Claudia Barreto, a biology professor at University of New Mexico-Valencia branch, is one of five individuals to receive a special tribute by the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) at a national conference to be held Oct. 16-18 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. SACNAS recognizes outstanding individuals dedicated to excellence in science, mentoring and teaching.

Barreto, who will be honored with the 2014 Community College Mentor Award, is a first-generation American, whose parents did all they could to ensure their children appreciated and received a good education.

Barreto earned a B.S. in biology and secondary education from Adelphi University, N.Y., an M.S. in natural history from New York University and became a Milwaukee Public Museum curator, where public outreach was a major responsibility.

When dinosaur fossils were discovered with cellular structure preserved, Barreto went off to the University of Wisconsin Madison. Her Ph.D. thesis was on bone growth in birds and dinosaurs.

Prior to coming to UNM-Valencia campus, Barreto was the undergraduate science education specialist at UW Milwaukee (1996-2005). As a professor at UNM-Valencia, she can devote herself to enhancing teaching and learning by working directly with students and coordinating the institution’s assessment activities.

Barreto is involved in numerous volunteer activities including a literacy program in which her Therapy Dogs play a key role in helping children learn to read.

For more information about the award, contact Jenny Kurzweil at (831) 425-1775 or .