Annually, the University of New Mexico's Communications and Marketing Department (UCAM) releases its top-10 general news and research stories at UNM. Below is this year's general news list top-10 and the article UCAM published online recognizing the achievement.

1. President Barack Obama announced that Yasamin Mostofi, assistant professor in the UNM Electrical and Computer Engineering department, was awarded the highly prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The White House press release stated, "the PECASE award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers."

2. Ursula Shepherd has a passion for helping students not only to succeed academically, but also to believe in themselves and seize opportunities they never thought they'd have. Because of that passion, Associate Professor Shepherd, University Honors Program, University of New Mexico, is one of only four U.S. Professors of the Year. Sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the award is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

3. University of New Mexico Regents Professor of Biology Dr. Maggie Werner-Washburne was honored with the 2011 Distinguished Scientist Award by the Harvard Foundation Friday, April 8 in Cambridge, Mass. The award recognizes internationally noted scientists for their scientific achievements and for promoting and upholding the standards of sciences to improve and serve our diverse society.

4. Law Professor Christine Zuni Cruz received the 2010 Pincus Award, the most prestigious honor for a clinical law professor, at the 2011 annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools in early January. A member of the Isleta Pueblo, Zuni Cruz is founder and former director of the UNM School of Law's Southwest Indian Law Clinic and serves as editor-in-chief of the Tribal Law Journal, the only online academic journal that focuses on indigenous tribal laws.

5. In the largest single gift ever made to the University of New Mexico by living individuals, Sonnet and Ian McKinnon have committed $7.5 million to three UNM programs. Projects at the Anderson School of Management, University Arena ("The Pit") and the UNM Tennis Complex will benefit. Additionally, an endowment will be established in honor of former UNM Assistant Tennis Coach Loren Dils and current Tennis Coach Alan Dils.

6. The Institute for Mexicans Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, through the Mexican Consulate in Albuquerque, is contributing $50,000 for a scholarship fund to provide 50 UNM students with $2,000 scholarships, in an agreement signed recently with the UNM Foundation. The objective of the IME Scholarship Program is to provide and improve higher education opportunities for Mexican immigrants and students from immigrant families in the United States. The IME contribution will be augmented by matching donor funds to allow 50 students to receive scholarships for the current and the spring 2012 semesters.

7. UNM'S Division for Equity and Inclusion, in collaboration with the Center for Education Policy Research, is the recipient of a four-year, $600,000 Lumina Latino Student Success Grant, as announced by the Lumina Foundation.

8. Chair and Professor of Computer Science Stephanie Forrest received a $3.2 million grant from DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, to lead a team to develop resilient, automated computer security systems. The team, comprised of computer scientists from University of Virginia and UNM, is using computational analogs of biological evolution to develop software that automatically repairs itself.

9. UNM'S Sustainability Studies Program received a $1.5 million grant for an endowed chair in sustainable environmental food systems and $150,000 in start-up funds from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The endowment will support education that increases the well-being of students and citizens by advancing environmental science and social equity applied to the development of local food systems.

10. Recent efforts at UNM to focus on strategies that maximize student success are beginning to pay off, as suggested by early enrollment numbers for the fall semester 2011. While overall growth was modest, areas targeted in UNM's smart growth strategy – upper division, graduate and online courses – saw significant growth. As of Monday, Aug. 22, the first day of fall classes, upper division credit hours increased by 4.2 percent and graduate credit hours by 4.6 percent.