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Barela named NMSU’s Roberts Memorial Staff Award recipient

Release Date: 10 Nov 2022
Barela named NMSU’s Roberts Memorial Staff Award recipient

Every year, New Mexico State University presents the Stephen W. and Robert E. Roberts Memorial Staff Award to staff members who are dedicated and provide outstanding service to the university. Gena Barela, executive assistant for the vice chancellor and Strategic System Services, was named the 2021 recipient.

“When I got the call, I couldn’t believe it,” Barela said. “I’m honored and grateful for being recognized for doing what I love to do.”

Barela will receive the award at a ceremony from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 at Corbett Center Student Union. To RSVP for the ceremony, contact NMSU Training Specialist Jagan Butler at 575-646-7176 or The ceremony will also be available on Zoom at

Barela supports not only Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Ruth Johnston but also assists in many duties within the Strategic System Services departments, and the Chancellor’s office. 

“Without Gena, my last three years at NMSU would have been significantly less enjoyable,” Johnston said. “Gena is the best admin I’ve ever worked with over my 43 years in higher education – due to her kindness, smarts, proactivity, sense of humor, dedication and overall good person. She is active, interested in continuous improvement, loves to learn and do and is unafraid to give ideas. She’s a wonder.”

Barela has served the NMSU community in a variety of ways. She organized the chancellor’s office service projects, which included having NMSU staff write holiday letters to senior citizens in the community to brighten their holiday season.

“Gena is a pleasure to work with,” said Jon Weber, special assistant to vice chancellor. “Gena is always willing to assist with any task and she does this with pride to help us reach our operational goals at NMSU. There are many faces behind much of the work we do at NMSU and I can state much of this would not be accomplished without Gena Barela’s dedications to NMSU and Strategic System Services. NMSU could not have a more dedicated and deserving staff member of this award than Gena.”

Also nominated for the award were Victoria Bañuelos, Francisco Carreto-Parra, Adan Delval, Scott Field, John Kimmel, Jesslyn Langley, Trish Leyba, Sandra Lujan, Rebecca M. Martinez, Rejah Muhyi, Freddie Romero and Michael Wise. 

Established in 1983, the Roberts Memorial Staff Award is organized by NMSU’s Employee Council. 


NMSU photo by Josh Bachman

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