Graduate Education Day at New Mexico legislature
(l. to r.): Angelina Flores-Montoya, Christine Abassary, Barbara Gomez Aginaga, Julie Coonrod, Christina Termini, Eva Dettweiler-Robinson, and Patrick Donabedian at the New Mexico Legislature.

Graduate students from the University of New Mexico recently showcased their research at this year’s Graduate Education Day, at the state capitol building. Legislators welcomed students from each of New Mexico’s six graduate schools as they made the case for graduate education.

UNM graduate students from across campus submitted proposals and were selected through a competitive process by UNM’s Senate Graduate and Professional Awards Committee. Once at the event, the students presented posters explaining their work to legislatures and educators. They also privately met with their respective district’s representative and senator, an opportunity organized by UNM’s Government Relations.

Posters ranged in topics, from early detection of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases to analysis of immigration laws.

Representing UNM were Christine Abassary, a doctoral student in counselor education and a masters student in health education and community counseling; Eva Dettweiler-Robinson, a doctoral candidate in biology; Patrick Donabedian, a doctoral candidate in nanoscience; Bárbara Gomez Aguinaga, a doctoral student in public policy; Angelina Flores-Montoya, a doctoral student in nursing and healthy policy; and Christina Termini, a doctoral candidate in biomedical sciences.

Julie Coonrod, dean of Graduate Studies; Bill Gannon, director of Academic Integrity and Research Ethics (AIRE); Texanna Martin, GPSA president; Sally Barker, GPSA chief of staff; and Christine Shell and Sue Wilder, graduate assistants, also attended Graduate Education Day.

Tom Turner, associate dean of Research for the College of Arts and Sciences, spoke about the importance of graduate education to New Mexico at a press conference, along with New Mexico Tech President Dan Lopez and New Mexico Higher Education Department Secretary Barbara Damron, who is also a faculty member at UNM’s College of Nursing and School of Medicine.

Studies from the Bureau of Workforce Services show that those with graduate degrees earn significantly more and are unemployed less than those with bachelor’s degrees or lower. Graduate Education Day serves to help state legislators understand these and other benefits of graduate education, and encourages them to provide continued support to graduate programs across the state.