Focus on Faces: Veronica Welch
8/29/2011 11:59:34 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. At the age of 22, most college students are just graduating college and beginning entry-level careers. One 22-year-old NMJC graduate, however, is not only happy and successfully established in her profession, but also considers herself "extremely blessed" because of it and was able last year to begin buying her first home. Her name is Veronica Welch ('08), and she fully credits New Mexico Junior College for her good fortune.
Veronica was only a junior at Tatum High School in 2005 when she decided to enroll in the Cosmetology program through NMJC's dual credit program, and by the time she received her state license in 2008, she had already secured a "great" position at the prestigious jFair Salon in Hobbs. "It's pretty amazing," she said. "I get to work at an award-winning salon doing exactly what I wanted and was trained to do, all while making great money and enjoying a great clientele."
Veronica admits she is still surprised by the fact that all this cost her next to nothing. "I'd love to see the ratio of what I spent at NMJC compared to what I am earning now. The dual credit program is free for high school students, and NMJC's tuition is extremely affordable, not to mention all the scholarships they offer. So the big return on the very small investment I made at NMJC is phenomenal. Last year, I was able—at the age of 21—to begin buying a home rather than burning money on rent. I'm very financially cautious by nature," she said, "so it's awesome to know that I can support myself today with skills that will also take care of my future."
For Maria Vick, Coordinator and Professor of Cosmetology at NMJC, it was obvious early on that Veronica would be successful. "Veronica is a local girl who stayed local, although she could have succeeded anywhere in any big city. She's a remarkably talented young lady with a good head on her shoulders, a great work ethic, and a super good heart. She's incredibly sweet and kind, and I'm not surprised that clientele she had here at NMJC followed her when she graduated. She's not only beautiful inside and out, she's also such a solid, intelligent young lady that we invited her last year to sit on our 14-person Cosmetology Board. She's a great role model for our students and a perfect example of how you can be very successful at your own business."
I had an awesome time at NMJC, beginning with my teachers, who were fun and had such a good sense of humor. Form them, I learned about the essentials of cosmetology, but I also learned about having my own business, hosting events, providing service to the community, and about getting along and having a good time – even in a capacity class of 50-60 girls. In some ways, the instructors were like moms to us and wouldn't let us fall through the cracks, simply because they wanted to see us succeed.
I thought about living in a big city, but Lea County is perfect for me. Thanks to my job, I've gotten to travel to places like Austin, Chicago, and even SoHo in New York City. So instead of moving away, I continue to expand my education and bring back new ideas to Lea County. It's perfect for me at this point in time. I would tell anyone who's considering enrolling at NMJC to go ahead and do it, especially if you're not sure what you want to do. NMJC is extremely affordable, so take a year or so to find out what it is you like and what you're good at. It's a great place where you'll be well taken care of, learn a lot, and find what you're looking for. NMJC focuses on preparing you for a successful future, and fortunately for me, that's exactly what I found!
-- Veronica Welch