Doctor of Philosophy

Photo of Christina AlbrightChristina "Christy" Albright

I am so thankful for each person who has been a part of this journey.  To my beloved husband, Robert, who was with me every step of the way, even though some of those steps were after his death.  To my sister, Clarissa Sorensen-Unruh, who has been my PhD partner and who will finish her own academic PhD journey next year.  To my parents, Ken and Annette Sorensen, who have been part of my whole journey and whose presence and support in this portion of my academic journey have been extraordinary.  To my sister-in-law, Karen, nephew, Jack, and best friend, Kathryn, who have listened, supported, and hugged me mentally and physically throughout this 10-year journey.  To all my professors, who allowed me both to think out loud and in writing and who also pushed me to learn and grow.  And to my OILS cohort and friends, you have been such a blessing.  Sharing this journey with you . . . the ups, the downs, the silliness, the seriousness, the hard discussions, the playful mental meanderings has all been a joy.


photo of eliberto claderonEliberto “Eli” Calderon

I am from Deming, N.M. and raised in the Barelas and San Jose barrios of Albuquerque. These places instilled  revolutionary roots that inform the person and professional that I am today.

OILS is a unique adult learning and transformative space that nurtured both my personal and professional growth. I was able to explore and learn new concepts while maintaining my own independent research interests in a cocoon learning structured environment. I always encouraged to engage UNM and NM state leadership in advocating for student veteran interests, build a strong professional identity, and grow into a liberated professional.

In the process of writing the Warrior to Scholar Identity Transformation, I was able to create two new companies. The Maverick Scholar, LLC. is a research and development thinktank where veteran identity transformation research conducted, educational products produced, and advocacy through educating leaders about veteran needs in an independent environment. The second, is the Adult Transformative Development Institute (ATD!) is a 501-c-3 charitable organization designed to provide Quality of Life education programs, resources, and services to members of disadvantaged populations. OILS was essential in fueling my entrepreneurial ventures and I am grateful to everyone in the Department.

Special thank you to Dr. Boverie, Dr. Coleman, Dr. Gunawardena, and Dr. Haynie for your guidance throughout the dissertation process; as a committee you were great to work with. Dr. Emmons thank you for your guidance and instruction; your willingness to join the committee late in the process was crucial to my success. Dr. Wilkinson you were a wonderful committee chair, always professional, and wise in handling all of the challenges that we faced throughout this dissertation and learning processes. And to the OILS staff Christopher and Miguel for doing all of the work in the trenches facilitating both administrative and program processes on this campus.


photo of Audriana StarkAudriana Stark

Audriana would like to thank her committee, Dr. Mark Emmons, Dr. Fran Wilkinson, Dr. Dante DiGregorio, and Dr. Wellington Spetic, as well as all the wonderful professors that taught her along her journey including Dr. Manuel Montoya and Dr. Gary Smith. She is thankful to God for blessing her with wonderful teachers, colleagues, and experiences throughout her academic journey.

Joining Audriana is her husband, Scott, her baby girl, Zoey, her stepsons, Tyler and Asher, her parents, Daniel and Sylvia, her sisters Mallory, Franchesca and Stacey and their spouses , her brother, Estevan, her nana, Deyoe, her best friend, Jovan and her husband, her Godmother, Yvonne, and her 14 nieces and nephews- Brooke, Bree, Samuel, Thomas, Luma, Maximo, Tyla, Florence, Kendrick, Scarlett, Felizi, Ellanore, Will and Emma. And her pups Ollie and Beerus.

Audriana is born and raised in New Mexico and is proud of it.
Audriana enjoyed spreading her wings and traveling the world to learn and teach from South America to Asia to Europe to Africa and back to her beloved New Mexico during her studies.
After graduation, Audriana looks forward to raising her family, continuing her research and teaching, and serving communities in New Mexico and abroad.


photo of sue wilderSue Wilder 

My deepest gratitude to my husband, Jim, and our children, Roger and Elizabeth—this degree is as much theirs as mine, as I simply could not have achieved it without their sacrifice, love, and support. Thank you to all the OLIT/OILS faculty, past and present, who guided me along my doctoral journey, especially: Dr. Patsy Boverie, Dr. Kevin Brady, Dr. Bob Grassberger, Dr. Victor Law, Dr. Gary Smith, and most of all, Dr. Lani Gunawardena, who in addition to serving as my advisor and dissertation committee chair is the model of what I aspire to be as a teacher, thinker, writer, and friend.









Master’s Students

Photo of Sierra ArmstrongSierra Armstrong

Thank you to each of my exceptional professors who, in addition to imparting the curriculum and course materials, shared their passion and love for education.  

To my family—it’s been a long road of schooling. Thank you for helping me through the hard days. 

I have to thank Justin and Dena—you will never fully know the impact you have both had in my life. Thank you for all you have done to encourage and support me, from writing letters of recommendation to submitting my final assignments, and all the check-ins in between. I am grateful to call you both not only colleagues but mentors and friends. 

Finally, to my grandpa, thank you for your faith and assurance in me, and for helping me make my educational dreams a reality. 

photo of Rita benedictRita Benedict

I enjoyed the program's excellent teaching staff - they can present their special subject matter skills in the most effective and enlightening manner. After graduating I will continue to work at UNM Hospital and in a couple of years retire to pursue teaching positions in the UK and travel.









photo of Erin Coughlin HostickErin Coughlin-Hostick

There are so many wonderful things I could say here.  I am so happy and grateful I came across this program and inquired more about it when I did. I enjoyed the flexibility of this accelerated program. I had such an enjoyable, memorable, and positive experience with my professors.  I also met some great friends along the way. 




photo of Deena DuranDeena Duran

I would like to thank Dr. Tkachenko and Dr. Law for their guidance as my advisor and Capstone guide, respectively. I have enjoyed working on case studies and larger projects that were in line with real-life applications of skills learned in the program. After graduation, I plan to celebrate with my family in Disneyland! I also plan on applying my knowledge and skills with my current job and hope to advance within my department.










photo of Melissa HerreraMelissa Herrera

“Professional, positive, a good listener, very pleasant to work with, and known for working cooperatively and effectively with her co-workers both internally and externally.” Melissa is a recent graduate from the Organization Information & Learning Sciences program at the University of New Mexico, where she is currently employed as an Instructional Media Specialist for UNM Online. She has a strong background in instructional design, training and development, and curriculum and instruction. Currently, Melissa resides in Las Cruces, NM and looks forward to utilizing her skills to provide high-quality solutions that promote active learning and utilize constructivist principles. 







jacquez,quiteriaQuiteria Jacquez 

I would like to thank all the wonderful faculty and acknowledge my peers of the OILS program, who have all been friendly, helpful, and inspiring throughout this journey. Thank you to my advisor during the program, Dr. Law and to my mentor Dr. Zychowski of UNM's College of Nursing. I especially would like to make sure my family knows how much I appreciate their understanding and support. Armando, Dominique, Brooklynn, Penelope, Leo, Nan, & Grandpo, you mean the world to me. I love you all so very much!!




photo of todd quinn Todd Quinn

Todd, who is from Pittsburgh, PA, is joined by his family in the audience today. Todd enjoyed meeting and working with the faculty and his fellow OILS students. He gained vast knowledge from Victors critical reading of research literature, how Lani opened everyone up to non-Western learning and philosophies, and Bob Grassberger’s “let get things done” approach. He also enjoyed, the variety of approaches, ideas, and students’ backgrounds which makes the program so valuable. He would also like to thank Chris for guiding him through the program processes. Todd will continue in his current position as a research librarian, though incorporating ideas and approaches from this program as he interacts with students and creates learning materials. 




Photo for Aremelle RichardArmelle Richard

Thank you to my friends and mentors who supported me, especially my boss/friend who gave me the space to study as needed around my work schedule. To my family who instilled in me the desire to continue to learn. And of course, my husband - without his encouragement and financial support none of this would have been possible.







Bachelor Students

abuhilu,-catherineCatherine Abuhilu

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Ricardo, my husband,  my children, grandchildren, brother and sister-in-law, cousins, co-workers, mentors, and friends. I love you all so much and your support, patience and understanding over the past several years means the world to me. I also wish to thank the OILS faculty and staff for your commitment. To my advisor, Christopher, your patience, positive attitude, and guidance will be remembered always!



image of Mario GarciaMario Garcia

A million thanks to the great faculty in the OILS department. The patience, grace, and insight they possess, and share will stay with me forever as an example of how to help others achieve their learning goals. Thank you to Jessi, Max, Dez, and Ariadne for being my spark and inspiring me every day. Thank you to my family for always believing that I could accomplish this goal. Thank you to Taco Bell Bean Burritos and Baja Blast Zero for fueling those research papers. Love to all!