Our discussion leaders 2018

Richard Coltharp: Mass communications in the early 21st Century.  Richard is the publisher of the Las Cruces Bulletin, has been a professional journalist since 1985, and has lived in southern New Mexico since 1995.  He previously worked in Arkansas and Oklahoma. He grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he went to Union High School.  He graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in journalism, majoring in advertising and minoring in marketing.  In New Mexico, he has worked for the Alamogordo Daily News, the Las Cruces Sun-News and has been at the Las Cruces Bulletin since 2010.  His hobbies include basketball, reading, cooking, hiking, traveling and spending time with his daughter, Avalon.

 

Chris Erickson: Can we fix Las Cruces? Prof., Economics, NMSU. Chris has been on the faculty in the College of Business at New Mexico State University since 1987 and currently serves as Department Head. His main research interest is regional and border issues and he is the author or co-author of numerous articles, including articles on the Mexican peso crisis, China’s impact on the Mexican maquila industry, the effect of debt on growth in Ghana, and a supplemental money and banking text that was adopted on over 100 campuses. Chris has been a visiting professor in Mexico, India, Taiwan and Colombia. Chris is well-known in the community for a weekly column he writes for the Las Cruces Bulletin. He was chosen by his peers to serve as Chair of the Faculty Senate for the 2009-2010 term. Chris received his BA in economics from Willamette University and his Ph.D. in economics from Arizona State University.

Peter Goodman: Stumbling Toward Mindfulness.  Peter has been a New York City cabdriver, a young reporter and filmmaker in Las Cruces, a San Francisco trial lawyer, and a radio news guy (in English) in Taiwan, and has hosted news discussion TV and radio shows in Las Cruces.  He mainly writes fiction, and a little poetry, but also writes Sunday columns. He’s very old. (His words!)

Vince Gutschick: Around the world through 40 nations.  Vince, his wife, Dr. Lou Ellen Kay, their son, David, and their daughter-in-law, Yi Li, love to travel to experience other cultures, traverse great landscapes, explore the fauna and flora, eat interesting food, and expand their worldviews.  Vince is a professor, emeritus, in NMSU’s Biology Department, a convert to biology from chemistry and chemical physics. He loves photography, taking about 4,000 pictures per trip now that digital is here!  The adventures he and his family have had range from being invited into Balinese Hindu ceremonies, being surrounded by lions and by elephants, hiking to 16,400 feet on Mt. Kenya, traveling by every means imaginable from foot to canoes in the treetops of the Amazon in flood, and more.

Dawn Hommer: How Community Action helps us all.  Dawn Z. Hommer, MBA, CCAP is the Chief Executive Officer at the Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico since 2011. Dawn is a Certified Community Action Professional and recent graduate of the Paso Del Norte REALIZE leadership program. She serves on several Community Action Boards including as Chair of the New Mexico Association of Community Partners, Region VI Community Action Partnership, and CAPLAW. She holds a Master of Business Administration from NMSU where she also received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, with Distinction in University Honors. Dawn is a 2014 Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest Woman of Distinction and was nominated for Business Woman of the Year in 2015.

Jim Murphy: Solar System Robotic Exploration: Mars Climate and Other Fun Topics.  Jim Murphy and his wife and three children moved to Las Cruces in 1998 when Jim accepted an Assistant Professor faculty position in the NMSU Astronomy Department. Jim’s research focus is the weather and climate of Mars. He has taught a variety of planetary science courses at NMSU, and participated in a number of Mars robotic exploration missions. Jim served as Head of the Astronomy Department (2005-2011) and currently serves as the Associate Dean for Research in NMSU’s College of Arts & Sciences. Jim is currently advising the graduate research studies of four Astronomy graduate students.

Barbara Reasoner: Art is alive & well in Las Cruces.  Barbara worked in Denver for 37 years in marketing, advertising, and PR, retiring to New Mexico in 2014, taken in by the art in New Mexico, being a painter herself.  She gravitated to Las Cruces, where she toured all the galleries, volunteered at the Dona Ana Arts Council, and the Rio Grande Theatre.  She became a board member of the Arts Council, then its president.  The Council hangs monthly art shows, presents lecture series, and hosts workshops by artists and concerts.  The profits fo to support art programs for the children of the Mesilla Valley.  Barbara celebrates the arts of our area – fine art, performing arts, an acclaimed symphony, the film industry, extraordinary galleries, NMSU, the Doña Ana Community College, and our emerging artists.

David Rockstraw: Preserving our historic adobes.  David lives in an adobe home built in 1875 and he knows how to apply the intricacies of chemical engineering to preserve adobes.  He’s the Head of NMSU’s Chemical & Materials Engineering Department, bringing with him a great deal of experience in both industry (duPont, Conoco, Ethyl, and Kraft) and academe, where he’s been since 1995.  His current research focus is on turning waste plastics into liquid fuels.  He is a licensed professional engineer, consulting for many clients, being an expert witness, … and aiding students to become engineers as both teacher and advisor to the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  He also is the driving force behind NMSBrew, a full-service brewery engineering program.

Graciela Unguez: Charged up: Electric fish inspiring scientists.  Graciela is a Professor in NMSU’s Biology Department with a unique program combining research, teaching, and public outreach on electric fish.  She and her students have had our LCA students in her lab to see, in hands-on fashion, research on molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating the development, plasticity, and regeneration of neural circuits of weakly electric fish (not stunners, but fish using electricity to navigate, find prey, and avoid predators).  The electric fish are very useful models for studying how individual cells become motor neurons, muscle fibers, or electric organs, or revert from one form to another.

Yulin Zhang: Education: China & the US.  Yulin is the well-loved teacher of Mandarin Chinese to our students, having joined us this academic year.  The students, aged 5-13, learn to read, write, and speak with confidence, as well as to dance and sing Chinese songs.  She graduated from Xi’An University, majoring in Chinese Literature.  She has been a newspaper reporter in Xi’An, a participant in a US-China joint venture, and a school volunteer variously in Xi’An, Beijing, Los Angeles, and Longmont, Colorado.  In 2014 she moved to Las Cruces with her husband, a research meteorlogist, and her two children, Andrew and Emily.  She loves cooking, baking, gardening, hiking, and travel.  Our students have prospered from her teaching, with a number of them taking the challenging HSK Exam.