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Employees Honored at Excellence Award Luncheon

December 12, 2014 -- Eighteen CNM employees were honored at the Dec. 12 Employee Excellence Award Luncheon. The employee excellence award recognizes employees for exceptional contributions to the CNM community. Although there are numerous outstanding staff and faculty at CNM, this award honors employees who have demonstrated excellence on the job.
Employees Honored at Excellence Award Luncheon

Jul 17, 2015

The following is a list of the honorees and what their nominators said about them:

Rosenda Minella
Financial Aid
Innovative Idea
Rosenda was a recent hire who was given the task of tackling the Financial Aid office's desire to use algorithmic period based budgeting to better calculate a student's cost of attendance based on the number of weeks a student will be attending each term. Being new to CNM, Financial Aid and Banner, Rosenda worked diligently to learn all the regulations governing calculating a student's cost of attendance, along with Banner's capabilities (quirks and all) to get the program up and running for the 2014 fall term.

Denise Ojeda
Applied Technologies
Innovative Idea
Denise came up with the idea of having a Girl Scout troop visit with the School of Applied Technologies. AT programs hosted fun activities for the girls so they could learn about technology and trades careers and realize they are an option. The event was hugely successful. Denise and her team were able to get several AT programs involved and reached out to Culinary Arts to be part of the tour. Denise is always coming up with amazing innovative ideas to reach out to the community and help them learn the importance of trades and technology careers. This event was just one of her many successes.

Therese Baca-Radler
Job Connection Center
Innovative Idea
For several years now, Therese Baca-Radler, a SAGE part-time faculty member, has partnered with Dr. Susan Deese-Roberts at UNM to teach the freshman learning community called "The Freshman Research Project.”  Students conduct research by interviewing one of their faculty members and also an upper classman. They write research papers and then present their findings. For the past three semesters, Therese and Susan have arranged to have the students present their research at UNM's Student Union Building to an audience that consists of family members, students at UNM and also deans and faculty from both CNM and UNM. This effort has led to greater retention rates.

Scott McLeod
Applied Technologies
Exceptional Support
Scott is a part-time faculty member who teaches dual credit automotive classes through West Mesa High School. He continually strives to increase CNM enrollment by working with West Mesa students to help them identify programs that they might be interested in when they are ready to start at CNM. Scott also set up an employability fair and solicited his colleagues at CNM to present programs and job seeking strategies.  He is always willing to volunteer at outreach events to help CNM change lives and build community. Scott has been involved with SkillsUSA for many years. As a SkillsUSA mentor, he has mentored and coached many students to the national competition level.

Dr. Rudy Garcia                    James Johnson
Dean of Students                 Communication, Humanities & Social Sciences               Exceptional Support
Jim Johnson and Rudy Garcia planned and hosted the Mental Health First Aid Workshops for faculty and students. The idea was to train as many as possible in mental health first aid, which will benefit the institution immeasurably as students are able to stay in school and graduate, despite mental health issues. Further, the community will benefit as our students are empowered to recognize mental illness and what to do about it in non-academic settings. Students were taught an action plan related to first steps to take when encountering a person in a mental health crisis, an action plan that was actually put to good use during one of our training sessions and cited in the international newsletter of the National Council on Community Behavioral Healthcare. Jim and Rudy dedicated spring break and Saturdays to host these workshops.

Jennifer Morales-Owen
Business & Information Technology
Outstanding Act
During a complete renovation of the E-labs, Jenn took full responsibility to ensure that all four computer labs were disassembled, moved to another area and secured during renovation, and then returned and professionally reassembled after renovation. She also took responsibility for implementing the CIS Computer Programming exhibit for the CTE Open House display by arranging for students to volunteer to present.

Diane Evans-Prior
Health, Wellness & Public Safety
Outstanding Act
Diane works tirelessly and selflessly for the betterment of not only nursing students, but nursing as a whole. She has made videos on tips for taking NCLEX style questions, assisted my classmates with their financial aid, all while preparing for the accreditation visit. Her work with NMNEC has been innovative for the CNM nursing program.

Sandra Swartz
Math, Science & Engineering
Exceptional Support
Sandra's work ethic and passion for lab sciences is exemplified by her excellent lab set-up. For example, during a chemistry lab demonstration that involves the faculty member weighing a reagent, the weighed quantity of that reagent is already waiting at the demo table. Lab techs are not required to do this and I have worked in CNM labs where reagent bottles were just thrown around the demo area. These time-saving activities allow the students to keep focused on the main, major concepts. I have always had more students in Rio Rancho Campus labs and I believe Ms. Swartz's commitment to excellence plays a major role in student success and retention.

Daniel Johnson
Math, Science & Engineering
Exceptional Support
Dan is a seasoned lab tech who believes in constant improvement of quality processes and instruction by continually updating the lab instruments and parts.  For example, he found out in a CHEM 1892 lab, that by making a mechanical change in the design of the copper ion exchange column, it will allow the students to focus on the main concept rather than checking the column's flow rate constantly. He immediately thought out-of-the-box and came up with a design modification. I personally witnessed an increase in student learning during this lab because of Dan's design improvement. His ability to respond to diverse student learning needs make him an excellent CNM employee.

Velma Cruz
Health, Wellness & Public Safety
Outstanding Act
Velma Cruz has been employed with HWPS since November 2012 as an Academic Technical Assistant. She recently developed a mechanism to monitor program requests, from getting quotes all the way through delivery, assuring that invoices are paid in a timely manner and decreasing HWPS pay-on-invoice violations from 48 to two in one fiscal year.

Theresa Hidalgo
Heath, Wellness & Public Safety
Exceptional Support
Recently, CNM was part of a consortium of community colleges that received a large grant. Once it was decided that the dean of HWPS would be the principal Investigator for the grant, Theresa volunteered to help as much as needed to get things in place until a grant-funded coordinator could be hired. She has organized and attended meetings and webinars to make sure that HWPS was organized and knowledgeable. Her work supports organizational excellence by keeping the big picture in mind and putting resources where they are needed most.

Michael Cranney
Applied Technologies
Exceptional Support
For several months, Applied Technologies was down one associate dean. Michael, already an associate dean himself, took on a significant portion of additional workload until the vacancy was filled. He maintained his high standard of performance and ensured that students, faculty, and staff did not experience a decrease in service or support due to the vacancy.

Kay Hamby
Applied Technologies
Exceptional Support
Ask any welding student and they would all say how amazing Kay Hamby is with them. Kay has been with CNM for 15 years as a welding instructor.  She is always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure students are helped and can finish the program. Kay came to me with a student who was homeless and was going to drop the program, but because of Kay's tenacity and willingness to help this student, we were able to get him fed and graduated. He now has a welding job making $25 per hour in Albuquerque.

Kristin Gonzalez
Student Services
Outstanding Act
Annually, I have been conducting a Dia de los Muertos death mask competition in my death and dying class. This activity would not have become the success it is without Kristin's support, can-do attitude, and willingness to help display, arrange, judge, and tabulate the votes for the most popular mask. Further, Kristin is always willing to help in projects in which faculty are involved, including the Mountain States Teaching of Psychology Conference, the Montoya Campus Guest Speaker Series, Mental Health First Aid courses for faculty, students and security, and others.

David Ortiz                               Jimmy Frick
Applied Technologies            Applied Technologies
Outstanding Act
Jeremy and David helped collaborate with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Museum for a Service Learning partnership and project. During the 2014 summer term, their Aviation Maintenance Technology students spent one week making repairs to an F-16 fighter jet at the museum. The repair work served as a Service Learning project that allowed students to put the skills they are learning at CNM to work in the field while providing service to the community. Jeremy and David spent many hours in and out of the classroom organizing and coordinating this project.

Heather Womack
Workforce Training Center  
Outstanding Act
Heather Womack, administrative specialist, exceeded her normal duties in support of CNM and the New Mexico Solar Energy Association. Heather provided extensive planning, organization, communication, and outreach assistance for the 2014 Solar Fiesta. She worked long hours at the event to welcome and assist members, vendors, presenters and visitors, and she even stayed late to help the custodial staff. Heather's attention to detail and accuracy made for a very successful event.