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Dawnique Savala

"The art professors are extremely knowledgeable and helpful and encourage experimentation."...more


About our Faculty


There’s one word that sums up New Mexico Highlands University’s professors: passion. Our professors have a passion for their fields and share that passion with their students. Many of our faculty have been recognized for their research and work by agencies like the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, NASA, and many professional organizations. And, unlike larger research universities, our professors teach at every level from freshmen to graduate courses.

Here's some exciting news about Highlands University professors: 

Faculty Activities Fall 2013

Brandon Kempner, English, and April Kent, Library, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association to put on a “Let’s Talk About It” reading group at Donnelly Library for Fall 2013. For more details, visit

Carol Linder, Biology, was awarded sabbatical leave for Fall 2013 to work at Johns Hopkins University in the laboratory of Dr. Carolyn Machamer. Linder is studying a genetic defect in the male reproductive system that causes defects in sperm development and male infertility. Linder’s infertile mice are missing a protein that Dr. Machamer's laboratory has studied for over 20 years. For more details, click here.

Cheryl Zebrowski, Library, was elected President-Elect of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. She was co-chair of a successful Symposium entitled: “Sustaining Digital Content: Planning for Its Future.” For more details, visit

Chien-Chung Chen, Business Administration, will publish a paper, “The Double-Edged Effects of Emotional Intelligence on the Adaptive Selling–Salesperson Owned Loyalty Relationship” in the Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management in 2014.

Daniel Martinez, English, continued to serve as faculty advisor for Picayune, the literary magazine housed in the English Department. He ensured it became recognized by the Library of Congress and issued an ISSN. The magazine regularly publishes local, regional, national, and international submissions. English graduate students staff the magazine for practicum credit.

David Lobdell, Fine Arts, was invited was invited to speak as its keynote at the Six Mile Sculpture Works Conference in Granite City, Illinois. This is a national conference with a sizeable attendance. His lecture will include discussion of the Iron Tribe event held at NMHU biannually.

David Pan, Psychology, presented original research titled “Utilizing a directive or non-directive therapeutic approach: A culturally adapted brief intervention for Asian and European Americans with subsyndromal depression” at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association Annual Convention in April 2013.

David Sammeth, Chemistry, was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to fund the acquisition of an Automated TL/OSL Luminescence Reader, Gamma Spectrometer, and Portable Field Gamma Spectrometer for the dating of Sedimentary and Archaeological Materials. Total funds awarded were $384,926.

Diane Walker, Teacher Education, has been using her research findings in happiness to inform her classroom pedagogy in the Science, Math, and Social Studies Methods courses. She is developing some ideas around the importance of intense three-dimensional instruction and activities.

Donna Woodford-Gormley, English, has published her essay "Devouring Shakespeare: Cuba, Cannibalism, and Caliban" in the peer-reviewed journal,REAL: Yearbook of English and American Literature, Vol. 29 (2013).

Edward A. Martinez, Forestry, accompanied 17 NMHU students to the Valles Caldera National Preserve on September 27-29, 2013 to participate in a USDA sponsored workshop focusing on student-skill building and providing career-track opportunities for Hispanic students.

Erika Derkas, Sociology and Women's Studies, published the article “New Mexican Chiles: Sentinels of Hispano Identity and Cultural Heritage” in Digest: A Journal of Foodways and Culture, Fall 2013.

Gloria Gadsden, Criminal Justice, presented an original research paper titled “Reviving Shaft: The Presence of the Perpetual Image of Dangerous Black Masculinity in Common Law” at the Annual Meetings of the Pacific Sociological Association in March 2013.

Ian Williamson, Psychology, published the article “Forgiveness Aversion: Conceptualizing the Disinclination to Express Forgiveness” in Motivation and Emotion with NMHU student Sierra Fernandez and others.

Jonathan Lee, SSD, presented in the tech showcase at the Museum Computer Network Conference on mobile web and native technologies, received funding to work on a project with students for the Santa Fe Institute to create an online exhibition on Music and Math, and funded to research and develop a gestural interface for an immersive experience for a traveling exhibit.

Julius Harrington, Social Work, in collaboration with colleagues from Tulane University and Middle Tennessee State University, published an article “The Relationship between Race-Based Self-Talk among African American Women and Poor Birth Outcomes” in the International Journal of Childbirth Education Vol. 28 No 3 July 2013. For more details, click here.

Justin Plakas, Media Arts, will be exhibiting his work with SOIL Gallery in Seattle, WA Fall 2013 as well as an ongoing exhibition of his two dimensional work at the Classic Center in Athens, GA.

Karen Brooks, Nursing, has completely revised and updated the Health Law course she first developed in 2008. She developed and revised the course using her expertise as an attorney.

Kerry Loewen, Media Arts, exhibited his single-channel video “The Survey” in “Currents 2013: The Santa Fe International New Media Festival.” The video is currently on tour with the “NMC10 Video Programme” and will screen at the 2014 College Art Association Conference in Chicago.

Kristie Ross, History and Women's Studies and Erika Derkas, Sociology and Women's Studies, presented the talk “Theatre of the Oppressed: A Pedagogical Find" at the 39th Annual Research on Women and Education Conference at NM State University, October 3-5.

Mary Shaw, Biology, participated in the Regional Discipline Based Educational Research Conference at the University of New Mexico, September 20th to October 1st, 2013.

Mike Petronis, Geology, gave invited lectures on "The Lemptègy Volcano" as part of the Visiting Professor Lecture series at the Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France, and on the "Evolution of the Teide Volcano, Tenirife, Canary Islands, Spain" at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, both in Spring 2013.

Megan Jacobs, Media Arts, co-taught during the Program in Interactive Cultural Technology and led NMHU students in collaboration with the Santa Fe Institute. Students created numerous deliverables for the exhibit, The Science of Cities, at the Santa Fe Children's Museum. Jacobs has partnered with the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum to further studies in computational photography as applicable to museum conservation.

Miriam Langer, Media Arts, published a paper, "Please Feel the Museum: 3D Printing to Enhance Visitor Experience" in the Journal of Museums and the Web, received a grant of $96,000 to fund the AmeriCorps Cultural Technology program for its fourth year, and has served for her second year on the advisory board for the New Media Consortium's Horizon Report.

Sara Brown, Forestry, is working to provide all of her wildland fire concentration Forestry students with hands-on experiences in every class through the use of field experiences, and student-centered, active classroom techniques. She has also funded 7 students to participate in The Nature Conservancy's Prescribed Fire Training program, which allows students to fully participate in the ignition of a prescribed fire (1-2 week training).

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