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6th Annual Luminaria Award Recipients - 2015


The Luminaria Awards recognize individuals and organizations that light the path in areas of diversity, equity, inclusion or sociAward pictureal justice. Their commitment can be evident in recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups; teaching, research and/or service; multicultural or cultural awareness programming; social justice organizing, community outreach or other similar activities. DEI will also award the Inclusive Excellence award at the event to an individual that has made a significant and life-long contribution to Inclusive Excellence on the UNM campus.  Inclusive Excellence means that we leverage diversity as our strength to create a healthy and inclusive campus climate, advance the academic enterprise and support the success of our students.

Dr. Tracy Ballysingh Picture

Faculty Award Recipient

Dr. Mario Rivera, School of Public Administration

Mario Antonio Rivera is Regents’ Professor in the School of Public Administration (SPA), University of New Mexico, which he joined in 1993. There he teaches program evaluation, comparative public administration, organizational theory, and applied research design. He has also taught courses with Anderson Schools of Management, College of Education, Community and Regional Planning, and Water Resources graduate programs. He served as SPA Interim Director in 2014-15, establishing the School’s Diversity Council and helping lead national faculty searches which successfully brought even greater diversity to an exceptionally inclusive faculty. 

Before coming to UNM, he taught at the University of Hartford, Butler University, and Barry University. His many national, international, and State training and evaluation consultancies, including pro bono service, have been venues for advocacy for diversity, social equity, and inclusion; these have included Maryland’s George Meany Center for Labor Studies, the Costa Rican Office of the President (“Transformation of the State” project), the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board (for the Native American Research Centers for Health Program), the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee, the New Mexico Retail Association (for Retail Opportunities for Young Adults), the City of Albuquerque Employee Equity Office, Bernalillo County’s CAREERWorks, and the Statewide Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency Team (WESST Corporation). He has recently completed a four-year appointment to the Public Administration Peer Review Committee of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars Fulbright Specialist Program, for the Institute of International Education.

At UNM, Dr. Rivera serves or has served with Provost’s Diversity Council, Committee on Assessment, and Academic Program Review Taskforce; with the Latin American and Iberian Institute Operations Committee; and with the Faculty Senate Task Force on Community Engaged Scholarship and Carnegie Community Engagement Steering Committee. Long active with the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (the field’s international accreditor), Dr. Rivera is a founding member of its Diversity and Social Equity Committee. Since 2007, he has served as Faculty Advisor for the UNM Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha, the National Honor Society for Public Administration. In 2011, he received the Faculty Mentor Award from Peer Mentoring for Graduates of Color and the Project for New Mexico Graduates of Color, which he regards as his most humbling and meaningful recognition.

Staff Award RecipientDr. Christine Nelson

Armando Bustamante, El Centro de la Raza

I was raised in North Central Nebraska, but my family is from Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, after high school graduation I moved to Lincoln Nebraska where I got my degree for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I have been working with students since 1995 with TRIO Programs at UNL, Title V and El Centro at UNM. I truly enjoy working with others especially with students.  I developed a passion of working with underrepresented students specially the undocumented population because both of my parents were undocumented and weren’t able to obtain an education.  I’m currently working a Master of Social Work with a bilingual/bicultural concentration so that I can better serve the entire Albuquerque community.

Volunteer Work

June 2015 to Present – New Mexico Dream Team Board Member
August 2011 to present – UNM Dream Team Advisor
August 2010 to present – Mexican Student Association Advisor
May 2010 to December 2014 – El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos member
May 2010 to December 2014 – Somos Un Pueblo Unido member
June 2012 to July 2012 – ENLACE Comunitario Entre Amigos cohort
February 2011 to December 2011 – Women Leading Students Advisor
October 2007 to May 2009 – Student Mentor Association @ UNM Advisor
January 2006 to November 2006 – Las Razas Unidas Latino Club at Lincoln High School Co-Sponsor
September 2003 to March 2004 – Hispanic Club at Dawes Middle School Co-Sponsor
August 2003 to November 2006 – Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Incorporated Advisor


February 2014 to Present – National Association of Social Workers (MSW Student) Member
March 2009 to Present – National Association for Student Affairs Professionals (NASPA) Member
November 2006 to Present – HACU Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Member
Practicum Experiences
September 2014 to May 2015 – New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Action 

I’m grateful and honored to be chosen for the Luminaria Award and hopes that it will help to recognize the needs and strengths of our undocumented population.  My participation with the community is thanks to by wife Brenda and daughter Anahi as well as the teachings and encouragement from my parents, Armando and Luz, and brother Jose Luis.  I also want to recognize the powerful and empowering women (Joan, Jennifer, Veronica, and Rosa) that have helped mold me professionally as well as all the students that show me what true courage looks like.

Texanna PictureStudent Award Recipient

Texanna Martin

Texanna Martin is the middle daughter of 3 children and a single mother. She is currently majoring in Public Administration, with the intention of one day creating and operating a non-profit for children, and families. Before she can attain this goal though her focus is ensuring that she is a strong role model for her son Spencer. She understands adversity as a non-traditional and first generation student that has fought to keep a promise to her parents to complete her degree. It was her mother that fought to help her as she overcame the struggles of dyslexia by finding a program housed at UNM at the age of 6. It was her family that has supported her as she completed a Dual Bachelors in Political Science and Sociology in 2009, which brought her to understanding that it takes community to overcome all bumps in the road. 

Texanna has received her associates in liberal art, paralegal certification, and mediation training through the course of her education goals. She has worked with Trammell-Whitfield Properties, Enterprise Rental Car, and currently enjoys representing the graduate and professional student population as the Graduate and Professional Student Association President. 

She is profoundly grateful for the example and support of her many mentors and colleagues at UNM, particularly: Professors Adriana Ramirez de Arellano, Gabriel Sanchez, Peter Kierst, T. Zane Reeves, Dr. Jamil Martin ; Dean Julia Coonrod, Dean Mark Peceny and Provost Chaouki Abdallah; staff members Debra Morris, Melissa Vargas, Margaret Gonzalez, Dr. Lawrence Roybal, Pamela Agoya, Alma Rosa,  Kevin Stevenson, Connie Beimer, Dr. Karen Abrahams beloved fellow students and friends, Wayne Thorpe, Ethan Rule, Stephanie Everett, Matthew Rush, Victoria Otero, Rachel Williams, Earl Shank, Jenna Haggengruber, and Nathan Lihte . Lastly, the support of her son (Spencer), mother (Ann), father (Texas), Brother (Calvin), Sister-in-law (Lacy) and Nephew/Godson (Wyatt) without them I would have never been able to be here today!

Community Organization Award RecipientFue Logo

Families United for Education

In keeping with current research and the national focus, Superintendent Winston Brooks, Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) administration and others, including the Hispanic Latino Academic Achievement Committee (HLAAC), recognized the need for active Family Engagement with APS schools to support increased student success1. The existing APS policy in this area2 was found to be inadequate, and in the Fall of 2010 a directive was issued by Assistant Superintendent Diego Gallegos to the APS School and Community Partnerships Department Tony Watkins to engage the APS community in the creation of a new, comprehensive Family Engagement Policy3. Beginning in September of 2010, input from over 400 community members was collected and synthesized into the Draft APS Family Engagement Policy by Families United for Education a team of over 40 community members. National, State and local Family Engagement Policies and Best Practices in the field were referenced in drafting this Policy4. The resulting Policy represents a unique policy development process which demonstrates the power of effective collaboration between APS and its community. In August 2012, the Family Engagement Policy was unanimously adopted by the APS School Board.

Definition of Family Engagement5

1. First, family engagement is a shared responsibility in which schools and other community agencies and organizations are committed to reaching out to engage families in meaningful ways and in which families are committed to actively supporting their children’s learning and development.
2. Second, family engagement is continuous across a child’s life and entails enduring commitment but changing parent roles as children mature into young adulthood.
3. Third, effective family engagement cuts across and reinforces learning in the multiple settings where children learn---at home, in prekindergarten programs, in school, in after school programs, in faith-based institutions, and in the community.
4. Fourth, it accommodates cultural and language differences, and creates a safe environment where families can fully contribute to the processes that enhance student learning and development. This is accomplished by ensuring full and equitable access to resources and information. 

Peceny PictureInclusive Excellence Award Recipient

Mark Peceny, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Mark Peceny earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University in 1993 and joined the faculty of the Department of Political Science at the University of New Mexico in 1992. He has taught a wide range of courses in the field of international relations at UNM, including: International Politics, American Foreign Policy, International War, Civil War, U.S. National Security Policy, Inter-American Relations, International Political Economy, and International Relations Theory and earned teaching awards at the College and University levels for his work in the classroom.  He studies the relationship between democracy, dictatorship, and the international system, both at how political regimes shape the behavior of states in the world and at how the international system shapes democracy within states. His work has appeared in a wide range of journals in the discipline, including the American Political Science Review, International Organization, and International Studies Quarterly.  Penn State University Press published his book, Democracy at the Point of Bayonets, in 1999. He served as Chair of the Department of Political Science from 2005-2011 and has been Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since 2011. 

Thanks to our Sponsors!

El Centro de la Raza


Graduate Resource Center

LGBTQ Resource Center

Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy Research

UNM Office of Student Affairs

UNM Office of the Provost