NM MESA has selected recipients of the 2021 Dr. Arthur H. and Joan Guenther Advisor Achievement Award. Leah Olivas and Lynn Schuler are this year’s outstanding MESA advisors. Each of these two fine educators will receive $100 from MESA, which will be presented to them by MESA’s Guenther Award committee.
Leah Olivas completed her 10th year as a MESA advisor at Carlsbad Intermediate School, where she has worked as a science teacher for ten years. This summer, she will leave New Mexico to begin working as a middle school teacher in another state. MESA is disappointed to see her go, but wishes her the best in her new home, and is proud to recognize her as one of this year’s outstanding advisors. MESA Regional Coordinator, Betty Chancey says, “Leah Olivas is one of the most dedicated, inspiring teachers I have ever known! Her kids have always been the leaders in new technology, robots and all things STEM since the day she became a MESA Advisor. She is loved by every student who ever knew her, every teacher who ever worked with her, and all parents who had the privilege of seeing their kids blossom under her guidance. She will be so missed by everyone who knows her! There are some big shoes to fill at Carlsbad Intermediate School next year! I will miss her as a dear friend as well.”
This year marks Lynn Schuler’s 19th year as a MESA advisor. At the close of this school year, she will be leaving MESA, and leaving the classroom to move on to a wonderful life of retirement. After starting her work with MESA in 2002 as an advisor at Truman Middle School in Albuquerque, Lynn made the decision to leave the school she loved to help bring a struggling elementary school back to life. In 2018, at Hawthorne Elementary in Albuquerque, Lynn worked with MESA to create MESA’s only elementary-level program, and the daily student meetings during the school’s “Genius Hour” were greatly successful. MESA Regional Coordinator, Nicholas Kunz says of Lynn, “We are sad to lose one of our greatest MESA advisors, but know that Lynn has great plans for time well-spent during retirement. Lynn always provided meaningful experiences for her students. Every MESA meeting was packed full of memorable student activities, often an assortment of hands-on lessons, or an outdoor adventure, or a captivating presentation from one of Lynn’s many friends and contacts in Albuquerque’s Life Sciences community. We are proud to have this outstanding educator in our MESA family!”
About the Dr. Arthur and Joan Guenther Advisor Achievement Award
Dr. Arthur H. Guenther loved science…He loved education…He created New Mexico MESA in 1982. As a research professor of electrical and computer engineering, professor of physics and astronomy at UNM, and Chief Scientist at the Air Force Research Laboratory, he was an advisor and mentor to hundreds of graduate students, and advisor to the Governor of New Mexico. He wanted to influence the lives of high school students in New Mexico who were interested in a bright future in STEM careers, so he worked with university representatives and state and federal government officials to bring the MESA program to New Mexico. He subsequently spent many years working as a MESA Board Member and Board Member Emeritus. His wife, Joan Guenther supported MESA in countless ways over the many years she was involved and played an important role in the success of the organization and its staff.
NM MESA and the Guenther family have established the Dr. Arthur H. and Joan Guenther Advisor Achievement Award with the expressed goal of honoring the legacy of Dr. Guenther and his wife, while simultaneously recognizing the wonderful and important work done by MESA advisors who perpetuate Dr. Guenther’s vision each year. The Guenther offspring continue to support NM MESA, including their oldest daughter TK O’Geary serving on the NM MESA Board of Directors and youngest daughter Wendy Gallegos supporting NM MESA events.
Past recipients include, Mariejune Abergos, Alysyn Merrill (2019), Luisa Castillo, Aleli Colon (2018), Deb Haggerton, Rina Viramontes (2017), Alysyn Merrill, Serri Grube (2016).