7 honored with School of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Awards

November 6, 2017 - By Kim Delker

Seven alumni from The University of New Mexico School of Engineering were honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards at a ceremony Nov 2 at Embassy Suites in Albuquerque. 

The theme of this year’s event was “A Celebration of Our Student Stars, Past and Present.” Christos Christodoulou, Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing, said he feels it is important to recognize our current students alongside our outstanding alumni. Several students and student organizations were among the approximately 350 in attendance. 

“I feel it is important to support our students in a variety of ways, including through scholarships, research opportunities, mentoring and networking events,” Christodoulou said. “By inviting students to this event, it gives them an opportunity to network with some of our distinguished alumni so that they may be inspired and one day may be the alumni we are honoring who are making a difference in the world.”

The 2017 honorees are:

• Kenneth Armijo, a graduate of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Armijo, a native of New Mexico, received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UNM in 2005. Armijo went on to earn a master's degree and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California - Berkeley and now works at Sandia National Laboratories. The holder of four patents, Armijo's research is in alternative energy technologies and sustainability.

• George S. Bosiljevac, a graduate of the Department of Civil Engineering. Bosiljevac, is the owner and president of two construction companies, Harwood Engineering Inc. and Structural Services Inc. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UNM in 1960 and went on to earn his master’s in civil engineering from UNM in 1966.

• Ireena Erteza, a graduate of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Erteza earned her bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from UNM in 1986 (summa cum laude). She went on to earn her master’s and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Erteza is a distinguished member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories. She is an expert in optics and signal processing.

• Subhash N. Shah, a graduate of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Shah, received a master’s in chemical engineering from UNM in 1971 and went on to earn a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from UNM in 1974. He has 40 years of service in the oil and gas industry and is an emeritus 

professor of the University of Oklahoma.

• Joseph A. Sholtis Jr., a graduate of the Department of Nuclear Engineering. Sholtis= received his master’s degree in nuclear engineering from UNM in 1977. He spent 23 years serving in the United States Air Force and retired as a lieutenant colonel. Sholtis is an internationally-recognized expert in the areas of space nuclear systems and has served on 14 NASA missions. 

• Torsten Staab, a graduate of the Department of Computer Science. Staab received a master's degree in computer science from UNM in 1998 and later went on to earn a Ph.D. in computer science from UNM in 2007. Staab has dual roles, working as the 

chief technology officer for Raytheon Blackbird Technologies Inc. and as a technical director at Raytheon Corporation. Staab has previously won the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.
The Young Alumni Award was presented to Dimitrios Anagnostou, a graduate of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Anagnostou received a master's degree in electrical engineering from UNM in 2002 and went on to earn his Ph.D. from UNM in 2005. He is currently an associate professor at the Heriot Watt University, UK.  Anagnostou's research is in the area of reconfigurable and tunable antennas.

In addition to the awards for alumni, a special award was presented to Joseph L. Cecchi, Dean Emeritus of the School of Engineering and Professor Emeritus of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Cecchi received the Exemplary Service Award, presented by the School of Engineering Alumni Leadership Board. 

New Mexico Rep. Larry Larrañaga, who received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the School of Engineering, was the guest speaker.

For the full program from the Distinguished Alumni Awards, click here.