Medical Student + Sex Educator
Alicia Sikora became passionate about the medical field and sexual health as a young girl. Now a student at the UNM School of Medicine and teaching sex education in Albuquerque’s schools, her work on both sides of the classroom has given her a view of the state of sex education in New Mexico that many do not get to see. It is a view that many would not expect. How did sex education begin? What does the future hold? And what kinds of questions do our students have that are going unanswered? As she approaches her dream of becoming a gynecologist, Sikora has acquired an interest in hearing what students have to say about their own sex education.
Bojoist + Vocalist
Bla Bla Blas
Young musicians from the Rock 101 Music Academy in Albuquerque, NM
Arts Educator + Theatrical Artist
It’s no new news that arts education plays a key role in the development of critical life skills such as creative thinking, planning, problem solving, communication and so many more aspects. But, national debates have raised the question—what should arts education look like? How can educators use the arts to empower students in unique ways in a day and age where they are often dismissed in comparison to the STEM fields?
Since 2004, Dani Belvin has asked these questions of herself and her students. In her work as an arts educator and theatrical artist in New Mexico, Hawai’i, Japan and China, she has developed curricula that tap into the diversity of human experience as an educational resource and an opportunity for students to tell their stories.
Stanford University '22, and 2018 NSDA Finalist for National Student of the Year
Gina Sanchez, like her speech and debate coach Trey Smith, found her life transformed when she joined her high school’s speech and debate team. A finalist for the 2018 National Speech and Debate Student of the Year, a 3-time state champion, and an avid reader and poet, she is helping to share the message of the abilities of effective communication to reduce conflict and empower speakers. Sanchez recently graduated high school; in the fall she will begin her studies at Stanford University and plans to study international relations and philosophy.
Professor / Educator
How we learn is more important than what we learn. This is the heart of Dr. Glenn Dakin’s work and talk. Learning experiences have the power to transform our worldviews. To do this, we need to understand how each learner learns. Do people learn differently? How personal can and should the learning process become? Does everyone use the same skills differently? These are the kinds of questions that Dr. Dakin has asked for 50 years in his career; from his beginnings in gas stations and retail management all the way to his work with firms and institutions such as the Department of the Interior, PepsiCo, Unisys Corporation and American Intercontinental University, where he teaches educators from elementary to higher education. As a Master of Education instructor, Dr. Dakin has concentrated his career on exploring how we apply and plan our learning experiences to enhance what we learn and how we learn.
Guitarist + Vocalist
Young musician, Jack Putnam of the Rock 101 Music Academy brings down the house with his version of the Love Sick Blues.
Most 13-year-olds don’t get the opportunity to create blood vessel repair technologies. But thanks to incredible mentorship, Jacob Sandusky is one of the few who has. Earlier this year, he competed at the International Science and Engineering Fair with a 3D printed model for a material that can repair blood vessels as well as grow with the patient’s body. There, he met fellow students from all across the globe and was not only astonished by his peers’ intelligence, but also touched by their compassion and their drive to help each other improve the world. Sandusky is more than optimistic that, through mentorship and equal access to opportunities, his generation can provide hope for the future, and is striving to help others enjoy the same opportunities.
As a former foster child, Jeriah Cremin often thinks back to how he was forced to navigate an out of control reality without a family to call his own. He is not alone: two thirds of all children experience trauma by age 16, for many this trauma hurts their future goals and impacts our communities as a whole. Cremin has learned his own way of reflecting on, and learning from, his 11 years in the foster care system. He wants to share his experience with overcoming trauma and growing from it.
Program Manager, UNM Center for Financial Capability
We all want to achieve our full potential… but where do you even begin to start realizing that full potential? And what if your options are limited? Kaylie Huizenga struggled with this when she began her academic career at UNM. All she knew was that she wanted a career helping people. So what now? Three major changes later, through the combination of her peers’ passion, support from her mentors, and some deep personal introspection, Huzienga found a path in Organizational Communication and Psychology. She is still and always learning. She wants to show others that it’s okay to not know your purpose and that proactive patience is key in those unknown times.
Special Education Teacher + Disability Advocate
Sara Mauldin recognizes that she grew up in a society which separates people with disabilities. It encourages a perception that individuals with disabilities are lesser humans than those without. Mauldin advocates for the celebration, not seperation, of all people. As a special education teacher and a disability rights advocate, Mauldin has dedicated her adult career to including students with disabilities in the classroom and on the playground. She is working towards a future in which children with disabilities and children without are all allowed to learn and play together, and to share the same humanity.
Young singer-songwriter Sydney Ruggles plays her version of Just a Boy on the TEDxABQ stage.
New Mexico District Chair, National Speech and Debate Association
Trey Smith believes that the most vital skill in the 21st-century workplace is too often undervalued in school curricula: communication.
Trey is the New Mexico District Chair of the National Speech and Debate Association, and the Executive Director of the East Mountain High School Foundation. Since discovering his passion for speech and debate in 9th grade, he has coached thousands of students and professionals in debate and public speaking, and his teams have ranked among the top in the world in competitions such as the International Public Policy Forum. In 2020, Smith will be the host of the National Speech and Debate Tournament, the world’s largest academic competition, to be held in Albuquerque.
Tybur Casuse is driven to understand the mutual benefits when developed and underdeveloped communities share technical and cultural knowledge. For the past 5 years, Tyler has worked on a water resource project in rural Bolivia while also earning his PhD in Environmental Engineering at UNM. His thesis focus is creating a low-cost, mobile, highly sensitive sensor for indigenous communities in the Four Corners region affected by uranium mining contamination in their drinking water.
The field of humanitarian engineering is growing, and Casuse has high hopes for a future in which global development engineering can unite the social and political sciences and inspire young people to incorporate compassion and cultural consideration into their engineering careers.
Executive Director of SpreadLoveABQ + Youth Advocate
Van Overton believes with his full heart that we must know the child before we can teach the child. As the executive director of SpreadLoveABQ, member of the Aspen Institute’s National Commission’s Parent Advisory Panel, and 2016 recipient of the City of Albuquerque’s Volunteer of the Year, he has seen firsthand how the social and emotional areas of a child’s life can help or hinder their success in schools. He has spent the past 8 years working with schools and youth advocacy programs, and finding new and creative ways to align school districts, organizations and communities.