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NMSU Alumni Association honors Fall 2008 Outstanding Graduates

For their outstanding academic performance, leadership, scholarship and participation in university and community activities, the New Mexico State University Alumni Association honored nine Outstanding Graduates for Fall 2008.


An outstanding graduate was chosen from each of NMSU's academic colleges, as well as an international student and two graduate students. They were recently recognized at a banquet held by the Alumni Association last week.

The College of Agriculture and Home Economics and the International Programs both honored Trista Cox of Belize City, Belize, who majored in hotel, restaurant and tourism management. Cox earned a 4.0 GPA, is a Crimson Scholar and has been on the Dean's List since Fall 2006. She is a member of the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Student Association and Eta Sigma Delta Honor Society.

The College of Arts and Sciences honored Carlos Cisco of Las Cruces, a film major through the Creative Media Institute (CMI). Cisco earned a 4.0 GPA and exhibited faculty-like leadership and commitment to the CMI program. He founded Students for Digital Arts (SOPA), led the Insomnia Film Festival crew and organized a study abroad trip to Hong Kong.

The College of Business honored Kourtney Nicole Oligney of Spicewood, Texas, an accounting major. Oligney earned a 4.0 GPA, is a Crimson Scholar and is on the Dean's List. She has received the Jessie Casad Rhodes Memorial Scholarship, the Allan H. Savage Accounting Scholarship and the Business Administration and Economics Alumni Scholarship. She has volunteered during freshmen move-in day and is a member of the Baptist Student Union.

The College of Education honored Kira Peters Claussen of Polvadera, N.M., an elementary education major. Claussen earned a 4.0 GPA, is a Crimson Scholar and has received the Jerald and Owen Reece Scholarship, the W.F. and Wanda Martin Scholarship and the John and Dodie Knight Scholarship.

The College of Engineering honored Alissa Lee McDowell of Clovis, N.M., an industrial engineering major. McDowell earned a 3.9 GPA, is a Crimson Scholar and is on the Dean's List. She served as president of the Chi Omega Sorority in 2006 and is a member of the American Institute of Industrial Engineers, the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society and the Rho Lambda Panhellenic Honor Society.

The College of Extended Learning honored Luis Campos Jr. of Las Cruces, who received a degree in applied studies. Campos has served 12 years of active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and currently holds an administrative position with human resources at White Sands Missile Range. He is a full-time student despite working 40 hours a week and exemplifies the challenges people in our military face while also trying to pursue their educational aspirations.

The College of Health and Social Services honored Marlene St. Hilaire of the West Indies, a nursing major. Hilaire earned a 3.85 GPA, is on the Dean's List and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society for Nurses. She has previously studied at Winthrop University where she graduated summa cum laude in 1995.

The Graduate School honored David Hudak as the Outstanding Ph.D. Graduate Student and Nathan Pessaroff as the Outstanding Masters Graduate Student.

Hudak, received a Ph.D. in industrial engineering, is a career officer in the U.S. Army who began his graduate education at NMSU in 2003. He has held positions of director of Soldier and Systems Analysis Directorate and senior military and operations research analyst at White Sand Missile Range. He is currently the director of the Training and Doctrine Analysis Center at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

Pessaroff, who received a master's of fine arts from the English department, has served as a graduate assistant, tutor and a team member of the major outreach projects of the creative writing program. He has served as the managing editor and the associate editor of Puerto del Sol for three years, which publishes fiction and poetry and raises national awareness of the NMSU Creative Writing Program. He also has presented three papers at the American Writing Programs conference and was a nominee for Best New American Voices in Literary Journal.

For more information contact the NMSU Alumni Association at (575) 646-3616.