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NMSU's Sonya Cooper receives NMTC 2012 New Mexico Women in Technology Award

New Mexico State University College of Engineering Associate Dean of Academics Sonya Cooper was among nine recipients of the New Mexico Technology Council's Women in Technology Awards for 2012. The awardees were announced at a breakfast celebration in Albuquerque on Nov. 1. Awardees included leaders from throughout New Mexico in information technology, biotechnology and life sciences, media, education and entrepreneurship.

New Mexico State University College of Engineering Associate Dean of Academics Sonya Cooper was among nine recipients of New Mexico Technology Council Women in Technology Awards for 2012. (NMSU photo by Linda Fresques)

Cooper was appointed as associate dean in fall 2011 and has been a faculty member with the College of Engineering since 1994. She formerly served as department head for engineering technology and surveying engineering from 2005-2010. Cooper developed a department offering six majors, six minors and four concentrations with more than 500 undergraduate students. She has been involved extensively in curriculum, program development and assessment activities, and has developed partnerships with numerous industry representatives in the development of internship and co-op opportunities, as well as other technology-based partnerships.

Cooper is actively involved in the historic preservation of important landmarks around New Mexico and Texas, such as the Amador Hotel, Lake Valley Historic Mining Town, Socorro Mission and Ruidoso Church. She involves her students in these projects as part of the service learning component of the program.

Additionally, Cooper advocates and participates in extracurricular activities with the students. She is co-adviser for student chapters in Engineers Without Borders, the Engineering Council, Tau Beta Pi and the Women's Rugby Club. This past August, she joined students in Engineers Without Borders in the construction of a 50-meter pedestrian bridge in the small Bolivian community of Herrera Concha.

Cooper is the president of the New Mexico section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Cooper also served for five years on ASCE's national Committee on Technology Curricula and Accreditation. She served as a commissioner and team chair for ABET, Inc. from 2005-2010 and has served as an accreditation evaluator of civil, construction and architectural programs since 2001. She recently led a group of volunteer civil engineers to assess the status of important systems such as bridges, water and airports, to develop the 2012 report card for New Mexico's infrastructure.

At NMSU, Cooper serves on numerous college and university committees and is the lead adviser for all departments in the recent College of Engineering ABET accreditation visit.

Award winners at the fifth annual celebration were:

? MyChelle Andrews, data architect and business intelligence manager, City of Albuquerque
? Grace Brill, founder, Market Intelligence Solutions
? Agnes Chavez, multi-disciplinary artist/edu-preneur, Sube, Inc.
? Sonya Cooper, associate dean, NMSU College of Engineering
? Charlotte D. Mobarak, CSO, ProteaSure, Inc.
? Katie Stone, host/producer, "The Children's Hour," KUNM
? Loraine V. Upham, CEO, Azano Pharmaceuticals
? Angela Wandinger-Ness, professor, UNM Health Sciences Center
? Cheryl Willman, director and CEO, UNM Cancer Center

The awards were created to "highlight some of the great talent we have in New Mexico," said NMTC Executive Director Eric Renz-Whitmore. "Each year we're amazed by the ground-breaking work being done locally."

"Our Women in Technology group was created to connect female professionals, provide mentorship opportunities and encourage young women to pursue careers in technology," said Lisa Adkins, NMTC chairwoman and director of Albuquerque's new BioScience Center.

The group and annual award series are part of efforts by the New Mexico Technology Council and its partners to address the relative lack of women in technology and related fields like tech entrepreneurship.