Focus on Faces
Recruiter Becomes Hispanic Voice of NMJC
4/30/2011 8:15:35 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. Natalia De Jesus, a bilingual Recruiter whose experience at New Mexico Junior College has helped fulfill her personal and educational goals, is leading the crusade to help others in her community find the same success in their lives.
She is definitely the right person for the job. Natalia has spoken -- in both Spanish and English -- to thousands of students and their parents, whether it's giving presentations at local organizations, at schools and college fairs throughout New Mexico and Texas, or on Facebook responding to inquiries about NMJC.
According to Dr. Michele Clingman, Dean of Enrollment Management, Natalia is not only extremely intelligent and perceptive, but also ideally suited for reaching the Hispanic community. "Natalia's personal experience has provided her with multiple perspectives that allow her to connect with a wide range of people. Numerous students and their parents specifically request Natalia because of her unique understanding of their situation. She's an amazing young woman with the perfect aptitude and heart for helping others achieve. Hers is a voice that our students -- Hispanic or English -- trust and genuinely connect with."
This spring, through the assistance and support of KLMA-FM Radio and Hermilo and his son Marco Ojeda (another NMJC graduate), Natalia has begun a monthly radio broadcast in Spanish to help get the word out about the many opportunities NMJC has to offer. Here is her story.
From sunny San Diego, California, to windy Lovington, New Mexico, there were many adjustments I needed to make during my adolescent and teen years, such as new schools, new friends, and a completely new lifestyle. One thing that never changed, however, was my ambition to receive a higher education and succeed in life.
After graduating from Lovington High School, my goal was to attend a four-year institution as far from home as possible. Being a first generation college student and coming from a traditional Mexican household where the women usually are raised to be housewives, I was unaware of how to obtain that dream. I knew my parents wouldn't be able to pay for the high tuition, much less the cost of room and board at a university, so I reluctantly decided to take their advice and start at NMJC. A little disappointed that my dream seemed to be stalled, I quickly realized that staying home and attending NMJC would be the best decision I'd ever make.
Along my journey at NMJC, I became a student worker in the Recruiting department, gave birth to my son, and met my future husband, a Puerto Rican baseball player recruited by the NMJC T-Birds. After graduating in the spring of 2007 with an Associate of Arts & Science degree, I began working full-time in the Registrar's Office. While working full-time at NMJC and raising my son (a full-time job all in its own) I managed to transfer to Eastern New Mexico University (without ever having to leave NMJC) to become, what else?-a full-time student.
My dream was back on track, and thanks to the online and ITV courses taken at NMJC, I graduated from ENMU in Spring 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree. I then took another step forward and applied for-and was selected to-a Student Recruiter position at NMJC. I started in the summer of 2010.
Today, I'm continuing my higher education dreams right here at NMJC by applying to the University of New Mexico to begin earning my master's degree through the new University Center located upstairs in Pannell Library here on campus.
I know that the education and great opportunities I've discovered at NMJC are the main reasons why I feel so successful and enjoy my position so much as a Recruiter for the college. I am extremely appreciative for the many opportunities for success that NMJC has provided for me, and nowadays, one of my primary goals is to help students with similar backgrounds so that they too are on the right track to a better life. It's my mission to get the word out that higher education and success are available to everyone. I know it's true-because I'm fortunate enough to be living the dream.