Meet the CCC:


Success Stories: CCC Program Graduates
University of New Mexico Taos Students
New Mexico Highlands University Undergraduate Students
New Mexico Highlands University Masters Program Students
CCC Staff

CCC Success Stories: Program Graduates

 

  Daisy Eirich, Taos, NM

US Forest Service Pathways Position, Timber Management, Supervisor’s Office for the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee Grassland, Fort Collins, CO

  • Associate Degree of Pre-Science, UNM-Taos, May 2016
  • B.S. Forestry, NMHU, May 2018
  • Intern as an Assistant Ranger at Sunset Crater National Park, Flagstaff, AZ
  • Intern as Research Assistant at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, Gothic, CO
  David Atencio, Dixon, NM

Environmental Specialist with the Department of Energy Oversight Bureau of the NM Environment Department, White Rock, NM

  • Pre-Science Degree, UNM-Taos, May 2015
  • B.S. Geology, NMHU, December 2016
  • Interned with TSWCD and the NM Environment Department Surface Water Quality Bureau
  Seth Jennings, Taos, NM

Forestry Technician at US Forest Service North Park Ranger District in Walden, CO

  • Associate Degree of Pre-Science, UNM-Taos, December 2013
  • B.S. Forestry, NMHU, May 2016,
  • Former USFS Pathways Student
  • Avid outdoorsman and skier
 

 

Ricardo Leon, Cerro, NM

Forestry Technician as US Forest Service at Questa Ranger District

  • Associate Degree of Pre-Science, UNM-Taos, May 2015
  • B.S. Forestry, NMHU, May 2017
  • Former employee at the molybdenum mine in Questa
  • Family man who helps with the farm and likes to hunt
Eliza Montoya

Technical Coordinator, Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance, Las Vegas, NM

  • M.S. Natural Sciences, Environmental Science and Management, NMHU, August 2017
  • Thesis: Quantifying Habitat Use by Native Species in Restored Arroyos Impacted by Climate Change.

 

Alfonso Trujillo

Scientist, Biotech Firm, Tennessee

 

  • M.S. Natural Sciences, Biology, NMHU, May 2016
  • Thesis: The Impacts of Climate Change and the Invasive American Bullfrog on the Woodhouse Toad at the Rio Mora Wildlife Refuge, NM

 

Calvin J Vialpando

Fisheries Technician for US Forest Service Santa Fe National Forest, NM

 

  • M.S. Natural Sciences, Biology, NMHU, December 2016
  • Thesis: Changes in Herpetofauna Abundance and Richness in the Arid Southern Great Plains in Response to Grazing by Bison and Cattle
  Manuel Torres, Arroyo Seco, NM

Forester with Chestnut Ridge Forestry in Cloudcroft, NM

  • Pre-Science Degree, UNM-Taos, May 2015
  • B.S. Forestry, NMHU, May 2017
  • Former USFS Pathways Student
  • Interned as a Research Assistant to CCC grad student Eliza Montoya

University of New Mexico at Taos Students

 

  Caleb Adams

Originally from South Dakota, Caleb now calls Taos home. He lives and works on the Taos Village Farm. Caleb wants to work outdoors, be a part of something bigger than himself, and make a positive difference in the world. He will complete an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Biology with the goal of being a wildlife biologist.

  Landen Archuleta

Landen was born and raised in Taos. Growing up, he spent time on his grandfather’s cattle ranch. Landen hopes to make a career out of his passion for the outdoors. He will complete an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Forestry.

  Michelle Cadwell

Michelle grew up in central Florida where she earned an A.S. in Zoo Animal Technology. She has interned/volunteered at zoos and a wildlife rehab. Michelle interned as a Biological Tech Assistant with the USFS in Questa. She hopes to become a park or forest ranger after completing an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and transferring to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Biology.

  Ashley Cintas

Ashley grew up in Questa, NM, surrounded by mountains, streams, forests, and valleys. She is motivated by her love of nature and passion for wanting to protect the outdoors for future generations. Ashley is earning an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and will transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Forestry.

  Ashley Edenfield-Faurie

Ashley moved to Taos from the East Coast in 2012. Ashley took Geology at UNM-Taos and found out she loves rocks! She plans to earn her Masters in Geology and teach people how to care for the soil and replenish it. Ashley will complete an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Geology.

  Enrique Gonzales

Enrique was born and raised in Taos. He has always been involved in sports and extracurricular activities. Enrique’s goal is to be a wildlife biologist. He will complete an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Biology.

  Fredrick Kloeppel

Fred was born and raised in Belen, NM. He has worked in construction, agriculture, and various other jobs including as an arborist at Eagle Nest State Park. He shares his love for the natural world with his two children. He is earning an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and will transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Biology.

  Dwayne Lefthand

Dwayne is from Taos Pueblo. He grew up in a full house, learning responsibility from helping with family and raising animals. Dwayne hopes to become a wildlife biologist or work in sustainable agriculture. He plans to complete an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Biology.

  Brian Lindsey

Brian was born and raised in Amarillo, TX. He has been the Ranch Manager of a conservation easement, through Taos Land Trust, high in the Moreno Valley, for over a decade. He interned as a Forestry Tech Assistant planning and supervising a forest thinning project at the John T. Harrington Forestry Research Center in Mora, NM. Brian will earn an Associate Degree of Pre-Science from UNM-Taos and plans to earn a B.S. Forestry from NMHU.

  Ganga Little

Ganga lived in Gila, NM, and Colorado until moving to Taos when she was 12. She shares her love of nature with her husband and two children. Ganga hopes to pursue a career that will have a positive impact for the earth. She is earning an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and will transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Forestry or Biology.

Lonnie Lujan

Lonnie is from Taos Pueblo. She completed an internship as a Biological Tech Assistant at the USFS Carson National Forest. She is completing an Associate Degree of Pre-Science at UNM-Taos and will transfer to NMHU to ern her B.S. Forestry.

Adrianna Marquez

Adrianna is from Taos, NM. She served in the Army and National Guard. She worked as a seasonal employee in recreation for the US Forest Service Carson National Forest. She is a devoted mother who loves the outdoors. She is completing an Associate Degree of Pre-Science at UNM-Taos and plans to earn a B.S. Forestry at NMHU.

  Jon-Paul Montoya

Jon-Paul was born and raised in Taos. He works in construction and loves nature. Jon-Paul looks forward to being the first in his family to earn a four-year degree. He will complete an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Forestry.

  Kamren Moore

Kamren grew up in Northern New Mexico in a family of outdoor enthusiasts. She loves to raft, ski, hike, fish, and bicycle. She feels a sense of pride in the land and wants to have a career that emphasizes its conservation and responsible management. Kamren is earning an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and will transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Geology.

  Sally Pryor

Sally grew up on the Virginia coast participating in the conservation and stewardship of marine ecosystems. She has taught backcountry wilderness leadership courses. Sally is earning an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and will transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in an area of natural resource management.

Alejandro Silva

Alejandro is from El Prado, NM. He completed an internship as a Biological Tech Assistant at the USFS Carson National Forest. He has also served as a Student Senator at UNM-Taos. Alejandro is pursuing an Associate Degree of Pre-Science and will transfer to NMHU to earn his B.S. in Biology.

Jennifer Sawyer

Jennifer grew up on a small farm in Ohio. She lived and worked in many places prior to moving to Taos. As a mother of a young daughter, she is motivated to have a career that helps to preserve and protect the environment for future generations. Jennifer is earning an Associate Degree of Pre-Science and will transfer to NMHU to complete a B.S. in an area of natural resource management.

  George Track

George is from Taos Pueblo. He is an active member of the tribe, including service on the War Chief’s staff. He’s worked in fire, including as a Hot Shot, and returned to college to advance his career. He completed an internship as a Biological Tech Assistant at the USFS Carson National Forest. He completed an Associate Degree of Pre-Science in May 2018. He will transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Forestry.

  Ariana Trujillo

Ariana was born and raised in Taos. She hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps and work for the Forest Service. She plans to complete an Associate Degree in Pre-Science and transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Forestry.

Alicia Vigil

Alicia is from Taos, NM.  In High School, she was a member of the environmental science club “Taos Tiger Salamanders” and was captain of the Envirothon Team that participated in state competitions.  She has interned as a Biological Tech Assistant at the USFS Carson National Forest and Questa District Office.  Alicia is completing her Associate Degree of Pre-Science and will then transfer to NMHU to earn a B.S. in Forestry.


 Undergraduate Students New Mexico Highlands University

 

Rita Daniels

Rita is from Taos, NM. She has won numerous awards as an environmental reporter and her name is recognized throughout the state for her radio work with KUNM Albuquerque, KSFR Santa Fe, and KNCE Taos. Rita interned as an Aquatic Resources Assistant at the Bureau of Land Management in Taos. She earned her Associate Degree of Pre-Science from UNM-Taos in May 2018. Rita will complete a B.S. in Forestry from NMHU in May 2020

Pascal Faurie

Pascal is from Taos, NM. Pascal is a musician who loves nature. He has interned as a Biological Tech Assistant at the USFS Carson National Forest and as a Recreation Assistant with the Bureal of Land Management. He earned his Associate Degree of Pre-Science from UNM-Taos in May 2016. Pascal will complete a B.S. in Forestry from NMHU in May 2020.

Thomas Fernandez

 Thomas is from Taos, NM, and has a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo.  He was a Research Assistant to NMHU graduate students at the Rio Mora Wildlife Refuge studying snakes, frogs, and other wildlife.  He earned his Associate Degree of Pre-Science from UNM-Taos in May 2016.  With the help of CCC Math Coach, Hollie Laudal, Thomas became so good at math, he switched from a Forestry major to a Math major!  He will complete a B.S. in Mathematics with a teaching certificate from NMHU in December 2018. He intends to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics, possibly from Colorado State University.

Matthew Martinez

Matthew Martinez is from Ranchos de Taos, NM.

He’s spent three summers as an intern with US Forest Service wildlife biologists on the Carson National Forest. There he assisted with surveys of cutthroat trout, willow flycatcher and Mexican spotted owl. He earned his Associate Degree of Pre-Science from UNM-Taos in May 2016. He will complete a B.S. in Forestry from NMHU in May 2018.

Agnel Ribiero

Agnel Ribiero was born and raised in New York. He has served in the U.S. Army, Volunteers of America, and the National Guard. Agnel worked as a seasonal employee in recreation for the USFS Carson National Forest and has interned there as a Biological Tech Assistant. He earned his Associate Degree of Pre-Science from UNM-Taos in May 2016. Agnel will complete a B.S. in Forestry from NMHU in May 2020.

 

 

Jasmine Romero

Jasmine Romero is from Taos Pueblo and the Dine Nation.  With the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, she was selected as a Corps Members of the Year and recognized for her leadership in Washington, DC.  Because of Jasmine’s love of plants, she interned as a Botanical Assistant with the Bureau of Land Management’s Terrestrial Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring Team working in Northern New Mexico. She earned her Associate Degree of Pre-Science at UNM-Taos in December 2017. She is currently working on a B.S. Biology at NMHU.

Andre Santistevan

Andre is from Taos, NM. Andre did an internship monitoring water quality and E. coli in Taos watersheds for Amigos Bravos. He has a young family and is a devoted father. He earned his Associate Degree of Pre-Science from UNM-Taos in May 2016. Andre will complete a B.S. in Forestry from NMHU in December 2020.td>

Randy Suazo

Randy is from Taos, NM. He loves animals and science. His goal is to join those two passions as a Wildlife Biologist. He has done an internship as an Aquatic Resources Assistant with the BLM and as a Biological Assistant with Carson National Forest. He earned his Associate Degree of Pre-Science from UNM-Taos. Randy will complete a B.S. in Biology from NMHU in May 2020.

 


Masters Students New Mexico Highlands University

 

Lisa McBride

Lisa is earning a Masters of Natural Sciences with a concentration in Biology at NMHU.  Her advisor is Dr. Sarah Corey-Rivas.  Lisa’s thesis title is: Metapopulation Structure of Two Sympatric Garter Snake Species in the Mora River Watershed.

  • Lisa is now working as an Environmental Health Technician at the Albuquerque Department of Environmental Health.
 

 

Behnaz Yekkeh

 Behnaz is earning a Masters of Natural Sciences with a concentration in Environmental Science and Management at NMHU.  Her advisor is Dr. Edward Martinez.  Behnaz’s thesis title is: Vegetation Response to Climate Change in the Gallinas River Watershed and Implications for Municipal Water Supply of Las Vegas, NM.

Nicasio Gonzales

Nicasio is earning a Masters of Natural Sciences with a concentration in Biology at NMHU.  His advisor is Dr. Jesus Rivas.  Nicasio’s thesis title is: Population Impacts to Native Garter Snakes of the Non-Native American Bullfrog in the Rio Mora Wildlife Refuge, NM.

Eric Brown

Eric is earning a Masters of Natural Sciences with a concentration in Biology at NMHU.  His advisor is Dr. Sarah Corey-Rivas.  Eric’s thesis title is: Assessing the Adaptive Immunity of the Climate-Sensitive Boreal Toad within a Southern Rocky Mountain Watershed.

Miguel Vigil

Miguel Vigil is from San Cristobal, an agricultural and ranching community in Taos County, NM.  Through the CCC, Miguel earned his Associate Degree of Pre-Science at UNM-Taos (2015) and a B.S. Forestry at NMHU (2017).  He has interned as a Research Assistant in the Climate Research Group at Los Alamos National Laboratories and as an Aquatic Resources Technician with the BLM in Taos.  He is now continuing as a Master’s student under the advisement of Dr. Edward Martinez.  His thesis title is: Benthic Invertebrate Indicators of Environmental Change in the Rio Mora, New Mexico.

Angelica Gallegos

Angelica is earning a Masters of Natural Sciences with a concentration in Environmental Science and Management at NMHU. Her advisor is Dr. Joshua Sloan. Angelica’s thesis title is:
Geospatial modeling of site severity to aid in seed source selection, ecological research, and post-fire restoration in the eastern Jemez Mountains under changing climates.

Patrick “Clay” Goetsch

Clay is earning a Masters of Natural Sciences with a concentration in Environmental Science and Management at NMHU. His advisor is Dr. Craig Conley. Clay’s thesis title is:
Microclimate Influence of a Maize/Bean/Squash Polyculture.

 CCC Staff 

Brooke Zanetell, Ph.D.

Program Director, UNM-Taos

Brooke Zanetell grew up in beautiful Gunnison, CO.  After serving as a Science Advisor at the US Department of State in Washington, DC, she moved to Taos, NM, to be back in the mountains.  She loves family, music, gardens, and nature.  Dr. Zanetell graduated Summa Cum Laude in Biology from the University of Colorado in Boulder.  She holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Natural Resources from Cornell University and was a Fulbright Scholar in Venezuela.  Dr. Zanetell is an Assistant Professor at UNM-Taos.

  Barb Wiard

Outreach Coordinator, UNM-Taos

Barb Wiard grew up in Los Alamos, NM.  She has worked in several capacities at UNM-Taos.  In addition, she has held a variety of leadership positions including: Mayor Pro Tem for the Village of Taos Ski Valley, Chair of the Intergovernmental Council of the Enchanted Circle, Board Member of the North Central New Mexico Economic Development District, and President of the New Mexico Municipal League.  She has a B.S. and an M.A. in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

  Sheila Miller

Math Coach, UNM-Taos

Sheila Miller is a math whiz who has mentored numerous students at CU-Boulder, Westpoint, and the City University of New York. She grew up in Colorado and returned West after ten years as a professor of mathematics at City University of New York. She is a freelance writer, editor, and mathematician. She loves hiking and coffee. Sheila has a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

  Blanca Céspedes

Co-Program Director, NMHU
Blanca Céspedes grew up in Spain and completed her Ph.D. in Fire Ecology at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo. Her post-doc research at Northern Arizona University modeled forest dynamics and fire regimes under different climate change scenarios. She was a visiting scientist in the Center for Fire Research and Outreach at the University of California-Berkeley. As a teacher, Blanca provides students with new perspectives on fire and ecology. Dr. Céspedes is an Assistant Professor of Forestry at New Mexico Highlands University.

  Monique Esquibel

STEM Grants Project Coordinator, NMHU

 

Monique Esquibel is from Las Vegas, NM.  She grew up helping with the family farm and enjoys spending time with her family, garden, and horses.  She earned an A.A. in Computer Science and a B.S. in Media Arts from New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas.  She is the NMHU Internship Coordinator at the ARMAS Center (Achieving in Research Math and Science).