As a nontraditional student, Aida Nevarez Jurado wanted to be a role model for her two children. She has surely achieved that goal, graduating as the valedictorian for the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus class of 2023 with an associate of science.
When Jurado came to New Mexico 10 years ago, she already had a bachelor’s degree in psychology from a college in Mexico, where she was born and raised.
“I was trying to transfer the credits, but they didn’t. It was frustrating,” Jurado said. “Because of those obstacles, I couldn’t go right to work. So I had to start everything again. I want to work here and meet all the requirements.
“I want to be a good model for my children and show them, no matter the obstacles, we can still pursue our goals.”
Graduating with a 4.26 grade point average, Jurado said she is continuing to work towards her bachelor’s degree with a plan to work in the health care industry when she is done.
Jurado graduated with honors, and is a member of the Beta Zeta Zeta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges.
She said the biggest struggle she had was language, since English isn’t her first language.
“Some classes are just tough, like chemistry and anatomy and physiology,” she said. “Probably the science classes are the ones I enjoyed the most, though; they gave me the most motivation.”
Jurado enjoyed her time at the Valencia campus, with it’s “excellent professors and tutors. Everybody who has been there in the years I’ve been there have been kind and willing to help. All you had to do was ask and they would look for whatever you need.”
Graduating at the top of her class took a lot of discipline and dedication, she said.
“Sometimes, things are bigger than motivation. Everybody has bad days. Discipline is what woke me up to continue and move forward.”
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.