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Dr. Irene Blea to be guest speaker at Luna graduation

Dr. Irene Blea

Dr. Irene Isabel Blea, a New Mexico native with a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Colorado-Boulder, will be the guest speaker at this year’s Luna Community College graduation. The Luna graduation is scheduled for 10 a.m. on May 11 at the Media Arts Auditorium.

Dr. Blea retired as a tenured, full professor and chairperson of Mexican American Studies at California State University-Los Angeles. She is the author of seven sociology textbooks, over 30 articles, four poetry chapbooks, one play and four novels. Dr. Blea’s work has been adopted for university classroom use in the social and behavioral sciences as well as American literature. Two of her textbooks, “Toward a Chicano Social Science” and “La Chicana” (Greenwood Press) are designated classics in the field of race and gender studies. Dr. Blea was the first female chairperson of the National Association of Chicano Studies in the 1980s and a regional representative to that organization for several years from the state of Colorado.

Dr. Blea’s “Suzanna” is a trilogy rooted in the people and stories of northern New Mexico. In 2015 her book, “Daughters of the West Mesa,” based on the discovery of 11 women and an unborn fetus found buried west of Albuquerque, was selected Best of Albuquerque (by ABQ the Magazine) and has been instrumental in keeping the unsolved serial killing in the public eye. Dr. Blea was listed as one of the Top 10 Latino authors in the United States in 2014. She now researches the subject of sex trafficking, writes daily, maintains a strong online presence via her blog and on Facebook, and is a featured speaker at conferences, universities and annual meetings.

Dr. Blea is a New Mexico Humanities Council Scholar who also enjoys working in her yard, growing a large collection of iris, lilies, succulents and cacti. Her next book in progress is titled “Eeré with Spirit” and is about her life story, which originated in northern New Mexico. Dr. Blea has presented her work in Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany, China and Israel. She also has readers in England, New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain and the Philippines.