Student Recognition Awards


Trailblazer LogoOutstanding Trailblazer of the Year

The Outstanding Trailblazer of the Year recognition is determined solely by the recipient’s peers. This year, the organization has selected Ashkii Hatathlie. Ashkii has demonstrated dedication and perseverance to make the Trailblazers organization successful.

Ashkii Hatathlie has been selected as the 2013 Trailblazer of the Year by members of the organization for his dedication and loyalty. Anyone who knows Ashkii knows that he “serves as a constant example of the enthusiasm and loyalty that the university hopes to see from its Trailblazers. Ashkii makes room for service to UNM, the Alumni Association, and the Trailblazers organization itself even while saddled with a busy school schedule and employment at the American Indian Student Services center. His early involvement on-campus as a Resident Advisor and ASUNM Senator prevented him from applying for Trailblazer membership until last year, but he has been so active since joining that it is difficult to imagine Trailblazers without him.

His support of Trailblazer activities has preceded his membership in our organization: he was a member of the first class of Student Alumni Ambassadors and has volunteered at Hanging of the Greens every year he has been at UNM. Since joining, Ashkii is quick to sign up for long weeknight events and represent UNM students wherever there is a need. His unending positive attitude and support for others makes us all better and is often noticed by university supporters at events where he is present. When I think of Lobo spirit and T-Love, Ashkii is the first who comes to mind” [Jake Wellman]. Ashkii, a senior from Kirtland, NM, will graduate this December in Communication and Journalism.

Citizenship Award

This award recognizes endeavor, helpfulness, good spirit, and cooperation. It is given to select seniors who have demonstrated outstanding leadership skills and have provided continued service to the University and the community.

MAIA BROWN: Maia is a biology major. She is known among her peers and professors as an exemplary student and a natural leader. She has held leadership positions in the Biology Undergraduate Society—as communications officer and web designer—and in the International Delegation to Honduras, where she served first as the activities coordinator, then as elected president in the 2011-2012 school year. As president, she organized fund-raisers, planned the Honduras trip for the students, gathered donations of medical supplies, and kept things running smoothly during the students’ stay. She also introduced a new financial model that allowed the delegation to use their resources more wisely and stay in Honduras longer. Currently she is the student advisor for this organization.

This semester, Maia founded a new student organization called Healing Through Music. Inspired by her volunteer work at Presbyterian Hospital in which she plays music for patients, Maia wanted more UNM students to become involved in bringing joy and comfort to sick people in the Albuquerque community. Healing Through Music is the perfect vehicle for Maia’s leadership, involvement, and compassion. She is busy ensuring that the organization will continue to grow after her graduation in May.

Maia is on the Dean’s List, is an honors student, and is a member of Phi Eta Sigma and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Honors Program Director Rosalie Otero says, “She knows how to conduct meaningful research, how to ask important questions, and how to form illuminating and convincing points of view.”


KIRA HUGHES: Professor Richard Kemp describes Kira as a “full-blown, hard-core chemistry major” who loads her schedule with advanced math and science classes. She was a student in Professor Kemp’s Advanced Inorganic Chemistry class and made an A+, with the highest number of total points accumulated that he has ever seen in his 11 years of teaching the course. Her overall GPA is a stunning 4.15.

Kira is a member of three Greek academic honor societies: Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Order of the Omega. She’s also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. But she calls the Aquinas Newman Center her second home. She says that the Newman Center has held her heart and soul for almost half her life. She has worshipped, donated her time, and shared her gift of music there.

A strong believer in community service, Kira has taken that belief to a global level. In January 2012 she made a trip to El Salvador with the Newman Center. She says the 10-day trip changed her life and made her realize how fortunate she is just to be able to receive an education and have her basic needs met. After returning from El Salvador, Kira was nominated to the Friends of the Children of El Salvador board. This non-profit group, based at the Newman Center, coordinates scholarship funds donated by Newman parishioners to selected students in El Salvador.


SUSAN MURAIDA: Susan is an economics and Spanish major and an excellent student. Since her freshman year, when she joined the International Medical Delegation to El Salvador, Susan has realized the importance of civic engagement. She has shown compassionate leadership in a number of on- and off-campus organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Young Women United, Casa de Salud, and the Mortar Board Senior Honors Society. At the Casa de Salud Family Medical Office in Albuquerque’s South Valley, Susan is a senior staff member, maintaining clinic flow, recognizing and addressing urgent care situations, and delegating and performing administrative and clinical tasks. She also trains 10 apprentices in clinical skills and procedures, patient advocacy, and bilingual patient communication.

Spanish professor Anthony Cárdenas-Rotunno says of Susan’s community service, “Everything Susan has done involves risk. But despite this, because of her belief and dedication, she has contributed in ways that far exceed the expected role of a university student. She is a gentle, quiet spirit, bright and intelligent, who is tremendously responsible and caring.”

Susan is a research assistant at the UNM Department of Neurology, a Teach for America campus campaign coordinator, and co-chair of the Mortar Board’s “Reading Is Learning,” a nationwide literacy project. On top of all this activity, she maintains an impressive 3.89 GPA.


SHELBY PARKER: Shelby Parker is the president of the American Medical Student Association Pre-Med chapter at UNM. She has increased group membership from 40 to more than 120 members in the past year, revived a physician shadowing program, and updated the group’s Pre-Medical Survival Guide, a 52-page student manual. She is also the historian for the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society. Shelby works full-time while taking 18 to 19 credit hours per semester, but that hasn’t prevented her from earning a spot on the Dean’s List and in the Alpha Kappa Delta, Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.

In 2011 and 2012, Shelby worked as a research assistant in the School of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology. Her supervisor, Professor Tim Petersen, said that her poise, maturity, and scientific curiosity made her far and away the best candidate for the position. Her thoroughness, follow-through, and meticulous approach made her a great asset to the department. “Some people want and try to be leaders,” said Tim. “Shelby simply IS one.” Shelby describes her UNM experience as hectic and challenging, but rewarding. She doesn’t boast of her accomplishments, but instead thanks her fellow students and colleagues for their help.


ERIC SILVA: Eric is an exercise science major and National Hispanic Scholar who has been on the Dean’s List for four semesters. Originally from California, Eric found the Residence Hall Association a perfect way to get involved in the UNM community and form friendships. However, Eric’s involvement with the RHA also allowed him to develop and express his natural leadership abilities and love for UNM.

Eric has taken his Residence Hall involvement far. He became a RHA representative in Coronado Hall, then became a Resident Advisor and co-founded the UNM chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary. The chapter went on to win a regionally coveted Building Block Chapter of the Year award, thanks in no small part to Eric’s hard work and enthusiasm. In addition, Eric has been involved with the RA Council, has been an advisor for two Community Associations, served as the co-chair of the Intermountain Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls, and is the development chair for UNM’s Relay for Life event, which raises money for the American Cancer Society.

Nikki Wee-Moretto, Community Director of Redondo Village Apartments, says that Eric not only sets—and meets—high expectations for himself as a student, he helps other students out by forming study groups, offering assistance, and promoting good study habits. He is a young man who consistently goes above and beyond what is required in all aspects of his life. Ultimately, Eric’s work in the Residence Hall Association has led him to find his passion and career path: Student Affairs.


KANDIS WRIGHT: A biology major who plans to study medicine, Kandis was a finalist for the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Phi Beta Kappa. However, Kandis’ academic advisor, Shannon McCoy-Hayes, says that while her 4.12 GPA sets her apart from most of her peers, her academic achievements are just a small part of who she is. “Kandis is truly exceptional,” says Shannon. “She is one of the most mature and prepared students that I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”

Kandis shows remarkable diversity in her campus involvement and off-campus volunteerism. She has been a judge in the Central New Mexico Regional Science and Engineering Fair, which was hosted by UNM; is the treasurer of the UNM Racquetball Club; the historian of the UNM Student Honors Student Advisory Council; and has served as both the secretary and the vice president of the Scholars Wing Association. She also has tutored UNM students in biology and chemistry. As an athlete, she has won honors in the Duke City Marathon, sprint triathlons, and the 2012 Buffalo Batte, a grueling 5K obstacle course designed by the U.S. Army. Kandis has also volunteered at Ronald McDonald House and Presbyterian Hospital. She says that volunteering is worth every minute because it makes a difference.

For questions or more information:

Alumni Relations Office
O: 505-277-5808
800-ALUM-UNM (258-6866)
E: alumni@unm.edu