People You Know, Feb. to May 2008


Barney Popkin (65) writes, "I am currently a five-year Foreign Service Limited appointee, serving as Environmental Protection Specialist for USAID's Bureaus for Asia and the Middle East. I facilitate the USAID equivalent of the National Environmental Policy Act in these bureaus."

Mike McCloskey
(BS, geology, 1966) writes, "The article about 'Alumni Who Return as Faculty' really tickled me because I have often thought how cool that would be. In the sunset of my working years, San Joaquin Valley College, Bakersfield Campus, offered me the opportunity to head up the Business Administration and General Education Divisions. Having taught math and natural science here for quite a few years, I couldn't imagine anything more fun than teaching the teachers. I am having a great time."


Jerry Reynolds (BS, biology, 73) was recently hired as the landfill administrator in Galesburg, Illinois. Reynolds served as Lea County (New Mexico) landfill administrator from 1999 to 2007. Reynolds, a lifelong resident of Hobbs, ran own business there for 20 years.

Earl Eiland (BS, biology, 76) has received two awards from General Electric, where he is on an internship as part of his work on a Ph.D. in computer science at New Mexico Tech. For his doctoral research, Earl is investigating advanced techniques for detecting malicious activity on computer networks. The first award, in August 2007, was in recognition of successfully delivering a prototype intrusion detection system and presenting a paper on it at at professional conference. Eiland's second award, received in May 2008, acknowledged his completion of a key technology transfer project.

Earl plans to marry Deborah Benson, a teacher from Schoharie, N.Y., on July 5 at Calvary Tabernacle in Schenectady, N.Y.

Rick Sprague (BS, physics, 77) writes "I am pleased to announce that I passed the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification exam on April 21, 2008. I have been working contract Information Technology Project Management assignments with Gap, Inc. in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2004.

"Prior to relocating to California, I spent three years IT consulting with Cambridge Technology Partners, four years as Director Human Resource Information Systems at Carolina Power & Light Company, seven years big-five MIS consulting with Andersen Consulting (Accenture), and four years field engineering with Schlumberger Wireline Services."

"I also completed two Christopher Parkening Classical Guitar Master Class sessions at Montana State University in 1982. Check out sample tracks from my 2001 independent label CD release "Dreams of Love, The Guitar of Rick Sprague" at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ricksprague."


Chris West (BS, geological engr., 82) is the drilling manager-completions for Chevron-Bangladesh. He was recently co-author of the article "Bioremediation project achieves drilling, environmental objectives onshore Bangladesh," published in Drilling Contractor in March/April 2008.

Dr. Jeff Simmons (BS, metallurgical engr., 83) writes, "I'm actually working in the area that my Tech degree is in. I'm working for the Air Force Research Labs at Wright-Patterson AFB with computational modeling of properties and with electronic imaging with microscopes. One of my colleagues (Bhaskar Majumdar) has since gotten a faculty position at Tech. I'm living in in Dayton, Ohio, looking with lean and hungry eyes at the southwest. Miss the chilis and tamales and posole."

Sylvia Medina (BS, biology, 86; BS, envr. engr., 88) is CEO of the company North Wind, a nationwide leader in environmental engineering and construction work. Her company was recently the feature of a news story on KIDK, Idaho Falls, for being a female-owned company in a traditionally male field. North Wind boasts revenue of 50 million dollars a year, with 22 offices and over 300 employees.

Chris Mikell (MS, hydrology, 86) writes, "I'm a consulting groundwater hydrologist, and a co-owner of Bowen Collins & Assoc. We're a 60 person civil/environmental engineering company in Draper, Utah, specializing in water, wastewater, stormwater, groundwater, environmental and air quality. I'd love to hear from anyone in a related career."

Dr. Vannetta R. Perry (MS, chemistry, 86) is one of 160 educators selected from a nationwide pool as a participant in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund (JFMF) Educator Program. The program allows distinguished primary and secondary school educators from the U.S. to travel to Japan for three weeks to promote greater intercultural understanding between the two nations. Perry will visit Japan in October, when she will meet teachers and stay in a Japanese home. Perry lives in San Antonio, N.M., and is associate superintendent with Socorro Consolidated Schools.

Dr. Eileen Comstock (BS, biology, 88) was named "Woman of the Year" by the Socorro Chamber of Commerce in 2008. Comstock, who works as an emergency room doctor at Socorro General Hospital, has been active in community service. She directs the Socorro Community Band and a concert band at New Mexico Tech; has directed several spring musicals at the college: and is active in Rotary projects to bring improved medical equipment and care to Guatemala. She is married to Warren Marts (BS, computer science, 90) who is also active in Socorro.


José Salazar (BS, materials engr., 00; MS, information technology, 04) and Charlotte Salazar (BS, enve. engr. 02; MS, hydrology, 04) report that their son, also named José, is recovering from a cougar attack in the Sandia Mountains on May 17. The attack was the subject of extensive media attention in Albuquerque.

Dr. Luis Velarde
(MS, physics; 01) awarded a University of California's Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship in Mathematics, Engineering, and Physical Sciences. Only four such fellowships were awarded this year. Velarde also received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Arizona on May 17, 2008. He will use the fellowship to pursue postdoctoral research with the noted chemist Alec Wodtke, a professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

Velarde's research uses photoelectron imaging and lasers to figure out how chemical reactions happen at the level of single molecules and at the level of clusters of up to 40 molecules. Applications of the research include being able to control chemical reactions more precisely.

Mindy Gilbert-Treybal (BS, biology, 02) and Louie Treybal graduated from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in May of 2007. They are currently doing a residency in family medicine in Pueblo, Colo., and hope to come back to Socorro to practice medicine in the future.
Linford Wedding

Maria (Martinez) Linford (BS, physics, 03) and her Tech sweetheart Justin Linford (BS, physics, 03) were married on Sept. 7, 2007 in Albuquerque. The couple live in Albuquerque.

Amy Lueck
(BS, psychology, 04) is engaged to Robert Kellahin of Santa Fe. Both are employed as cytogeneticists at Genzyme Genetics of Santa Fe.

Nathan Goulding
(BS, computer science, 07; BS, electrical engineering, 07) is in a Ph.D. program in computer engineering at the University of California at San Diego. He writes, "San Diego is fantastic, but I still miss NM."