Eight Students Garner 2013 Appreciation Awards
SOCORRO, N.M. May 3, 2013 – Eight students and one club won the 2013 Student Appreciations Awards, present at the annual banquet Friday on campus.
Melissa Begay, the Director of Physical Recreation and Student Activities, hosted the banquet and introduced the winners. The awards were created 15 years ago to recognize outstanding students and clubs demonstrating generosity of spirit and performance above and beyond the call of duty.
Melissa Jaramillo, Vice President for Student & University Relations as well as Dean of Students, has generously provided the support necessary to bring back this wonderful award each year. The award winners are nominated by Tech faculty and staff for contributions to Tech and the larger Socorro community.
The winners are Anny Chen, Amy Galanter, Eden Howard, Drea Killingsworth, Ashleigh Mitchell, Michaela Rempkowski, Sohaib Soliman, Francisco Vigil, and the New Mexico Tech Bicycling Club.
Anny Chen (center)
Amy Galanter and Dr. Dan Cadol
Eden Howard and Bill Lacava
Drea Killingsworth with Dr. Phil Kyle (left) and Dr. Steve Simpson
Ashleigh Mitchell with Dr. Navid Mojtabai
Michaele Rempkowski with Dr. Michael Heagy
Sohaib Soliman with (from left) Dr. Snezna Rogelj, Emma Aafloy and Vanessa Quinones.
Francisco Vigil with Dr. Nadir Yilmaz
The Tech Bike Club members accept their award. From left are advisor Rob Selina, member Sam Rochelle, member CV Harris, coordinator Annine Gabaldon and advisor Dr. David Burleigh.
Anny is a senior, graduating in May with her bachelor’s in biology. Her ultimate goal is to become a veterinarian.
Anna McLain of Facilities Management nominated Chen. She said that Anny’s kind heart and intelligence spills over into the many charitable contributions she has made to the Socorro area as well as the Campus.” Chen is the vice president of Tri Beta, the Biology honor society, a true testament to the value she puts into her education by achieving a grade point average worthy of this elite membership. Tri Beta works with no-kill animal shelters, walking their dogs and donating food and supplies to them.
Anny’s sorority, Alpha Sigma Kappa, is a philanthropic organization that has worked with Puerto Seguro homeless shelter providing clothing donations, Good Samaritan Village Nursing Home playing Bingo with the residents, Socorro Animal Shelter walking their dogs, and assisting in the Great American Clean Up, picking up litter throughout the City.
“Her contribution to our department has been invaluable and unmatched, proving a higher level of understanding to the complex work directives placed upon her and remaining a constant and reliable employee,” McLain said. “She will be sorely missed by each of us upon her graduation. At the same time, we are eager to see what is next for Anny as we are confident great things are ahead for her.”
Amy is a first-year master’s student in the Earth and Environmental Science department. She is particularly passionate about New Mexico’s pressing water needs. Amy volunteers one day a week with the Socorro Soil and Water conservation District, helping ranchers and farmers design and install water conservation infrastructure.
She helps lead field trips for local fifth graders in the River Watch program teaching them scientific observation skills and helping them understand their connection with the water cycle. Amy was a member of Tech’s RainWorks challenge team, helping design an efficient rainwater control/salvage plan on campus.
Dan Cadol, assistant professor of hydrology wrote, “Another example of her compassion has been her response to one of our new international students. Amy has helped ease his anxiety in numerous situations, from giving him a ride to the burrito stand and helping him order food for a seminar, to going with him when he needed to meet with some of the Hispanic landowners whose property falls within his study watershed.”
Eden is a Residential Assistant. During R.A. training back in August, Eden was introduced to The Boys & Girls Ranch in Veguita, about 30 miles north of Socorro. This is a home for troubled and disenfranchised youth.
Eden took it to heart what the teens at the ranch had gone through and she felt strongly they needed help with their academics in order to prosper. After talking to the coordinator of the ranch, Eden implemented a weekly tutoring program for the teens. She organized a group of four to eight Tech students to drive each Friday afternoon to tutor the teens for a few hours.
For months, she graciously drove her own vehicle using her own money for gas. Now, the students drive the Mythbusters vehicle, on loan from VP Melissa Jaramillo-Fleming.
Bill Lacava, Residential Life Coordinator said, “ Eden is dedicated to serving the Boys and Girls Ranch not only to help tutor, but she also wants to show the youth living at the Ranch that there are opportunities for them to go to a college. On behalf of the Residential Life department, we feel Eden demonstrates exemplary leadership and service.”
Drea Rea Killingsworth
Drea is a second-year graduate student in geology. Her contributions to tech have been numerous. Drea participated in a mentoring program through Upward Bound working with middle school and high school students.
She helped design and lead a series of workshops at the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning helping Student Research Symposium participants prepare their research posters, abstracts, and oral presentations.
Drea volunteered to give a lecture on geological field methods in the Living Learning Community class. She piloted a 1-credit graduate writing seminar in the E&ES department, going far beyond the boundaries of the class by meeting with many of the students one-on-one, as well as inviting them to her home.
Not only is Drea generous with her time but she is generous with her food. She volunteers to make lunch for the Earth and Environmental Science “Volcano Lunch” biweekly informal gatherings, as well as bake cookies for the department office or for any student gatherings.
“Drea is an extremely generous person who sacrifices much of her own time to help others, whether through her outstanding meals for fellow researchers on Mt. Erbus or through her tireless work with international students in the writing center,” writes Dr. Phillip Kyle, professor of geochemistry.
Drea has also been instrumental in helping design and launch the new International Conversation Café, a monthly get-together in the Fidel Center that gives ESL students opportunities to practice conversational English. Dr. Steven Simpson says, “Drea is one of the most generous students that I know, and I feel that her warmth, her hospitality and her kind words have helped many of our students succeed.”
Ashleigh is a junior, majoring in Mineral Engineering. Ashleigh has been the president of the Cooney Mining club, which is the student chapter of the Society of Mining Engineers (SME for short), for the past 2 ½ years.
During her term as president of the SME club, the club has won first prize as Club of the Year. Navid Mojtabai states, “Ashleigh has been a great, caring and organized leader. She has been involved as the main organizer at all other events and she is always the first and sometimes the only person to volunteer for these events.” Ashleigh has been awarded the Coal and Energy and Coal Research foundation scholarships for the last 2 years.
Michaela is graduating this May with a major in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Chemistry. During her five years at New Mexico Tech, Michaela initiated and developed a program in the Socorro Public Schools to provide hands-on science experiences for young people. She devoted her time to the well-being and education of children growing up in economically disadvantaged areas of New Mexico.
Dr. Sally Pias, assistant professor in the Chemistry department wrote, “Michaela’s own upbringing in the South Valley of Albuquerque has provided her with a unique perspective on the benefits of science education for children.”
Michaela has also volunteered in a mentoring program for the state Children Youth and Family Department. She has been a perennial volunteer at the NMT Sport Club’s holiday food drive for several years. She was one of the founding “mothers” of the women’s rugby club and is a driving force of the club, according to coach Dave Wheelock.
Lastly, Michaela carried out a one year research project under the auspices of the National Science Foundation – Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities, noted Dr. Michael Heagy, Chemistry professor.
“Michaela is just an all around good student representative,” Heagy said.
A native of Socorro, Sohaib is graduating this May with a major in biology. He has been accepted into dental school in Seattle. After dental school, he will apply to medical school to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
Sohaib has been a Residential Assistant, has coordinated many student activities on campus, has conducted synthetic organic chemistry research, has worked as a chemistry lab teaching assistant, and has been an active member in the men’s soccer club.
Sohaib has served as the student body president for two years as well and completely changed the look of the student government offices, enhanced the layout and structure of the student government meetings, and returned student government accounts to a stable footing. What stands out the most though is his diligent work over spring break when he and a few student government senators lobbied in Santa Fe to save the Lottery Scholarship not only to profit Tech students but students in the state of New Mexico.
Leyla Sedillo, Associate VP of Budget and Analysis wrote, “Sohaib is possibly the best Student Government Association President I have ever worked with. He is forward thinking, concerned and extremely conscientious about his duties.”
The Associate Director of Budget and Analysis, Emma Aafloy wrote, “Sohaib enters a room with a smile and a purpose – he is here to learn and not only in the classroom but in his job, and cares about everything he touches, whether a piece of paper or fellow human being.”
Dr. Snezna Rogelj, Chair of the Biology Department says, “Sohaib energetically carries out many responsibilities with utmost concern for details and attention to the big picture; he does this with perseverance, clarity of vision, equal respect for those he represents and his superiors, and finally, in an articulate and always ethically sound manner.” Vanessa Quinones, administrative assistant in the biology department writes, “Sohaib is demonstrably brilliant but also modest and willing to be of help to anyone who needs it. If science doesn’t work out, he could settle for politics and rule us all…and we’d like it.”
Francisco is a senior and will graduate in December with a major in Mechanical Engineering. Francisco has been chairman of the Student Chapter for Society of Automotive Engineers for a couple of semesters now.
Throughout his tenure as chairman, the SAE Chapter grew by 600 percent due to Francisco’s motivational skills to encourage membership among freshman and sophomores.
“Francisco has worked closely with the other officers to lay the foundation for a successful chapter and inspired the officers to work towards the fulfillment of the goals that were set. It is very hard to find a leader that leads by encouraging the development and success of those below him, however; Francisco fills this role exceptionally well,” wrote Dr. Nadir Yilmaz, associate professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering.
Francisco is also an Assistant Scoutmaster in Troop 425 in Espanola, N.M., where he promotes leadership and service to at-risk kids. Francisco has been volunteering with the Science Fair and Science Olympiad since his freshman year with roles such as head checker inspecting 300+ science fair projects, a science fair judge or assistant judge and assistant event supervisor for Science Olympiad.
Additionally, Francisco has helped as an organizer for the New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge Kickoff Conference in past years. He has also presented at the New Mexico Hispanic Youth Symposium to promote careers in STEM fields to high schoolers.
“He has told me many times that these STEM activities are what encouraged him to pursue a degree in Mechanical engineering”, Dr. Yilmaz said.
The Tech Bike Club
The Bike Club is a fairly new club within the physical recreation department. This academic year, the club members planned, organized and implemented events called wrench-a-thons. Since the local bike shop closed, the tech Bike Club decided to buy tools and parts to help bicyclists repair their bicycles. The members and advisors volunteer their time every Wednesday afternoon and one Saturday a month. The club does not charge for these services.
Members of the club also volunteer monthly for Socorro Consolidated schools program called “Healthy Kids” where kids of the Socorro community are escorted by volunteers to and from school on bikes as a way to promote a healthy lifestyle. Annine Gabaldon, Physical Recreation Specialist writes, “I have been involved with the NMT Club Sports program for over 10 year now and of those 10-plus years, this is the first time I have witnessed a club go above ‘serving’ not only their club but to go above and beyond to serve those of the New Mexico Tech and Socorro communities.”
Club members C.V. Harris and Sam Rochelle accepted the award, along with advisors Dr. David Burleigh and Rob Selina.
– NMT –