Sandra Mathews, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Sandra Mathews, Ph.D.
Professor of History
Indigenous History, Borderlands, Latin America, and U.S. West/Western Women's History
Office location

Old Main 303

Office hours


The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.
– A. A. Milne


Ph.D.: U.S. West and Latin American History, University of New Mexico, 1998
M.A.: Latin American Studies (History and Political Science), University of New Mexico, 1988

Languages: Spanish
I have also studied Portuguese (fluency), Russian, German


Renee Laegreid and Sandra Mathews, Eds., Women on the North American Plains (Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2012): Honor Award for Anthology, Nebraska Center for the Book, 2012

Richard Melzer, Robert Torrez, and Sandra Mathews, A History of New Mexico Since Statehood (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2012): Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá Award, Historical Society of New Mexico, 2012

American Indians in the Early West (ABC-CLIO, 2008)

Between Breaths: A Teacher in the Alaskan Bush (University of New Mexico Press, 2006)

Everything You Need to Know About Your History Course (Longman Publishers, 2000)

Courses taught

New Mexico History
Comparative Borderlands History
Indigenous History / Topics in Indian History: Red Power and Indigenous Activism in the 1960s
US West / Women of the US West
Environmental History

Latin American History/World
Founding of the Americas (Spain, France, Russia)
Intro to Latin America
Revolutions in Latin America
History of Cuba
History of Mexico
Biography (Settler Colonialism, Pirates, Indigenous/Red Power Leaders, Gender in the West)
World Civilization

United States
US to 1877
Nebraska History

Interdisciplinary Courses (Biology/Psychology/History)
* Aldo Leopold
* John Muir
* Rachel Carson
* "Doing the Environment": Visions & Ventures 2001

Professional and community affiliations, certifications and awards


[Recent only]

Nominated for Margaret J. Prouty Faculty Teaching Award, 2022

John Topham and Susan Redd Butler Off-Campus Faculty Research Award (Brigham Young University), 2021-2022, 2017-2018, and 2010-2011 

Ameritas Faculty Fellowship, 2017-2018 (and three other times)

Nebraska Wesleyan Advisor of the Year Award, 2016

Nebraska Wesleyan Scholar Award, 2015-2016

Scholar Award, 2010-2011, New Mexico State Historian/Historical Society of New Mexico



When Not Teaching:
I love to travel, visit family, camp, hike/walk, kayak, do photography, research and write, golf, draw--anything outside. I am also an avid triathlete for fun.

Coached by REDS Tri Team (2012-present)
BASE Ambassadors Team (2021-present)
Cupcake Cartel Team (2021-present)
Blue70 Ambassador Team (2020-Present)
ORR Factory Cycling Ambassador Team (2020-Present)
Honey Stingers Sponsorship (2015-present)
OGIO Advisory Team/Ambassador (2014-2017, program terminated)

Women's No-Drop Ride Leader
Lincoln Bike Rack's no-drop beginner and back-to-cycling women's summer ride coordinator (2016-2020, rides ended during COVID)


I am devoted to a healthy mind and healthy body. I am very goal-oriented, and I choose to research and write because I choose to be active in my field. I train for Triathlons because I want to remain physically healthy, as well. One must have both!. To date, I have completed dozens of sprint triathlons, several Olympic triathlons, a Half Ironman and 2 Half Ironman relays, dozens of 5ks and 10ks, several Half Century rides, and several half marathons.