Sundt Honors Scholars

 The Sundt Honors Seminar Spring 2016 Recipients

Kelcie Gerry

Kelcie Gerry

Career Goals: Upon completing an undergraduate degree at NMSU, I plan to pursue a Master’s program or career as a Physical Therapist (DPT).

Work Experience: For the past three years I have worked for NMSU Outdoor Recreation at the Outdoor Center. I am also a Wilderness and Remote First Aid Instructor and have recently been certified as a Climbing Wall Instructor. This past summer I worked with children at a summer camp in Maine in an Aerial Park department of which I will be returning to as a Department Head this upcoming summer.

Activities and Honors: I am a member of the NMSU Outdoor Leadership Program in which I plan and lead outdoor educational and recreational trips and clinics. I have been a member of Hall Council, NSCS and Psi Chi as well as volunteering with other organizations around campus and within the Las Cruces Community.

Major: Kinesiology

Date of Graduation: December 2017



Jacqueline Kieltyka

Jacqueline Kieltyka

Career Goals: I would like to go on to graduate school after NMSU to obtain an MD/Ph.D. With that, I hope to conduct bio-medical research as well as practice medicine. I want to practice in undeserved areas of New Mexico, focusing on women’s and prenatal health. Eventually I hope to become a medical school professor.

Work Experience: I’ve worked as a lifeguard over the summers for the past five years, and held a management position for the past two. This year, I am working as a Swim School instructor at the NMSU pool and I am also an SI facilitator for the Chemistry Department. I have received the HHMI internship, so I am currently conducting laboratory research on campus as well.

Activities and Honors: I am proud to say that I have not spent a single semester at NMSU without participating in some form of an honors course– the Honors College has such interesting classes! I am also a recipient of the President’s Associates Scholarship and a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society in regards to the Honors College. The other honor societies I am involved with are the Gamma Beta Phi Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. In addition, I am heavily involved with the NMSU Campus Lions Club, the Pre-Health Professions Club, and Delta Zeta Sorority.

Major: Currently, I am double majoring in Biology and Genetics– but I am in the process of changing it to a double major in Biochemistry and Genetics.

Date of Graduation: I anticipate to graduate either May 2018 or May 2019.



Applehelen Kirby HHMI lab pic

Applehelen Kirby

Career Goals: Physician, leaning towards pediatrics

Work Experience: teaching dance (ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, etc…) to children and adults; Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) BioCat (tutoring students in biology); HHMI Research Scholar in the Nishiguchi lab

Activities and Honors: Taken several honors courses, Crimson Scholar, Honors Student

Majors: Microbiology and Biology

Minors: Biochemistry and Dance

Date of Graduation: May 2016



Alejandra Enriquez

Alejandra Enriquez

Career Goals: When I finish my degree in Biology at NMSU, I would like to continue to do research, as I work towards a masters degree or phD in microbiology or ecology.

Work Experience: I have previously worked as a lab aide in the Throop lab at NMSU, as a summer intern at Indiana University, and am currently working at the Nishiguchi lab at NMSU as a MARC undergraduate researcher.

Activities and Honors: I am a member of several on-campus organizations, including Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I am also the President of the ASM Microbiology Club, and secretary of the Ecology club.

Major: Biology

Date of Graduation: Spring 2017


Sydney Salas

Sydney Salas

Career goals: Research and conservation biologist specializing in marine ecosystems and organisms. I want to be able to share my passion for ocean ecology and the importance it plays in the overall health and well-being of our natural world.

Work experience: Natural Resource Career Tracks Ambassador for the SWNRCT at NMSU (Present), J. Andrews Experimental Forest Intern, Oregon (October 2015), Climatology Intern with the South Central Climate Science Center, (Summer 2015).

 Activities in Honors: New Mexico State Track and Cross Country Athlete, Crimson Honors Scholar at New Mexico State University, a member of the Dean’s List of top fifteen percent performing students at NMSU, Conservation Ecology Club Officer at NMSU, Sundt Scholar

Major: Conservation Ecology

Minor: Chemistry

Date of Graduation: May 2018


Picture of Ryan Kirby

Ryan Kirby

Career Goals: After graduation I hope to pursue an MBA at an out-of-state University. From there I want to work in management with a company whose culture is congruent with my interests and lifestyle.

Work Experience: I have had a plethora of on campus jobs; Community assistant, Orientation leader, Pete’s pickup driver, NMSU swimming instructor, and Corbett Center programming assistant. As well as additional experience in the resort industry at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya, and at a materials testing lab in Las Cruces called Advanced Testing.

Activities and Honors: While I have been a Crimson Scholar in the Honors College since freshman year, I have no previous classes or programs from the college that I have participated in. I am the President for American Marketing Association NMSU chapter. I volunteer at a local homeless shelter, animal shelter, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Toys for Tots,  and soup kitchens. I’m an active member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, Social Chair/IFC Chair. I’m on the Dean’s List which is awarded to students within top 15% GPA. I was awarded “Most Outstanding New Member” by NMSU Greek Life, and I studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain for the spring semester of 2015.

Major:Business Management

Minors: Hotel Restaurant Tourism Management and Marketing

Date of Graduation: December of 2016



Picture of Chad Martin

Chad Martin

Career Goals: Upon completing my undergraduate degree in Cultural Geography in May, I hope to return this fall as a Graduate Assistant in pursuit of a Master’s degree in Geography.

Work Experience: For the past year I have served as a Senator from the College of Arts and Sciences in ASNMSU. I am also currently serving as the Sergeant-at-Arms of ASNMSU. Prior to this, I worked in the music department at NMSU as a work-study.

Activities and Honors: I have served as the Vice President of Public Relations as well as the Chapter President of Sigma Alpha Lambda. I am currently serving as Vice President of Gamma Theta Upsilon, an honors fraternity for Geography majors. I have given multiple semesters of volunteering to the PRIDE of New Mexico Marching Band. I have also worked for the White Sands Geography Bee and volunteered at the Casa de Peregrinos soup kitchen. Through all of this I have managed to maintain a 4.0 and I anticipate graduating with an Honors Certificate.

Major: Geography – Human Environment Relationships

Date of Graduation: May 2016



Picture of Kira Turnham

Kira Turnham

Career Goals: After graduation, I plan to pursue a doctorate degree in marine biology, studying coral symbiosis. I then would like to continue on to a research career, perhaps in academia, a government organization, or a nonprofit.

Work Experience: I worked as a Crimson Scholar Natural Sciences Peer Mentor where I mentored science students and acted as a liaison between the Housing Department and the Biology Department. I have also worked as a student intern for the Natural Resource Conservation Service. I began working in a research lab my sophomore year of college in a biogeochemistry desert ecology lab. I then was awarded my current Research Scholar position through Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where I currently study the phylogeography of Philippine squid and their bacterial symbionts.

Activities and Honors: I am the 2015 Honors College Scholarship for International Research recipient, which provided me the opportunity to spend six weeks in the Philippines collecting bobtail squid and complete my research project. I am also a Honors Excel Scholarship recipient and a Crimson Scholar. I am the Vice President of the Ecology Club, a member of the Triathlon Club and Ultimate Frisbee Club, and an intramural sports participant.

Major: Biology

Minors: Conservation Ecology and Biochemistry.

Date of Graduation: May 2016.



Picture of Ismael Torres

Ismael Torres

Career Goals: After graduating, I hope to pursue a career in economics and ultimately a life of public service, with the ultimate goal to economically  empower people across the country through public policy.

Work Experience: For several years, I worked in the NMSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services where I mentored students on how to best find financial support through their college careers. Currently, I am a Discovery Scholar in the Department of Government where I conduct research on immigration policy and regional services for immigrants. I have also interned at the Federal Reserve El Paso Branch on the Student Board of Directors.

Activities and Honors: I have been recognized by NMSU as a Crimson Scholar, Discovery Scholar, and a President’s Associate Scholar in addition to being a Sundt Honors Scholar. I have received a Distinguished Member award from the National Model United Nations, and I am also a National Hispanic Merit Scholar. I am a part of the Korea University Social Service Organization, the Success Partnership Alumni Network Initiative, Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, NMSU Model United Nations, the NMSU Daniel’s Fund Ethics Initiative Consortium Case Competition Team, the Center for the Public Trust, and the National Political Honor Society.

Major: Economics

Date of Graduation: May 2017


Picture of Michelle Silber

Michelle Silber

Career Goals: I am striving to one day work in a rehabilitation hospital as a speech language pathologist helping people who have had strokes to people who have had a traumatic brain injury.

Work Experience: I have worked as a caregiver at Little Playmates, a retail employee at Guess, and I currently work as a server and cocktail waitress at Dublin’s Street Pub.

Activities and Honors: I have taken Encounters to art, Honors Communications, and Chinese Literature within the Honors college.

Major: Communication Disorders with a supplementary major in Linguistics

Date of Graduation: May 2017


Piture of Allison Dawe

Allison Dawe

Career Goals: Upon graduating from NMSU, I plan to pursue my education and get a Master’s or Ph.D in Economics. My ultimate goal to be an Economist at the Federal Reserve.

Work Experience: For the past two years, I have participated in an Internship at Merrill Lynch. It has been a great experience to lean more about Finance and apply concepts that I have learned throughout my coursework.

Activities and Honors: I really enjoy running, and being outdoors. I have been selected as a College of Business Student Ambassador, and participate in many campus activities. I am also a volunteer at El Caldito Soup, and I volunteer with AggieTHON each year.

Major: Economics

Minor: Finance

Date of Graduation: May 2016


Picture of Jacob Bennett

Jacob Bennett

Career Goals: PhD in Molecular Medicine and to have my own lab and research team for disease control and treatment.

Work Experience: I have been a firefighter- wildland and urban. I am currently a Paramedic and I have worked on ambulances and in Hospitals. I have also worked as  a pizza delivery guy, in construction, a logger and currently also work as a CA.

Activities and Honors: This is my first honors class and or experience!

Major: Microbiology

Date of Graduation: Spring 2018