University Communication and Marketing (UCAM) annually compiles a Year-in-Review highlighting both its general and research news and feature stories across campus during the course of the calendar year. Below is a select list based on UCAM's Newsroom Analytics of the top general news stories of 2022 highlighting UNM students, faculty, staff and alumni accomplishments. Click on the headline to read the full story for each listing. The list below is in random order. 

In addition, UCAM will also highlight the 2022 UNM Health Sciences Year in Review on Thursday, Dec. 29, and the 2022 Research News Year in Review on Jan 1, 2023.

UNM physicist Nitant Kenkre recognized for lifetime achievements
It was in the winter of 1984 when a young physicist named Vasudev “Nitant” Kenkre wandered onto the campus at The University of New Mexico. Since then, Kenkre, who has been described as a physicist, humanist, humorist, magician, philosopher, scholar, writer, and more, has made an indelible mark in the world of interdisciplinary science not only at UNM but worldwide. 

NM sees largest voter turnout in recent history
A new report from the UNM Department of Political Science shows New Mexico had its largest voter turnout in recent history during the 2020 General Election. The “2020 New Mexico Election Administration, Voter Security, and Election Reform Report'' was produced by The University of New Mexico’s Department of Political Science with assistance from the Secretary of State’s Office using funds from the Help America Vote Act.

Alumnus pledges $5 million for Gerald May Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
The University of New Mexico Board of Regents today (March 22) voted to approve renaming the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering in honor of Gerald May, a longtime professor in the department, School of Engineering dean and UNM president. A $5 million cash pledge from Douglas Campbell, an alumnus of the department and CEO and co-founder of Solid Power, a Colorado-based all-solid-state electric vehicle battery developer, will create the Gerald May Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

UNM announces faculty promoted to distinguished professor
The University of New Mexico has announced the promotion and honor of seven faculty to the rank of distinguished professor. The rank of distinguished professor is awarded to faculty who have demonstrated outstanding achievements and are nationally and internationally renowned scholars. This is the highest title UNM bestows upon faculty.

University of New Mexico partners with National Hispanic Institute
The University of New Mexico partnered with the National Hispanic Institute (NHI) to host the 2022 Lorenzo de Zavala (LDZ) Youth Legislative Session for New Mexico high school students. This year’s event hosted 150 top students in a weeklong leadership experience on the UNM campus and highlight the legacy of late Dionisio “Dennis” Chavez. The program is made possible with the help of special funding from the New Mexico Legislature, as requested by State Sen. Michael Padilla.

Abrianna Morales named 2022 Truman Scholar
UNM psychology student Abrianna Morales was just announced a 2022 Truman Scholar. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation selected 58 outstanding college students from 53 schools, nominated by their institution based on their records of leadership, public service, and academic achievement. The Truman Scholarship is the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States.

White House recognizes UNM School of Law for eviction crisis response
Today, leaders at the highest level recognized 99 law schools across the United States – including The University of New Mexico School of Law – for their rapid response addressing the pandemic housing and eviction crisis that left thousands of Americans on the verge of homelessness.

Twelve faculty members receive 2022 Women in STEM Awards
Twelve faculty members at The University of New Mexico have been selected for the 2022 Women in STEM awards. Award recipients will look at patterns of cancer disparities in New Mexico, consider an interdisciplinary lens for algorithmic justice, examine the importance of plant-rich diets, and explore the possible role of plastic and fiber particles in chronic respiratory inflammation, among other topics.

UNM music alum wins Grammy award
In what is possibly a first for The University of New Mexico, an alumnus has won a Grammy award. Col. Jim R. Keene, UNM Class of 1988, received a Grammy for Best Immersive Audio Album for the recording Soundtrack of the American Soldier, on which he conducted The United States Army Field Band. No military band has ever won a Grammy before, nor has any concert band won a Grammy award.

Black deaf graduate student aims to showcase NM sign language varieties
David Player is a Black Deaf graduate student in the UNM Department of Linguistics. Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, he came to New Mexico after completing his B.S. in Sociology at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Inspired by groundbreaking research showing evidence of sociolinguistic variation in Black ASL, Player is focusing his studies at UNM on sociolinguistics of signed languages.

UNM team works out a new, simple way to exercise
Forty-two percent of people say they can’t work out because they don’t have the time, according to a 2019 poll. Seventy percent in another poll said they don’t have a routine that works for them. Another reported 15 percent of people are just not happy with how busy their gym is. Those are problems UNM Exercise & Sports Sciences Associate Professor Fabiano Amorim and doctoral candidate Gabriella Bellissimo are working together to solve.

First-of-its-kind Indigenous Child Language Research Center launched
Protecting an endangered language is just as consequential as safeguarding animals on the verge of extinction. The Navajo language faces threats to its vitality just as imperiled animals do. Like protecting the planet, preserving a language, and the massive culture attached to it, starts at a young age. That’s why The University of New Mexico’s Department of Linguistics and Lobo Language Acquisition Lab, are launching the Indigenous Child Language Research Center to follow the progress of infants and children at the Saad K’idilyé Diné Language Nest.

White House taps UNM law professor as EPA senior advisor
UNM School of Law Professor Cliff Villa has been asked by the President Joe Biden Administration to serve as a political appointee to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a senior advisor to the EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management, Villa’s expertise will come into play around the use of federal resources, including funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law, that aims to support administration priorities for addressing climate change and promoting environmental justice.

New project reveals Black history at UNM
With a swipe of the screen, the history and legacy of the Black experience at The University of New Mexico is now available thanks to a new touchscreen at the African American Student Services office in Mesa Vista Hall. The website touchscreen project Black History at UNM is the result of a collaboration between the AASS and UNM Communications and Marketing Department Web team.

Five UNM students receive Fulbright Awards for 2022-2023 academic year
In one of the most competitive cycles ever, five students from the University of New Mexico have received the Fulbright Awards for the 2022-2023 academic year. Two Ph.D. students (Noelani Villa and Korey Tillman) will continue their dissertation research in the host countries. Three recent and new graduates (Solana Armijo, Arthur Lopez, and Jane Tabet-Kirkpatrick) will serve as English Teaching Assistants in their host countries.

UNM Distinguished Professor Yemane Asmerom elected as an AGU Fellow
University of New Mexico Distinguished Professor Yemane Asmerom was elected as an American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fellow. He joined 53 other individuals from around the world in the 2022 Class of Fellows. Since 1962, the AGU Union Fellows Committee has selected less than 0.1% of members as new Fellows. AGU, a nonprofit organization that supports 130,000 enthusiasts to experts worldwide in Earth and space sciences, annually recognizes a select number of individuals as part of its Honors and Recognition program.

UNM alum Jack Dongarra receives 2021 Turing Award
​A University of New Mexico alum is being recognized at the highest level for his work and contribution to the field of computational science. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has named Jack J. Dongarra as the recipient of the 2021 ACM A.M. Turing Award – often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of computing.”

How Indigenous communities are leading the way in COVID-19 vaccination rates
Overcoming significant challenges, American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities enacted a swift, innovative, inclusive, and community-driven approach to rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination, and there’s a lot to be learned from their methods. A perspective penned by two University of New Mexico faculty members and recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine explains the effectiveness of Indigenous communities’ response.

LoboEats app connects food insecure students with extra meals
Between classes, exams, and learning to live on their own – college can be a difficult time of growth for students. On top of that stress, 29 percent of undergraduate students at UNM report they are food insecure and are not able to consistently access the nutrition they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, according to the 2021 Basic Needs Insecurity at UNM report. Meanwhile, university functions and events leave departments with a significant amount of leftover food, and no productive way of using it.

UNM remains a drug-free campus
With the sale of recreational cannabis across the state of New Mexico beginning April 1, The University of New Mexico campus, including branch campuses, remain drug-free environments, including the use of marijuana. Following a special legislative session in 2021, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Cannabis Regulation Act into law legalizing the use and possession of recreational marijuana for those over the age of 21, beginning June 29, 2021. The legislation also allows for the sale of recreational marijuana to begin by April 1, 2022, at state-licensed dispensaries.


Alumni Association announces 2022 UNM Alumni Award recipients
The UNM Alumni Association is proud to announce the award recipients of the 2022 UNM Alumni Awards. During and after their time at UNM these recipients have impacted the university, their perspective fields and communities across the world. These award recipients exemplify the continuing growth, diversity and strength in our communities. Join us in congratulating the 2022 UNM Alumni Award Honorees.

Former UNM Professor Ravi Jain selected as National Academy of Inventors Fellow
The term “inventor” may bring to mind images of gears and light bulbs, but modern inventions look a little different. Picture lasers, chemical detection and the tools that help build your smartphone. Ravi Jain, a former University of New Mexico electrical and computer engineering professor of nearly 30 years, has been named a 2022 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He is one of 169 academic inventors selected this year.

The Office of the Vice President for Research announces inaugural Ovation Award winners
Eight Lobo researchers from disciplines spanning across The University of New Mexico have been selected as recipients of the inaugural OVPR Ovation Award for Research and Scholarship. The new Ovation awards recognize full-time faculty for recent cutting-edge research accomplishments that address local or global challenges while elevating the University’s reputation on a national and international stage.

Friends and colleagues remember Dr. Michael Dougher
Dr. Michael Dougher was an Emeritus Professor of Psychology and former vice president for Research at The University of New Mexico where he started his academic career in 1980. Dougher spent 38 years at UNM as a professor of Psychology before retiring in 2016. His distinguished career went far beyond this title touching many colleagues including faculty and staff, as well as the students he taught over nearly four decades.

UNM alumna and education advocate called to Washington, D.C. to fill presidential appointment
Cindy Nava heads to Washington, D.C. where she will become the first former DACA recipient in the United States to receive a White House presidential appointment. Nava, a University of New Mexico alumna, will serve as the senior policy advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia L. Fudge.