ARMAS in Education Center

Achieving in Research, Math, and Science

Spotlight / Science-Fair

Photo: Margaret McKinney / Highlands University

1/25/2011

Highlands University biology professor Dick Greene talks to Jonathon Hall about his sonogram Jan. 21, when Hall and other Roy Middle/High School students spent a science day at Highlands.

HU Science Profs Help Roy Students With Science Fair Projects

Students from tiny Roy, N.M., worked with science professors at New Mexico Highlands University Jan. 21 to get expert assistance with their science fair projects. They also got a first-hand look at cutting-edge research labs. Twenty-four of the 27 students in Roy Middle/Senior High School participated in the science day at Highlands.Highlands University biology professor Dick Greene is working with Roy junior Nakita Fluhman on her science fair study that focuses on the health of her classmates’ blood vessels. She’s looking for a correlation between the early onset of cardiovascular disease and body mass.

Greene has taught at Highlands for 20 years, and is an internationally known expert in cardiovascular imaging research. He has published textbooks and numerous scholarly papers on the subject. Greene’s current National Institutes of Health grant funds his research on adult cardiovascular disease patients at the UNM Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque. “There’s little to no existing data on adolescents and the onset of cardiovascular disease, and how it relates to the body mass index,” Greene said. “This is an important issue that Nakita is researching for

her science fair project.”

Greene used a portable sonogram Jan. 21 to collect real-time images of the Roy students’ carotid arteries for Fluhman’s study. With his help, she will analyze the data from the non-invasive sonograms.

“It’s a higher-level scientific challenge to be at Highlands working with a biology professor, and I’ve learned so much from Dr. Greene,” said Fluhman, who aspires to work in the medical field as perhaps a trauma surgeon or a forensic pathologist.  

This is the fifth year Highlands University science professors have mentored students from Loretta Overberger’s science classes at Roy Middle/Senior High School.“Working with the professors at Highlands is very exciting for my students, and it enhances their confidence in scientific exploration,” Overberger said. “My students learn from the best at Highlands, and the professors give them rare opportunities that aren’t available in our small rural school.”

Overberger, who earned her B.S. degree in life sciences from Highlands University, said it’s satisfying to see so many of her students pursuing college to study science. 

“Nakita and her Roy science classmates are hard working, capable kids,” Greene said. “They are highly motivated to enter the health sciences profession or engineering.”The Roy students also visited with biology professors Maureen Romine and Carol Linder to get ideas for their science fair projects and gather materials. And they learned about the science of global warming during a talk by natural resources professor Edward Martinez. ARMAS, the university’s Achieving in Research, Math and Science program, worked with the university’s Office of Recruitment to coordinate the science day for the Roy students.

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