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New Mexico State University

STEM Award of Excellence Recipient

‹‹ Press Release

José Morales (left) with nominating mentor,Dr. Mark Uchanski (right).
José Morales (left) with nominating mentor, Dr. Mark Uchanski (right).

José Morales

Major: Agronomy
Minor: Pest Management
Nominating mentor: Dr. Mark Uchanski

After working as a nurse at a county hospital for a year and a half, Josť Morales returned to school to pursue his lifelong interest in agriculture. His interest in agriculture was sparked by childhood summer visits to his grandparent's farm in Mexico. Josť writes "It was there that I began to appreciate the open country and the fresh air that fills it. I got the chance to see the possibility of having a direct communication with the seasons. Working in conjunction with the climate and the land to produce a source of food or fiber, not only to provide sustenance, as well as a form of enjoyment for people."

Josť stands out among students for a number of reasons. He is pursuing his second Bachelors. In the classroom, his mentor and teacher, Dr. Uchanski writes that "Josť craves knowledge, both in and out of the classroom" adding that he "motivates other students through his leadership, example and active membership in extracurricular activities." As co-president of the Organization of Aggie Students Inspiring Sustainability (OASIS), Josť says "it challenges me to step up to an administrative position and get involved with the community inside and outside the New Mexico State University. " In his OASIS leadership role, he has volunteered at the OASIS film festival, spearheaded the effort to produce a comprehensive list/map of Las Cruces' sustainable businesses and restaurants, helped grade school children plant trees, and coordinated the Third Annual Las Cruces Earth Day activities.

Josť also seeks out experiences to supplement his education. With the help of Dr, Uchanski's funding, Josť was able to attend the annual Organic Farming conference in Albuquerque where "he eagerly attended every talk he could and carefully recorded notes for his own benefit." Josť has also sought out hands-on-experience taking a position in the NMSU onion breeding program and completing a summer internship with Salt Fork farms in Solon, Iowa in 2010.

The STEM Award of Excellence helped Josť pay for his basic needs and work less thus allowing him to put more efforts towards his studies and OASIS extracurricular activities. In Spring 2011, Josť will graduate with a major in Agronomy and a minor in Pest Management.

‹‹ Press Release