About the Program
Every year Dr. Eliseo "Cheo" Torres puts out a call for applications for the Student Affairs Fellows Program. The program is an opportunity for UNM staff to gain leadership and professional development skills while assisting the Vice President of Student Affairs on specific projects during a 15-month term. The program is open to all UNM professional staff (grades 8-14); however, top priority will be given to Student Affairs employees. The program also provides an opportunity for students to also become Student Affairs fellows on a 12-month basis
Meet the 2020 Fellows
Supervisor of Student Success, Veterans and Military Resource Center
Brandon is a UNM alum with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and is currently pursuing a master’s in Public Administration. For the past four years, he has worked for the UNM Veteran and Military Resource Center and is presently the Supervisor of Student Success where part of his duties include coordinating graduation recognition, and Veterans Day ceremonies. He is also instrumental in networking with various UNM departments to further the VMRC mission. He hopes that the OSA Fellowship Program will help him inspire learning and academic success among students of diverse backgrounds from all walks of life.
Career Development Facilitator, Office of Career Services
Elena earned an M.A. in Counseling from UNM in 2018 and began working in the Office of Career Services in 2019. She currently serves as a Career Development Facilitator and says that working there has ignited a passion for working with students and inspired her to strive for new personal career goals with higher education. She is hopeful that the OSA Fellowship Program will give her an opportunity to make long lasting connections with other UNM colleagues and enhance her skills, confidence and abilities to serve the UNM community.
Program Specialist, El Centro de la Raza
Yesenia has been involved with El Centro de la Raza since beginning her undergrad studies at UNM in 2007 and went on to earn a master’s degree and graduate certificate. She currently serves as a Program Specialist where she works with students, staff and faculty every day through student advising, programming, and special projects. She was in charge of coordinating El Centro’s 50th Anniversary Celebration and also oversees two graduate programs. She hopes that the OSA Fellowship Program will add to her personal and professional growth and give her more knowledge of the many departments both in Student Affairs and the entire university.
Elizabeth Ruiz Casteñeda
Undergraduate student, Secondary Education
In addition to pursuing her degree in Secondary Education, Elizabeth serves as a Student Success Leader for El Centro de la Raza. She hopes that the OSA Fellowship will help her continue expanding her skills and contribute to the experience of first-generation students like herself.
Graduate student, Educational Leadership
Anders is in his third semester as a graduate student in the Educational Leadership program and is also a graduate assistant in the UNM Student Union Building. He hopes that the OSA Fellowship Program will broaden his understanding of the importance of the role Student Affairs has on a campus.
Undergraduate student, International Studies
In addition to pursuing her degree in International Studies, she plans to apply to graduate school in a Health Administration or Public Health program. She hopes that the OSA Fellowship Program will expose her to the organization, structure, and functionality of the Division of Student Affairs, and other university components that she can apply to a healthcare systems context.
Undergraduate student, Population Health
In addition to pursuing his degree in Population Health, Jacob also serves as the Chief of Staff for the Associated Students of UNM (ASUNM), and as an office assistant in the Student Activities Center. He hopes that the OSA Fellowship Program will help him understand how the Division of Student Affairs makes an impact on the over 20,000 students at UNM.
Chris is a Student Activities Specialist in the UNM Student Activities Center. While he is new to working on a college campus, he has spent most of his professional life in the fraternity/sorority field. In fact, he has over a decade of experience working with fraternity students from across the country, and a significant amount of experience creating new curriculum for student learning and engagement and working with a diverse group of individuals.
“I’ve always had a passion for working with students and doing everything in my power to improve their college experiences.”
Chris feels that the fellowship will offer him an opportunity to gain a better understanding and knowledge of the functional areas in the Division. He is also planning to pursue a graduate degree in OILS.
Gregory is a Hall Coordinator in the Residence Life and Student Housing Department. His experience working with Student Affairs has been through his current position and also while serving as a Residence Advisor during his time at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. During his time there he formed a lasting professional relationship and connection with the Associate Dean of Students, and ultimately decided to follow in her footsteps. Subsequently, he went through the Oshkosh Placement Exchange and attended Mississippi State University where he also had positive experiences with Student Affairs professionals.
“Every person that worked in Students from my faculty to the staff was overwhelmingly welcoming and helpful when it came to answering my questions and giving me opportunities to learn.”
Gregory feels that the fellowship program will further expose to different offices in Student Affairs while helping him decide his career path in either housing or accessibility services.
Paul is a UNM student majoring in Organization, Information and Learning Sciences. Fifteen years ago, Paul, became interested in Curanderismo and subsequently has been a main fixture in the UNM class over the past several years either as a student or as a volunteer. He credits the class and the medicine as leading him to an amazing transformation of body, mind and spirit. Paul has become a Lobo not only through his classes, but by volunteering at UNM commencement, and participating in the SHAC Student Health Leadership Council.
“I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say ‘because of you, I didn’t give up.’”
Paul hopes that the fellowship will allow him to become an educator and role model for students by empowering them to become advocates for their health through outreach and awareness of the history, influences and concepts of traditional medicine.
Alonzo currently serves as the Director for the Veterans Resource Center at UNM. In his current role he is highly involved and invested in the success of our students. As the director, he has taken the initiative to broaden the scope of how the VRC serves its students. He has helped to transform the Center into a multipurpose student center which aims to help not only student-veterans but any student.
“As a veteran and a minority, I bring a wide range of perspectives to the battle that our students go through on a daily basis.”
Alonzo feels that the fellowship program will help him continue his growth as a leader in higher education by exposing him to areas outside of veterans on campus.
Tina is a Senior Student Program Advisor with the College Enrichment Program and supports the transition and retention of students who are currently underrepresented at UNM. She has always had a passion for serving students in an advocacy role through her previous work through LoboRESPECT, and also during her time at Fort Lewis College.
“I have been fortunate to work closely with many first-year students from rural New Mexico, which is near and dear to my heart.”
Tina feels that the fellowship program will heighten her capacity to help students in their academic journeys while adding to her own educational endeavors and professional development.