UNM HEP Personnel / Personal de HEP en UNM

Ivan Olay

Sr Program Manager (Director)

Phone: 505 277-6084
Email: iolay@unm.edu

Ivan Olay was born in Mexico City, where both of his parents were born and raised. At the age of seven, his parents and two siblings migrated to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in search of a new life. Like most immigrants with little resources, they struggled for many years. Although from a low-income background, their lives were rich with struggles and triumphs. His father’s persistence to succeed was imbedded in him even though he realized those lessons later in life. His mother’s unconditional love was unyielding even when he “rebelled.” In the fall of 1994, Ivan became a Lobo and graduated from the Anderson School of Management in 2002, and he earned his Executive Master of Business Administration in May 2023.

Brenda Ramirez

Student Success Specialist

Phone: 505 277-5020
Email: byr@unm.edu

Brenda Ramirez is the advisor for the High School Equivalency Program at UNM, she was raised in Hatch, New Mexico. She attended UNM in 2012, to continue her education, with the help of the College Assistance Migrant Program. She obtained her Chichana/o Studies and Spanish degrees from UNM in 2016. Brenda worked as a college transition coordinator in South Valley Academy Charter School. Brenda found her passion to serve in the education system as she helped navigate high school students through the college application process. She now continues to serve and advise students that have had educational barriers, and work hard to obtain their high school equivalency diploma through the UNM HEP program. As a seasonal farmworker, she understands the value of her education, and the commitment she has to advocate for farmworking communities.

Samantha "Sammi" Williams

Program Coordinator for CAMP/HEP

Phone: 505 277-0276
Email: skwilliams@unm.edu

Sammi graduated from CNM with an Associates in Liberal arts in 2014. She loves working with CAMP and HEP helping students get the education that they need and want. She is going to UNM for her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and plan to also receive her MACCT from UNM, then eventually to get her CPA. She loves helping people and bringing joy any time she gets the chance, and uses desserts to accomplish this!

Laura Shifflette Hughes



Phone: 505 620-7845
Email: lshifflette@unm.edu

Laura Shifflette Hughes recently joined the UNM HEP department as an Instructor. She was born and raised in Charleston, SC, graduating from the College of Charleston with a degree in Spanish with certification to teach. Teaching is what she has done in the Charleston County Public School System. She found her passion while working summers for the Migrant Education Program as an out of school youth instructor, as well as educating younger grade levels in reading and math. She left her home of high humidity and hurricanes to follow her other passion, New Mexico. The two merged perfectly with the acceptance of this position. She is very excited to bring her experience to the program and hopeful to be considered a true resident of New Mexico one day, one green chile at a time.

Jarett Bigej



Phone: 505 620-7845
Email: jhbigej@unm.edu

Jarett hails from New Mexico as he grew up in the Land of Enchantment. He graduated from UNM with a degree in Spanish and International Studies in 2014 but then left New Mexico to travel the world. He has since traveled to over 30 countries, spending extensive time in Ecuador, Austria, England, Vietnam, Spain, Turkey, Mexico and Costa Rica. In 2022 Jarett received his MA in International Relations at Marmara University in Istanbul. Jarett loves cultural exchanges and connecting with others with language at the center. Jarett considers himself an eternal learner and loves to share this passion with his students worldwide.

Jarett viene de Nuevo México ya que creció en la Tierra del Encanto. Se graduó de la UNM con una licenciatura en español y estudios internacionales en 2014, pero luego se fue para viajar por el mundo. Desde entonces ha viajado a más de 30 países, pasando mucho tiempo en Ecuador, Austria, Inglaterra, Vietnam, España, Turquía, México y Costa Rica. En 2022, Jarett recibió su maestría en Relaciones Internacionales en la Universidad de Marmara en Estambul. Jarett ama los intercambios culturales y conectarse con otros con el lenguaje en el centro. Jarett se considera un aprendiz eterno y le encanta compartir esta pasión con sus alumnos por todo el mundo.