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 Kate Ayala. Ayala has demonstrated dedication and perseverance to make the Trailblazers organization successful.

Sue MacEachen, Senior Officer Alumni Relations Office, says of Kate Ayala, "She serves as a constant example of the enthusiasm and loyalty that the University hopes to see from its Trailblazers. Kate makes room for service to UNM, the Alumni Association, and the Trailblazer organization itself even while saddled with a busy academic schedule and employment at the Alumni Relations Office.

A year ago, Kate was selected to serve on the Council for Advancement and Support of Education Affiliated Student Advancement Program (CASE ASAP) Executive Board as the District IV Representative serving member institutions from New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. In February, she coordinated the Student Engagement and Philanthropy for the Trailblazers by hosting an event, PAWSitive Appreciation for Donors. Kate is a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority. She will graduate with a major in Environmental Science Planning and Design.

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.

ADRIAN AVILA: Adrian is graduating with a dual major in Psychology and History. He learned early in his college career to balance education, organizational affiliations, family, and employment which made for a rewarding experience embracing the benefits of academia and involvement. Adrian's recognitions include the Dean's List, the University Honors Program, Greek Life Academic Achievement Award, Who's Who Among College Students, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He immersed himself in on and off campus organizations: Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, Trailblazers, Order of Omega, Refugee Well Being Project, Sigma Chi Fraternity, American Public Health Association, Habitat for Humanity, the Truman Middle School Gifted Mentorship Program, and the Sigma Chi at Risk Mentorship Program. Adrian's professor, Dr. Shirley Heying, says, "Adrian's commitment to higher education and his keen abilities to apply course material to real life examples through his leadership activities have inspired me as an educator and I am incredibly grateful for having had two opportunities to have him as a student."


PATRICK CORONEL: Patrick was the first in his family to graduate from high school and he is a first-generation college student majoring in Criminology. He has made his mark during his time at the University including such honors as: the Dean's List, the University Honors Program, Magna Cum Laude, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Golden Key Honor Society, and Young Rising Leader in the Democratic Party. His on and off campus extra-curricular activities include: Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society, the National Security Studies Program, New Mexico Special Olympics, the Rio Grande "Zoo Boo", and the South Valley Marigold Parade. Patrick founded EMBRACE, an organization whose purpose is to connect underclassmen with upperclassmen with the same major and to serve the community. He believes in "paying it forward" in every aspect of his life. He lives by one of his favorite quotes by Albert Einstein, "It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it". Patrick has recently been accepted to UNM's School of Law, Class of 2017.


MALIKA LADHA: As a result of Malika's internship with Goldman Sachs, she will head to New York City to begin her career. Her major is Business Administration. Over the past four years, Malika's involvement included participation in: ASUNM Senate, ASUNM Emerging Lobo Leader, ASUNM Finance Committee member, Student Fee Review Board member, UNM Stay Initiative Academic Coach, Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, and her most recent and most challenging endeavor, Executive Director of the ASUNM Election Commission. Her honors include: the Dean's List of both University College and Anderson School of Management, Golden Key National Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Who's Who Among College Students. Leslie Boni, of the Anderson School of Management, writes, "Malika is one of the brightest people I have ever met. She is extremely personable and an outstanding leader throughout the semester. She is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge and working with others to complete the class' objectives. Her work throughout the semester far exceeded what we expect of students in the program."


ARTURO LEMOS: Arturo is considered an untraditional student in that before entering UNM, he served his country for 5 years as a United States Marine. Through his military experience, Arturo has shown that he welcomes the role and responsibility of being a leader. He has used these skills wisely and effectively in his pursuit of a bachelor's degree in Political Science. He served as president of the Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity and president and treasurer of the Multicultural Greek council. He volunteers with the Police Athletic League Mentorship Program and the Partnership for Community Action. His honors include: Advancing Community Award, Who's Who Among College Students, Iraq Campaign Medal (2 times), Enduring Freedom Medal (3 times), and Global War on Terrorism Medal (3 times). Arturo will be the first in his family to graduate from college. After reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, Arturo began to understand that a person's upbringing can have a massive effect in how they will excel in the future. Through sheer determination, he has discovered his capabilities and has learned to succeed in the classroom while remaining active in the community, his true passion.


BIANCA MARTINEZ:  Bianca will graduate with a major in Strategic Communications. While slow to embrace campus involvement, starting in her junior year, Bianca made up for lost time. She is a member of the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, Sigma Alpha Omega, Student Affairs Initiative, ASUNM Community Experience, and "Bound", the student magazine. Off campus, she volunteers at the Roadrunner Food Bank, Albuquerque Store House, and Sandia Preparatory School Intern. The Alumni Association student ambassador program, Trailblazers, is the main focus of Bianca's extra-curricular activities. Sue MacEachen, the program's advisor, says about Bianca, "Bianca exemplifies the type of ambassador we are proud to have as a representative of The University of New Mexico. She is mature, creative, responsible, and works to promote a supportive, friendly, and energetic environment. She is a team player, yet stands out as a leader among her peers."


CECILIA VELASCO: Cecilia, or Cecy to those close to her, is an Arizona transplant. She arrived on UNM's campus as a nervous freshman trying to establish herself as a college student, alone, not knowing anyone in the community. Her mentor, Christopher Ramirez, remembers meeting a "shy" young woman who did not want to be out front. Three years later, he sees her facilitating meetings, presenting workshops, mentoring students inside and outside of student clubs, and speaking at ASUNM and other campus meetings. Cecilia's choice of major, Psychology and Family Studies, was a direct result of her discovery of El Centro de la Raza program, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan (MEChA). For the first time since attending UNM, she felt like she had found a connection to the University. Through the organization, she has learned more about New Mexico, her culture, and herself. Her work through this group awoke a passion and drive for working in immigration issues. She is involved in UNM Dream Team, Mexican Student Association, Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Lobos Unidos Mentor, and UNM Service Corps. Off campus affiliations include NM Coalition for Equity and Justice, Strong Families of New Mexico intern, and New Mexico Dreamers in Action.

For questions or more information:

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