Top Faculty Awards Given To Rogejl and Higgins

Top Faculty Awards Given To Rogelj and Higgins

SOCORRO, N.M. – Each year, Tech recognizes outstanding research and teaching by a faculty or staff member of the Institute.

The recipient of the Distinguished Research Award is chosen by a committee of Tech faculty and researchers from a list of candidates nominated by their colleagues. The 2017 Distinguished Research Award was presented to Dr. Snezna Rogelj of the Biology Department.

The Distinguished Teaching Award of 2017 was presented to Dr. Shawn Higgins of the Communication, Liberal Arts, and Social Sciences (CLASS) Department.

Dr. Snezna Rogelj

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Dr. Snezna Rogelj receives the 2017 Distinguished Researcher Award from President Dr. Stephen Wells (left) and Dr. Van Romero, V.P. of Research.


Dr. Snezna Rogelj has been on the faculty in the Biology Department at NMT since 1998. She was selected for the Distinguished Research Award for her work on novel anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-parasitic drugs. She has 79 journal publications to her credit and according to Web of Science has an H-index of 25. Her publications have been cited about 4,500 times. These are remarkable numbers and speak highly of her research efforts.

A biochemist and cell and molecular biologist with physics background, Dr. Rogelj collaboratively carried out research on a wide variety of interdisciplinary projects. These studies range from cloning cancer genes to studying the immunosuppressive effects of pesticides and environmental pollutants, from biomimetic CO2 sequestration to the development of molecular biosensors; from nanotechnology to the development of anti-microbial materials; and finally, from efforts to clean up drinking water to the development of novel anti-cancer and anti-bacterial drugs.

While her work resulted in many top-notch publications and patents, she is by far the most proud of having done all of this work while mentoring and research training her hundreds of NMT undergraduate and almost 40 graduate students.

Dr. Rogelj, for your outstanding contributions to research and for your impact on New Mexico Tech and our students, I am pleased to award you the 2017 Distinguished Research Award.

Dr. Shawn Higgins

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Dr. Shawn Higgins receives the 2017 Distinguished Teacher Award from President Dr. Stephen Wells (left) and Dr. Douglas Wells, V.P. of Academic Affairs.


Dr. Shawn Higgins completed his first academic year as a faculty member in the CLASS Department at Tech. 52 students and five alumni nominated 28 instructors for the award.

Higgins was nominated by more than a dozen students for this award. Higgins received overwhelming support for this award from the student body. Nomination letters praised Higgins for his style of teaching, leading constructive class discussions, taking time out of class to meet with students, and for his enthusiasm for teaching.

One student wrote that “He cares about his students success and make sure that he is available for whenever we have questions or need help with an assignment. He seems to generally enjoy teaching his classes and wants us to not only be successful in his class, but also in our other classes. He deserves this award for being one of the best professors I have had.”

A member of the Class of 2017 wrote, “Despite being a brand-new faculty member at New Mexico Tech, his distinctive demeanor and teaching style have set him apart in my mind as one of the best instructors I've had the pleasure of learning with at Tech.”

That same student wrote that, “I would argue that his ability to bring non-technical perspectives into the ‘STEM echo chamber’ that is NMT greatly enhanced students' abilities to write and communicate for both professionals in their fields and for broader audiences. In class, he frequently gave the impression that he was not just there to teach, but also to learn from his students, and thus better inform his own methods.”

– NMT –