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New CHME department head brings vision, goals and years of experience


The Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at New Mexico State University began the Spring 2022 semester under new leadership. 

Joseph “Joe” Holles, Ph.D., officially joined the department in January and has focused on the success of the department since day one.

“My goal is to continue to build on the accomplishments and hard work of the department faculty and the previous department head,” Holles said.

Dr. Holles graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. He later received his Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Virginia in 1998 and 2000, respectively. He brings over 20 years of experience in university academics and research to the department. Dr. Holles also holds three U.S. Pattens and has an extensive list of publications on laboratory research and pedagogical development which can be found here.

With NMSU’s goal to achieve R1 status by 2025 following the LEADS 2025 strategic plan, Dr. Holles layouts his vision for the department in two parts. 

“First, to grow and initiate opportunities for students, both undergraduate and graduate, to participate in experiential learning,” Holles explained. “This includes internships, co-ops, and undergraduate research. These experiences make significant differences as our students enter the workforce. However, we realize that these experiences add time and cost to completing a degree. Our plan is to find ways to help the students with these costs.”

“Second, to continue to support the research of the faculty and graduate students,” Holles said. “We will work to develop collaborations and resources to help the students and faculty complete their highly regarded research.”

 Another goal of Dr. Holles is to highlight the importance of collaboration as an HSI. “We also need to develop both internal and external collaborations that capitalize on our status as a Hispanic Serving Institution to continue to grow the research opportunities for our graduate students and faculty,” he said.

Dr. Holles may be reached at or my making an appointment with the CHME office at or by calling (575) 646-7706.