Dahm, Fernandez, and Hooten named Macey Scholars, Nov. 13, 2007

by George Zamora

SOCORRO, N.M., November 13, 2007 – A trio of New Mexico Tech students recently were named recipients of the university’s prestigious 2007-2008 Macey Scholars Program. The honor includes a $5,000 scholarship award for each of the selected students.

New Mexico Tech seniors Katharine G. Dahm, Joseph A. Fernandez, Jr., and Carla Hooten were selected as Macey Scholars on the basis of their demonstrated academic accomplishments — both in the classroom and the research laboratory — as well as their active participation in institutional service and co-curricular activities.

As part of their being named Macey Scholars, the selected Tech students are required to organize and administer a campus-wide seminar on a specific topic of interest to them, which will have a broad appeal to a university audience. The Macey Scholars Seminar Series will be presented during the 2008 Spring Semester at New Mexico Tech.

The Macey Scholars Program is funded by an endowment established by William B. Macey of Albuquerque. Macey graduated from the New Mexico School of Mines (as New Mexico Tech was known in its earlier years) in 1942, and also was awarded an honorary doctorate by Tech in 1984.

Carla Hooten


Hooten (right) is the daughter of David and Debi Hooten of Panhandle, Texas. She was recently accepted to medical school for the fall term of 2008.

During the course of her undergraduate education at New Mexico Tech, Hooten has been conducting research on the effects of Southwestern medicinal plants on the proliferation of breast cancer cells. Her ongoing research, done under the guidance of her faculty advisor, New Mexico Tech chemistry professor Wim Steelant, has so far resulted in the publication of two technical articles in peer-reviewed science journals.

In addition, Hooten recently presented a poster on her research study at an international oncology conference in Crete, Greece.

At New Mexico Tech, Hooten also has been involved with student government, serving one semester as Student Association Vice President, and currently is employed as a Resident Assistant and Hall Director with the university's Residential Life Office.

Hooten also volunteers on a regular basis for several other university and state organizations, including the New Mexico Tech Health Center, the Albuquerque Rescue Shelter, the Apprentice Ecologist Foundation, and the New Mexico Five Star Science Competition.

Katharine Dahm


Katharine Graham Dahm (left) is a senior majoring in environmental engineering.

In addition to being named a Macey Scholar, Dahm also is a recipient of the prestigious Tau Beta Pi Scholarship, sponsored by the national engineering honor society. In connection with this honor, she has received a cash award of $2,000 for her senior year of study.

Dahm is the daughter of Clifford Dahm and Rhea Graham of Placitas, N.M. She is a graduate of Rio Rancho High School.

During the course of her undergraduate education at New Mexico Tech, Dahm also has compiled extensive research experience in her position as research assistant for the university's Department of Environmental Engineering.

Along with New Mexico Tech environmental engineering professor Clint Richardson, Dahm has investigated the remediation of residues left in soils from explosive materials by using a nitrate reductase enzyme found in spinach. The ongoing study is funded by the Waste-Management and Education Research Consortium (WERC) and the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM).

Last year, Dahm was invited to present her research findings at the national conference of the Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers in Orlando, Fla.

Dahm also has participated in a summer internship program and maintains a current part-time position with Golder Associates, Inc., an environmental consulting firm in Albuquerque, in which her work has focused on mine tailings top surface analysis by using heat dissipation sensors to estimate moisture flux through the tailings pile.

"New Mexico Tech has set very high standards for its students, and my experiences at Tech have pushed me to become a well-educated and hard-working individual," Dahm says.

"New Mexico Tech provides its students with excellent opportunities in every field of study," she adds, "and I am grateful to have had the opportunity - as an undergraduate - to work closely with faculty on projects that interest me."

Dahm is an active member of the New Mexico Tech student chapter of Tau Beta Pi, and currently is serving as the chapter's president. She previously served as chapter cataloger.

In addition, she also is a student member of several other professional organizations at New Mexico Tech, including the American Water Works Association; the Water Environment Federations; the American Society of Civil Engineers; and the Society of Women Engineers.

"I have especially enjoyed being a part of the Tau Beta Pi collegiate chapter at New Mexico Tech," Dahm says. "I had the opportunity to meet amazing engineers, both at New Mexico Tech and at other universities through the Tau Beta Pi national organization."

In her spare time, Dahm is active in individual and club sports at New Mexico Tech, participating in women's soccer and rugby, tennis, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, and also enjoys dabbling in oil painting.


Joseph Fernandez, Jr.


Joseph Anthony Fernandez, Jr., (right) a graduate of St. Pius X High School, is now a senior majoring in electrical engineering at New Mexico Tech.

In addition Fernandez, also is a recipient of the prestigious Tau Beta Pi Scholarship, sponsored by the national engineering honor society. In connection with this honor, he has received a cash award of $2,000 for his senior year of study.

Fernandez is the son of Rosalie and Joseph A. Fernandez, Sr. of Albuquerque.

During the course of his undergraduate education at New Mexico Tech, Fernandez also has compiled extensive research experience by participating in an internship program each summer since 2004 with Sandia National Laboratories, during which he has focused on testing software packages and discrete semiconductor components under various environmental conditions.

“I’ve had a lot of tough classes and labs while attending New Mexico Tech, but I feel that they’ve benefited me considerably,” Fernandez says. “Academically, Tech is very tough, but I was well prepared for it with my high school studies.”

Fernandez is an active member of the New Mexico Tech student chapter of Tau Beta Pi, and currently is serving as the chapter’s correspondence secretary.

In addition, he also is a member and officer of several other student organizations at New Mexico Tech, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (vice chair); the university’s St. Patrick’s Newman Association (communications coordinator); and the Tech Automotive Racing Club (president).

“I’ve spent a lot of time organizing the racing club’s activities, such as on-campus autocross races, and I really enjoy participating in that club as it gives me a chance to get away from schoolwork and do something different,” Fernandez says.

In his spare time, Fernandez also enjoys competing in some of those same autocross events, working on cars, and playing softball and racquetball.

“Because New Mexico Tech is a small school, as a student you really need to make your own happiness and find things to do, and all of the clubs that I’m a part of have helped me do that,” Fernandez relates.

[Information on Katherine Dahm and Carla Hooten is pending.]