Photo: Margaret McKinney/Highlands University

Highlands forestry senior Juan Jauregui, at right, receives his Student of the Year Award from Margaret Gonzales, Campus Life director. Jauregui, 22, is a Sapello, N.M. native. In the middle is Marc Estrada, another nominee for Student of the Year.


Las Vegas, N.M. – Highlands University students, faculty and staff were honored for their outstanding leadership and other contributions to the university at the 17th Annual Student Leadership Recognition Banquet on April 8.

The Office of Campus Life directed by Margaret Gonzales organizes the event each year.

“Leaders are individuals who know how to achieve goals and inspire others along the way,” Gonzales said. “By your leadership you have made a difference at Highlands though academics, sports and noble deeds.”


  • Student of the Year – Juan Jauregui, forestry senior

“We have a great deal of respect for Juan for both his personal integrity and his abilities,” said forestry professor Craig Conley, Jauregui’s adviser. “He is the kind of student that every teacher wishes for: smart, dedicated and fun. We are confident that he will be successful in whatever path he chooses and will be an excellent ambassador for Highlands and the forestry program.”

In addition to Conley and fellow forestry professor Sara Brown nominating Jauregui for Student of the Year, nominations also came from Fidel Trujillo, dean of students, Ron García, Career Services director, and Roland Salas, Student Support Services director.

“Highlands has given me so many opportunities to do research and also be involved with student senate and clubs for forestry and conservation,” Jauregui said. “My professors are valued mentors who are always willing to go out of their way to give me advice on academics, research, careers and life. I’m very grateful.”

Jauregui, a 22-year-old Sapello, New Mexico native, will attend graduate school at the University of Washington’s forest resources program fall semester 2015.

  • Professor of the Year – Edward Martínez, natural resource management professor and director for ARMAS (Achieving in Research, Math and Science)
  • Staff Member of the Year – Corilia Ortega, HU-CARES education and outreach coordinator
  • Club of the Year Award – NMHU Political Science Club
  • Humanitarian of the Year Awards – Shelton Miles and Jessie Benavidez-Green

“The humanitarian award is new this year and honors Shelton and Jessie for coming to the aid of a confused man with Alzheimer’s disease who was shivering in his pajamas one snowy February morning in the parking lot of McDonalds,” Gonzales said. “They gave him a jacket to keep him warm and got help for him. The man’s wife was overwhelmed by these young people’s generosity. It’s so heartwarming to hear stories like this about the kindness and caring of our students.”

  • Biology Awards – Flavio Vigil, Steven Salinas, and Emma Hart
  • Robert Amai Award in Organic Chemistry – Kevin Molinar
  • Robert Amai Award for Graduating Senior in Chemistry – Sean Domínguez
  • Robert Amai Award in General Chemistry – Michelle Tuineau
  • American Chemical Society Award in Chemistry and Biochemistry – Alyssa J. Espinoza
  • American Chemical Society Award in Analytical Chemistry – Kushum Shrestha
  • English Award – Chris Martínez
  • Natural Resource Management (Forestry) Awards – Joseph Gonzalez, undergraduate, and Zakiya Shivji, graduate student


  • Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society –

Vanessa Bedonie, Derrick Radden, Sandra Mascarenas, Holly Lopez, Daniel Ellis-Green, Adryanna Trujillo, Shannon Vigil, Marino Vigil, Cynthia Gellien, Lina Uribe de Reeves, Leticia Merrills-Gonzalez, Rita Ytuarte, Catherine Padilla, Elissa Valencia, Sharon Green, Kimberly Haynie, Melissa Vasquez, Kimberly Stahle, and Heralda Anderson


  • Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges (Undergraduates) –

Amanda Perea, Elissa Valencia, Martin Chavez, Elisa Abeyta, Ariadna Izaguirre,        Flavio Vigil, Michael Martínez, Desiree Pino, Brianna Abeyta, Gabriel Cordova, Miranda Martínez, Derek Pino, Caitlin Gannon, Guillermo Martínez, Natasha Lujan, Damien Alire, Chantel Rivera, Sonia Ramirez Tapia, Robert Hedgepeth, Destiny Dilworth, Joshua Alcon, Ryan Andrews-Armijo, Julian Padilla, Stephen Carbajal, Kassandra Jiron, Juan Jauregui, Shyann Romero, and Joe Arguello


  • Associated Students of New Mexico Highlands University (ASNMHU) Awards – Ryan Andrews-Armijo, Student Senate President Pro-Tempore and Student Regent; Joseph Domínguez, ASNMHU President; and John Ramon Vigil, ASNMHU Senator.


  • Athletic Awards –
  • Women’s Track – Shanice McPherson
  • Men’s Cross Country – Sam Roybal
  • Football – Jared Womack, James Foster, and Austin Jones
  • Soccer – Molly Enenbach
  • Baseball – Matthew Chavez and Colby Wilmer
  • Softball – Jessica Brink and Jacki Wood
  • Wrestling – Easton Hargrave
  • Women’s Basketball – Emma Hart


  • NMHU Sigma Xi Chapter Awards – Rachael Lucero and Alfonso Trujillo


  • Forestry Club Award – Juan Jauregui


  • ARMAS Awards – Melecio Perea, Supplemental Instruction Leader of the Year; Raymundo Melendez, Intern of the Year; Jacob Kelly, Math Tutor of the Year; and Rebecca Vigil, Student Engagement Liaison of the Year.


  • Career Services Awards – Juan Jauregui, Student Career Development Award; Tarissa Mellin, Outstanding Student Employee Award; Orit Tamir, Anthropology professor, Outstanding Faculty Ambassador for Career Award; Stephen Weatherburn, English faculty, Outstanding Faculty Ambassador Award; and Jeff Falkner, athletic director, Outstanding Staff Ambassador Award.


  • Student Support Services Awards – Sonia Ramirez-Tapia and Julian Padilla for peer mentors; Manuel Archuleta, Adriana Martínez, and James Foster for academic advising; and Kassandra Jiron and Forestry Joe Arguello for tutoring.