Vice President Eliseo "Cheo" Torres, announces the 2012 Office of Student Affairs Fellows: Natalie Robinson Bruner, Caitlin Henke, Hallee Kells, Renee Delgado and Dayra Fallad.

Torres established the fellows program in 1999. Since its inception, nearly 100 individuals have served as fellows. The intent behind the program is to raise the consciousness about higher education as a career, as well as encourage people from the campus community to pursue advanced degrees and learn about offices and programs outside their specific job assignment.

 "Most have been staff, but we've had student fellows, as well," Torres said.  "I like to diversify and bring in students, both undergraduate and graduate. We've had a few faculty fellows, too." Last year, two faculty took advantage of the program: Manuel Montoya, Anderson School of Management, and Shannon Reierson, College of Education.

The fellows are expected to work on a degree, or get additional training. They go to some committee meetings – such as Regents' committees, so they understand how they operate and how the university operates.

"As fellows, they are required to mentor an undergraduate student to encourage them to pursue higher education as a profession," Torres said, adding that the fellows volunteer in the community, often with the Hispano Chamber or the Mexican Consulate.

Torres said that they wholly organize the New Mexico Association of Student Affairs Professionals Symposium. "Actually, it's beyond statewide," he said. "We've had participants from surrounding states." The fellows work on special projects to get cross-trained in other areas.

The program has been consistent and, as a result, very successful for the fellows and for the University because it grows across areas of campus.

Torres said that 20 percent of the fellows have earned terminal degrees. He noted some UNM staff who were fellows who now have their doctorates:

Kim Kloeppel, interim Dean of Students
Tim Gutierrez, associate vice president, College Enrichment and Outreach Programs
Lawrence Roybal, executive director of ENLACE and the Graduate Resource Center

The following are ABD:
Jenna Crabb, director, Career Services
Jennifer Gomez-Chavez, director, Student Academic Success
Andrew Gonzalez, senior program manager, Student Services
Rosa Cervantes, program operations director, College Enrichment and Outreach Programs
Meriah Heredia-Griego, senior program manager, El Centro de la Raza

Some fellows have gone on to take faculty or administrative positions at other colleges and universities.

Many, but not all of the fellows are minorities. "I encourage minorities," Torres said, "because they need additional encouragement to pursue higher level degrees."

Torres often teaches graduate leadership courses for the fellows and serves on dissertation committees.

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; email: