From left, UNM-LA Academic Student Success Manager Elizabeth Rademacher, UNM-LA student honoree Kaylen Pocaterra, Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard and UNM-LA CEO Dr. Cindy Rooney at the New Mexico Legislature. Courtesy photo
UNM-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) student Kaylen Pocaterra was recognized Feb. 27 by the New Mexico Legislature as a member of the 2017 Phi Theta Kappa New Mexico All-State Community College Academic Team. Along with 34 other team members, Pocaterra was applauded for her academic achievements and outstanding academic success.
The students were introduced to both the House and the Senate committees on education, then they completed their visit with a recognition ceremony in which they received medals and certificates.
At the ceremony, Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard was one of the two legislators honored for their support of New Mexico community colleges.
Dr. Barbara Damron, New Mexico Secretary of Higher Education, proclaimed the day “Community College Completion Day” in acknowledgment of the significant contribution of New Mexico community colleges in the preparation of a skilled work force for the state’s economy.
Pocaterra will receive an Associates in Pre-Business Administration in May 2017 and plans to transfer to a business school to pursue a Bachelors of Business Administration. As part of her studies, she participated in the Community Internship Collaboration (CIC) which Pocaterra feels was a highlight of her college experience.
Working as a Social Media Intern for The Community Lab, LLC, she recalls, “I was immersed in the STEM world while also using what I was trained in, business. As my mentor and I worked in the world of politics to earn support for her business, she really nurtured my confidence and I grew as a person.”
Outside of classes, Pocaterra has been very active at UNM-LA, serving on the Student Government, as a student ambassador and participating in and serving as an officer for the UNM-LA chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society. She also has been active in the community, volunteering with Kiwanis and working at both the Los Alamos Nature Center and a local business.
In considering her satisfaction with UNM-LA, Pocaterra reflected, “UNM-LA professors help you understand how hard work will make a difference in your future. They really know their fields. I’ve received excellent business and career advice as well as wonderful scholastic guidance.”
Pocaterra was accompanied on her trip to the Legislature by UNM-LA CEO Dr. Cindy Rooney and Academic Student Success Manager Elizabeth Rademacher. Along with Pocaterra, they also had the opportunity to meet with Rep. Garcia Richard and President/CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner of the PTK Honor Society worldwide organization.
Rademacher, the advisor for PTK at UNM-LA, commented, “Being nominated to the all-state Academic Team is an exceptional honor. This puts Kaylen in the running for national scholarships offered by Phi Theta Kappa and acknowledges her hard work and dedication to her academic pursuits and also as an active citizen on campus and in her community.”
Dr. Rooney commented, “Kaylen was chosen for this award based on her success as both a scholar and a leader on our campus. She exemplifies the characteristics that we strive to cultivate in our students.”