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Theatre arts grad happy about career

Ed Stone, '90, has a lot to be happy about these days. A movie he helped co-produce and write, Happy, Texas, was bought by Miramax for $10 million and is scheduled to be released nationwide Oct. 1.

The irreverent comedy follows two escaped convicts that Happy, Texas, townspeople assume are a gay couple hired to run a beauty pageant.

The film received widespread critical attention at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Although it did not win any awards, extensive media coverage sent movie moguls into a bidding war for the script.

Stone has appeared in several television shows and films, including Waterworld, Peter Pan and Species. He lives in New York and Los Angeles.

Stone held a private screening of Happy, Texas, for his friends and family at the Video 4 movie theater in Las Cruces in February. The screening was attended by Tony-Award winning playwright and screenwriter Mark Medoff. "Mark Medoff was certainly a big influence," Stone said of the theatre arts department professor emeritus. "I had many influences at NMSU. Along with Mark Medoff there was Dick Rundell, who was the department head at the time, and Ruth Cantrell."

Stone is currently working on several new scripts, including a comedy and a children's film, Stuart Little.

Joy Victory

Two '90s alumni star in NMSU's new TV spots

As the camera rolls Michelle Rios, right, stands near the Joy of Learning sculpture by Branson Hall Library.
NMSU has produced three television commercials to air on New Mexico and El Paso stations in October. The student recruitment spots feature alumni Mike Kozeliski, '96, and Michelle Rios, '95, and an NMSU student.
Mike Kozeliski, center, is videotaped with Engineering Complex III's Clock of Dreams sculpture in the background.

When Mike Kozeliski, '96, earned his civil engineering degree and four minors from NMSU, he never imagined he'd be working inside the Beltway, rather than designing the highway. "My only political experience then was voting," he remembers.

But after rejections from nine M.B.A. programs, including NMSU, he wanted a job. "I didn't want to go back to Gallup," he said. Then U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici visited campus and mentioned needing a Southern New Mexico campaign manager. Kozeliski got the job and went to Washington, D.C., after the '96 campaign.

He has worked for U.S. Rep. Joe Skeen since January 1997 and hopes to join Texas Gov. George W. Bush's presidential campaign team. But he doesn't plan to stay in politics. "My intent is not to be working in the White House," he said. "I'd like to get into the private sector."

He's interested in entrepreneurial ventures such as starting, buying and improving new businesses. "In government, it's hard to recognize business opportunities," he said. "Campaigns are more like the private sector. You have efficiency, progress and closure."

After the past two and a half years, Kozeliski said he feels he has "a master's degree in practical government."

He enjoyed starring in an NMSU commercial. "The university has given me more than I ever gave it," said the former ASNMSU president. "I'm glad to do it."

Rachel Kendall

Michelle Rios, '95, combined her natural beauty, talent, personality and solid education to open doors to her many career opportunities.

Rios is a pharmaceutical representative in southern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. In the fall of 1998, she was selected as Miss New Mexico USA. She competed in the Miss USA Pageant Feb. 5, 1999, at The Grand Palace in Branson, Mo.

In the nationally-televised pageant, Rios competed against 50 other delegates and finished in the top five. The impressive finish helped her land a national spokesperson contract, public speaking engagements and offers for acting and modeling.

"I know that my 15 minutes of fame can go as easy as it came," Rios said. "But I'm taking advantage of it for now. I'm excited about my possibilities."

Rios was a Sundancer and Crimson Scholar at NMSU. She earned bachelor's degrees in marketing and biology. As one of only a handful of Miss USA delegates who already had finished college, Rios asked to be introduced during the telecast as "a graduate of New Mexico State University."

When asked to help promote her alma mater in a TV commercial, Rios didn't hesitate to volunteer.

"You need something to rely on, and your degree is something that can never be taken away from you,' she said.

Dan Trujillo, '92

Hall of Famers reflect on women's progress

In 1979 Paula Rae Mitchell, '96, began her career at El Paso Community College as a nursing instructor. Twenty years later, she is the division chair of health occupations at the college and has an insiderŐs perspective on the growing number of professional women rising to administrative positions.

"I see more opportunities for women today than before," said Mitchell, who earned her Doctor of Education degree through the educational management and development department at NMSU.

"As far as gender equity goes, the work place seems to be 50/50 now," Mitchell said. "We are also seeing more women in administrative positions and succeeding not only here, but nationwide."

Blanca Enriquez, associate executive director of the Region 19 Head Start program in El Paso, Texas, agrees. "I believe women have certainly come a long way in the business and education fields since the 1960s, and the success rate is high in top positions. We've had to work twice as hard and always be one or two steps ahead," Enriquez said. "It's not easy, but very rewarding."

Enriquez also is pursuing a doctorate through NMSU's educational management and development department.

This year Mitchell and Enriquez were two of eight women inducted into the El Paso Commission for Women's Hall of Fame in honor of their contributions to the field of education.

Mitchell said she liked NMSU's doctoral program because "working students can apply what they are learning, which is definitely a major strength of the program."

Mitchell leads 16 nursing and allied health programs at EPCC. Under her direction, the health occupations division holds national and statewide accreditation and offers associate's degrees in various health professions including dental assisting, vocational nursing and emergency medical response.

She received a bachelor's degree from Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, and a master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin, both in nursing.

Enriquez administers Region 19 Head Start for Texas's El Paso and Hudspeth counties. She supervises 26 child development centers in the two counties and a staff of 600.

Head Start, a nationwide program, provides children from low-income families health screenings, disability assistance, school readiness programs and nutrition services.

"We are a national program designed to break the cycle of poverty among children of economically-challenged families," Enriquez said.

Previously a teacher in the El Paso Independent School District, Enriquez recently received an award naming her the National Early School Educator of the Year by Head Start.

Armando Arrieta

Panorama table of contents
Cover Letters to the Editor Alumni/Friends Campus/Sports Center Spread
Foundation/Development Profiles Aggie
Back Page Features
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