainfall on Crocodilians and Their Ecosystems”. Posters and oral presentations will take place virtually. Most of the presentations and sessions will take place in February but Karin and I have already had the opportunity to watch a keynote address and attend a special session in which students could ask the presenters questions. Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of the Plenary speakers, his talk is COVID-19 in 2021: Lessons Learned and Remaining Challenges. Karin and I are both looking forward to events in February.
NMAS sponsors the New Mexico competition for the Junior Academy of Science – a research paper competition designed to enrich the communication aspects of scientific research. This year, all competitions will be held virtually, mostly in March.
Are you able to judge? Details of the competition and dates can be found on the NJMAS page. Please contact Malva Knoll to find out more or volunteer to judge.
The New Mexico Academy of Science (NMAS) presented two Outstanding Teacher Awards during the Annual Meeting / 2020 Research Symposium. These awards honor New Mexico science and math educators, and have been given since 1968. The Academy recognizes teachers who provide opportunities for students to succeed. Nominations are open to all science and math teachers in New Mexico. Each year the Academy honors two outstanding classroom or informal science teachers nominated from throughout New Mexico. The teachers are honored with awards at the NMAS Annual Meeting and also receive an award from our collaborative partner, the American Chemical Society.
In 2020, the Outstanding New Mexico Science Teachers are: Eva Abeyta and Lena Eddings.
One of our signature programs is the NM Junior Academy of Science paper competition. Students in grades 6-12 write a scientific paper and present their research with an oral PowerPoint. Students must complete research, but Science fair participation is not required. This year (like last year), the competition will be held via Zoom.
Download the flyer or visit our NMJAS page for details and resources.
The application deadline is February 16, 2021 for the March 4-5, 2021 virtual competition.
Thanks to all who voted in the November election for NMAS Board members. Congratulations to these elected members of the board:
Beginning in 1962, the NMAS has presented awards intermittently to New Mexicans for “Outstanding Contributions and Distinguished Service to Science and Scientific Education in New Mexico.” Awardees in the past have included Dr. W. Randolph Lovelace II, Chief of the U.S. Army Air Corps Aero-Medical Laboratory and founder of Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, Clyde Tombaugh, NMSU, the discoverer of Pluto, and Norris Bradbury, Los Alamos, for whom the Bradbury Museum is named.
NMAS gave the Outstanding Science Award, in 2020, to Dr. Angela Wandinger-Ness, UNM.
The New Mexico Academy of Science is proud to sponsor two New Mexico high school seniors interested in science for the 2021 National Youth Science Camp, June 28-July 21. The National Youth Science Foundation opened applications for the 2021 Camp on November 8, 2020. The deadline to submit applications is 6:00 PM EST on February 28, 2021.
Hosted in Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia since 1963, the National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp) has traditionally been a residential science, technology, engineering, and mathematics program designed to honor and challenge some of the nation’s rising STEM leaders and provide them with opportunities to engage with STEM professionals and participate in exciting outdoor activities.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the 2021 NYSCamp will be an entirely virtual experience which will include world-class lectures, directed studies, and seminars with prestigious and up and coming STEM professionals who are making a difference in their fields of study and changing the world for good. The camp will also provide significant opportunities for delegates to interact and engage with STEM professionals, camp staph (intentional misspelling to highlight their infections enthusiasm), and other delegates in exciting, fun, and meaningful ways. Even though delegates can’t gather in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia this year, the 2021 Virtual NYSCamp will be an engaging, stimulating, and unforgettable educational experience!
The NYSCamp is offered to selected participants at no cost so that talented students may attend regardless of their financial ability. Although camp activities will be offered throughout the day during camp, selected delegates must commit to a minimum 4.5 hour daily participation requirement between the hours of 6:00PM to 10:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) for the duration of the camp.
What happens on a typical day at the National Youth Science Camp?
A typical day begins with a morning lecture from a guest scientist. Some groups go on outdoor trips, and the rest participate in hands-on, small group science seminars facilitated by guest scientists or NYSC staff members. In the afternoon are seminars, athletic and recreational activities, art, and music. An evening science lecture follows dinner. All activities challenge delegates to approach problems with creativity.
How are Delegates Chosen?
Students apply at http://apply.nyscamp.org/. The New Mexico Academy of Science (NMAS) selects two delegates and alternates for the camp based upon an applicant’s academic achievement, leadership in school and community activities, and genuine interest in the sciences.
NYSC Coordinator (2020-2021) – Margaret Showalter
New Mexico Academy of Science