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Student Success Stories

Aaron Kraft, UNM Online student

Full-time student fits in school with two jobs

Aaron Kraft

“Instant access to course materials including articles, audio/video media and recorded lectures, as well as being able to work on and submit assignments virtually, is a tremendous help for my crazy schedule.

“Before starting my online degree at UNM I was doubtful that an online course could offer the same rewards as a face-to-face one. I’ve come to realize this is simply not the case. The course work is just as demanding; my instructors are accessible and give me valuable feedback; and I have made some awesome friends and contacts with professionals in my field!”

Online student Josh Martinez

UNM Online brings the world to the student

Josh Martinez

“Online learning is definitely the way to go for students who need flexibility and mobility. It has improved my own mobility, and it affords me the ability to work full-time while continuing my studies.

“Online learning eliminates the need for a physical classroom without sacrificing the quality of communication and interaction I have with my peers. Access to instructors has actually improved with emerging technology like web-conferencing! The world is now my classroom.”

Blanco family

One family contributes three teachers to the world

Sasha, Bryce and Lisa Blanco

Lisa Blanco earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education through the UNM Gallup Bachelor & Graduate Programs in 1999.

Now, Lisa teaches third grade at Roosevelt Elementary in Gallup. She was recognized with the Walmart Teacher of the Year Award for McKinley County for 2008-2009.

Her daughter Sasha graduated with her own Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Son Bryce is well on his way and plans to be a teacher as well!


Bachelor of University Studies and Master of Public Administration

Karessa Bitsoie-Silversmith

“I came from a traditional Native American background where a wife and mother stayed home. I never imagined going to college!

“[Getting my degrees at UNM Gallup] made it easy for me to take classes when my children were in school. I would drop them off in the morning and come to campus to take my classes. Then I would pick them up after school and we all studied together.

“My degree has opened doors for me to become more independent and to be a strong role model for my family and my community. Now, I can encourage others in their education.”

lucia in los alamos

An education always opens doors for you

Lucia Short

“I have been with the UNM Los Alamos campus for seven years, starting in the English Language Learner (ELL) program. Initially, I started with a web degree because I thought it would be easy for an ELL student and I wanted to be professional with my English.

“I transferred to the Computer Science department when I felt I could handle something more complicated. On finishing my Bachelor of Computer Science degree, I will be able to get a job of my dreams, which is programming.”

Paul Edelmann, PhD in Nuclear Engineering in Los Alamos

Earns PhD in Nuclear Engineering at home in Los Alamos

Paul Edelmann

“My degree makes it possible for me to do the work that interests me most, and to much greater depth, in my field of endeavor. This makes my entire career much more rewarding and satisfying.

“The convenience and proximity of the campus have been extremely important. Were it not for the Los Alamos campus and graduate program, the pursuit of my advanced degree would have been exceedingly difficult, perhaps impossible.

“The UNM-LA Bachelor & Graduate Program staff have made the entire effort enjoyable and easy to implement.”

Darryl Day Chief

Access to higher education has a real life impact

Darryl Day Chief

A proud member of the Blood Tribe of the Blackfeet Confederacy in Alberta, Canada, Darryl first attained an Associate’s Degree at UNM Gallup. The Bachelor & Graduate Program made it possible for him to continue his education, pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees close to home.

Darryl began his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program with Anderson School of Management courses made available in Gallup by Interactive Television (ITV). About to complete his Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Darryl says he would not even have been able to attain his BBA in 2011 without UNM Extended Learning.

David Gomez

Online learning means an opportunity for balance in life

David Gomez

“While at work or home, adult learners are a great fit for online courses because we are generally more practical, multi-tasking, purposeful, self-directed, and experienced. With both technology and the value of skills rapidly evolving, online learning is a way to stay ahead of workforce needs.

“With the advent of voice and video tools, online courses engage students from start to finish through interactive activities between online instructors and students. Multimedia content has the power to communicate complex concepts in a simple manner, but most importantly, at the student’s own pace.”