I’m pleased to announce the availability of the James Davis and Wirt Atmar Memorial Scholarship at New Mexico State University. My wife and I are pleased to provide full scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) who are residents of New Mexico and El Paso County, Texas for the Spring semester of 2015 and beyond.
Dr. James Davis (Jim), my birth father, received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Astrophysics from University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1969. His involvement in gamma ray astronomy led him to take a professorship at New Mexico State in 1973 after post-docs at Oregon State, University of Colorado, and the Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. At NMSU, he met the unusual character Wirt Atmar, Sc.D. 1976, Electrical Engineering and Biology, who was involved in early work on evolutionary simulation and later developed new models for thinking about the evolution of sex as well as species nesting using information theory. When Jim became ill and later succumbed to an unknown kidney disorder following a transplant, Wirt and his wife (Ph.D. biochemistry) became a new family for me and I spent my teen years in an elaborate bohemian world of academic and computer technologies, merged. Wirt passed in 2010 after an unexpected heart attack associated with some other medical problems.
We hope that new and continuing students will benefit from this scholarship (six should be awarded each year initially), and Jim and Wirt’s commitment to science and technology will impact a new generation of students.