At UNM-Taos success is not just calculated in dollars, square footage, credit hours, enrollment numbers, telecom capability or bandwidth. It is measured by what our students take away with them from the UNM-Taos experience. Here is what a few of our most recent graduates had to say:
DAVID SANTOS, ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE IN THE SCIENCE OF PRE-NURSING
I’m from New York and Connecticut. My little boy and I have been in Taos for only three years. When my mother became ill with diabetes I developed an interest in the medical field; not just the nursing itself, but the commitment it takes to do that kind of work. The responsibility you have for people’s health care. It’s not an easy path to take. You have to be committed to succeeding and reaching your goals. Each step you take is hard, but that just makes you more determined to succeed. I started at TVI in Albuquerque and then transferred to UNM-Taos, and I found that the great thing about Taos is the atmosphere of learning—learning from each other. It has been worth every single day of the commitment.
DOLORES RUGELIO, GED IN SPANISH, VOLUNTEER TUTOR IN SPANISH
I have a daughter who is 22 years old who graduated in 2003, and she is my inspiration. I said to myself, if she can graduate, why can’t I do the same? I found out that UNM-Taos has a program for immigrants through the Literacy Center, so I got started and I graduated in record time! I am telling you that everyone can do it—one day at a time, one exam at a time. I volunteer at the Literacy Center now. If you need to get your GED in Spanish, ask for me.
MALE STUDENT, NAME WITHELD ON REQUEST, CERTIFICATE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION
I am a native of Taos—born here, graduated from Taos High in ’91. I started at Luna Community College, but I was discouraged. Then I came to UNM-Taos, and my grades started to improve. I love kids—I just like to see them learn, and after I get my bachelor’s in education I hope to work in the public schools so I can give back. We’re living in hard times. There are a lot of people in the world struggling now, barely making ends meet. Without education you’re just another number. Ask yourself, what are your strengths? What would you like to do? Start taking the basics, and take them seriously. And try never to give up on your dreams.
ANNETTE ARELLANO, ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE IN COMMUNICATION AND JOURNALISM
When I started at UNM-Taos I was seeking a human services degree. But one of my teachers, Bonnie Lee Black, saw something in my writing, something I didn’t realize that I had, so she submitted some stuff and it got published. I started writing more and more. I have met a lot of teachers who have given me resources, and my communications and journalism skills have helped me through the internet, through radio, through the local public access station and through advertising. I work with Tom Myers at Taos Local Television and he is very helpful. Now I am able to speak at workshops, and I can videotape events. I have met a holistic healer and a local shaman. We’ve done shows about chefs, artists, architects and politicians. And you know, when you have a camera in your hands, they give you a front row seat! What advice would I give to others? That’s what I do every day—I’m a work study in the enrollment office. I see a lot of new students coming in who are not real sure of themselves. I say, when opportunity knocks, get up off the couch and answer the door!
KRISTA CIBIS, BACHELOR OF UNIVERSITY STUDIES, FOCUS IN COMMUNICATIONS, SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY
I’m from Urbana Champagne, Illinois. I started college at Columbia, and now I’m completing my degree at UNM-Taos after 12 years in the workforce because I wanted to finally finish up my bachelor’s degree. To keep my focus on that goal, I had to make sacrifices. How did this commitment change my life? It changed it in that there is no life any more! No, seriously, it’s hard, but I have had the opportunity to get to know the professors, ask questions and interact with other students in a small classroom environment. The diversity within the diversity, I call it. I’ll meet people from a similar background but who have all had different experiences within that background, which, I think, gives me a much richer understanding. The diversity of age, experience and culture has been just a wonderful opportunity for me. That, along with the outstanding faculty, have helped me to make education a priority in my life.
VICKIE ALVAREZ, BACHELOR OF UNIVERSITY STUDIES, EMPHASIS IN SOCIOLOGY
In 1992 when I graduated from Taos High I wanted to get as far away as possible, so I went to New Mexico State. It didn’t work out. I moved back to Taos and after I had my kids I decided it was time to get started on something. In 2004 I got my associate’s in criminal justice, and now the BUS. It has been nice to do it all in Taos where my family is and not have to move away. It was a challenge, but that’s the way it is. Oh, it feels great to graduate. I’m relieved. I’m exhausted. I have a desire to learn and experience more, but you also have to be an example to the kids. I wanted them to see that a person can get an education no matter how old you are or when you do it. There are studies that show that kids whose parents have degrees are more likely to finish school themselves and be more productive. I don’t want to be working doing something I don’t like for the rest of my life, and I don’t want that for my kids, either. College life may not be for you. It wasn’t for me in the beginning. But you need to give it a chance.
ROBERTA VIGIL, MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP
“I’m a Taos High graduate, class of 1990. After high school I stayed at home for five years raising my young son, and in a way it’s because of him that I’m where I am today. I waited till he was in school before attending a post-secondary institution in order to get an education so I could support the two of us. I believe that everyone should at least look at the possibility of a college education. From my experience I know that that’s one thing that no one on this earth can take away from me—what’s in my mind and what I’ve accomplished here.
“An education stays with you forever.”