Laurel Lampela has been a member of the NMVM Board of Directors since 2019 and is the Editor of The Messenger, the newsletter of the New Mexico Veterans Memorial. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1975 and teaching high school art for several years, she was accepted to Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base-Medina Annex, Texas in 1979. Her first assignment as a Second Lieutenant was as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright- Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. After completing that two-year assignment and promotion to First Lieutenant, she was transferred to Kirtland Air Force Base as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the Air Force Contract Management Division and the Air Force Weapons Lab.
Following that assignment, Laurel entered the Air Force Reserves so that she could again work as an art teacher and attend graduate school. She completed another seven years in the Air Force Reserves and her last assignment was serving as the Individual Mobilization Augmentee for the Chief of Public Affairs at the 2750th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. During that time, she completed Squadron Officer School and was promoted to Captain. She served a total of 10 years in the U.S. Air Force including three years active duty and seven years in the Reserves. She received a PhD in Art Education from the Ohio State University in 1990 and taught art education for 28 years at three universities including the University of New Mexico, Cleveland State University in Ohio, and Marshall University in West Virginia. Laurel is Professor Emerita at the University of New Mexico and lives with her spouse, Helen, and their dog, Parker, in Albuquerque.