Five outstanding professionals will be honored by Doña Ana Community College (DACC) as the 2019 Class of Distinguished Alumni. All have accomplished much since graduation and are deserving of the honor.
William Corbett came to DACC after practicing law in California. He wanted to update his skills in technology by learning about personal computers. Corbett relocated to Las Cruces near the turn of the century and by the year 2000, earned his Associate of Applied Science Degrees in Computer Technology and Business Office Technology. He enjoyed the smaller class sizes and hands-on training provided by the faculty. He then came back to earn his Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services Degree in 2005.
Corbett served the community as Assistant District Attorney for the New Mexico 3rd Judicial District and then began teaching at DACC and New Mexico State University (NMSU). He now serves as a part time instructor for DACC as a member of the Criminal Justice staff. Corbett also teaches at NMSU in the Government Dept. He has conducted civil facilitation & mediations, served on the city health and human service advisory board and moderated criminal justice conferences. He represents the Business and Public Services Division.
Like Corbett, Houser graduated and came back to DACC to earn a degree, in Houser’s case, an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Welding Technology. He has gone on to enjoy a career in range and wildlife projects with the Bureau of Land Management but has a secondary career as a part-time instructor of welding technology at the community college. In Houser’s primary profession he has become an expert in the use of Aerial Herbicide Technology, so much so, he is the primary instructor in Aerial Herbicide Application for the National Training Center.
Houser is also recognized for his teaching skills in welding, earning the Welding Educator designation from the American Welding Society. He provides students with classroom and laboratory instruction. Houser has developed curricula for all types of welding, basics in blueprint reading and basic layout and design for fabrication. He also passes needed skills on to students in decision making, critical thinking, communication, leadership and job-seeking. Houser represents the Advanced Technology Division.
A Lordsburg native, Ben LaMarca has been an integral part of the motion picture industry, first as a Digital Imaging Technician (DIT), an editor and more recently as a camera head technician for studio films flourishing in New Mexico. After earning his Associate of Applied Science in Creative Media Technology in 2007 he went on to receive a Bachelor of Film in 2009 from the NMSU Creative Media Institute.
After serving as a personal assistant for Steven Spielberg on the film Indiana Jones 4 in 2008. LaMarca then turned to jobs as a DIT, Assistant Editor and Editor. Several of his edited films premiered at South by Southwest and Toronto International Film Festivals. He has worked on commercials for Apple, Amazon, Google, Disney, and Fender. His last project, a documentary for the Tomb Raider franchise, is pending release. Over the past six months, he has shifted out of the editing bay in Los Angeles and onto film sets in New Mexico, where he works as a camera head technician. He represents the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Division.
Eva Ortega started her life and career path in Chihuahua, Mexico brought up in a low-income family. A single mother she wanted a better life for her family, so moved to Denver. Living without her family was difficult, as was mastering the English language and learning a new culture. She met and married her husband Javier in 1998. Ortega reunited with her children in 1999. She worked different jobs including in restaurants, cooking tamales and cheesecakes.
Deciding education was the answer, after moving to Las Cruces, Ortega attended and graduated with her GED from DACC’s Mesquite Learning Center. She was encouraged by staff to pursue an Associate Degree in Education. After earning that, Ortega moved to NMSU and in 2015 earned her Bachelor of Social Work. She now works with Doña Ana County Head Start Program in Vado. Her students mirror her earlier experiences needing a helping hand to overcome discrimination, poverty, cultural and language issues. Ortega helps students find resources so they can succeed. She continues her studies at NMSU to earn her Master’s degree in Social Work. She represents the Adult Education Division.
Like Ortega, Neeta Shukla started her life and career in another country. Raised in India in the small town of Shahdol, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Science and a Master’s degree in Professional Technical Education before moving to Vienna, Austria to work as a Veterinarian in the Tullen Research Institute in embryo transfer. Shukla moved to Las Cruces in 2005 and attained her Dental Hygiene Associate Degree in 2009.
Since graduation she has worked full-time at Ben Archer Health Center as a dental hygienist. Shukla gives back to DACC by teaching as a part time faculty member for dental hygiene students. Her community service extends past Las Cruces, to New Mexico and to India. She served as the secretary of the Las Cruces Lions Club del Noche, worked with dentists in a clinic that is the largest charity event in the state, providing dentistry to thousands and organizes the Mission Vision and Smile event where medical professionals travel to rural cities in India to provide free healthcare. She represents the Health Sciences Division.
A luncheon and awards ceremony will take place at noon in the commons area of the DASR building on the East Mesa Campus, 2800 Sonoma Ranch Blvd. on Saturday, October 5. For those wishing to attend, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org