“Unpredictable,” is how graduating senior Adrian Abeyta describes his overall college experience at the University of New Mexico. 

“In my brain I always have steps of things I want to get done,” Abeyta said. “I am probably a totally different person than I was when I started, and I really could never have predicted that I’d be a mechanical engineer.”

Although he is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering this month, it wasn’t always Abeyta’s chosen degree path.  He first started out as an Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media (IFDM) major and even did a semester-long stint in Pre-Pharmacy before settling on engineering. 

Abeyta’s younger brother, Esteban, 22, was not as surprised when Abeyta decided to pursue mechanical engineering.


Shayla Cunico isn’t fragmented, she’s kaleidoscopic. 

Cunico, the culture editor for the Daily Lobo has said her time at the University has helped to transform how she sees the world and carve out space for her authentic self. She’s learning now that despite how she has pulled in different directions, she could be a whole person and create something new.

Graduation is looming but afterward she’s headed to Arizona State University, where orientation starts for her Masters in Visual Communication Design on May 28. 

Cunico said she feels she has one foot in two places as she finishes here but looks ahead to the program. 

“I’ve been trying to go through my head and see how I feel,” Cunico said. “But it’s difficult.”

Last Friday seniors in Associate Professor of Photography Patrick Manning’s advanced photography class, presented their final projects in their art show: “If you don’t know the population of rats in an area, you don’t know anything…” 

The show showcased artwork exploring themes of technology, identity and familial ties. The Daily Lobo had the opportunity to get to know five of the ten seniors that presented their work at the show. 

Manning said that the students in his class made him feel like a passenger for the semester. 

"I guess for this particular group of students, the thing I was very impressed by was that they were all very self driven," Manning said. "It felt like I was a passenger. They were all very good about working together to produce the show."

Tatia Veltkamp, owner of Wings of Enchantment, has a home filled to the brim with butterflies — whether it’s decorations on the walls or breeding monarchs fluttering in their mesh enclosure. 

Wings of Enchantment is a butterfly farm in northeast Albuquerque that ships butterflies to consumers across the country. What once started out as a hobby 18 years ago, has grown into a business of Veltkamp farming butterflies for the last nine years. 

Her customers purchase the butterflies to release them at weddings and other events. After release, it is expected that the monarchs migrate with the Eastern population

“When my kids were little, I read an article in a magazine about how to go find caterpillars and eggs, but I didn’t know what milkweed was, so we had to figure out what milkweed was first in order to go find them,” Veltkamp said.


Heroes of Johnson Center

Johnson Center is a place on campus where students go to destress. However, it is the people who work at Johnson Center that make a difference.

One student-employee at Johnson is University of New Mexico student Jaquan Franklin. Franklin worked his way up for six months to assistant supervisor at Johnson Center. Franklin said in order to work at Johnson, a person must have “hard work and dedication, a good attitude and the ability to focus on customers.”

Business owner nurtures butterflies to maturity

Tatia Veltkamp, owner of Wings of Enchantment, looked over her growing butterflies as a trio of breeding monarchs fluttered around their mesh enclosure. 

Wings of Enchantment is a butterfly farm in northeast Albuquerque that ships butterflies to consumers across the country. What once started out as a fun hobby 18 years ago, has grown into a business farming butterflies for the last nine years. 

“When my kids were little, I read an article in a magazine about how to go find caterpillars and eggs, but I didn’t know what milkweed was, so we had to figure out what milkweed was first in order to go find them,” Veltkamp said.

El Paisa showcases Mexican heritage

The Institute of Mexicans abroad reports there are more than 36 million people with Mexican heritage living in the United States. In addition they reported that there are more than 24 million people that are Mexican-born and living in the United States. 

The city of Albuquerque is one of the most diverse cities in the country. Hundreds of Mexican families have settled in the largest city in  New Mexico. Southwest Albuquerque has become a point of concentration for the Mexican community. 

Bridge Boulevard is brimming with local restaurants that bring a bit of  Mexico to the Duke City for  those who have had to leave their country.   

Local woman works to rescue dogs

Veronica Garcia Ortega hadn’t had breakfast yet, because the motto in her home is that “the dogs eat first,” she said in Spanish.  

The dog food clatters into the baby swimming pool, and Garcia Ortega tries to step back as dogs scramble over each other to wolf it down. She scoops up the dogs for their photo shoot, navigating muddy paws and eager face-licks. They are under consideration for adoption in the United States, to be taken in shelters as far away as Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Mary Tovey from Albuquerque and Alma Morfin from Juárez are partners in the nonprofit Planned Pethood de Juárez — an organization which is mainly focused on animal welfare education and spay/neuter efforts in the city and surrounding area. 

New Mexicans trek miles for pilgrimage

There are many traditions in New Mexico -- green chile harvesting, lighting luminarias -- but there is nothing that attracts people from all over the world like the pilgrimage to the Santuario de Chimayo. 

Located at an elevation of more than 6000 feet and east of Espanola, thousands of people visit a Spanish mission tucked away in the mountains during Holy Week. Most walkers start near the village of Nambe, others start in Santa Fe and a select few begin their trek in Albuquerque, more than 80 miles away. 

Along the way people carry crosses with the names of loved ones. Some walk their dogs and others push their loved ones in a wheelchair through the pastel colored desert and the rising hills. Some people carry their burdens for their God to absolve them. 

Lopez Farms thrives despite the heat

Dry soil cracked beneath worn soles. The sun was still behind the mountains to the east.  Dew clung to wheatgrass. Chris Lopez surveyed his farm with a look of pride and concern before climbing into his Ford to start the day.

Lopez has been farming this piece of land his entire life. His grandfather left behind mining in Magdalena and purchased the original piece of land over fifty years ago.  Despite the increasing aridity of the southwest and risks of ranching, Chris’ grandfather relocated his family to the fertile middle Rio Grande valley. 

From an original few acres, Lopez Farms expanded to encompass nearly 700 acres. They grow  expansive fields of winter wheat and the hottest green chile in Central New Mexico.Several acres are designated wildlife habitat.

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