Speakers Bios

Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Thomas C. Thompson 

Thomas C. Thompson, PhD, is board certified in Neuropsychology and Medical Psychology with prescriptive authority. He has been on the staff of La Clinica de Familia-Behavioral Health Specialties in Las Cruces, New Mexico since 2015. He chose to join their staff because of their commitment to community service and developing services in behavioral health specialties. 

A native New Mexican, Dr. Thompson’s history of practicing mental and behavioral health as a psychologist spans over 40 years. He has practiced in multiple localities across the state with an emphasis on rural and underserved populations. His experiences in mental/behavioral health training, program development and clinical practice have taken place in community, correctional, judicial, hospital and private practice settings. During the last 15 years, Tom has focused on the integration of behavioral health and community clinics.

Dr. Thompson was appointed to the New Mexico Board of Psychologist Examiners in 2005 by then-Governor Bill Richardson and he served until 2012. He was instrumental in overseeing the implementation of the Psychopharmacology Training/Prescriptive Authority Application Committee. He continues to serve as a member on this committee.

In August 2016, Dr. Thompson received The Major Caraveo National Service Award from the American Psychological Association. It honors a medical/prescribing psychologist who has made significant contributions in public service with underserved populations.

Esteemed Speakers and Contributors:

Dr. Francisco Alatorre

Dr. Francisco Alatorre is an Assistant Professor in the Criminal Justice Department in the College of Arts and Sciences. He directs the Master of Criminal Justice Program. Prior to immigrating to the United States, Francisco practiced law in Mexico, and this informs his research on undocumented immigrant women and youth, including how their identity creates barriers to obtaining legal status. He also conducts research on homelessness, tent cities, victimization of vulnerable populations and borderland concerns. Dr. Alatorre earned his doctorate in Justice Studies and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University in 2011. He taught as a lecturer in the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology at ASU before joining the faculty at New Mexico State University.

District Attorney Mark D’Antonio, J.D.

Mark D’Antonio is the District Attorney of the Third Judicial District of New Mexico. He was elected by the citizens of Doña Ana County to begin his term in January 2013 and reelected in 2016 to serve a second term beginning in January 2017. As DA, Mark is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer and Prosecutor for the county, where he manages a budget of $23 million and a staff of 70 employees. DA D’Antonio has been an FBI Special Agent in Washington, D. C. and an Attorney/Advisor to the U. S. Department of Justice in the Office of Intelligence and Policy Review under Attorney General Janet Reno. He came to New Mexico in 1997 to work as a trial attorney for the U. S. Attorney, District of New Mexico. He was in private practice when elected DA. He earned his BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Maryland, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore.

Ida D’Antonio

Ida D’Antonio is a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and she has been with the bureau for the past 20 years. She is assigned to the Violent Crimes unit, but Agent D’Antonio’s specialty is Human Trafficking and Crimes Against Children cases. In 2009, she formed the New Mexico Human Trafficking working group for the purpose of educating and training the community to recognize the signs of trafficking. Agent D’Antonio serves on the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, which targets and prosecutes child predators. Ida began her law enforcement career as an Adult Probation Officer in Dallas, Texas and went on to become a Department of Public Safety Officer at the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the Criminal Justice Department in the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University.

John “Mitch” Fowler

Mitch Fowler is an Assistant Professor at the Creative Media Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University. His production experience spans over 300 feature-length, documentary, short, and student films, including the Academy Award-nominated documentary Murderball. Mitch is currently in production on the feature-length documentary series Labeled, which endeavors to inspire and educate through the sharing of personal and intimate stories of people living with mental illness. As a professor, his teaching focus is on cinematography and production, with an emphasis on lighting for mood and emotion. Mitch’s philosophy is to not only teach concepts and techniques, but to develop the student filmmaker as a whole by helping students understand how they can apply concepts to things outside filmmaking, and bring their outside lives into their world as filmmakers. Professor Fowler earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama, where he also played football for the Crimson Tide. He earned his M.F.A. in Film Production from Florida State University. 

Sergeant Roberto Gutierrez

Las Cruces Police Department Sergeant Roberto Gutierrez serves the City of Las Cruces as a Traffic Sergeant, Grants Coordinator, Lead Standardized Field Sobriety Test/Driving While Under the Influence Instructor, and the Mobile Data Terminal Coordinator. He received the Chief’s Letter of Recognition award for his work on the Hostage Negotiation Team. Roberto was a Drug Abuse Recognition Education (DARE) instructor between 2006 and 2012. Sergeant Gutierrez received his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from New Mexico State University in 2015. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Criminal Justice, also from NMSU.

Geraldine January

Geraldine “Gerrie” January is Clinical Nurse Specialist with 40 years of experience in health care. The majority of her professional career has been spent working in various communities with adults who have serious mental health and substance abuse issues. Gerrie retired from professional nursing last year. Since then, she has been spending her time pursuing certification to teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction through the University of Massachusett’s School of Medicine’s Center for Mindfulness. She offers an eight-week class locally. Ms. January has worked part-time as a Sexual Assault Examiner at La Piñon and as a Home Care Hospice Nurse at Mesilla Valley Hospice. She has been Registered Nurse since 1975, holds a Master’s degree in Community Health Nursing from the University of Connecticut, and earned a certificate as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Psychiatric/Mental Nursing.

Wil Kilroy

Wil Kilroy is a professor and Department Head of the Theatre Arts Department in the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University. He is Managing Director of the Southwest Theatre Company in residence at NMSU. Wil also holds Professor Emeritus status at the University of Southern Maine. He’s worked nationally as a director and actor in plays and television. Wil’s roles in plays range from Steve in Becky’s New Car to Laertes in Hamlet, and he has appeared in the television series All My Children and Babylon Five. As the co-founder of the National Michael Chekhov Association, Wil has presented nationally and internationally on Chekhov’s acting method. He was awarded the Kennedy Center bronze medallion for Achievement in Theatre Education in 2014. Professor Kilroy earned his BFA from the University of Rhode Island and his MFA from the University of Illinois. 

Lieutenant Colonel Jeremiah O. Klomp

LTC Jeremy Klomp is the Commander of Air Force ROTC, Detachment 505, and Aerospace Studies Department Head in the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University. As an officer in the U. S. Air Force, initially trained in the Space and Missile career field, Jeremy has served and commanded in North Dakota; White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico; and in the Asia-Pacific region in China and Taiwan. He achieved the level of lieutenant colonel in 2013 while serving as a U. S. Air Attaché to Taiwan, representing the USAF and being the chief advisor to the Taiwanese Ambassador. At the conclusion of this tour, he decided to return to New Mexico with his wife Tamara and five children. LTC Klomp holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology from the USAF Academy in Colorado, and two master’s degrees – an International MBA from the University of Hong Kong in Shanghai, China and a Master of Military Operational Art and Science degree from the USAF Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. 

Amy Lanasa

Amy Lanasa is a digital filmmaking professor and Department Head of the Creative Media Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University. She is the recipient of two major university awards: the Patricia Christmore Faculty Teaching Award and Donald C. Roush Award for Teaching Excellence. Amy is an award-winning play and screen writer whose plays have been produced across the country. Her screenplay When you Marry the Man … received a first place award from the Southwest Writers Association. Amy’s play, The Iris Incident, received a first place award at play festival in South Carolina in 2012. Professor Lanasa received her MA in Theatre Studies and MFA in Film and Professional Writing from the Film School at Florida State University.

Kwanshun “Sherwin” Lau

Sherwin Lau is a digital filmmaking assistant professor in the Creative Media Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University. He has worked with other CMI professors producing local community outreach films including Labeled, on mental illness. Sherwin has also worked on independent features, shorts, documentaries, music videos, and commercials across the globe. He earned his MFA from Florida State University.

Chief Stephen Lopez

Stephen Lopez is Chief of Police for the New Mexico State University Police Department where he has been an employee for the last 29 years. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, and has expertise in police use of force, public relations and emergency management. Chief Lopez has instructed at numerous regional and national conferences, as well as several international webinars. He served on the Governor’s Campus Safety Task Force, chaired one of its subcommittees and evaluated emergency plans of institutions across the state. Chief Lopez is a member of numerous professional organizations including international associations of Chiefs of Police and Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. A teacher at heart, Stephen has also been a College Assistant Professor in the Criminal Justice Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as in the Public Health Sciences Department in the College of Health and Social Services. He holds a BA in Psychology and Bachelor of Criminal Justice, both from the College of Arts and Sciences at NMSU. Stephen earned his Master’s in Strategic Planning for Critical Infrastructures from the University of Washington. 

Ross Marks

Ross Marks is a digital filmmaking Assistant Professor for the Creative Media Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University. He is the Executive Director of the Las Cruces International Film Festival. Ross is currently working with two other CMI professors on the documentary series on mental illness Labeled. He frequently collaborates with CMI Senior Fellow Mark Medoff including the feature-length film Homage, for which Ross received a Best Director award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2015, he received another Best Director award at the Southern Arizona Film Festival for Princess, a short film that was a semi-finalist in the Academy Award Live Action Short category, among other awards. Professor Marks earned a BA from NMSU 1990, then he went to become one of the youngest graduates of the prestigious American Film Institute Directing Program, from which he earned his MFA in 1994. 

Bobbi Marsh, LMHC

Bobbi Marsh is the Military Program Director at Peak Behavioral Health in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Bobbi is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor. Her specialties include military and veterans, children and adolescents, geriatrics and eating disorders. She is trained in Dialectical and Cognitive Behavior Therapies, and treatments for individuals suffering from trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder. Ms. Marsh received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Minnesota State University at Mankato, and her Master’s degree in Counseling from Webster University in Missouri. 

Matt Mercer

Matt Mercer is the Outreach Coordinator for the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope, a non-profit that serves the homeless and near homeless in Doña Ana County. He brings his personal experience to his role as a Case Manager for the non-profit. Matt was living in central Pennsylvania when he survived a hate crime, which led to him losing everything, including his home. Before moving to Las Cruces, Matt experienced homelessness in New York City, Holland, Southern California, New Orleans and Miami. He helped to found the Camp Hope program, a tent city for the homeless. Matt lived there as a homeless resident and managed it for the first two years. No longer homeless, he helps oversee Camp Hope, and conducts community outreach to educate people about the work of the non-profit. 

Micah Pearson

Mental health advocate Micah Pearson is the Vice President of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Doña Any County affiliate as well as serving as liaison to the state board. NAMI is a grassroots mental health organization that offers education, advocacy, and support to those affected by mental illness, as well as the community. Micah also serves on the NAMI National board as the New Mexico Consumer Council Representative and chair of the Advocacy Committee. He moved to Las Cruces from Washington, D.C. where he had a 20-year career in Information Technology and Project Management, to reflect and redirect his focus, before embarking on a career in art and becoming a mental health advocate. His diagnosis with a nearly life-long serious mental health condition, gives him an intimate familiarity with situations associated with mental disorders such as hospitalization, arrest, and detention. He uses his personal story and prior career skills to affect change and help others access higher standards of care. 

JT Perez

JT Perez is an advocate for the transgender community and serves on the board of Equality New Mexico, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy and civil rights organization. He has played a part in creating two local transgender support groups and co-presents “Transgender 101s” in the Mesilla Valley. JT lives with a mental-health disability and shares his story through “In Our Own Voice” presentations, held by National Alliance on Mental Illness. To be clear, being transgender is not a mental health disorder. However, many people from the LGBTQ community have mental health conditions due to a lifetime of exposure to messages of intolerance, not only in their homes but also in schools, workplaces, churches and media. JT’s recovery story includes everything from hospitalization to support groups. Through education, he hopes to break the stigma of mental health disabilities.

Dr. Beth Pollack

Dr. Beth Pollack, a Distinguished Achievement Professor of Languages and Linguistics, has served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the College of Arts and Sciences since 2011. She is a graduate of the Ohio State University, C.W. Post Center of Long Island University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures. She has been at New Mexico State University since 1988, and served as Academic Department Head of Languages and Linguistics from 1997 to 2007. She also served twice as the Director of Graduate Studies for the Spanish MA Program. Dr. Pollack was on the Faculty Senate for six years. She also served on the College of Arts and Sciences Planning Committee and College Faculty Affairs Committee. Her research areas are contemporary Latin American minority fiction and literary translation. In June 2010, she was a resident artist at the Banff International Literary Translation Centre, the only residency program for literary translators in North America.

Dr. Satyapriya Rao

Dr. Satya Rao is Professor, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, and Graduate Public Health Certificate Program Coordinator in the Department of Public Health Sciences. In addition to teaching she is involved in research and service/community engagement initiatives focused on violence, mental health, and suicide in communities of color, rural, and border communities. Through her collaborative service and community engagement effort she has mentored many students and guided them to recognize the importance of community engagement. She co-founded the Southern New Mexico Suicide Prevention and Survivors’ Support Coalition in 2011 to raise awareness, educate, and support families dealing with suicide.  She served as chair of the New Mexico Injury Prevention Coalition and as Co-President of New Mexico Public Health Association (NMPHA) until April 2016.  She is the current chair of the Las Cruces City Mayor’s task-force on suicide prevention. She is the PI on two funded projects, one from NCAA on addressing binge-drinking among undergraduate college students and the second from Con Alma Health Foundation on public health education and advocacy among youth to promote policy change. 

Dr. Harry D. Silsby

Dr. Harry Silsby is a psychiatrist and Vice President of Medical Services of Strategic Behavioral Services, the parent company of Peak Behavioral Health in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. A Vietnam veteran and retired Colonel of the U. S. Army Medical Corps, Dr. Silsby was once stationed at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. He has served as a medical director at multiple civilian psychiatric hospitals.

Dr. Dario Silva

Dario Silva is the Program Director of the Employee Assistance Program at New Mexico State University. For the past 15 years, he has consulted and counseled faculty and staff dealing with organizational and behavioral health issues. Prior to his current position, Dr. Silva spent 10 years as a clinical mental health counselor at the NMSU Student Counseling Center. He is particularly interested in addressing civility and wellbeing in the workplace. Dario believes that in today’s face-paced technological society, we have lost the spirit of connecting with one another on a person-to-person level, thus losing the art of treating one another with dignity and loving kindness. It’s his goal to help others wake up and begin creating healthy interactions. 

Dr. Laura Thompson

Dr. Laura Thompson is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology.  She received her Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati, and her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  Following that, she was a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education in Berlin, Germany.  She has served on the faculty at NMSU since 1989.  Her research areas include:  neuroendocrine functioning and its impact on infant learning and maternal-infant synchrony; lifespan development of multi-modal language comprehension; and, stress and its implications for face-to-face language understanding.  She has authored over 40 scientific articles and chapters, and is the winner of numerous awards for faculty achievement.  Dr. Thompson has been the recipient of several grants from the NIH and the NSF, totaling over 3 million dollars.  She is director of the Mother-Infant Laboratory at NMSU.

©2005 NMSU Board of Regents - Legal Information - Search - NMSU Home - Organ Mountain photo by Mike Groves
view photo