Alumni Success

What do I do with a Government degree?

Alumni of the undergraduate programs, the MA in Government and the Masters in Public Administration have gone on to top graduate & law schools and to rewarding careers in the public, non-profit and private sectors. Their professional placements have ranged from the State Department to the statehouse, and from a J.D. at Columbia Law School to doctoral work at the University of Massachusetts. We are proud and excited by their singular accomplishments. A few of their many stories are featured here.

If you are an alumnus and would like to share your story with us, please contact the Department head, Dr. Harvey, at We’d love to tell your story as well.

From Marcia Mundt, B.A. 

With the generous support of NMSU faculty and staff, especially my professors in the Government Department, I was awarded a Fulbright Full Grant to continue my education at the graduate level. As such, I am now working towards a MA in Peace Studies at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom. I have been fortunate to take advantage of the opportunities at NMSU and apply them in a globally vital and challenging career path. On a more personal note, I look forward to learning more about the international community, particularly the United States’ special relationship with the UK, through this exciting cultural exchange.

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Mark Montoya

From T. Mark Montoya, M.A.

After graduating with a M.A. in 2000, I came to Northern Arizona University (NAU) to pursue my Ph.D. My broad research interests were Latin America, Identity and Cultural Politics, and my time at NMSU significantly helped me to develop these interests. Interestingly, however, it took me moving away from close proximity to the border to draw me back and study it. I am currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Politics and International Affairs and nearing the final stages of my Dissertation titled Borderdom: Citizenship on the U.S.-Mexico Border. In addition to finishing my Dissertation, I teach several courses for NAU’s Department of Politics and International Affairs as a Graduate Instructor, including “World Politics” and “Introduction to Politics.” I also teach for the Ethnic Studies Program as an Adjunct Faculty. Among the many courses I have taught, I regularly teach “Introduction to Chicano/Latino Studies,” “Introduction to Ethnic Studies,” and “Race, Identity and Film.” My time at NMSU was a great one, and I deeply miss chile rellenos, as well as my friends, my colleagues, and the Government Faculty who were and are also my friends and colleagues. GO AGGIES!

From Erik Paulson, MPA

I’m the Special Assistant to Cabinet Affairs for the State of New Mexico, which means that I am in a support capacity to the Director of Cabinet affairs. I deal directly with the Cabinet Secretaries, work with the Governor’s Capital budget, and also help ensure that the cabinet level departments are meeting the goals and objectives set out in their performance reviews. It even forced me to open those Budgeting books and remind myself of the proper technical language.

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Douglas Fisk

From Douglas Fisk, B.A.

As a graduate of the Department of Government at NMSU, I have been blessed with ample opportunities to serve my country -both at home and abroad. As a U.S. Diplomat working for the Department of State, I have served in Washington DC, Mexico, Croatia, and Venezuela. Throughout my career I have worked on a wide variety of issues, ranging from human rights and refugee issues, to the promotion of ethnic reconciliation in post conflict societies. I have assisted American citizens overseas in distress, adjudicated U.S. visas and passports, and worked to combat the global scourge of trafficking in persons. Whether arranging bilateral meetings between the heads of state, or assisting members of Congress on fact finding missions abroad, the education and training I received at NMSU were key factors in my current career path.

In addition to the superior instruction and mentoring I received from my professors in Las Cruces, as an undergraduate I was provided opportunities to lobby at the state legislature in Santa Fe, work in the U.S. Senate, and even attend a national conference at West Point to discuss regional and global affairs with foreign policy experts. While the path to success certainly isn’t guaranteed in life, I am confident that the superior education I received from the Department of Government at NMSU was a key factor in my career path. Although I have traveled the world over, almost 16 years after graduating from State, I still get the feeling of “coming home again” whenever I am fortunate enough to return to Las Cruces.

From Stephen Groll, B.A.

Lt. Col. Stephen Groll received his bachelor’s degree in Government and History from New Mexico State University, graduating with distinction. He currently serves as the department head of the NMSU Aerospace Studies Department. He was commissioned via ROTC in May 1991. He also has Masters Degrees in Public Administration and Military Operations. He has just been reassigned to NMSU from the Pentagon where he was the Branch Chief, Future Requirements Branch, for the E-4B National Airborne Operations Center. Lt. Col Groll is a Master Navigator with over 3,200 flying hours in the T-43, EC/KC-135 and the E-4B aircraft.

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Sean Milligan

From Sean Milligan

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Government and Law & Society with honors from New Mexico State University, Sean Milligan studied law at St. Mary’s University School of Law, receiving his juris doctorate Summa Cum Laude in 2006.  He also teaches as an adjunct professor of business organizations at San Jacinto College. Among his cases, he has assisted in compelling arbitration in a complex lawsuit involving UCC Article 2A leases, and obtained a favorable trial verdict in defending a life insurance agent against claims brought by an insured for misrepresentation of the life insurance policy. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the Houston Bar Association, the American Bar Association, Texas Young Lawyers Association and Houston Young Lawyers Association.