Photo: Eunice Ajibade

Eunice Ajibade

Master of Economics

Eunice is a dedicated professional with a diverse background in economics, research, and project management. She holds a BSc in Economics from Bowen University, Nigeria, and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Economics from the University of New Mexico.

During her time as a Research Assistant with Sustainable Futures in Africa (SFA)at the University of Glasgow’s Nigerian hub, Eunice collaborated with international researchers to shed light on the social and cultural impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. Her work significantly contributed to exposing previously unseen aspects of the pandemic's effects on society.

Eunice's leadership capabilities shine through her role as a student Mentor during her tenure with the National Youth Service Scheme Nigeria, where she organized impactful career mentoring outreaches to high schools, fostering guidance and inspiration among students. She also serves as a mentor for the Project for New Mexico Graduate Students of Color Mentoring Program, further showcasing her commitment to supporting and uplifting fellow scholars.

Eunice’s dynamic background showcases her commitment to driving positive change through effective project management, rigorous research, and proactive community engagement. Her current policy interests are centered around education and sustainable economic development, reflecting her dedication to shaping a better future. In her spare time, she finds joy in baking and is a talented seamstress specializing in creating custom wedding dresses.
Photo: Erin Cohen

Erin Cohen

Master of Economics

Erin was born in California and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy: Pre-Law and Economics from the University of New Mexico in May of 2023. During her undergrad studies, Erin co-authored a whitepaper for a state-funded research grant which focused on estimating hedonic pricing models to investigate the effects of oil well density, air pollution and earthquakes on the housing market in the Permian Basin. Prior to re-entering the higher education system, Erin moved to New Mexico to work in the growing film industry in the state. While there, she saw, first-hand, the amount of waste created by the film industry, which spurred her desire to go back to school and find a path that didn’t cause so much destruction to the planet. In her free time, Erin enjoys singing karaoke and having great conversations.
Photo: Hannah Ferrell

Hanna Ferrell

Master of Public Policy

Hannah received her BA in International Studies with a minor in History at The University of New Mexico in December of 2021. She also received certificates in Peace and Global Justice Studies and Peace Corp Preparation. After graduation, she went on to complete a Paralegal Certificate and work in Worker's Compensation for a year. Now, Hannah is a student in the Masters of Public Policy Program and the Gradute/Teaching Assistant for the International Studies Institute. When not studying or working, you can find Hannah outdoors with her dog, at the gym, or hanging out with friends.
Photo: Melanie Greenham

Melanie Greenham

Master of Public Policy

Melanie grew up primarily in the Los Lunas/Belen area but has had the opportunity to live in many different places throughout the USA and Mexico including Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Charleston, Guadalajara, Merida, and Mexico City. She holds two associate degrees with Honors in general and paralegal studies from Clovis Community College, and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in psychology and minors in communications and social work from Eastern New Mexico University. She has also earned numerous certificates including holistic health coaching (IIN), managed care insurance administration (AHIP, Professional Designation), and project management (Central New Mexico Community College, Highest Honors). Melanie is a loving and dedicated mother to five daughters, and her policy interests are focused on the issues involved in “high conflict” family court cases. Through the University of New Mexico’s Master of Public Policy program, Melanie hopes to change how the legal, healthcare, law enforcement, child protection, and education systems conceptualize these cases, and improve how such institutions respond to and handle this form of post-separation domestic abuse.
Photo: Gary Haldane

Gary Haldane

Master of Public Policy

Gary was born and raised in Tacoma, WA. He has been in Albuquerque for 15 years now. Gary received his BA in the Fall of 2022 from UNM with a major in Political Science and a minor in sociology. His policy interest is Native American Policy especially regarding education and housing and international relations. Gary has worked and volunteered on various New Mexico campaigns helping Martin Heinrich, Ben Ray Lujan, and other New Mexico political candidates. Outside of school Gary likes to DJ and he has a long deep love for house music. He has a residency at Sidewinders Nightclub and makes regular appearances at other local institutions. He also has 2 black cats that he adores name Ciara and Kyra.
Photo: Maggie Klug

Maggie Klug

Master of Public Policy

Maggie was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia. In 2021, after two years at the University of Mary Washington, Maggie moved to Albuquerque, NM and transferred to the University of New Mexico. She graduated in 2023 with her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. Her current policy interests include social welfare policy, health, and education. In her spare time, Maggie enjoys reading, running, baking, and hiking and spending time with her two cats.
Photo: Anna Rose

Anna Rose

Master of Public Policy

Anna was born and raised in rural northern Michigan and has spent her adult life living in several mid-sized American cities including Burlington VT, New Haven CT, Buffalo NY, Long Beach CA, and Albuquerque, NM. She has a BA in Sociology and has worked as a baker, preschool teacher, mental health clinician, and union representative. In her time in the labor movement, she had the great privilege to organize and learn with workers across the country in the healthcare, education, food service, and logistics sectors. Her current policy interests include labor, military and defense spending, and social welfare. She works as a Graduate Assistant for the UNM Language Learning Center. Outside of work and school, she enjoys meeting new people and spending time with her friends and family.
Photo: Erin Spurgeon

Erin Spurgeon

Master of Public Policy

Erin was born in Missouri and raised in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. In 2022, she graduated from UNM with honors and received her BA in Political Science with a minor in Communications. During undergrad, she interned for Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez in her D.C. office. Currently, she works as the Digital Media Coordinator for Health Action New Mexico, a statewide health advocacy non-profit. She is interested in studying the relationship between health outcomes and income inequality, specifically in how the U.S. differs from other wealthy countries. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing tennis, and spending time with her dog — Suki.


Photo: Julie Ball

Julie Ball

Master of Public Policy

Julie was born in Anchorage, Alaska and raised in Colorado and New Mexico. She received her undergraduate degree in Economics with a minor in Sociology. Her interest in economic development stemmed from her lobbying efforts to promote Indian gaming at the Roundhouse and her experience with Amigos de las Americas in Latin America as a teenager. Since that time, she has devoted herself to volunteer work in the areas of immigration, education and environmentalism. Recently, she worked with immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees, particularly from The Congo and Afghanistan.  Julie's current policy interests include food security, water security, and energy and environmental conservation. Her hobbies are camping, hiking and fly fishing. She also enjoys getting down to a disco beat on roller skates.
Photo: Julio Chavez

Julio Chavez

Master of Public Policy

Julio was born in Albuquerque and raised in the South Valley. He graduated from UNM in May of 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. During his undergrad studies, Julio has interned for several campaigns, interned for Senator Tom Udall’s Washington D.C. office, and served as a student lobbyist for ASUNM in advocating for the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship. Julio is currently interning at Sandia National Labs. Policy interests of Julio include economic development in underserved areas, sustainable economic development, and energy policy. Outside of school, Julio enjoys hiking, spending time with family and close friends.
Photo: Kelli Duran

Kelli Duran

Master of Health Administration

Kelli is entering her second year of the MHA program. Her undergraduate degree consisted of a pre-medical route that led her to two years of medical school. She left medical school with a desire to become an administrator in the healthcare community. She volunteers for Healthcare for the Homeless where she is currently on a team involved with a new medical respite facility in Albuquerque. She is the president of the Student Association of Healthcare Administrators where she leads activities through the school. Kelli is a part of the New Mexico Health Care Executives Programming committee where she helps plan events for the chapter. Kelli hopes to go into hospital operations and become a local healthcare leader.
Photo: Ben Gerstner

Ben Gerstner



Ben was born and raised in upstate New York. They earned a B.S in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Rochester. From there they moved to Albuquerque for a PhD program in plant biology and began working with a local non-profit, Common Bond New Mexico Foundation. Their work with CBNMF and interests in how the world works brought him to the UNM Evaluation Lab. Their goal is to work in STEM education policy reform, with an emphasis on engaging research as a teaching tool throughout a student’s educational journey.


Photo: Cayley Marshall

Cayley Marshall

Master of Public Policy

Cayley was born in Salt Lake City and grew up between California and Washington State. They currently live in a small town near Seattle when not at school. They graduated with their BA in Criminology from UNM. They currently work with the Global Education Office helping incoming exchange students. Cayley enjoys playing games with friends, spending time with family, and walking their 2 dogs.
Photo: Isaiah Torres

Isaiah Torres

Master of Public Policy

Isaiah was born in Albuquerque and raised in the North Valley area. He graduated and received his bachelor's in Government at New Mexico State University. During his time at NMSU, he was elected the College of Democrats' President his senior year, interned for Mayor Tim Keller of Albuquerque, and worked as a Residental Assistant for student housing at the university. Since graduation, he has spent the last three months interning for the Congressional Office for Senator Martin Heinrich. Currently, he is working on a Congressional election campaign for Gabe Vasquez and then plans to return to work for Senator Martin Heinrich's Albuquerque office after the election. Isaiah enjoys being active, attending concerts, and spending time with his family. He has aspirations of traveling the world and is dedicated to serving the community and people of New Mexico.


Photo: Hallie Brown

Hallie Brown

Master of Public Policy

Hallie grew up in Edgewood, New Mexico and graduated from UNM in 2018 with degrees in Sociology and International Studies. After graduation, Hallie served as a Community Health Specialist in The Gambia with the United States Peace Corps, where she worked on a wide variety of health and nutrition projects. After being evacuated from her Peace Corps service due to COVID-19, Hallie began to work for the Village of Tijeras as the Deputy Clerk in April 2020. In August of 2020, she was promoted to Clerk/Manager role, where she is responsible for overseeing 6 municipal departments, grant writing and administration, financial management of the municipal budget, and promoting transparency in local government. Outside of school and work, Hallie enjoys spending time outside and soaking up the natural beauty of New Mexico.
Photo: Leandra Dalen-Van De Griend

Leandra Dalen-Van De Griend

Master of Public Policy

Leandra was raised in a small town in northern Minnesota and received her BA in Music Performance from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. After graduating from Hamline, Leandra worked with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota as an Employment Counselor for folks receiving cash assistance. In this role, she helped clients identify and pursue their career goals and navigate the complex world of public assistance, sparking an interest in public assistance policy and advocacy. In 2020, Leandra joined Hired, a nonprofit in Minneapolis/St. Paul that provides a variety of career services for youth and adults, as a Program Analyst. Currently, Leandra works with Hired as their Data for Impact Specialist and supports ongoing evaluation initiatives and data analysis. Outside of school and work, she enjoys watching archaeology documentaries, playing hammered dulcimer, and exploring her new Albuquerque community!
Photo: Abigail Goldstein

Abigail Goldstein

Master of Public Policy

Abbe was born and raised just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Harvard University in 2021 with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Spanish. While at Harvard, Abbe ran for their cross country and track teams, and will continue to run at the varsity level for the Lobos while pursuing her Masters degree in Public Policy. Abbe is interested in immigration and criminal justice reform in the United States and looks forward to learning how to best advocate for marginalized communities through the MPP coursework. She is excited to explore the beautiful outdoors in the Land of Enchantment!
Photo: Arlo Menchaca

Arlo Menchaca

Master of Public Policy

Arlo was raised in Hobbs NM and moved to Albuquerque NM in 2015 to attend UNM where he earned a BA in Psychology and Philosophy with a concentration in Pre-Law. In terms of psychology, Arlo was most interested in research and data analysis; and in terms of philosophy, he was most interested in political thought and ethics. Arlo was afforded the opportunity to attend a conference which revolved around policy and he discovered that policy married his two passions. He is excited to develop the skills of a policy analyst so he may do his part in bridging the gap between academia and public policy
Photo: Shine Min Thant

Shine Min Thant

Master of Public Policy

Shine grew up in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). In 2020, he graduated from Concordia College with a degree in International Studies (Development Studies). After graduating, he worked at Innovation for Poverty Action (IPA) Myanmar where he was involved with various impact evaluation research regarding rural Myanmar. Currently, he is working as a Research Assistant for the Institute of Social Research (ISR) while pursuing his Master’s in Public Policy. Shine is primarily interested in rural development policies.
Photo: Caitlyn Moppert

Caitlyn Moppert

Master of Public Policy

Born in Guatemala and raised in Albuquerque, Caitlyn attended the University of New Mexico where she graduated with her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a minor in Political Science. Her interest in equitable access to education was sparked by her work with El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, where she worked alongside immigrant youth in advocating and organizing for the passage of the DREAM Act. After graduating from UNM, she spent one year as an AmeriCorps service member working with a team on launching a community school for immigrant and refugee students in the International District of Albuquerque. She spent the last two years at a local nonprofit where she supported young people aging out of foster care in developing career and education goals. Being that access to education has been a through-line in her work as a student and as a professional, Caitlyn is now interested in pursuing this work through a policy lens. Outside of graduate school, Caitlyn enjoys her early morning jogs and afternoon walks with her dog Gigi.
Photo: Jake Mullery

Jake Mullery

Master of Public Administration

Jake Mullery was first called to serve at a very young age. Like many young boys he played army-man in the parks and backyards of Bradenton, Florida. But this childhood roleplaying was more than imagination, because he knew that one day he would join the United States Marine Corps. After what seemed like a short four years, and two deployments to Afghanistan as a combat engineer, the call to service continued to echo in Jake’s head.

Unsure how to best apply his time and efforts he attempted to start a nonprofit organization with some friends and family that sought to address homlessness with little success. This journey landed him in Tijeras, New Mexico where he became acquainted with the University of New Mexico, their MPA program, and the arts culture that makes the land of enchantment so fulfilling.

Over the last three years he has spent time with the theater troupe Artrageous and volunteered with their nonprofit Artrageous Artreach. Jake believes that by improving arts programs, such as the one he supports now, the lack of community that has been experienced due to the pandemic will begin a process of healing. Program evaluation is an invaluable key to assisting in the process of personal and societal improvement and Jake is grateful to offer these skills to his community.
Photo: Brisa Rodriguez

Brisa Rodriguez

Master of Public Policy


Brisa was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 2020, Brisa graduated from the University of New Mexico with degrees in Political Science, Spanish, and a minor in Women’s Studies. During the last year of undergraduate school, she joined a local political spiritual group Yoga for People of Color Sangha where her advocacy roots began.  In the future, Brisa hopes to work with the state of New Mexico to advocate for legislation to provide opportunities of self-improvement for minorities and people living in poverty. Outside of school, she enjoys the outdoors such as camping, fishing, and going on hikes with her two dogs Echo and Trixie.

Photo: Laura Wzorek Pressley

Laura Wzorek Pressley

Master of Public Administration

Laura Wzorek Pressley is an experienced cultural producer and arts administrator who has been at the helm of the not-for-profit organization CENTER in Santa Fe for over 15 years. CENTER’s mission is to support socially and environmentally engaged lens-based projects through education, funding, public platforms, and partnerships. In addition to producing high impact, outcome-driven programs, Ms. Wzorek Pressley has curated and produced exhibitions highlighting today’s critical issues, including The Dispossessed (2016), The Frontier (2016), Immigration, Migration & Evolving Boundaries (2015) Art & Oppression (2017),  Conjured Futures (2018) among others, collaborating with local and international venues. In addition to her role at CENTER, Laura most recently served on the Board of Directors of the Blue Earth Alliance as Vice-President and is a respite foster mom in Sandoval County, NM.


Photo: Amelia Bierle

Amelia Bierle

Master of Public Policy

Amelia was born and raised in Carlsbad, NM. In 2015 Amelia moved to Albuquerque to attend the University of New Mexico and play soccer for the Lobos. Amelia graduated in 2019 summa cum laude in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology with a minor in Honors Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts. After graduation, Amelia started a Post Baccalaureate Research & Education Fellowship where she had the opportunity to attend a Health Care Policy Symposium in Washington DC. The symposium solidified her passion for solving problems and giving back to the community through policy. Outside of university, Amelia enjoys playing sports, surrounding herself in nature, and cuddling her kitties—Lila and Stout.
Photo: Kendal Chavez

Kendal Chavez

Master of Public Administration

Kendal Chavez is a second year graduate student studying public policy, management, organizational development, and systems theory in the UNM School of Public Administration. Originally from the San Joaquin Valley of California, Kendal has spent the last decade working in New Mexico's local food and public education sectors. Kendal is an alumna of the George Washington University Food Policy Fellowship Institute and FoodCorps, and now works to center fresh, local, and cultural foods in New Mexico schools as a program specialist for the New Mexico Public Education Department. 
Photo: Mary Costello

Mary Costello

Master of Public Policy

Mary was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She graduated from NMSU in 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. Since graduating, she has worked at a local urgent care. This is where she developed a passion for policy in health care. In the future, Mary hopes to work with the state of New Mexico to provide quality health care for all its citizens. Outside of policy, Mary has a special fondness for animals. The picture that is included in this biography is right before she saw her first whales migrating past San Diego!
Photo: Alyssa Franklin

Alyssa Franklin


Alyssa Franklin is a student in the Sociology PhD Program. Her current research centers around care work and health. Her broader research interests include health, work, gender, and race & ethnicity. For the 2020-21 academic year, she will be working with Mandy's Farm. She is passionate about applied and public sociology, so she is grateful for the opportunity to take part in the Evaluation Lab. She is from St. Louis, Missouri, but has been in Albuquerque for over two years now and loves it here. 
Photo: Carlos Linares Koloffon

Carlos Linares Koloffon

Master of Public Health

Carlos is a physician, his research interests are cardiovascular and kidney disease, health care systems, equity and youth wellbeing, social media and public health communications. He is currently a Master of Public Health student at the University of New Mexico.
Photo: Joshua Meares

Joshua Meares


Joshua is a student in UNM's Economics Ph.D. program with a focus on the economics of poverty and development. Prior to commencing his doctoral studies, Josh spent 7 years working for World Relief (WR), a humanitarian relief and development organization. As the National Director of both WR Indonesia and WR Cambodia, Josh developed expertise in many aspects of international development, disaster preparedness and response, human trafficking, sustainable agriculture, and HIV prevention. World Relief's commitment to partnering with local organizations gave Josh the opportunity to develop significant experience in organizational development, project finance, as well as monitoring and evaluation.
Photo: Hannah Miller

Hannah Miller

Master of Public Policy

Born and raised in Southland New Zealand Hannah has spent the last four years of her life in Dallas at Southern Methodist University completing her double degree in journalism and political science. As an undergraduate, she was an honors Tower scholar in public policy and international affairs where she worked extensively on mental health and child health care through partnerships with Move for Miles non-profit and the Bush presidential museum. Hannah’s passion lies in international human rights policy and cross-cultural governance. She has developed both through her undergraduate studies while utilizing her unique position as an international athlete to build and foster relationships based on common ground.
Hannah is passionate about communications, believing good policy that truly serves, lies in public buy-in and participation, that works to teach and better social practices. Hannah’s favorite saying is: ‘policy gives hope legs’ it might not be perfect, but it gives dreams structure and enables societies to actively plan a better way.
Photo: Florent Nkouaga

Florent Nkouaga

Political Science


Florent Nkouaga is a third year PhD Student studying public policies and American Politics in the Department of Political Science UNM. He is also a graduate student in the Public Health minor program with the College of Population Health of the University of New Mexico. Florent works as a TA in various undergraduate Political Science courses including populations policies, statistics, health politics and policies in the US, international conflict and cooperation. Florent also served as TA for a graduate level course in Advanced Statistics for Social Research with the department of Political Science of the University of New Mexico.

Florent received both his BA and MA in Applied Economics from the University of Yaounde II (Cameroon), an MA in International Affairs from the University of Jean Moulin Lyon III (France), and an MA in Public Policies and Methods from the University of New Mexico. Currently Florent is interested in questions related to health policies and politics within the US congress. In his work with the Evaluation lab, Florent is partnered with All faiths Children’s Advocacy Center.

Photo: Alex Shomaker

Alex Shomaker

Master of Public Policy

Alex Shomaker was born and raised in the Albuquerque metro area. She graduated from UNM in 2018 with her BA in Political Science and a minor in Spanish, where she developed an interest in studying acequias and water resource management in the state. Shortly after her graduation, she interned with John Shomaker and Associates, Inc. -- a water-resource and environmental consultancy firm started by her grandfather -- to learn more about local water and environmental issues. Her plan to study law quickly morphed into a desire to study public policy, primarily focusing on environmental resource matters and climate change. Alex currently works as a paralegal in a small law firm in Albuquerque, providing assistance to her attorney and clients in the realm of domestic and probate disputes.
Photo: Jonathan Wright

Jonathan Wright


Jonathan is currently studying in UNM’s MA History program with a focus on identity in Medieval and Early Modern France. Originally from the UK, Jonathan has worked for Manzini Youth Care in eSwatini as a social worker and teacher, while developing skills by flexibly working for non-profit organizations in Europe and America as well as Africa. He has plans to continue to work with non-profit or for the state in some regard, but first looks forward to finishing his thesis.


Photo: Joseph Gonzales

Joseph Gonzales

American Studies

Joseph Gonzales is a PhD student in American Studies at the University of New Mexico. He has an MBA from UNM’s Anderson School of Management and has also earned an MA in American Studies at UNM. As an Evaluation Lab Fellow, Joseph looks forward to conducting collaborative evaluation with community organizations to aid in goal attainment benefitting communities who otherwise struggle for access to services. Joseph’s research explores cultural productions and performances as sites of refusal and resistance that create alternative imaginaries and futurisms for intersectional communities of color.
Photo: Emily Guerra

Emily Guerra

Master of Public Health


Emily Guerra is a longtime resident of the Southwest having grown up in the border city of El Paso, Texas. She received her Bachelors in Anthropology with minors in Women’s Studies & Liberal Arts Honors from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in 2016 and in May 2019 completed a Master of Arts in Anthropology from UNM. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health with a scheduled graduation of May 2021.

In addition to school and research, Emily has worked as a Graduate Teaching assistant for a number of courses across disciplines. Her current position is as a Graduate Research assistant with the Community Engagement & Dissemination Core (CEDC) of the Transdisciplinary Research, Equity, and Engagement (TREE) Center for Advancing Behavioral Health.

Upon completion of her second Masters, Emily plans to stay in New Mexico and hopefully work with a local nonprofit or similar organization that is dedicated to addressing and alleviating behavioral health issues for marginalized populations.

Photo: Samuel Hatch

Samuel Hatch

Master of Public Policy

Sam is a graduate student from Maine, where he grew up on a small dairy & deer farm a short 1-hour drive from the ocean. Sam received his BA in Anthropology from the University of Maine in 2015, and then worked as an archaeologist throughout the Northeast before moving to New Mexico in the hopes of never having to shovel snow again! That it can snow in Albuquerque came as a surprise…Since graduating, Sam became increasingly interested in public policy, especially its role within disadvantaged communities & avenues for community economic development, and saw the UNM MPP program as a fantastic fit. Beyond graduate school, Sam is slowly checking-off National Parks - with Acadia forever at #1 - and is attempting to figure out his bread-baking now that he’s a mile above sea-level!
Photo: Jessica Hitzman

Jessica Hitzman

Master of Public Policy

Jessica is a first-year graduate student born and raised in the Albuquerque metro area. In 2019 she received her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a minor in Peace and Justice Studies from the University of New Mexico.
During her studies she worked as a grant writer for the Rio Grande Food Project where she developed an interest in policy and evaluation. Her experience in social inequality studies and working with non-profit organizations informed her decision to join the Masters in Public Policy program. She hopes to expand her knowledge and experience with evaluation, policy analysis, and community outreach during the program and is excited to put her skills to use by serving the greater Albuquerque community as a policy professional.
Photo: Mary Lopez

Mary Lopez

Master of Public Policy

Mary is a first-year graduate student who was born in Albuquerque and raised in the small mountain town of Sandia Park, New Mexico. She graduated from UNM in Spring 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree political science and a minor in sustainability studies. Mary’s policy interests focus around environmental issues including water security, nuclear proliferation, and climate change. After graduation, Mary hopes to work with social profit organizations to further environmental justice in New Mexico.
Photo: Bhavya Pandey

Bhavya Pandey

Masters of Business Administration

Bhavya was born and raised in India and her job brought her to Albuquerque in a strange twist of fate. She liked Albuquerque and the people here so much that she decided to move here as a full-time student. She holds an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology, and has experience working as a Financial Analyst for Private Equities and Investment Banks. However, her true passion revolves around optimizing operations & marketing functions within organizations to create value and help align the organization with its true mission. She wishes to utilize her quantitative and analytical skills for this in her career going forward. Through this program, she wishes to help our partner organizations do the same, and in turn help make a difference to the New Mexico community which she now considers her home. In her free time, Bhavya enjoys hiking, and enjoying the beautiful New Mexico outdoors.
Photo: Gabriella Rivera

Gabriella Rivera

Master of Public Policy

Gabby Rivera is a first-year graduate student and recently completed her undergrad degree with majors in Political Science, International Studies, and Honors Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts. She currently works with the health policy non-profit Health Action NM as an office administrator and policy assistant, and previously worked an internship in Ireland for the political advocacy organization Young People at Risk. Beyond the realm of public policy, Gabby plays rugby for the UNM Women’s Rugby team and serves as a coach, referee, and administrator for youth rugby across the state. She is excited to explore her potential in both rugby and public policy over the next two years at UNM and beyond, and to forge lasting professional and personal connections along the way.
Photo: Camille  Velarde

Camille Velarde

Communication and Journalism


Camille Velarde raised in rural northern New Mexico, is a third year PhD Student studying health communication in Department of Communication & Journalism. She works as a TA teaching various undergraduate communication courses including public speaking, organizational communication and health communication. Currently, Camille serves as the graduate student board member for the IRB on UNM’s Main campus office and works as a graduate assistant at OMBUDS for faculty.

She proudly received both her BA and MA from the University of New Mexico, where her undergraduate work focused on organizational communication which Camille applied in the field as a legal secretary for several years and minored in psychology which she applied in her master’s work which was centered around mental health communication.

As a PhD student, Camille has won two top paper awards for her work titled “Critical Socioecological Model: A Critical Perspective to Historicize Health Inequities” at both the The International Association of Applied Demography Conference and at Western States Communication Conference both in 2019  and has presented her work at various popular culture, health, and communication conferences. Her current research interests tend to intersect digital media and mental health.

As native New Mexican, Camille feels a connection and responsibility to the students and community she serves at the University of New Mexico which is evident in her teaching and research practices.


Photo: Alexandra Willey

Alexandra Willey

Masters in Public Administration

Alex grew up in New Mexico, with a five year stint living in New York City working with food and baking bread professionally. She moved back to New Mexico to be closer to her family and the mountains. Alex received an undergraduate degree from UNM in Emergency Medical Services. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration focusing on nonprofit management and public policy. She has spent the last two years working with local nonprofits that aim to increase access to fresh produce throughout the state. Her goal is to increase food security and improve food systems in New Mexico. Alex lives in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains and spends her spare time mountain biking and chasing after three retired racing greyhounds.


Photo: Martha Becerra

Martha Alejandra Becerra

Masters of Public Policy

Martha was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is a first-year graduate student. She graduated from UNM’s Anderson School of Management with a Bachelor’s in Finance and International Management in December of 2017. After interning with a local non-profit focused on international diplomacy and conducting research focused on financial literacy through an undergraduate fellowship, she found a passion for economic development and a sparked interest in public policy issues. Through this program, she hopes to acquire knowledge and skills that will help her make a difference in her community.
Photo: Mather Cotter

Mather Cotter

Masters of Public Policy

Mather is a first year graduate student born in Greeley, Colorado and raised in Belen, New Mexico. In spring of 2018, he earned Bachelors of Arts in Economics and Anthropology with a focus in Ethnology. Mather’s policy interests are in Education, Ecology, Criminal Justice, and holistic approaches to societal problems. Beyond policy, he is interested in cultures, philosophies, religions, sciences, and their histories. He hopes to stay and work in New Mexico after completing the graduate program, but enjoys traveling; especially off the beaten path.
Photo: Jenna Dole

Jenna Dole

PhD in Sociology

Jenna is a fourth year PhD student in Sociology born in Nashville, TN and raised in Hamilton, OH.  She has a BA in Sociology and Psychology from Western Kentucky University, and in the summer of 2018, she earned an MA in Sociology from the University of New Mexico.  Jenna also works as a research assistant at the Statistical Analysis Center within the Institute for Social Research and is currently an Evaluation Lab fellow.  She is still struggling to narrow down her research focus, but has broad interests in the criminal justice system, gender, and politics. 

Felicity Fonseca

Director of Embudo Valley Library


Felicity Fonseca is the Director of Embudo Valley Library and a Masters of Public Administration Candidate in the School of Public administration at UNM.  Felicity holds a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College in Ohio.  Under her leadership, the library has implemented new programs, expanded partnerships, and made over $900,000 worth of capital improvements to the property, including building a new 3,000 square foot library and making major improvements and investments in the Dixon Cooperative Market building and business.  In 2015, Embudo Valley Library was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, an honor bestowed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services on institutions who provide outstanding service to their communities.  Felicity is committed to creating a vibrant library that contributes to the well being of area residents. 

Photo: Lauren Hutchison

Lauren Hutchison

Masters of Public Policy & Masters of Business Administration

Lauren is a self-proclaimed expert on Indian cuisine, the main source of revenue for all local Albuquerque coffee shops, and holds a close resemblance Cruella Deville (meaning currently covered in dog hair). Lauren graduated with her bachelors in Interdisciplinary Film & Digital Media and no less than 17 parking tickets in May of 2018. She’s currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Policy as well as a Masters of Business Administration. She hopes that in the future she can yell “I have two masters degrees!” and see if that helps her figure out how to properly open a bottle of wine. Currently, Lauren works at PBS and hopes to work for a show analyzing public policy when she graduates. Therefore, this bio was made possible by Viewers Like You! 
Photo: Khadijah Jacobs

Khadijah Jacobs

Masters of Public Policy

Khadijah is a first-year graduate student from Albuquerque, NM. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from UNM with a double major in Pre-law Philosophy and Criminology and a Certificate in Peace and Global Justice. As an undergraduate, Khadijah won first place in African American Student Services’ Research Symposium for showcasing her research on the relationship between negative stereotypes of African Americans portrayed by the media and trends of police brutality in African American communities. She also volunteered with Outcomes Inc. Restorative Justice Program which teaches juveniles alternatives to violence to deter them from entering detention centers. As an intern for Bernalillo County’s Unclaimed and Indigent Cremation Program, Khadijah was motivated to become involved in promoting public health through policy work. She aims to become an effective advocate for policy changes that will benefit the health and livelihood of minority groups across the country.
Photo: Mario Javier Chavez

Mario Javier Chavez

PhD in Sociology

Mario was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and raised in Canutillo, a small colonia located in El Paso County, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with bachelors, and then a masters degree, in the department of Sociology. At the University of New Mexico Mario is a PhD student in the department of Sociology and a Doctoral Fellowship recipient at the Center for Social Policy. His experience as an immigrant and as a first-generation college student has fueled his passion for unpacking the role that racial bias plays in various institutions. Specifically, Mario's research focuses on how racial bias influences decision making by actors in institutional settings, and how those decisions influence whether Persons of Color receive either medicalized or punitive alternatives, as can be the case in school and court settings. Mario has had the privilege of working with the Immigrant Wellbeing Project and various community organizations while at UNM and looks forward to using the skills that he is gaining as an Evaluation Lab fellow to further their impact. After graduation, Mario would love to join a department that encourages balanced research, teaching, mentoring, and community engagement and/or impact.
Photo: Vaugh Shultz

Vaughn West Fortier Shultz

Masters of Statistics

505 277-4257
Vaughn is a third-generation New Mexican and a second-year Statistics master's student, specializing in nonparametric curve estimation. In 2016, he earned a BS degree in Economics with a focus on econometrics. He has worked for various nonprofits and progressive political campaigns in New Mexico since 2010, and was also a new student orientation leader at the University of Delaware. Eval Lab allows Vaughn to develop and explore new methods of delivering services to people in need, and he is humbled by the opportunities provided to him.


Photo: Audrey Cooper

Audrey Cooper

Maternal Child Health

Audrey Cooper is a Registered Nurse and Clinical Quality Specialist at the New Mexico Primary Care Association, which is the organization she will be evaluating as a fellow in the Evaluation Lab.  After working for the past 7 years in non profit health organizations, Audrey is excited to have the opportunity to learn evaluation and apply it to her work.  Currently, Audrey is in the Maternal Child Health certificate program through the College of Population Health at UNM.
Photo: Clint Cosper

Clint Cosper

Master in Public Policy

Clint is a first year MPP graduate student from Albuquerque, NM. He graduated from UNM in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and a minor in religious studies. After graduation he volunteered with the Johnny O Perea foundation to help raise awareness of asbestos and its dangers, which sparked an interest in public policy. His interest was further shaped by spending a year teaching English as a second language in Japan that lead to a passion for foreign policy and diplomacy. He plans to use the skills and knowledge gained through the program to work abroad on a variety of policy issues.
Photo: Kevin Estes

Kevin Estes

PhD in Economics

Kevin is a fourth generation New Mexican from Melrose, New Mexico and is in the Department of Economics Doctoral Program.  His heritage is rooted in agriculture; each of the three previous generations of his family farmed and ranched in the same area near Melrose for over 100 years now.  Kevin graduated from Melrose High School in 2009 and then received his bachelor’s degree in finance from New Mexico State University in 2013.
After graduation from NMSU, Kevin and his wife moved to Albuquerque where she completed the physical therapy doctoral program here at UNM. While she attended school, Kevin was employed in the telecommunications industry as a project analyst. His duties included managing multimillion dollar budgets for two states, forecasting future revenue and costs, analyzing each individual projects’ expenses and revenues, and providing research and advice to directors within his former company.  Kevin's future aspirations are to become a professor of economics here in the state and research rural economies (development, growth, etc.).  He would love to become an authority on the New Mexican economy someday and have the chance to work with legislators to improve the future of our state.
Photo: Cynthia Jimenez

Cynthia Jimenez

M.A. in Educational Leadership

Cynthia M. Jiménez is youth coordinator at Enlace Comunitario, and has over five years of experience working with youth and community non-profit organizations. She holds a Bachelors in Arts degree in Political Science & Spanish from the University of New Mexico (UNM) and is currently a second year Master in Arts student in the Educational Leadership Program, also at UNM. Cynthia’s main motivation for being part of the UNM Evaluation Lab is being able to help the organization is she currently part of and her own community through evaluation and more. Cynthia’s main hobbies include dancing, reading and binge watching netflix (when she is not studying or working). 
Photo: Paige Knight

Paige Knight

Master in Public Policy

Paige is a first year MPP graduate student from Apple Valley, Minnesota. Paige graduated with a Bachelor in Arts degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in 2012, where she majored in Economics and minored in Spanish and International Studies. Since graduating, Paige has worked for a variety of non-profit organizations, including a year as an AmeriCorps member. Her work with non-profits has increased her interest in public policy issues, and more specifically, economic development. In addition to her graduate studies, Paige enjoys hiking, camping, and biking around Albuquerque and New Mexico.

Alena Kuhlemeier

PhD in Sociology

Alena is a fifth year PhD student in the Sociology Department. Originally from Maryland, Alena graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Pomona College in Claremont, California in 2011 and a Master of Arts in Sociology from UNM in 2015. Alena's research interests are focused largely in behavioral and mental health, race and ethnicity, and medical sociology. Though trained in academic sociology, Alena hopes to use her training in more applied environments and learn how best to serve the community in which she lives. In her work for the Evaluation Lab, Alena is partnered with Centro Sávila.
Photo: Lindsey Pittington

Lindsey Pittington

MS in Statistics

Lindsey, a native new Mexican, is a graduate student in the department of Mathematics and Statistics here at UNM. She will be receiving her MS in Statistics in Spring 2018. Lindsey also completed two BA’s at UNM in 2013, one in Political Science and the second in Economics. Lindsey has always had a passion for education and exploring programs that help bridge the education gap. She hopes to take the skills learned in the Evaluation Lab to help get funding to educational programs with proven track records that can demonstrate their efficiency in attaining their goals and cutting programs that are not making the cut in an effort to boost the overall quality of education in the state and the country.
Photo: Carli Romero

Carli Romero

M.A. in Educational Leadership

Carli Romero is a native New Mexican, who is in love with the state’s blue desert mountains and won’t give up red or green chili for the world. She is invested in cultivating feminine leadership, and transforming education in her state to support WHOLE learners and teachers.  She is currently studying for her master’s in Educational Leadership at the University of New Mexico. She founded and directed a branch of Shakti Rising in Las Cruces, NM from 2013-2016 after organizing with Comunidades en Accion y de Fe.  She has published individual articles with Rebelle Society, Cushy, and Journey of the Heart.  Carli is a Youth Empowerment Specialist at New Day Safe Home and recently published Sistar, I See You – her first book of poetry.  


Photo: Ranjavola Andriamanana

Ranjavola Adriamanana

Ranja Andriamanana is an undergraduate student at UNM majoring in Economics and Political Science.  She was born in Madagascar and moved to the United States in the eighth grade. She plans to pursue a Master’s degree in fields that relate to diplomacy and foreign policy. She wishes to return to her home country after her studies, and work for the Malagasy government. Her mission in life is to improve the living conditions of the people of Madagascar in whatever way she can. For the Evaluation Lab, Ranja is excited to be working with Las Cumbres Community Services.

Photo: Ozlem  Barin

Ozlem Barin


Photo: Jared Clay

Jared Clay

Jared Clay is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science. His primary fields of study are American Politics and Public Policy. Jared’s recent research focus has been on the influences of money in politics, more specifically, campaign funding and political polarization. Before coming to UNM, he received an M.A. in Political Science from the University of South Dakota and a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Nebraska – Kearney. In his work with the Evaluation lab, Jared is partnered with Las Cumbres Community Services.

Photo: Amy  Hawkins

Amy Hawkins


Photo: Freidyn  Jarrett

Frejdyn Jarrett


Frejdyn received his B.S. Business Economics from Indiana University. He is currently in the M.Sc. Water Resources Program at UNM. Frejdyn enjoys teaching and learning, and his greatest passion is building useful models.  Frejdyn is devoted to his daughter, LiLu Kaia, and loves writing and performing music and comedy, (re)building cars and playing/building games ("they're just models, after all"). Frejdyn is currently working with PB&J (and enjoying every minute of it). He hopes to make the world a better place through the construction, interpretation and dissemination of well-defined and easily applied models and games.

Photo: Tara Kane Prendergast

Tara Kane Prendergast

MA Community and Regional Planning

Tara Kane Prendergast received her BA in History from Brown University. Tara is a second year Master's student in the Community and Regional Planning (CRP) Program where she focuses on community development. She was attracted to the CRP program at UNM because of the opportunity it offers to work with indigenous communities and methodologies. Tara's research interests revolve around poverty, inequality, resilience, and climate justice. In her work with the Evaluation Lab, Tara is currently partnered with Breath of My Heart Birthplace. After UNM, she plans to work in public policy for a few years before pursuing a doctorate in Sociology. 
Photo: Gavin Leach

Gavin Leach

PhD Organizational Information and Learning Sciences (OILS)

Gavin Leach grew up in New Mexico and considers himself a Lobo for life, having earned all of his degrees from the University of New Mexico (MA in Organizational Communication). His research interests include instructional design for teaching millenials, quality of life factors for young professionals and academic community engagement with non-profit organizations. As an Evaluation Lab Fellow Gavin is working with CLNKids.
Photo: Sofia  Locklear

Sofia Locklear

PhD Sociology

Sofia Locklear is a PhD student in the Sociology Department at the University of New Mexico. Originally from Seattle, WA, she received her BA in Sociology from Seattle University. Sofia's work is centered around race, gender and sexuality, intersectionality, and social justice. As an Evaluation Lab fellow she is currently working with New Day Youth and Family Services.
Photo: Alexandria Lyons

Alexandria Lyons

BA Economics and Political Science

Alexandria Lyons is a current undergraduate pursuing her bachelors in Economics and Political Science. She is a proud native New Mexican from Los Lunas. Alexandria plans on continuing her education by applying for her Masters degree this Fall 2016. She is currently working with the organization New Day whose focus is on making positive impacts on the lives of at-risk youth. Outside of the Evaluation Lab, Alexandria is an intern with the SouthWest Organizing Project where she primarily supports the group’s “Project Feed the Hood” campaign that fights to combat food deserts and other food justice issues here in Albuquerque. Alexandria’s hopes for the future are to continue contributing to efforts that help improve the well-being of New Mexican families.
Photo: Cheyenne Trujillo

Cheyenne Trujillo


Photo: Hayley Tvede

Hayley Tvede


Photo: Jaen Emmanuel Ugalde Becerra

Jaen Emmanuel Ugalde Becerra


Photo: Alejandra Villalobos Melendez

Alejandra Villalobos Melendez



Charla Henley

MA in Latin American Studies


Charla (Henley) Orozco is currently employed as an Institutional Researcher in the Office of Assessment & Academic Program Review at the University of New Mexico. She is also the Program Coordinator for the Monthly Evaluation Lab ECHO Learning Community and the upcoming 2020 Evaluation Lab Summer Institute. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature and Business Administration, earned through Roanoke College in May 2014. She is also a graduate of UNM with a Master’s in Latin American Studies (class of 2016). Charla began working with the Evaluation Lab as a graduate student and fellow. During her first year with the Evaluation Lab, she worked with Enlace Comunitario to evaluate their Youth Leader program through a fun and interactive focus group, paired with other supplemental evaluation activities. The second year, she served as a Senior Fellow, continuing to work with Enlace Comunitario, but evaluating a different preventative program. In the third year, Charla continued with Enlace Comunitario as a Senior Fellow, evaluating an intervention program. Last year, she served as the Team Lead for the developmental evaluation of a new program at Enlace Comunitario. This year, she continues as a Team Lead with the Enlace Comunitario group, evaluating the LIDER program. 

Photo: Onesimus (Abdul) Al-Amin

Onesimus (Abdul) Al-Amin

BA Family Studies and Sociology


Onesimus Al-Amin is currently a PhD student in the Human Development and Family Studies Department of the University of Delaware. Originally from Clearwater, Florida, Onesimus graduated cum laude with his BA in Family Studies and Sociology from UNM. Onesimus is a McNair Scholar with an interest in the impact of fatherhood involvement on interrupting the pre-school-to-prison pipeline. During his Evaluation Lab Fellowship he worked with La Red del Rio Abajo.

Eleanor Anderson

PhD in Political Science


Michael Ayala Ayala

PhD in Latin American Studies

Michael is an Engineer in Agricultural Sciences from the Universidad Central del Ecuador with concentrations in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development. He received his MA in Environmental Education for Sustainability from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, and his Higher Education Diploma in Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Social Development Projects from La Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales FLACSO in Quito, Ecuador. Michael has been part of the Evaluation Lab since August 2015 and now he is a Senior Fellow, and works as the help desk, connecting the needs of community organizations that are members of the Evaluation Lab. Michael is pursuing his PhD with concentrations in Geography and Environmental Studies and Community and Regional Planning. His focus is on participatory watershed management. "I strongly believe that public engagement and community participation is the right approach to watershed management."

Matthew Crockett

BA in Economics

Matthew Crockett is currently pursuing a double major in Economics and Psychology with plans to graduate in December 2016 and plan to enroll in a doctoral program in Economics starting in the Fall of 2017. In the first iteration of the Evaluation Lab, Matthew worked with Eric Griego and Ranjana Damle at CLNKids. He has returned as a senior fellow for the 2016-2017 Evaluation Lab with the hopes of refining last year’s work and addressing questions raised in the first iteration of the Evaluation Lab.

Nicole Gayer

MA in Political Science


Eric G. Griego

PhD in Political Science


Derek Kuit

BA in Psychology and Sociology


Derek Kuit is in the process of earning his MA in Educational Psychology at UNM and hopes to pursue a doctorate in the same field. Derek's research interests center on promoting prosocial behaviors in students through education and currriculum. Derek currently works as a Research Assistant for Mission: Graduate and the Center for Education Policy Research at UNM. As a Fellow of the Evaluation Lab Derek worked with PB&J Family Services

Lucas Pedraza

MA in Community and Regional Planning