New Mexico Highlands University received an $82,529 National Science Foundation Grant that will enable natural sciences students and faculty to use in-house instrumentation to conduct water quality research and analysis.One instrument is for field use in streams and lakes and measures real-time water quality parameters like temperature, conductivity, pH and dissolved oxygen. The second instrument is an automated chemistry analyzer used in a lab setting. It measures nutrient concentrations like nitrogen and phosphorous in water, providing another piece to the overall picture of water quality. “Since we didn’t have these water quality instruments, any research requiring this type of analysis had to be sent out to other labs, which then billed us,” said Edward Martinez, assistant professor of natural sciences at Highlands. “This grant will cut costs and open the door for students and faculty to experience more types of research that wasn’t possible before.” Martinez said an example of how these new field and lab instruments can be used is a student research project for the Sapello River, which studies whether forestry restoration practices are affecting water quality.Martinez wrote this NSF water quality instrumentation grant and has a track record for successful grant writing and administration at Highlands. For the second summer, he is administering a USDA Hispanic Serving Institution Education Grant that offers a Science and Agriculture Summer Experience program to high school students in northern New Mexico. This summer, 20 youth are participating in this two-week science institute at Highlands. The program will also be offered next summer. “These grants help students be more aware of the science research opportunities at Highlands and consider us as an institution of choice,” said Linda LaGrange, Ph.D., associate vice president for academic affairs at Highlands.