COEHS announces alumni and community award winners: UNM Newsroom


Each year, the College of Education and Humanities at the University of New Mexico honors alumni and individuals in our community who have made significant contributions within their profession – with a specific focus on educators, administrators, counselors, nutrition professionals and researchers.

Recipients are nominated during the spring semester by others who are familiar with their accomplishments, experience and professional contributions.

The COEHS Alumni Award recognizes graduates of the UNM who have brought honor and / or made a significant contribution to their profession.

Professor Ruth Luckasson
Distinguished Professor Luckasson is a lawyer and UNM Chairman of the Department of Special Education. Luckasson focuses on supporting people with disabilities and their families to build fulfilling lives in the community. She has held a number of leadership positions including President of the American Association on Intellectual Developmental Disabilities, Chair of the Arc-US Legal Advocacy Committee and more. In addition to her experience, Luckasson has been recognized for her work with numerous awards and has been co-author of over 100 publications.

Christine Begay Vining
Vining is a bilingual Navajo speech therapist. After graduating from UNM, she worked in New Mexico for many years with people with neurodevelopmental disorders. She now resides in Mesa, Arizona, as an Assistant Professor and Founding Director of Clinical Education in the Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology at AT Still University of the Arizona School of Health Sciences. . Vining has held numerous positions and received awards related to his goal of continually working to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.

The COEHS Community Award recognizes applicants who have made a significant contribution to COEHS mission-related efforts, they are not required to be alumni.

David colton
Colton succeeded the late David Darling as Dean of the College of Education and Humanities at UNM. Prior to moving to New Mexico, Colton was a high school social studies teacher and administrator in New York and Illinois, as well as a faculty member at the University of Washington. Colton has benefited from a decade of teaching, research and professional development projects at various schools in New Mexico.

Patricia valderrama
Valderrama has demonstrated his dedication to his community in many ways. Originally born in Colombia, Valderrama arrived in the United States in 2000. She has worked in both film and education. Valderrama has also written and produced 10 TV shows in Spanish to inform families of the services available to them.

Prizes will be presented at a Zoom reception on Thursday, November 4 at 4 p.m.

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