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Faculty successes

Houston named president-elect of cytometry society 

Chemical and Materials Engineering Professor Jessica Perea Houston ’00 was voted president-elect of the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry. Her term runs until 2024 at which time she will serve as president of ISAC for one year, then past-president in 2025. She has served on the executive committee as treasurer of this society for four years as well as on the ISAC council. She also was named an International Scholar of ISAC in 2014.

Established in 1978, ISAC is a scientific society with about 2,000 members and has a mission to “serve a multidisciplinary community by leading technological innovation, scholarship and the exchange of knowledge in the quantitative cell sciences.”

She joined the NMSU faculty in 2009 and introduced a new line of biomedical research to the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department. She directs the Flow Cytometry and Biophotonics Lab focused on cytometry instrumentation development.

Houston was recognized for her research in this field with a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2012. She received a Fulbright Faculty award, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, in 2018. She traveled to Saitama University north of Tokyo, Japan, to work alongside Miho Suzuki, a colleague and biochemist. ” 

Linda Fresques

Mitchell receives NSF CAREER award

David Mitchell, assistant professor in the Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is tackling two of society’s biggest problems with one ambitious project. He is researching technological methods to address the world’s rapidly increasing need for expanded communications capacity, and he hopes to inspire the next generation of students to pursue STEM fields and address the world’s emerging technological needs.

In 2022, Mitchell received the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award, which is one of the most prestigious NSF awards and aims to support early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in teaching and research.

“There have been many advances toward the development of communication theory and devices, however attention to data compression has lagged,” Mitchell says. “The CAREER award provides five years of funding, but it will initiate a whole career in this field. I believe that advanced data compression over a network is going to be a critical component in our future communication systems for decades.”

Mitchell works with College of Engineering K-12 outreach STEM programs, including the Pre-Freshman Engineering Program and Project Lead the Way. His plan gained support from the Las Cruces Academy and the Las Cruces Public Schools.  

Linda Fresques

St. Hilaire receives Intellectual Property Award

In April 2022, Rolston St. Hilaire received the Intellectual Property Award, an honor bestowed by NMSU’s Arrowhead Center to honor faculty or staff who have developed intellectual property and demonstrated work to realize societal, industrial and commercial benefits.

Former head of the Department of Plant and Environmental Science, St. Hilaire also was head of the Extension Plant Sciences department and a Regents professor. He first worked with maple trees while at Iowa State University. When he joined NMSU in 1998, he envisioned replicating the brilliance of maples in the desert environment.

“While maples grow in the desert southwest, the research challenge was to find one that could grow well in a desert environment while producing the same fall colors I saw in Iowa,” he says.

The Mesa Glow maple developed by St. Hilaire has been sold in 20 states and two provinces in Canada. Commercial sales of the bigtooth maple began in 2016, and by 2021, have recorded a 496 percent increase in retail sales.

“We wanted to recognize St. Hilaire’s work because it encompasses the development of his passion, and allows us to take the beauty and durability of our desert plants into other areas that could do well with enhancing drought-tolerant landscaping with that beauty,” says Kathryn Hansen, director and CEO of Arrowhead Center. 

Cassie McClure ’06 ’08 ’13








St. Hilaire