2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Welcome to the 2020 University of New Mexico School of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Awards celebration!

Although due to the current circumstances, we cannot meet in person this year, this does not in any way diminish the accomplishments of this year's impressive slate of honorees. Among the 2020 winners are engineers who have and are currently making a difference in their respective fields all around the globe, from academia to the government, and even leading successful engineering-related companies that are developing and improving our health-care delivery. They have served U.S. presidents, survived wars, started businesses, managed teams, mentored students, made discoveries, and even acted in plays and have been accomplished polo players!

Congratulations to all of our winners. For full bio information, download the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards program.


J.T. Michelson, Chemical and Biological Engineering

“Do the best you can in the major you have selected. Take an introduction to business course or accounting course if you can. Everyone is involved with managing people, goals or objectives in business, so learning about business is helpful."


Phillip Melville, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

“Engineering is a wonderful profession, and civil engineers build good things. You won’t make a fortune, but it’s a very rewarding profession.”


Thomas L. Paez, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

“Study hard, take all the challenging classes you can as a student. It’s the final time in your life where you will be handed education on a platter and you have professors dedicated to making things as clear as they can be. Once you understand a subject, help others to understand it.”


Barbara Lopez, Computer Science

“Use mentors and pay it forward by mentoring others. The greatest leaders are the ones who help others be successful. Never stop learning. Take time to be grateful every day.”


Atul Bhatnagar, Electrical and Computer Engineering

“Don’t be in a hurry. Enjoy your journey. Serve and make a difference, and as you develop, be a compassionate leader."


Andrew Halasz, Mechanical Engineering

“It’s too easy for engineering students to dive deep into their curriculum and forget that college isn’t only about coursework. It’s important to have balance. To be successful, you have to learn how to work in teams, be social and sell your ideas. Success isn’t just about straight A’s.”


Jim E. Morel, Nuclear Engineering

"It’s important to pursue your dreams. Happiness is a lot more important than money or fame.”


Joseph Costantine, Young Alumni Award

“Never stop dreaming of what you can accomplish. There are no limits or boundaries. Persistence and hard work always pay off.”