Celebrated the first full week in May since 1985, Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) is underway at The University of New Mexico.
It is a time set aside to honor those who serve as federal, state, county and local government employees. Throughout the nation and the world, public servants use this occasion to educate others about the work they do and why they have chosen public service careers, as well as the many ways government services make life better for all of us.
At the UNM School of Public Administration (SPA), public and health administration leaders are learning valuable skills they can use to help communities thrive.
"It's a pleasure to honor public servants here," SPA Director Patria De Lancer Julnes said. "They selflessly dedicate their lives to make our lives better, all while serving their fellow citizens."
In conjunction with the national recognition week, UNM’s SPA is kicking off the celebration by honoring the academic accomplishments of its newest future public servants with the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society Induction ceremony.
“The purpose of Pi Alpha Alpha is to encourage and recognize outstanding scholarship and accomplishment in public affairs and administration,” the organization’s statement reads. “Its objectives, such as fostering integrity, professionalism, and effective performance, promote the advancement of quality in the education and practice of the art and science of public affairs and administration. PAA membership identifies those with the highest performance levels in educational programs preparing them for public service careers."
To qualify for induction to the honor society a student must get a minimum 3.7 grade point average. The Induction Ceremony was held May 8 at 4 p.m. in the Student Union Building Santa Ana A&B. It featured SPA school leaders and a keynote speech from Klo Abeita.
"I am so honored to be here during public service week," Abeita said. "This group is standing at the threshold of its public service career. You all can touch the lives of people in the community."
Abeita is a member of the Zuni Pueblo Tribe, and has spent 28 years in public service and continues to serve in various public sectors with zeal. This includes a 25-year tenure with the City of Gallup. Currently, she serves as Coordinator of Personnel for the Gallup-McKinley County school district. She also currently serves on the Advisory Board of UNM SPA and as the 2022-2023 president of the Gallup Rotary Club. She also has worked as a Battered Families Services Board Member, a past Member of the Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services Board of Trustees, and a past Board Member of the NM Indigenous Women’s Resources Center.
There are eleven students being inducted into the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society:
Bo Bostinto Pramod Panikkath
Sandra Chavez Sharilyn Roanhorse
Rayanna Gracia Sarah Rodriguez-Shotland
Linda Henderson Jocelyn Ronquillo
Sayanti Mallick Joan Marie Yazzie Gallegos
"Many of these students are all learning full-time, all while supporting their families. We salute and honor their accomplishments," SPA Professor Young Joo Park said.
Congrats to the new inductees! The SPA is the premier school in New Mexico for preparing graduate and undergraduate students with the knowledge and skills for agile, ethical, and effective leadership in public and tribal governance, and healthcare and non-profit sectors.