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Education professor receives APA Presidential Citation

New Mexico State University's Luis Vazquez, head of the Counseling and Educational Psychology Department in the College of Education, was awarded a Presidential Citation in August at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.



New Mexico State University's Luis Vazquez, head of the Counseling and Educational Psychology Department in the College of Education, was awarded a Presidential Citation by Ronald Levant, president of the American Psychological Association. (Courtesy Photo)


APA President Ronald F. Levant presented the award at Levant's session on Initiatives in Diversity. Levant recognized Vazquez for his "visionary, creative and courageous leadership in planning, coordinating and implementing the 2005 Multicultural Summit."

Vazquez has served in national leadership positions in the American Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association and was the lead coordinator for the 2005 National Multicultural Summit and Conference. The summit, which has been held every two years since 1999, explores the needs of diverse populations, Vazquez said.

As a bilingual, first-generation college graduate, Vazquez's "pay it forward" philosophy has allowed him to pursue many research and other opportunities aimed at advancing the success of Hispanic students. He oversees the Ford Foundation retention research project and co-directs a Behavioral Health Psychology training grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration. In these roles, he is testing a model for academic excellence for Latino and Latina students, and exploring multidisciplinary approaches to working with diverse clientele.

This past spring, he was selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Hispanic Serving Institutions Fellows Program (USDA-HSI). With 18 other faculty from across the country, he spent the summer in Washington, D.C., to see the policymaking process first-hand and to build links to research funding opportunities.

The APA citation also honored Vazquez's efforts to work with the state of New Mexico in passing laws and developing programs for New Mexico psychologists to receive prescriptive authority. His efforts to develop prescriptive authority for psychologists also were recognized in 2004 by the New Mexico Board of Psychologist Examiners and the New Mexico Medical Board.

While Vazquez was attending the APA Convention, he delivered the keynote address to the APA Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs at its 13th Annual Invitational Breakfast.

"APA recognizes that its future success lies in the success of the inclusion of diversity," Vazquez said. "Even though several divisions of psychology are reaching out to work with issues of diversity, there is still much work to be done for all of us."

Vazquez serves as a senior faculty senator for NMSU's Faculty Senate; as president of the university's Hispanic Caucus; as a faculty adviser to UNITY, a multicultural graduate student group; and as a faculty mentor for the NMSU Teaching Academy.