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New Mexico State University

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NMSU Hires Selbee To Support Rural Tourism in Five Counties

LAS CRUCES - Charlene Selbee will provide support for tourism projects in five counties as a program coordinator for New Mexico State University's Rural Economic Development Through Tourism (REDTT) project.

Selbee, who previously worked part-time for REDTT, will provide technical support and training in Socorro, Sandoval, Guadalupe, Cibola and Catron counties.

NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service runs the REDTT project, which serves16 counties. The project, first funded in 1992 with support from U.S. Rep. Joe Skeen, was designed to help rural areas build local tourism as a means of economic development.

One of Selbee's major goals is writing a workbook on how to organize festivals. "I'd like to put together something that would help people in rural communities who have never put on an event," she said.

Selbee's experience includes serving as tourism director for the City of Rio Rancho, where she still lives. She was executive director for the New Mexico Wine Growers Association for six years. While pursuing her bachelor's degree, she worked with the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau and state Tourism Department.

Selbee earned an associate's degree in business administration from Albuquerque Technical-Vocational Institute in 1991 and a bachelor's degree with an emphasis in tourism and marketing from the University of New Mexico's Anderson Schools of Management in 1999.

Selbee said she has loved festivals and fairs since childhood. Born in England while her father was in the U.S. Air Force, she moved to the family farm in Hesper, Iowa, as a young child and grew up participating in 4-H, Extension's youth development program.

"I never get tired of festivals," she said. "I see events as part of economic development and quality of life for New Mexico."