UNM Los Alamos

Our Instructors

Our Instructors

UNM-LA Community Education classes are taught by some of the area’s most talented academic scholars and practicing professionals, giving you an exceptional value for your community education dollar.

JEFF BENHAM is a freelance artist and creator of comics, among many other forms and genres of art. His work includes Peoplings, Forever All, The Salmonilla Chronicles, Huck, and Nance and Cenu. Jeff is a Board Member and Education Coordinator for New Mexico’s comics-focused non-profit, 7000 BC. And he has an Olympic Gold Medal in Art, which is just plain fun to say. 

MARIANA CIVALE is fluent in the Spanish language. She has taught various levels of Spanish for UNM-Los Alamos. 

LAUREL CONNER is a committed instructor and practitioner of yoga. She has taught yoga for UNM-Los Alamos Community Education for many years and has a dedicated following of students. 

MONIQUE DURHAM has a degree in music from the Conservatoire de Musique de Bordeaux, France and a B.A in Spanish literature from the University of Texas at El Paso. She retired from the University of New Mexico where she was an archivist at the Center for Southwest Research. From an early age, embroidery and fiber arts have been parts of Monique’s life. She learned to embroider from her Spanish and French aunts while spending her summers and holidays in her ancestral home in the Pyrénées. Her interest in New Mexico colcha embroidery began when she attended a colcha workshop at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology in Albuquerque and recognized the stitch and style she learned from her family. She has been stitching and researching the folk embroidery of New Mexico ever since. She has won several awards for her colcha embroidery and her work has appeared in the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta, a juried event, and has been featured in Spin Off magazine. 

VICTORIA ERHART has taught a variety of business skills classes at college campuses, including UNM-Los Alamos and Strayer University. 

SUSANNE HARRISON, award winning painter and printmaker, was driven from an early age to create: art, chaos, order, love, and ultimately a vibrant life. She has used her art to overcome adversity in her life, both in illness and in loss. Her studies at Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Rhode Island shaped her skills and earned her a bachelor’s degree in fine art. She has been teaching art classes privately since 2000. 

TERA K. KHALSA has studied and practiced Kundalini yoga for over 30 years. She is a legacy teacher, who studied directly under Yogi Bhajan, who brought Kundalini Yoga to the US. She is a Kundalini Research Institute (KRI) certified teacher and a teacher trainer in the Aquarian Trainer Academy. She teaches in Santa Fe, Los Alamos, and Española. 

PETER MURPHY, CFP®, has educated thousands of pre & post retirees on Social Security, Medicare, retirement planning, and other financial related classes. He currently teaches these classes at UNM-LA, Santa Fe Community College and other locations throughout Santa Fe. 

MELISSA RIEDEL-ESPINOZA is a Los Alamos native, having studied voice with Karolyn Coulter before attending UNM and getting her degree in Vocal Performance. She now studies with Donna McRae in Albuquerque. Melissa has taught voice privately in Los Alamos since 1999. In her studio, she focuses on healthy singing and piano playing, and helping singers to be confident and knowledgeable about their instruments.  

LEANNE SANCHEZ has been a water safety instructor in northern New Mexico for over 20 years. She holds certifications in Water Safety Instructor Trainer, Red Cross CPR/First Aid Instructor Trainer, Lifeguard Trainer, and Safety Training for Swim Coaches. She also holds past certifications in Aquatic Exercise and Arthritis Program Instructor.