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Fall 2013

  September 2                 September 9                September 16            September 23                October 7

   Mary  Henderson        Colleen Dunnés         Tara Kennedy            Ryan Morrison            Scott Crago

mary  colleen  kennedy  morrison  crago 

Mary Hudgens Henderson is a PhD student in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese. She recently received a $4000 New Mexico Research Grant from the Graduate and Professional Student Association of UNM to conduct her dissertation study, ‘Sociolinguistics for Kids’. The purpose of the study is to teach bilingual 5th graders about natural language variation, while comparing and contrasting standardized and non-standardized language varieties. With this linguistics-based approach to academic language, students will practice style-shifting to the school-based language variety while appreciating the beautiful diversity of human language. Her linguistics-based curriculum uses audio, video, puppets and electronic books to get kids to listen carefully to the numerous ways humans express themselves via vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. She was first inspired to bring linguistics into the classroom while working as a bilingual classroom teacher in Colorado—one day a student asked, ‘How do you spell “gonna”?' That question launched a language ethnography project in her class, and galvanized Mary’s passion for using what we know about language variation to help students navigate school-based language.


Colleen Dunn is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature whose primary research interests center on issues of sanctity in medieval Europe, with a particular focus on female saints in Anglo-Saxon England. She was recently awarded the Bilinski Foundation Fellowship for 2013-14, as she works towards completing her dissertation, “God’s Chosen: The Adaptation and Transmission of the Cults of Virgin Martyrs in Anglo-Saxon England.” Her work examines the writings about St. Juliana and St. Margaret, two Mediterranean virgin martyrs whose stories were brought to England and adapted to appeal to an Anglo-Saxon audience. Colleen is also currently writing about the late-twelfth-century mock treatise On the Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus, investigating the possibility that the text was intended to be a political and moral commentary on Eleanor of Aquitaine—an idea she presented at the 2012 International Medieval Congress in Leeds, England.



Tara Kennedy is a Ph.D. candidate in the UNM Department of Philosophy. She was recently awarded a fellowship from the Bilinski Foundation to support her while she finishes her dissertation, which she is set to defend in Spring 2014. Her research interests include phenomenology, ethics, animals, technology, and the natural world. In her dissertation, she focuses on the work of Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty and explores how their understanding of the nature of reality and existence can help us to formulate the basis for an ethics that can improve our relationship with the environment. Her project then seeks to apply the theoretical insights gained from Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty to a concrete environmental concern by examining how this ethical system might guide our thinking and behavior with regard to the use of bio- and nanotechnologies. Finally, she seeks to bridge the theory-practice divide in a second way, namely by arguing that Henry David Thoreau embodied a phenomenologically ethical comportment and suggesting ways in which we can learn to be more respectful of the environment by examining his writings and life.



Ryan Morrison is a PhD candidate in the UNM Department of Civil Engineering and is researching environmental flow alternatives in the Rio Chama, New Mexico. After working for four years as a water resource engineer and earning his professional engineering license, Ryan moved from Oregon in 2010 to begin his PhD at UNM. His interest in balancing water resource needs helped earn him a Hydro Research Foundation Fellowship in 2011. Most recently, Ryan traveled to Jordan during the summer of 2013 to help teach a workshop on water resource management in arid regions to Jordanian students and academic professionals. During the trip, Ryan and his advisor, Dr. Mark Stone, worked closely with Al al-Bayt University. Ryan's travels to Jordan were supported with a Future Faculty Award given by UNM's Graduate Studies. Ryan is completing the final year of his doctoral program with the help of a Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship. More information about Ryan and his research can be found on his website.



Scott Crago is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of New Mexico. With the aid of the Latin America and Iberian Institute PhD Fellowship, Crago recently conducted sixteen months of dissertation research in Santiago and Temuco Chile. As a result of this research, Crago received both the Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship and the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship to support the writing of his dissertation. Through a focus on a pilot project for indigenous Mapuche integration known as Plan Perquenco, his dissertation examines ethnicity, gender, state building and Mapuche collective memory during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Plan Perquenco demonstrates that neoliberal reforms under Pinochet were inherently cultural in that they required a fundamental transformation of Mapuche gender roles, familial organization, and individual relationships to natural resources. Through an emphasis on state decentralization, however, this study underscores that these programs provided unintentional spaces for Mapuche community and cultural revival. Crago will defend his dissertation in the fall 2014 term.

   October 14                     October 21                   October 28                 November 8                November 21

   Ms. Nina Helvey          Tunay Oguzés             Jaen Ugalde       Md. Mottaleb Hossain   Erin Murrah-Mandril

nina  tunay  douglas  gbenga  beth 

Sigrid Karlstrom, a Masters student in viola performance and string pedagogy, won a core position in the New Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra, where she will start in Fall 2013. She has played regularly this season with Sunday Chatter, collaborating with Albuquerque area professionals such as Guillermo Figueroa, David Felberg, Joan Zucker, and James Shields, her most recent performance (June 2013) being "Child" by minimalist composer David Lang. Follow the link to a performance featuring Sigrid that was recorded in January, 2013. Sigrid has also performed recently with Opera Southwest and the Figueroa Project. Sigrid switched to viola about one year ago after completing a Masters degree in violin at the University of Oregon with professor Fritz Gearhart. She is currently a student of Kimberly Fredenburgh at the University of New Mexico. After her graduation, Sigrid plans to pursue a career in viola performance and teaching.


Tyler Zey is a second year masters student at UNM. He began his studies at Luther College in Iowa. In fall 2012, he won the district Music Teacher National Association competition and place honorable mention at regionals. In Spring 2013, he recorded a cd that placed him in the semi-finals of the International Clarinet Associations Young Artist Competition. The applicants were from eleven countries. He was unable to compete further due to a previous engagement with Lorin Maazel's Castleton Festival where he will play clarinet for three operas, eight orchestra concerts, and several chamber music concerts. In fall 2013, he will tour Japan with Lorin Maazel performing La Fanciulla del West and compete in the Beijing International Music Competition..



Douglas Ryan VanBenthuysen is a PhD candidate in the University of New Mexico Department of English Language and Literature, with a focus on Medieval Studies. He was recently awarded a dissertation fellowship from the Bilinski Foundation. His dissertation focuses on the concept of authority in the Old English Genesis poem(s), an Anglo-Saxon poem based on the biblical book of Genesis. The dissertation examines both the poet's use of language and connections to Anglo-Saxon culture. Doug's other scholarly interests include Old English Language and Old Norse Language and Literature.



Gbenga Frederick Olorunsiwa is the winner of 2012-2013 Susan Deese-Roberts Outstanding Teaching Assistant of the Year Awards. Mr. Olorunsiwa’s research encompasses Race, African and African diasporic cinema, African history and Literature. His PhD, MA and BA research and other works have explored issues of race and race relations in the United States and Africa, identity, society and cultural representation in African, African diasporic cinema and literature. He is currently an ABD (All but dissertation) student and is writing his PhD dissertation in the area of representations of Africa and Africans in films from various cinematic traditions, particularly in Western films, exploring these representations as they happened within particular socio-economic and political frameworks. Mr. Olorunsiwa earned his MA in Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with specialization in Africa and African Diaspora Literature and his BA degree at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, where he majored in English Literature, and wrote his thesis on Wole Soyinka, who was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first African to be so honored. Congratulations once again to Mr. Olorunsiwa on winning this award, his dedication to his students as a teaching assistant and all his academic achievements.



Beth Pritchardreceived her BA. in Psychology at UNM while working in an adult rehab facility among a team of physical and occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, physicians and nurses. She returned to graduate school to become a speech-language pathologist in 2011 and began a fellowship in the LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) program in association with the Center for Development and Disability (CDD). Her research and leadership projects have focused on overcoming barriers to interprofessional collaboration at the training level and providing information and encouraging communication between students who have little access to resources outside of their respective departments. Beth is the co-founder of UNM SIDE (Students for InterDisciplinary Education), a blog devoted to promoting educational collaboration and increased communication between departments. Through ongoing research and community leadership efforts, she works to support strong alliances among UNM educators and students alike to improve the health and education of New Mexico and beyond.

    November 23             November 25                  December 10            December 12

   Antonio Fernandez      Erin Watleyés        Ashley Valenzuelaés     Austin Hancockés      

tony  watley  ashley  austin 

Mr. Antonio Fernandezis a 2nd year graduate student in Public Administration (MPA) at the University of New Mexico’s School of Public Administration. In addition to having a full-time academic schedule, Mr. Fernandez has sought out additional graduate education experiences. He was selected as a fellow for the New Mexico Leadership Development in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program. The NM LEND graduate fellowship program focuses on interdisciplinary education for its fellows. Mr. Fernandez is a licensed mediator and practices his skills as a volunteer at Albuquerque Metropolitan Court. He is also employed by the city of Albuquerque as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Mediator (ADR). Antonio is also the Ombudsman for Graduate Studies at UNM. His goal as an Ombudsman is to assist graduate students in resolving issues and concerns that arise within the University environment. Mr. Fernandez is here to assist graduate students in resolving conflicts they may have with anyone on campus using UNM policies, procedures and in some cases mediation. His office is located in the Humanities building, suite 107 and his office hours are from 9:30am to 2:30pm Tuesday and Wednesday. Students may call (505)277-1135 or to set up an appointment.


Erin Watley is a Winrock Doctoral Fellow and second year PhD student in the Communication & Journalism department. This year she is also one of the coordinators for the 2014 Shared Knowledge Conference and the Vice President of the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGPSA). Her research interests are concentrated on critically examining the role media plays in intercultural communication.


Ashley Valenzuela-Ruesgenis a second year graduate student in Latin American Studies. She has academic concentrations in human rights and ethnology. Ashley was recently granted membership to the Bloomsbury Honor Society with highest honors for her 4.0 GPA. The society focuses on leadership, entrepreneurship and academic excellence. In addition, Ashley was also awarded an RPT Grant for her research which was conducted in Nicaragua this past summer. Her research interests focus on the effective and non-effective behaviors of NGOs as well as cultural consumption and tourism in Latin America. Ashley’s commitment to the academic community has led her to be nominated to serve on the Executive Committee for the University of Northern Colorado’s Young Alumni Council. Ashley completed undergraduate degrees in political science and Mexican-American studies at the University of Northern Colorado where she graduated with honors distinction.


Austin Hancockis a MA Student in the department of foreign languages and literatures. His research interests include Surrealism, Dadaism and the work of Albert Camus. He recently defended his thesis with distinction on the relationship between boxing and early 20th century French Poetry.