Growing up in Rio Rancho, Jason Harper learned conservative family values, the importance of service, and the value of hard work from his parents, and he grew to love and appreciate the beauty of New Mexico and the wonderful people in this community. His desire to serve Rio Rancho is rooted in his memories of watching his dad serve on the very first Rio Rancho School Board. Jason also remembers how hard his father and the entire community worked to build the first high school in this town, and the great pride and sense of accomplishment they all felt when Rio Rancho High School first opened its doors.
That experience and others instilled in Jason the desire to be involved in his community to help bring about change for good. His college education began here in New Mexico, with a Bachelor of Science degree from New Mexico Tech, and after a brief stint out-of-town for a Master of Science from Purdue University, he returned home to earn a Ph.D. from UNM, all in Chemical Engineering.
During his college years, Jason took a two-year leave to work as a church volunteer overseas, in Hungary, and he learned how to effectively lead a group of 20 culturally-diverse American and Hungarian workers. Living in that formerly communist society deepened his appreciation of the freedoms and opportunities that are enjoyed here in America.
Jason married his high school sweetheart, Mary, and they are now in their 18th year of marriage, with four wonderful children, ages eight to sixteen, all attending public schools right here in Rio Rancho.
For the last fourteen years, he has worked at Sandia National Laboratories, developing sensors to safeguard our soldiers from chemical and biological threat agents. Popular Science magazine named his anthrax detector one of the greatest innovations of 2015. Jason has completed two tours of service for the US government in Conakry, Guinea, to assist in the Ebola outbreak response. In our community, he serves as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts and as a Sunday School teacher. He is also on the Advisory Board for the Chemical Engineering Department at New Mexico Tech.