The Public Administration Graduate Student Association (PAGSA) exists to represent and serve graduate students in the School of Public Administration and other graduate students enrolled (degree and non-degree) in public administration courses without regard to UNM campus attendance. PAGSA sponsors activities to provide opportunities for students' academic, professional, and social growth.

PAGSA representatives work with other graduate and professional programs and their students through the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), to create and pass legislation that focuses on problems affecting graduate students. Please visit GSPA's website to see what initiatives GPSA is currently involved in.

To stay connected with upcoming events brought to you by PAGSA, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Also, email to find out how to get involved.




Kun Huang, Ph.D.

Get Involved: Ongoing PAGSA Campaigns

Various members of PAGSA in official UNM gear

The Work We Do #WeAreSPA
PAGSA wants to highlight YOU and the incredible work you do in our community, in your personal and professional life, and as people pursuing a degree in Public Service. Each week we will feature a new SPA student on our social media pages to highlight the diversity of our program and the different work that SPA students do.

Want to be featured? Email us a

PAGSA Volunteers!
This year PAGSA has set a goal of 50 logged volunteer hours from our students. We know that our student body is involved in the community, and we want to recongize it! Log your hours and help us reach our goal of 50 hours of volunteering and service to our community!

Volunteer Hours Log

2022-2023 PAGSA Executive Board

Interested in doing more? Email PAGSA members below. They are here to represent and serve YOU so make your ideas and voice heard.


Joan Marie Yazze Gallegos

Joan Marie Yazze Gallegos is the new incoming President of PAGSA. She grew up moving around from Ft. Riley, KS army base to Navy bases on the East coast because of her family. However, she considers Albuquerque, NM her home. She received her undergraduate degree in Criminology with a minor in Political Science from UNM. She is half Navajo, Spanish and Irish. She is an Army ROTC cadet and is set to commission on May 12, 2023, as an officer in the United States Army. She is the fourth generation in her family to serve, and both heritage and tradition play a huge role in her life. She is a member of the Junior League of Albuquerque, Young Professionals of Albuquerque, and volunteers when she has time. She owns her own marketing company, Yazze Creative. She specializes in social media campaigns, photography, and website maintenance. She hopes to use her master's degree to focus on working in government while she is in and out of the military.


Grant Atencio

Grant Atencio is the new incoming Vice President of PAGSA. Coming from a military family, Grant lived in many places, including El Paso, TX, Atlanta, GA, Hawaii, and Colorado Springs, CO to name a few. He is from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, NM originally as he is very close to his Native heritage. In Fall 2020, Grant received his bachelor's in Community Health Education. Soon after upon graduation, he wanted to pursue a higher education, that being a Master of Public Administration. Grant is also a part of the UNM Army ROTC program as he is currently serving as the Cadet Battalion Commander for the Fall 2022 semester. Just like his extended family history of military service, he is soon to take the reins of the United States Army as a Commissioned Officer, the first from his tribe. Grant is involved in UNM Athletics as he is the Manager of the UNM Women’s Basketball team as he is very passionate about supporting the team in any way possible. Grant soon hopes to utilize his educational background as he desires to become a teacher and eventually work his way into being a school administrator after his military service.


Alisha Chavez

Alisha Chavez is a native New Mexican raised in Taos. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The University of Southern California in Los Angeles before moving to Albuquerque. Her background is in non-profit and public sector administration and management. Her experiences with social services, public policy, and community education led her to pursue her Master’s in Public Administration. She currently works as a program manager for the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center, coordinating educational opportunities for the research administration department and providing administrative support for faculty and senior leadership. She is excited to work with the UNM SPA community to provide networking opportunities and leadership for her fellow students.


Sayanti Mallick

Sayanti Mallick is treasurer of PAGSA. Sayanti is a small-town girl from India. Limited resources never prevented her from pursuing her dream. She completed her bachelor's and master's in Zoology and enrolled in Ph.D. program in Agricultural Entomology. The major focus of her Ph.D. research was to improve environmental health by minimizing bio-toxicity. Throughout her Ph.D. program, she conducted multiple pesticide trials in the field which necessitated her to work closely with the ground-level farmers. Following her Ph.D., she got married and moved to the USA. Presently, she is pursuing a Master in Health Administration from The University of New Mexico. She currently started working as an Education Training Program Coordinator at Community Behavioral Health, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, UNMH. Along with her studies and work, Sayanti is an Indian Classical dancer since early childhood and she is trained in Kathak. She has traveled to many places and performed across India and USA. She is also a mother of a two and half-year-old daughter.


Andrea Benites
Event Planner/Public Relations Liaison

Andrea (she/her) is a dual-degree master's student, and she is hoping to receive her MBA and MPP during the Summer of 2023. She comes from the Philadelphia area and transferred to UNM to be an athlete in the women's track and field program. During her undergrad, she was a part of the Student-Athlete Advisor Committee (SAAC), the Social Justice Student Action Committee, and an ASUNM Senator. Andrea's bachelor's degree, coming from Anderson, resulted in a BBA in Human Resources. During this time, Andrea has also interned for Deb Haaland's Congressional District office, and Viante, a state-legislative organization. She, also, held a Policy Assistant position at an Albuquerque renewable energy company. During her graduate studies, she has held a multitude of positions so far. Andrea is currently the Chief of Staff of GPSA, the Director of Coordination of UNM LEAF (UNM's student-led environmental activist group), and President of the SUB Board. She hopes to take her experiences and knowledge earned at UNM to become a legislator one day. Her policy areas are environment, education, healthcare, and energy.