by Roger Renteria
Annine Gabaldon (left) and Vanenna Barela (right) receive awards from Dylan Merrigan of the Student Association.
SOCORRO, N.M., May 29, 2008 – New Mexico Tech Student Association president Dylan Merrigan presented the group’s annual awards at the 2008 commencement ceremonies on May 17, 2008. This year’s recipients were graduating senior Vanessa Barela, physical recreation specialist Annine Gabaldon and Professor of Civil Engineering Dr. Claudia Wilson. Each year, the association honors a student, a staff member and faculty member, who have each contributed significantly to campus life.
Barela, an environmental engineering graduate, was a student senator for seven semesters and has worked various jobs with the Student Association. She volunteered for many Student Association projects and consistently was an active role model. She was out of town and was unavailable for an interview.
Gabaldon was honored for her dedication and efforts in assisting intramurals and sports clubs. She coordinates with each intramural team and coordinates the schedules and logistics for on-campus athletics. Also, in her capacity as the advisor to the Student Activities Board (SAB), she helps book entertainment for student functions such as 49ers and Spring Fling.
"There are, at times, more than 30 soccer intramural teams at Tech and it's difficult to accommodate each game with the limited space and lighting that we have, but we work around the issues and do the best we can with what we have," she said. "We sometimes rent out Sedillo Park for the softball intramural teams, just so they play on a real field. The teams really appreciate playing with a baseball mound."
She helps out the school's rugby and soccer teams by making travel arrangements for them among other things.
The SAB relies on Gabaldon’s advice and experience to contact bands, comedians, and suppliers to make each event successful. The students appreciate her help covering student events.
"It's easy for me to pick up the ball, run with it when students are busy with classes and exams," she said.
Gabaldon said she loves to work with students.
"It's stressful, but rewarding. In a sense, some of these students become friends," she said.
Gabaldon was surprised that she was presented with the appreciation award.
"I didn't expect it," she said. "I'm honored."
Claudia Wilson and Annine Gabadon receive awards from Dylan Merrigan.
Dr. Claudia Wilson, assistant professor in civil engineering, was honored for her involvement in student clubs and for fostering academic and professional opportunities for her students.
She is the advisor for both student chapters the American Society for Civil Engineers and Society for Women Engineers.
"It is really important to be involved in these clubs," Dr. Wilson said. "I strongly encourage that students go to the conferences."
Since Dr. Wilson arrived at Tech, she has encouraged her students to attend the New Mexico branch of the ASCE meetings. Undergraduates from Tech were the first students ever to make a formal presentation at the regional meeting.
She also helps her students find internships and scholarships.
"Any opportunity I think they can benefit, I send them information about it," Dr. Wilson said.
In 2006, she secured funding from the administration to enter in the student ASCE bridge building competition. Since then, she suggested that her students find private sponsors for building materials and donations.
"I'm honored to receive the award," She said. "I absolutely love teaching and working with students."
Merrigan mentioned several others who made significant contributions to the Student Association during the year. They were Katelyn Williams, Shari Houston, Russell Maier, Glenda Stewart-Langley, Dr. Michaelann Tartis and Theresa Borachi.