Board of Directors

Ken Stinnett, President

Ken Stinnett has lived in the Chihuahuan Desert for the past half-century. Ken is a photographer and wildlife biologist and has served on SWEC's Board of Directors for 20 years in various capacities.

Elaine Hampton, Secretary

Elaine M. Hampton, Ph.D., has a long career as an educator and researcher with experiences on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border: researching education in factory communities in Mexico; Associate Professor and Department Chair at the University of Texas at El Paso; middle school science teacher in Las Cruces; environmental education coordinator for the waste management education program at NMSU; author; program evaluator; owner of STEM Education Associates; and a short stint teaching sixth graders in an abandoned school bus on the outskirts of Cuidad Juárez. She also serves on the board of New Mexico Envionrmental Education Association and Weaving for Justice -- and is a hobby beekeeper. 

Holly Piasente, Treasurer

Holly was born and raised in California, living in the San Francisco Bay Area until moving to Las Cruces in 2002. She was employed for over thirty five years in the pharmeceutical and vision-care industry, as an international accountant and controller. Holly became involved with the Southwest Environmental Center as a volunteer in 2012. She has since continued volunteering as gala committee chair person for A Wild Night for Wildlife fundraiser. She joined the Board of Directors in May, 2016 and was then appointed treasurer in November of that year. Additionally, Holly is Secretary of the Board for Southern New Mexico Pride and has been a director since 2014. She has three children, a son who resides in Las Cruces, a son and daughter living in California, and four grandchildren. She shares a home with four rescue dogs and promotes rescue of all animals, both wild and domestic.

Tom Burton

Dr. Tom Burton is a retired former Department Head of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NMSU. He has worked in the aerospace industry and has spent nearly four decades as a university faculty, including twenty years as an engineering department head at several universities. He is experienced in budgeting, fundraising, strategic planning, and career development of personnel. He is an avid mountain and desert backpacker and is interested in wildlife and land issues in the West. 

Mona Trempe

Mona R. Trempe, Ph.D., recently retired to Las Cruces after ten years at the National Institutes of Health. Her responsibilities included managing review of grant applications for scientific research projects, as well as research training and student development programs focused on increasing participation of members of underrepresented groups. Prior to her government service, she had a two decade academic career as a Professor of Biochemistry at a medical school, where she taught and managed an active research laboratory. She is experienced in grant preparation, scientific and technical writing, editing, public speaking, and meeting organization. Mona is a life-long gardener and amateur bird watcher. She has a strong interest in conservation and wildlife preservation. 

Shelley Armitage

Shelley Armitage has lived in the El Paso/Las Cruces area for twenty years. She is professor emerita at the University of Texas at El Paso where she taught environmental literature and environmental writing working with Ph.D. students in the Environmental Science program. As author of eight books and numerous scholarly articles, her life-long advocacy for the natural world is reflected in issues of place, landscape, gender, the arts and ecology. Past executive director of the New Mexico Humanities Council, she helped develop environmental awareness programs across the state. Her teaching career provided opportunities to explore the natural world in Portugal , Eritea, Poland, Finland, Hungary and several regions of the U.S including Hawai'i.