Outstanding Mentor Award Recipients

Martha Desmond, 2019

Martha Desmond was nominated by Amy Ganguli, Animal and Range Sciences

Dr. Martha Desmond has always loved birds. Martha came to NMSU in 1999 after conducting postdoctoral research on wintering grassland birds in northern Mexico. She quickly found that life as an Assistant Professor was quite different from being a post-doc. Martha was fortunate to find strong and supportive mentorship through the Teaching Academy as well as from other sources. Martha understands that, for mentoring, “one size does not fit all.” She thinks mentoring should be fun! Martha believes the mentor and protégé must be invested in working successfully together and that protégés should always get more than one opinion.

Laura Madson, 2018
Laura Madson was nominated and introduced by Moire Prescott, Astronomy

Dr. Laura Madson joined the faculty of the Psychology Department in August 1996. She is a Teaching Academy Fellow for facilitating team-based learning workshops as well as book discussion groups on various provocative topics. Laura has mentored many faculty members at NMSU and has herself benefited from the wisdom of several wonderful mentors and tries to exemplify those characteristics in her relationships with protégés. Her protégé Moire Prescott wrote, “Laura is an amazing mentor first and foremost because she listens and listens well, validating my experience as normal and understandable, and encouraging me to just keep putting one foot in front of the other…She also specializes in what you might call “just-in-time mentoring,” where she is somehow able to tell me exactly what I need to hear, exactly when I need to hear it…Most of all, Laura has made me feel cared about with her listening, her understanding, her knowledge, and her wisdom.”

Mónica Torres, 2017
Mónica Torres was nominated and introduced by Wil Kilroy, Theatre Arts

Dr. Mónica Torres has worked in higher education for thirty-five years. She’s been at NMSU since 2002-as a faculty member and department head at the Las Cruces campus-and as DACC’s chief academic officer. Mónica is a Teaching Academy Fellow and has participated in several formal mentoring relationships. She has also benefitted from what she thinks of as mentoring moments, times when a single comment or question prompts another stage of professional development. Her protégé Will Kilroy wrote, “She provides wonderful insight into complex and difficult situations that I face as a department head. Because Mónica has served as a department head in the past, she readily relates to situations which I have encountered, and has offered varied solutions without dictating which path to take. I appreciate the guidance as well as the freedom to find my own way.”

Mary O’Connell, 2016
Mary O’Connell was nominated and introduced by Becky Palacios, Public Health Sciences

Dr. Mary O’Connell has served on the faculty at NMSU since 1985. She is a Regents Professor and Distinguished Achievement Professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. Mary is an invaluable and dedicated mentor always providing tangible and practical advice. She is direct and some might say “brutally” honest. As one of her mentees reported, “Mary is always fair and doggedly honest. She looks for the best in all circumstances, and with an incontrovertible sense of humor, she has always aided me in correcting my perspective and improving my optimism. I think we would all agree that she has significantly enriched and enhanced our professional growth.”

Martha Mitchell, 2015
Martha Mitchell was nominated and introduced by Jessica Houston, Chemical and Materials Engineering

Dr. Martha Mitchell is a professor in Chemical and Materials Engineering and a Teaching Academy Fellow who has mentored ten faculty members in the ADVANCE Mentoring Program or the Advancing Leaders Program. Her nomination, by Jessica Houston, was supported by no fewer than seven protégés, several of whom wrote dense two-page letters arguing that Dr. Mitchell’s talents as a mentor are astounding. Jessica wrote, “We have a collective enthusiasm for Martha that is undoubtedly mirrored by many others at NMSU… She is thoughtful, focused, caring, realistic and optimistic.” As another protégé put it, “Martha has taught me to approach obstacles at NMSU not as immovable barriers, but as complications that require creative solutions. . . She has grounded me and has prevented me from leaving my office never to return.”

Miriam Chaiken, 2014
Miriam Chaiken was nominated and introduced by Kassia Wosick, Sociology

Dr. Miriam Chaiken joined NMSU in 2009 as Department Head of Anthropology and became the Dean of the William Conroy Honors College in 2014. She has mentored multiple faculty through the Teaching Academy’s One-On-One Faculty Mentoring Program and the Advancing Leaders Program. Kassia Wosick, who nominated Miriam, wrote, “Miriam has been a source of strength, stability, and consistency for me…She always picks up the phone when I call, responds when I email, and checks in to see how I am fairing. Miriam is authentic, reliable, genuine, diligent, realistic, and happy…She is the ideal embodiment of what this award describes as “both the letter and spirit of mentoring”