Skip to main content

Student & Alum Updates

Student Briefs

Alum Tidbits

(most recent)

February 13
David Vazquez (MPA '19)  was selected for two prestigious federal fellowship programs, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Graduate Fellowship Program and the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program due to his military experience, tenacity, and academic success at SPA. “If you make other people successful, you get more positive returns and more positive relationships.”

July 15
Aaron Cowan (MPA '19) has been selected by the City of Albuquerque's Solid Waste Management Department for its Learning Organizational Analyst II position in the Central Services Division. Additionally, he's in his second year in the UNM OILS doctoral program, and recently published with co-authors a research paper entitled, "Mitigating High-Skill Brain Drain in Low-Growth Economies."

June 24
Lori White (MHA '18) will be joining the Cancer Care Program at Presbyterian as the new Director of Practice Operations, Surgery and Supportive Care Services.

January 29
Daniel Astorga (MHA '18) is the new Quality Associate Director at True Health New Mexico.

December 4
Nikki Wiesner (MPA '13) has been with VA Sierra Nevada Healthcare System for over 2 years as the Deputy Planner. Now, she is the Rural Health/Telehealth Coordinator for the Reno, NV area.

August 6
Mickayla Karikari (MHA '18) recently relocated to Baltimore, MD to begin her career as a Quality Assurance Technologist at John Hopkins Hospital.

July 20
Receiving dual master degrees in MCRP and MPA in 2014, Paul Moretto is the new Senior Planner at the City of Victoria in Minnesota.

May 30-June 22
Jason Flores, DDS, BSN-RN (MHA '18) is the new Chief of UNM Dept. of Dental Medicine. Additionally, he published a peer-reviewed article, "Local Anesthesia and Sedation for Patients with PTSD," based off of Dr. Cartwright's PADM 610 Cultural Competence for Health Care Administrators course with Dental CE Today.

May 21
Antonio Pedroncelli (MPA '14)  recently became the Operation Director/CIO at Western Sky Community Care, which is committed to providing solutions for Medicaid beneficiaries throughout NM.

April 16
Danila Crespin (MPA '14) has been accepted into the Doctor of Education Leadership Program at Harvard University in Massachusetts, which prepares system-level leaders in American preK-12 education.

March 15
Distinguished and dedicated NM public servant, James B. Lewis (MPA '77) is the newly appointed Senior Advisor for Public Safety under Mayor Keller's Administration.

March 8
Spending 22 years as a Special Agent with the FBI, Sonya Chavez, MPA, has been appointed as the next and NM's first woman U.S. Marshal. Marshal Chavez is responsible for oversight of one of the Marshal Service's largest Districts, and one which makes up the SW Border Region.

March 7
Anna Sanchez (MPA '09) has been appointed to serve as the City of Albuquerque's Director of Senior Affairs under the Keller Administration.

February 26
Scott Atole (MPA '15) is the new Program Manager for the Presbyterian Health Plan-Native American Affairs. Scott's using his MPA and experience in working with diverse populations to address many health-related issues to his and the community's benefit.

November 10
Elizabeth Brophy
Elizabeth Brophy (MPA '11) is the new Director of Communication, Public Relations for the Providence St. Joseph Health in the Greater Seattle Area. On a day to day, she leads a team of strong communicators to nationally position Providence St. Joseph Health and their entire family of brands. They focus on raising awareness for mental health and community investment in addition to other innovative initiatives.

September 29
Megan Aragón
Megan Aragón (MPA '15) is the new Substance Abuse Clinical Manager at Bernalillo County. Congrats Megan!

September 27
Edward McCorkindale
Edward McCorkindale (MPA/MWR) is the Proposal Manager at Sundance Consulting, Inc. Sundance is an environmental consulting firm with an impressive record of delivering high-quality projects on time and within budget. Best of luck on the road ahead, Ed!

September 21
Tabitha Tapia
Tabitha Tapia (MPA '14) has hit her one-year anniversary as a Project Manager at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development in the City and County of San Francisco, CA! She's a part of a team that supports the ongoing economic vitality of San Francisco.

September 10
Meribeth Densmore
Meribeth Densmore (MPA '16) has been recruited by the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration, State Budget Division, in Santa Fe, NM as the new Senior Executive Budget and Policy Analyst. Her main goal is working to affect change in the public sector through budget and policy analysis. Cheers, Meribeth!

August 25
Victoria Otero
Victoria Otero (MHA '15) unanimously was elected to serve as the Villa Therese Catholic Clinic (VTCC) Executive Director in Santa Fe, NM as of August 25, 2017. Ms. Otero is a graduate from the MHA program at UNM SPA and a member of the New Mexico Healthcare Executives (NMHE). She served admirably as the Interim Executive Director and the organization is looking forward to her continued leadership to strengthen VTCC as they prepare for their future. Congratulations from the School of Public Administration Victoria! You will be a great leader for VTCC!

April 24
William Easom (MPA '10) is the new Director of Quality Improvement at Maxcare, Inc. in New Mexico. He graduated with a concentration in human resources management and currently analyzes and interprets data regarding incidents and implementation of the Individual Service Plans; ensures that direct support personnel complete necessary trainings to stay with NM's guidelines, and reviews grievances filed by employees and the individuals being served.

April 1
Jose Flores (MPA '13) is the new Placement Case Worker with CYFD in the State of New Mexico. Mr. Flores coordinates and facilitates the placement of children in CYFD custody by studying families interested in becoming foster and adoptive families. As well, he provides expert case consultation in the area of foster care and adoption services and provides services to foster and adoptive families requiring specialized skills or expertise. "My Master's degree... gives me the knowledge necessary to conduct quantitative and overall research [to better my community]."

April 1
Amy Miller
Amy Miller (MPA '93) is a well-rounded senior level public affairs professional that is now the Director of External Affairs at The Nature Conservancy in Albuquerque. Additionally, Mrs. Miller volunteered with The Nature Conservancy for over nine years as Board President and Board Member. She helped led efforts on outreach and awareness of the Rio Grande Water Fund project to increase the health of New Mexico forests and water supply and assisted with identifying new fundraising and membership opportunities. As well, Amy Miller is currently a member of the SPA Advisory Board.

April 1
Zach Lardy
Zachary Lardy (MPA '14) was announced Battalion Commander at Bernalillo County Fire Department. Prior to this position, Mr. Lardy was Captain at Bernalillo County Fire Department for over eleven years.

March 23
Danielle Gilliam
Danielle Gilliam (MPA ’10) is one of the recipients awarded a “Roaring Louie” from the Division of Student Affairs Fellows for Outstanding Service Providers at the Global Education Office. As Administrative Officer, she was recognized for her outstanding performance (outside of regularly assigned duties) that significantly enhance some aspect of student life at UNM. Nominated by members of the UNM community and chosen by a committee compromised of a diverse group of people from various UNM departments, Ms. Gilliam was presented with a coveted gold statue of UNM's mascot, Lobo Louie. Congrats on your recognition Danielle!

January 23
David Campbell
David Campbell (MPA ’81, JD ’86) is the recipient of UNM Alumni Association's prestigious James F. Zimmerman Award for the 2017 Winter Awards. Campbell has had a long and distinguished career filled with contributions to the community, New Mexico, the University and the world. After a lifetime of service to New Mexico, Campbell joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2011. He served as vice consul at the U.S. Consulate General in Guayaquil, Ecuador and as the political officer for the U.S. Embassy in Mauritius and Seychelles. Currently, Campbell is serving as East Africa Affairs desk officer at U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.

Stephen Ciepiela
Stephen Ciepiela (BA ’77, MPA ’80) is the UNM Alumni Association's 2017 Winter Awards recipient for the Erna S. Fergusson Award. President of Charles Stephen, a firm he co-founded in 1983, Ciepiela is at the helm of one of the oldest and largest independent financial planning firms in New Mexico. One of the first 75 Certified Financial Planners in the United States, he has been a recipient of many honors and awards including being chosen by his peers in a special issue of “Money Magazine” as one of the top 200 financial planners in the country. Ciepiela also is a successful author, writing “When A Partner Dies.” Currently, he is writing “Going Part Time – The New Exit Strategy.” 

December 22
Rick Snider and Ron Aldrich
Rick Snider (MPA ’15) was appointed as county administrator in March 2016 and was responsible for the evaluation of performance and strategic options for a troubled county nursing home in Champaign County, IL (one of the ten largest counties in Illinois) in late December“I never thought I’d be applying my healthcare knowledge so soon after graduating, but the coursework has proven invaluable,” Snider commented. “My work at the SPA enabled me to attain this position as county administrator. More importantly, I appreciate the relationships with UNM upon which I am now able to draw to help formulate a solution.”


Send your 

stories and photos