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The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos is proud to announce that UNM-LA students Matthew Early and Bethany Stephens have recently been named to the 2008 New Mexico All-State Academic Team.Team members were recognized at a ceremony held Jan. 23 at the State Capitol in Santa Fe. New Mexico team members are eligible to compete for the USA Today-sponsored All-USA Academic Team.The honor recognizes academic achievement by students attending community colleges and encourages students to maintain their hard work and dedication. A selection committee of 12 individuals including previous All-USA academic winners, university scholars and the former executive editor of the USA Today newspaper will choose the All-USA applicants.There will be 20 winners. They are chosen from more than 600 nominated applicants from different universities and colleges across the nation. Those chosen have shown initiative, leadership, focused attention to their studies, and shown involvement within the university and local community.Early, a life-long resident of Los Alamos, has been an honor student at UNM-LA since fall 2004, maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher. In May 2007 he was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society for students attending two-year colleges.Since his induction, Early has devoted his energies to helping communicate the organization’s agenda to students and the community.Early is employed by the Mesa Public Library. He divides his time between youth services and circulation.Early also participates as a volunteer in children’s programs at the library. He is also active in the Los Alamos Little Theater.Early said he chose UNM-Los Alamos because of its high quality educational opportunities.“I decided on UNM-LA for it’s small class sizes and focused degree programs,” he said. UNM-LA is a quiet, focused environment in which he could concentrate on his academic program, he added.Early’s longtime interest in Dr. Carl Sagan recently led him to create a tribute website dedicated to Sagan and his work.“The overall goal of my site is to state that learning is an enjoyable as well as life-changing activity,” Early said.Stephens is the president of the Beta Zeta Chi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at UNM-Los Alamos.She is an honor student with a GPA of 4.02. Stephens was the winner of the National 2007 Case Study Challenge and will graduate from UNM-LA with an associate’s degree in studio art in Spring 2008 and plans to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She has a strong interest in ceramics.Stephens is employed as an office manager and Safety Coordinator at Integrated Electric and Utility.Conducting her winning Case Study Challenge project on global warming was the most fulfilling aspect of her academic career so far, Stephens said.“Conducting the case study was intellectually stimulating because creativity and critical thinking skills were needed to finalize each aspect of it,” she said. Stevens conducted research on politics, law, natural science, geography and many other subjects to fully understand her topic and come up with unique solutions to the effects of global warming on society.The 2008 All-USA Academic Team will be chosen in March and will be featured in USA Today on April 7. More than $40 million in scholarships are designated exclusively to All-State Team members from a number of sources.