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New Mexico State University

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Two NMSU faculty members awarded Fulbright Scholar grants

Two New Mexico State University faculty were awarded Fulbright Scholar grants for the 2007-2008 academic year to teach or conduct research in foreign countries.

Alexander Fernald, associate professor of the NMSU department of animal and range sciences, and Timothy Lawton, professor and former head of the NMSU department of geological sciences, were two of about 800 U.S. faculty members and professionals selected by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board to conduct research abroad.

Lawton was awarded a Fulbright/Garcia Robles Grant to research the Jurassic evolution of Mexico at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City and the Centro de Geociencias in Juriquilla, Querétaro, from September 2007 to June 2008.

"It is an unprecedented opportunity to study abroad - to be immersed in a culture that is important to that of New Mexico," Lawton said.

His research, titled "Movement of Crustal Blocks in Mexico during the Jurassic Breakup of the Supercontinent Pangea," has taken him to the misty forests outside the city and to the Chihuahuan Desert of Coahuila to study crustal fragments that once connected Mexico and South America.

"It is a fascinating and controversial part of earth history," he said.

Lawton has been doing research on sedimentation and tectonics in Mexico for 12 years, and in the western U.S. for 25 years.

Fernald will conduct research and give lectures at the National University of Patagonia San Juan Bosco in Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina, from February to April 2008.

"It is a great chance to learn how scientists in another part of the world study hydrology," Fernald said, "a great opportunity to share my technical experience with others in Argentina."

His lectures will cover the "Theory and Application of Integrated Surface Water-Groundwater Computer Models" along with field practicum, while his research is titled "Characterization of Lower Rio Chubut Surface Water and Groundwater Interactions for Enhanced Watershed Management."

At NMSU, Fernald is an associate professor of watershed management in the department of animal and range sciences.
He said the trip abroad will be a promising experience for him, his wife and two daughters, who are traveling with him.

Since its establishment in 1964, the Fulbright Program has included 105,400 Americans who have studied, taught or researched abroad in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its goal is to help build mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the rest of the world.