EL PASO, Texas -- The late Karen Trujillo, superintendent for Las Cruces Pubilc Schools, not only left behind a legacy for the school district but one at New Mexico State University as well.
Trujillo, a graduate of NMSU for her bachelor's, master's and PhD, was instrumental in starting several programs and initiates for her alma matter.
In 2015, Trujillo helped develop the 'Educators Rising' New Mexico chapter in the NMSU College of Education. The organizations works on increasing the number of education majors and supports retention.
The following year, Trujillo organized the 'STEM Outreach Alliance Research,' or SOAR, now known as the 'Southwest Outreach Academic Research Evaluation & Policy Center.'
NMSU said the lab serves as the evaluator for grants and projects and one of the biggest projects they work on is the annual teacher shortage report, which Trujillo began with the help of NMSU students.
Germain Degardin, senior projects specialist with SOAR, was hired by Trujillo before she became New Mexico's state public education secretary. He told ABC-7 that Trujillo made people feel special.
"Whenever you were in the same room with her, you would feel much stronger," he said.
One of Trujillo's other major accomplishments with the university was developing "Math Snacks," a website created by NMSU game designers as a tool to help make math more accessible for young students -- just of the ways she influenced education.
Trujillo eventually became interim associate dean of research in the College of Education before becoming NMPED secretary.
NMSU, along with Trujillo's family, have developed a memorial scholarship in her name.