WRITER: Adriana M. Chavez
New Mexico State University College of Education Associate Professor Azadeh Osanloo, the Stan Fulton Chair for the Improvement of Border and Rural Schools, and former College of Engineering Dean Ricardo Jacquez were recognized recently for their contributions to education and improving the lives of children.
Osanloo and Jacquez were named local American Graduate Champions by KRWG-TV. The American Graduate program is funded through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports PBS and NPR.
“It was an honor to receive this award from KRWG and NPR not only because I am a product of NPR and grew up watching public broadcasting, but because of the other honorees who are making a difference in the lives of children and students in this Borderland community,” Osanloo said.
Osanloo was recognized for her work on school-community garden projects at four elementary schools within Las Cruces Public Schools. The project is aimed at improving the lives of disenfranchised elementary school students. Students working on the project used their STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – skills to design garden features and conduct cost and climate analyses of the plants they wanted to buy.
Jacquez, who retired as dean of NMSU’s College of Engineering in July, was recognized for his work as founding director of the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation to help increase enrollment, quality of education and graduation rates of historically underrepresented minority students in STEM fields.
Two other winners with ties to NMSU are Victoria Gier, a third-grade teacher at Fairacres Elementary, and David Morales, a teacher at Mayfield High School who was named a Las Cruces Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year.
Gier is involved in the Methods in Learning Kinesthetically, or MILK, program founded by NMSU dance professors Debra Knapp and Ann Gavit. MILK trains primary grade teachers in the use of kinesthetic movement as an essential feature in primary grade literacy programs to help students remember and retain what they’ve learned.
Morales is involved in the Engaging Latino Communities for Education, or ENLACE, program, which provides mentors to Hispanic students to encourage college attendance and completion. The program begins in secondary school and continues in college.
For a complete list of winners and to view their interviews with KRWG, visithttp://krwg.org/programs/american-graduate-champions.