Dr. Ulises Ricoy and NNMC student Maria Orozoco. Courtesy/NNMC
Dr. Ulises Ricoy, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of Biology at Northern New Mexico College, has received a $20,000 grant from BUILDing SCHOLARS at the University of Texas, El Paso, to support undergraduate research for Northern students.
BUILDing SCHOLARS is a National Institutes of Health supported center dedicated to increase the diversity of students participating in biomedical research training and maximize opportunities for faculty and staff development.
The grant will be used to enhance undergraduate student research in neuroscience through the introduction of a research course involving hands-on projects, supplemented with computer simulation and analysis.
The course will offer students laboratory training, scientific mentoring and professional development, in addition to critical thinking skills that allow them to solve advance problems they will encounter during their research.
Northern has developed successful low-cost neuropsychology experiments using cockroaches to examine drug seeking behavior, which it will expand with the newly awarded grant.
“My job as a scientist and investigator is to ensure that students here in Española and surrounding communities have the necessary resources to have a competitive learning experience,” said Dr. Ulises Ricoy.
“Despite our limited resources, the scientific work that we are doing here at Northern is of national quality,” Dr. Ricoy added.
Dr. Ricoy’s passion for inspiring budding scientists and equipping them with the academic and research skills they need has earned him the BUILDing SCHOLARS 2017 Mentor Award.
Dr. Ricoy received the competitive award based on his “demonstrated excellence in research mentoring,” which is evident is his attempts to increase research opportunities for Northern students.
In 2017, 18 students competed and secured summer research experiences at prestigious institutions around the country.
In alignment with the National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, the students were associated with a research project in their field of study at a host institution, where they worked closely with the institution’s faculty and other researchers.
“After taking part in undergraduate research experiences, many of our students are moving on to phenomenal institutions to pursue their graduate studies. This is something I’m very proud of, and the families of the students are proud of also,” Dr. Ricoy said.