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NMSU grad student seek public input online for water research project

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New Mexico State University Department of Geography graduate student and assistant Hardt Bergmann is asking for the community’s help with an online photo exhibit as he prepares to defend his master’s thesis.

“I'm measuring engagement with the exhibit as part of my research using a comments box on the main web page and a short viewer survey, so I’m hoping that getting more eyes on the exhibit will result in some more surveys and comments coming in.”

Viewers can access the exhibit by visiting https://hardtb.wixsite.com/deserthydrologies and clicking "click here to enter the exhibit." Scroll each chapter’s photos and other media in order or use the tabs at the top of the page to jump directly to different chapters.

To participate in Bergmann’s research, viewers can return to the main website and leave a comment in the comments box and/or fill out a private, anonymous survey about their experience viewing the exhibit, Bergmann said. The deadline to participate is Tuesday, May 31.

The link to the survey is on the main website beneath the link to enter the exhibit.

“My thesis research examines discourse about water and water issues in the Southwest and uses participatory photography as a way to both analyze and generate conversation about water's meaning and importance in a changing arid landscape,” Bergmann said. “As part of the participatory photography component, I asked local community members to send in photos that they felt encapsulated how they interact with and relate to water in their day-to-day lives. Along with their photos, participants also filled out surveys in which they provided further commentary on their photos and dove deeper into what water means to them.

“The exhibit, which features participants’ photos along with excerpts from their surveys, is an attempt to visually represent how people experience global change at a local scale through their personal relationships to nature and natural resources,” he said.

Bergmann is defending his thesis this summer and plans to graduate at the end of the summer semester, he said. Following that, he hopes is to continue his studies at NMSU and the University of New Mexico’s joint Ph.D. program in geography.

He has already been accepted into the program but is waiting to hear back about funding. If he gets the funding he needs, Bergmann would begin the program this fall, he said.