Welcome New Lobo Nurse Alums.

Class of Fall 2020

The class of 2020 has worked extremely hard, facing challenges head on in times of immeasurable adversity.  Your perseverance has paid off and you earned your degree.  We know that your contribution to health care will truly make a difference in the lives of our communities.  We are proud of our alumni! 

 Meet our Graduates



Cipriano Botello, RN, MSN

MSN Nursing Administration
Graduating Class of Fall 2020


Why are you a nurse?

I credit my upbringing and life experiences in leading me to seek nursing as my profession. I grew up in a family of farmworkers and was brought up learning the importance of working hard and being humble in life. We struggled financially, which drove me to pursue a higher education and making it out of that situation. I have always wanted to flip the scenario and be the one helping others rather than being helped.


Why did you choose to pursue your MSN in Nursing Administration at UNM?

I was at a crossroads between the clinician pathway and leadership when determining which MSN program to pursue. The factor that determined the leadership pathway was the opportunity for being able to have a direct positive influence on the nursing profession and that will be my purpose and goal moving forward.


What was it like to be a nursing student during the pandemic?

I want to give credit to the University of New Mexico College of Nursing faculty for being very supportive to all of us knowing how profound the pandemic was impacting us. The College faculty genuinely cared about us and ensured we succeeded in the setting of a worldwide crisis that has affected us all both physically and mentally.  Now, more than ever, I am very proud of being a nurse as an essential component of the frontline response to this pandemic. I am confident in having a better ability to function in the role of a nurse leader thanks to this program.


What has it been like to be a nurse in the field nursing during the pandemic?

I am currently working at UNM Hospital on 5West General Medicine Inpatient Unit. We have also been a designated COVID-19 unit since the start of this pandemic.  We have experienced anxiety, sadness, and fear which have been countered by our multidisciplinary teamwork, patient successes, and innovative solutions. I am very grateful for our nurses and healthcare workers on 5West and our Zinc Medicine teammates. I am honored to be a part of this team.






Kristena Hernandez, RN, BSN

Graduating Class of Fall 2020


Why are you a nurse?

I wanted to be a nurse to help people.  I knew that being a nurse could really make a difference in people's lives, not only in the lives of our patients but the lives of their families.  Since I was a young girl, I was fascinated by math, science, and medicine.  Being a nurse encompasses so many areas that it is an excellent fit for my personality and background. 


Describe your nursing experience.

I work as a case manager for the University of New Mexico Hospital.  I have worked in Oncology the last 4 years and I find the patient population to be truly inspiring. I have met the most special people working at UNM.  It's a challenging field, but it's diverse.  I have worked as an infusion nurse, and in minor procedures and now as a case manager. 


What was it like to be a nursing student during the pandemic?

It's been difficult to go to school, and work during this pandemic.  Many things have changed about the way we practice medicine, and the ways we have to protect ourselves from this virus can seem impersonal and cold.  We aren't able to give our patients a human touch, or allow them to see us smile. We have to find other ways to help them feel comfortable.  We have to show more expression through our eyes, and the way we communicate. 


Why did you choose to pursue your RN to BSN at UNM?

I chose the College of Nursing at the University of New Mexico because the program was online and was obtainable while working fulltime and being a mom of two young children.  This program allowed me to have a good balance of school, work, and home.  This program came recommended from my coworkers and nurse friends.




Eliza Serna, BSN

BSN Pre-Licensure Dual Degree - UNM/Santa Fe Community College
Graduating Class of Fall 2020


Why did you want to be a nurse?

For the past 12 years I have been a doula and midwife's assistant with a longing to become a midwife myself. Regardless of where a woman gives birth, the care and support she receives at the hands of a midwife is unparalleled and urgently needed in our world today.


What was it like to be a nursing student during the pandemic?

Successfully completing nursing school is one of the most challenging things I've done in my life, and the uncertainty and upheaval that the pandemic threw in the mix only heightened the stress. I couldn't control where or if I would be able to attend clinical, or when or if my kids could return to in person school, but every day I could open my textbook or log into my class and make measurable steps toward completing my degree. It was a silver lining in a really, really difficult situation.


Why did you choose UNM College of Nursing?

I chose UNM because it has a strong reputation and was accessible from my community (Santa Fe). I really appreciated NMNEC's program where part of my learning could happen in Santa Fe through the Santa Fe Community College and part through UNM. This program made attaining a BSN doable (both logistically and financially) for someone like me who is taking this step as a second career with an established family and life outside of Albuquerque. 


What are your plans after graduation?

I received word yesterday that I have been admitted to UNM's MSN in Nurse-Midwifery program set to begin May 2021. I am thrilled and grateful beyond words. Thus, my plan is to study for and pass the NCLEX, and then take a nice long breather before May. Ultimately, I look forward to serving northern New Mexico as a Nurse Midwife.



Contact Our Team

Admissions & Academic Advisors

College of Nursing
Building Number 228
Suite 255
1 University of New Mexico


Donate today, when our students need it most.