Message from the Chair

Hello UNM School of Engineering Alumni,

Brian Burnett
Brian G. Burnett

I hope you are doing well during this rather strange and unprecedented time. It has been very hard for me to grasp anything approaching the full significance of how the COVID-19 virus has altered our world over the last three months, and the changes that will continue to take place in the months and years ahead. One thing I can say with full confidence, however, is that the UNM School of Engineering (SOE) is in full swing and facing with the gusto the many challenges that confront a higher-ed institution like UNM. Whether it’s converting all course material to online portals, or figuring out how to return staff and students to campus, or leading an innovative program to print 3D safety masks for use around the state, the SOE is not letting this crisis get the best of them. The work of various boards and committees established by Dean Christodoulou have also remained very active in the pursuit of finding the best ways to support the Dean and the mission of the SOE.

Since it has been a while since I last communicated with you, I wanted to provide an update on the work of the Alumni Leadership Board. From its beginning several years ago, the mission of the Board has remained steadfast: finding ways to help the SOE by informing alumni and then establishing paths for greater involvement to occur. Our attention has been mostly focused in three areas: 1) Supporting student and School of Engineering events and activities, 2) Exploring ways to support student recruitment, and 3) Assisting with the SOE’s proactive fundraising efforts. To date, we have seen a significant increase in the involvement of alumni in all three areas.

I am also pleased to share that the Alumni Leadership Board has been busy identifying specific ways for alumni to get more involved by bringing the SOE closer to your doorstep. In the months ahead, please be on the lookout for things such as:

  • Continuing the communications from the SOE, such as the popular, “Quick Takes from the Dean”
  • Creation of a new volunteer sign-up webpage, clearly identifying volunteer opportunities in areas such as mentoring students, supporting student events, making presentations, student recruitment, testimonials, and attending alumni events
  • Creation of Alumni Video Testimonials; this project will provide the opportunity for alumni to video a short testimonial about how a SOE degree has shaped their career, helping current and future students recognize and appreciate what an UNM education can deliver
  • Launch of the “Engineering in Action Speaker Series” in the fall of 2020; this project aims to bring exciting research taking place at SOE to alumni, donors, current and future students, parents, and the general UNM community

As you can see, there are many exciting things happening at the UNM School of Engineering! I am proud of how the School’s leadership, faculty, staff, and students have faced the challenges and uncertainties caused by the virus with energy, positive thinking, creativity, and persistence. This combination of attributes has ensured bright days ahead for the SOE as it continues to educate students to become outstanding engineers, perform leading-edge research that addresses some of society’s biggest challenges, and be a significant contributor to improving New Mexico’s economy. Looking back, I can also say with confidence that the crisis has made the SOE even stronger as we prepare to face the future.

I look forward to your continued participation. Thank you for how you help and support the UNM SOE! GO LOBOS!

Brian G. Burnett, PE, F.ASCE
Chair, UNM School of Engineering Alumni Leadership Board