Philipp-Schnurer Receives Staff Recognition Award

December 4, 2015

The Latin American & Iberian Institute (LAII) is pleased to announce that Keira Philipp-Schnurer, the LAII Supervisor of Community Education Programs, has been awarded the Gerald W. May Outstanding Staff Recognition Award. This award was created in 1990 by UNM president Gerald W. May to recognize selected staff members' outstanding contributions to the university. Recipients of this award are lauded for their exceptional service to the UNM community as well as their positive representation of the university and its values. In addition, recipients are recognized for demonstrating dedication, creativity, and involvement through their workplace initiatives and innovations.

Since Philipp-Schnurer began working at the LAII in 2010, the institute's outreach programs have been revitalized by her efforts to rethink traditional approaches to outreach programming. She has shown herself to be resourceful, friendly, and committed through the work she's done in creating partnerships with the campus and Albuquerque community. As a result, the LAII's outreach programs have grown exponentially in recent years.

In particular, Philipp-Schnurer has strengthened the LAII's outreach to K-12 educators by providing them with a growing collection of curriculum, professional development workshops, and complementary resources to support teaching about Latin America in the K-12 classroom. Among the highlights of this work is the Vamos a Leer book group and blog, developed by Philipp-Schnurer as a way to share multicultural literature with local and national audiences through in-person meetings and an informative and engaging blog.

At the same time, she has contributed significantly to the LAII's programming for campus audiences by organizing numerous academic conferences, symposia, and lectures. The LAII's postsecondary outreach has grown in part because of her attention to promoting, digitizing, and disseminating relevant resources through the LAII's website and social media profiles.

"She is an incredible ambassador for UNM and is highly respected by all who interact with her," said Amanda Wolfe, LAII Associate Director for Program Development, in reference to Philipp-Schnurer's success in working with students, faculty, staff, partner organizations, and colleagues at institutions throughout the United States. In reflecting on writing the letter of recommendation, Wolfe said, "This was a letter that was unsolicited and it was so, so easy for me to write, because Keira is fantastic. Around campus, people often say, 'Staff are the unsung heroes,' and she is the epitome of that."

Upon receiving her award, Philipp-Schnurer thanked the LAII community: "Clearly, this is the product of being in a home away from home. I really enjoy working with all of you. It's a pleasure to work here. It's easy for me to take pride in the work. Anything that I've done over the years has been the result of this community. If this recognizes me, it recognizes all of you, so thank you so much."

Alice Donahue, a graduate assistant who works with Philipp-Schnurer, summarized the LAII community's excitement at Philipp-Schnurer's receipt of the award by saying that "Keira is an integral part of the Latin American & Iberian Institute and everyone here at her 'home away from home' is delighted that she has been recognized for her outstanding contributions. There is no one more deserving of this award."