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Class Notes – Spring 2023

Jun 4, 2023 | Class News, Class Notes, Spring 2023

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The University of New Mexico Alumni Association
MSC 01-1160, 1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM, 87131-0001

Spring deadline: January 1
Fall deadline: June 1

Brandi Stone (’14,’17), Simone Vann (’13, ’20), and District Attorney Gerald M. Byers (’95) were awarded the 2023 Trailblazer Award by the UNM Black Alumni Chapter.


Robert D. “Bob” Smith (’60 BS), Greer, S.C., has published a Kindle eBook, “Lessons from Nine-tenths.” The book presents 13 major lessons and how he learned them, mostly from others.


Loren Kieve (’73 JD) Albuquerque, received the 2022 John H. Pickering Achievement Award from the Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association. 

Denise Tessier (‘75 BA), San Antonito, N.M., Tessier produced and edited the East Mountain Historical Society’s quarterly newsletter from 1998 until last year.  The newsletter was recognized by the Historical Society of New Mexico with the Lansing B. Bloom award.

Dennis McQuillan (‘79 BS) was awarded the 2023 Earth Science Achievement award by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.


Debbie Reese (‘83 BSE), a Nambé Pueblo scholar and educator and founder of American Indians in Children’s Literature, was honored by the UNM Alumni Native American Chapter at its inaugural awards gala.

David McBride (’85 BSEE, ‘98 MBA), director of the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center since 2010, has retired after over 40 years in the aircraft field. Eileen Higgins (‘87 BS) has been appointed chair of the National Association of Counties Transportation Steering Committee.

Rudy Garcia (‘87 BSCPE), a data engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, received a 2022 Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Technical Achievement and Recognition Award.

Elaine Prentice (‘87 MA) is president-elect of New Mexico Philanthropic Educational Organization, an international sisterhood that celebrates the advancement and education of women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and stewardship of Cottey College, a women’s liberal arts college in Missouri.

Eduardo Duffy headshot

Eduardo Duffy

Maria Montoya Chavez headshot

Maria Montoya Chavez

Mariposa Padilla Sivage

Mariposa Padilla Sivage


Eduardo A. Duffy (’90 BA, ’95 JD), Albuquerque, has been named treasurer of Sutin, Thayer & Browne. He practices in the areas of corporate and securities law, business transactions and public finance.

Ken Miller (’90 BA, ’92 MA) Phoenix, is the owner and lead guide of Take A Hike ­– Southwest Hiking Adventures, LLC, an Arizona-based guided hiking company specializing in memorable day hikes and backpack adventures in the Grand Canyon.

Wayne Propst (‘90 JD) was appointed secretary of the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration.

Elena Baca (‘91 BFA), the educator and program coordinator for the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Visual Arts Program, was awarded the Museum Art Educator of the Year Award by the New Mexico Art Education Association.

Jacquelyn Archuleta-Staehlin (’91 JD) was named deputy Cabinet Secretary at the New Mexico Public Education Department.

Strom Peterson (’92 BA), Lynnwood, Wash., a member of the Washington House of Representatives since 2015, has been appointed to a vacant District 3 seat on the  Snohomish County Council, representing Edmonds, Woodway and most of Lynnwood.

Sonya K. Chavez (’93 MPA), the first female U.S. Marshal for New Mexico received the 2022 Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation President’s Award at the Women in Federal Law Enforcement 22nd Annual Leadership Training conference.

Maria Montoya Chavez (’95 BS), Albuquerque, has been named a vice president of Sutin, Thayer & Browne. She practices exclusively in family law: divorce, child custody and support, alimony and the division of complex assets in the divorce context.

Chris Cervini (’96 BA) earned his doctorate in educational leadership and policy from The University of Texas at Austin, and is now vice chancellor of Community and Public Affairs for Austin Community College District.

Mechel McKinney (’96 ASMRT), Missouri, program director of the health information technology program and interim director/assistant professor at Missouri Western State University, has been elected to the American Health Information Management Association Council for Excellence in Education.

Mariposa Padilla Sivage (’98 BA, ’03 JD), Albuquerque, was re-appointed as secretary of Sutin, Thayer & Browne for a second term. She represents clients in civil and commercial litigation and has considerable experience in labor relations.

Angela Marie Roff (’98 BA), Glenwood Springs, Colo., was appointed to the Garfield County Court in Colorado’s 9th Judicial District.

Brenda Holley (’99 BSN, ’18 DNP), Albuquerque, has been named chief nursing officer of Lovelace Women’s Hospital in Albuquerque.


Nikki Jernigan (’00 BS, ‘04 PHD) has been named interim associate dean of Graduate Studies at UNM.

Hector Balderas (‘01 JD), the former New Mexico Attorney General, is now president of Northern New Mexico College.

Brian S. Colón (’01 JD), Albuquerque, former New Mexico Auditor, joined the law firm of Singleton Schreiber as managing partner.

Arsenio Romero (‘01 MA) has been appointed as Secretary of the New Mexico Public Education Department.

Amanda R. Armenta (BBA ’02, MBA ’03) was elected to the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.

Wade L. Jackson (’03 JD), an Albuquerque lawyer with Sutin, Thayer & Browne, has become a member of the New Mexico chapter of NAIOP, the North American Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

Jason Cave, J.D. (‘04 BBA) has been appointed Medical Center director for the Department of Veteran Affairs North Texas Health Care System.

Nicolle L. Gonzales (’04 BSN, ’11 MSN), a Navajo nurse midwife, was honored during the inaugural award ceremony and gala held by the UNM Alumni Native American Chapter.

Robert G. Metoyer (’04 BA), Burrton, Kan., has been promoted to associate vice president at LK Architecture in Wichita, Kansas. Metoyer, who has has been with the firm for eight years, specializes in hospitality and multi-family projects.

Matthew L. Garcia (‘05 JD) has been confirmed to serve as a U.S. District Judge for the District of New Mexico.

Felicia Fonseca (’05 BA), Flagstaff, Ariz., has been promoted to Southwest assistant news director for The Associated Press.

Chris Guillen (‘07 BBA), Albuquerque, has been promoted to first vice president at Morgan Stanley.

Mary Rebecca Jane Chavez (‘08 BA) is a care and trauma surgeon for Pen Highlands Healthcare in DuBois, Penn.

Jacob Black (‘09 BBA) is the fire chief in Santa Fe County.

Emily K. Oster (’09 MACCT) Santa Fe, N.M., was named new finance director of the City of Santa Fe.

Robert Johnston headshot

Robert Johnston

Isaac Leon headshot

Isaac A. Leon


Stephanie M. Rodriguez (‘12 BAEPD) was reappointed secretary of the New Mexico Department of Higher Education.

Naly Ramirez Aponte (‘13 BA) is program manager for the Adult Learning Center at The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.

Bettina Sandoval (‘13 BSED), director of the Taos Pueblo Training and Education Division, was honored at the National Indian and Native American Employment Training Conference.

Xochitl Torres-Small (‘15 JD) has been nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Diane Evans-Prior (’16 DNP) was named dean of the School of Nursing and Patient Support at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque.

Robert J. Johnston (’16 JD), Albuquerque, whose practice centers on public finance and taxation, was elected shareholder at Sutin, Thayer & Browne. Thomas J. Sauters (’16 BS) received his PhD in genetics/genomics from Duke University and has begun his postdoctoral work at Vanderbilt University

Felecia N. Cantwell (’17 JD), Albuquerque, has joined Sutin, Thayer & Browne as an associate attorney. A seasoned litigator, Cantwell focuses her practice in the areas of civil litigation, regulatory and administrative law, and contested probate matters.

Isaac A. Leon (’19 MBA, ’19 JD), Albuquerque, a lawyer with Sutin, Thayer & Browne, has earned his Tax LL.M. from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Graduate Tax Program. His practice focuses on taxation, mergers and acquisitions, public finance, and general business and corporate law.


Sarah Elise McLean (’22 BA), Albuquerque, was awarded the Navin Narayan Award of Excellence in Youth Leadership by the American Red Cross.

Spring 2023 Mirage Magazine Features


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