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Briefcase: Applause, promotions, hires and more


Sherri Burr

Sherri Burr is the recipient of New Mexico Press Women’s 2021 Communicator of Achievement Award. The award recognizes members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their profession. Recipients are living members in good standing for at least two years in New Mexico Press Women and the National Federation of Press Women. Burr was elected president of NMPW in 2018. She has been a law professor for more than 30 years, worked as a columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune and is the author of multiple books.


“Shook: An Earthquake, a Legendary Mountain Guide, and Everest’s Deadliest Day,” by New Mexico author Jennifer Hull.

New Mexico author Jennifer Hull is the recipient of New Mexico Press Women’s 2021 Zia Book Award for her nonfiction book “Shook: An Earthquake, a Legendary Mountain Guide, and Everest’s Deadliest Day.” Shook tells a story of resilience, nerve and survival on the deadliest day on Everest. Dave Hahn, a Taos resident, is a legendary figure in mountaineering. Elite members of the climbing community have likened him to the Michael Jordan, Cal Ripken, or Michael Phelps of the climbing world. Yet, none of his experience could have prepared him, his crew, and clients for the earthquake that shook Everest and all of their lives on the morning of April 25, 2015. The book was published by UNM Press in 2020. Hull, a cum laude graduate of Cornell University, has taught K-12 students as well as college freshman at the Taos campus of the University of New Mexico. The Zia Book Award rotates annually among three categories: nonfiction, fiction and children’s literature. The awards committee — chaired by Patricia Conway and including Judith Schiess Avila, Lynn Hopkins, and Judy Kowalski — also selected the following three books as finalists:

Norma Libman for “The Story of the Story: What I Wrote and Why”

Sharon Niederman for “Backroads & Byways of New Mexico”

Menese Wall for “We Demand the Right to Vote”


Dr. Benjamin Diven

Dr. Benjamin Diven, medical director of the Doña Ana Community College Emergency Medical Services program, has been given the Tim Fleming Medical Director of the Year award by the New Mexico Department of Health.

The award, which recognizes a physician who serves the EMS system through meritoriously executing their duties as an EMS medical director, and was given in an April 8 ceremony.

Diven was recognized for being an outstanding representative and leader of the EMS community through teaching, providing medical direction and serving on the state Medical Director Committee.

Diven is also the medical director for the Las Cruces Fire Department, Doña Ana County Fire and Rescue Department, New Mexico State University Fire Department, NMSU Police Department and Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority. He is a former paramedic and graduate of the UNM School of Medicine. He was an emergency room physician with Memorial Medical Center, started the first occupational medicine practice in Las Cruces, served as the EMS medical director for the City-County ambulance service, medical director for the NMSU Campus Health Center, and started his service as DACC’s medical director of the EMS program in 1990.

Diven is married with three children and six grandchildren. He has also published an autobiography on his experience with severe bipolar disorder.


Petra Tovar Sánchez

Petra Tovar Sánchez has been named the recipient of the Estrella Brillante Awardfrom the Hispanic Women’s Council in recognition of extraordinary service to the organization.

Tovar Sánchez, 92, was born in Dawson, New Mexico. After graduating from high school, she attended New Mexico Highlands University and completed a bachelor’s degree in three years. She embarked on a 30-year teaching career, teaching elementary school students in Bernalillo, Algodones and Albuquerque.

HWC commends Tovar Sánchez for “keeping us connected to our traditions and culture.”

The Hispanic Women’s Council is a non-profit, intergenerational organization established in 1988 to promote, support and create opportunities for Hispanic women. More information is available at


Bob Westervelt

Sandia National Labs licensing expert Bob Westervelt — who has worked to transfer lab technologies in the medical, solar and hydrogen production fields — has received the 2021 Outstanding Technology Transfer Professional Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium.

The consortium, a network that honors significant technology transfer accomplishments among more than 300 federal laboratories and research centers, recognized Westervelt at a virtual award ceremony earlier this month. Among his many achievements recognized by the consortium are several creative licenses for New Mexico tech companies and an innovative license prioritization procedure for Sandia. Westervelt was instrumental in licensing the X-Ray Toolkit, or XTK, an image-processing and analysis software developed at Sandia that is used by the military, bomb squads and emergency response teams. Technicians use the software with scanners to look inside and analyze suspicious objects. Westervelt said Sandia offers the software to military and law enforcement for free. In addition, no-cost test and evaluation licenses were provided to X-ray scanner manufacturers so they could make sure XTK worked with their hardware. Companies willing to give high-quality training to end users could also obtain low-cost licenses. Westervelt is also proud of licenses that went to New Mexico start-ups such as Eden Radioisotopes, a company working to build a reactor that will produce medical isotopes; BayoTech, a company that makes mobile hydrogen generators; and mPower, which is developing flexible solar cells smaller than the width of human hair.

Westervelt also created the concept of High Value Licensing, which has been utilized at Sandia to prioritize licenses that will have the most impact. It works by analyzing potential license opportunities by those that are routine, those that are important to Sandia’s national security mission, those that could have financial return and others that are high-risk, high reward.


New Mexico Press Women has announced three new members of its board of directors:

Adam Biederwolf

Adam Biederwolf graduated from the University of New Mexico in spring 2020 with a bachelor’s of business administration. He currently works at Cision PR Newswire as an account executive. This spring, he began working on his master’s of business administration at UNM, and will serve NMPW as chair of the Communicator of Achievement Process.

Colleen Keane

Colleen Keane is an award-winning New Mexico freelance reporter. She regularly reports for the Navajo Times. Prior to working for the Times, she brought attention to the largest

release of radioactive waste in the country, which swept through Navajo Nation lands in her documentary, “The River That Harms.” She serves as the NMPW scholarship chair.

Léonie Rosenstiel

Léonie Rosenstiel has won awards for her fiction (New Mexico Press Women) and her non-fiction (South-West Writers) work. Her latest books, “Pretense of Perfection: A Daughter’s Journey Through Family Myth” and “Pretense of Protection: My Mother’s Nightmare Journey through Legal Guardianship,” are scheduled for publication during 2021. She serves as the NMPW public relations chair.


Xavier Dominguez

New Mexico State University student Xavier Dominguez is the recipient of New Mexico Press Women’s $1,000 Doris Gregory Memorial Scholarship this year. Dominguez, a freshman studying journalism and mass communication, specializes in video reporting and producing, and in using graphics to supplement his stories. As a Las Cruces High School student, he was twice named a PBS NewsHour Student Journalist of the Year. He was also the KRWG Public Media Scholar in 2020, a highly competitive paid internship. Dominguez spent his high school summers in Washington D.C., having earned fellowships from PBS and another organization.

Sarah Roderick

Fellow NMSU freshman Sarah Roderick is the runner up for the award and will receive $500. Roderick is earning a degree in agriculture and extension studies.

The award is named for Doris Gregory, an award-winning member of NMPW and the National Federation of Press Women in the 1950s and ’60s. A correspondent for the El Paso Times for 12 years, Gregory was also a public relations professional, a magazine editor, and an association executive. The Doris Gregory Memorial Scholarship, established after her death from cancer in 1969, is awarded every year to New Mexico college or university students studying communications and journalism. NMPW thanks the following donors to the fund: the Northern Chapter of NMPW for making contributions in the name of Roslyn K. “Roz” Pulitzer and Don Strel, two of its photographer members who passed away last year, the Albuquerque Chapter of NMPW, and the press women members and friends who contributed on Giving Tuesday 2020. Recipients are evaluated based on a career goals’ essay, work samples, academic progress and faculty or employer support.


Ron Behrmann

Ron Behrmann has been selected by Albuquerque Mayor Keller and City Councilor Brook Bassan to serve on the Balloon Museum Board of Trustees. The City Council confirmed the appointment on April 19, and Behrmann will serve as a trustee for the Anderson/Abruzzo International Balloon Museum until July 31, 2022.



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Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story misspelled the surname of baseball player Cal Ripken. The story has been updated.

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