What do a social worker, a medical doctor, a college professor and a business entrepreneur have in common? They are all graduates of Doña Ana Community College (DACC) and part of the 2017 Class of Distinguished Alumni.
On Saturday, October 28 the college will celebrate the accomplishments of Maurice Azzolini, Dr. Russell Baker, Terry Mount and Silvia Terrazas.
Maurice Azzolini serves on the New Mexico Substitute Care Review Board which monitors children who are in foster care and makes recommendations to the state about the foster care system. Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, Azzolini moved to Las Cruces in 2011. After not seeing the inside of a classroom for more than 20 years, he enrolled at DACC. He graduated in 2014 and went on to earn a Bachelor degree from New Mexico State University (NMSU) and a Master’s in social work from the University of Southern California. A long-time volunteer, Azzolini also works with Mesilla Valley Hospice, La Posada Assisted Living Facility and the “Toss No Mas” campaign which helps beautify the city.
Dr. Russell Baker is a board certified emergency medicine physician and has been practicing medicine for the past 11 years. He is on staff at University Medical Center in El Paso and is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Texas Tech University. Baker is responsible for training and overseeing medical residents in the emergency room. He also serves as the medical director for several agencies including AMR, the U.S. Border Patrol and Elite Ambulance. He earned a paramedic certificate from DACC in 1999 after graduating from NMSU with a Bachelor degree in microbiology. He graduated from medical school in 2006. Baker, who lives in El Paso is also an avid triathlete.
Terry Mount is an Associate Professor and Commercial Technologies Department Chair at DACC. She earned an associate degree in Water Technology in 1983 and became an instructor in 1992. Since then she has continued to instruct students in water technology. Mount serves on several boards and committees that inform her teaching. She is a member of the New Mexico Environment Department Wastewater Technical Advisory Committee, the New Mexico Water and Wastewater Association, and the American Water Works Association. She has received several awards including the Cynthia Hiers-Robinson Outstanding Wastewater Instructor of the year, the John Clark Award for outstanding service to the NM Water and Wastewater Association and the Caroline Martinez Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Silvia Terrazas is the owner of the Paleteria La Reyna Michoacana. When she came to the U.S. she opened a small business to sell jewelry and paletas (popsicles) and soon realized that the paletas were selling more than other items. She began making paletas from scratch which increased the quality of the product and the profits. Working with the Small Business Development Center at DACC, Terrazas expanded her business to include piñatas, household items and other popular Mexican products that her customers wanted. Her business grew and soon she had 12 employees. A barrier she faced was learning English so she began attending English as a Second Language classes at DACC. Since taking the classes she has been able to negotiate better pricing which has resulted in greater profit for the company. She is planning another expansion which will add eight new employees to help serve her customers.