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Student Orientation Summer 2013

Student Ambassador Cherice GonzalesStudents gathered excitedly into the Nick Salazar Center for the Fine Arts Thursday as President Nancy “Rusty” Barceló took the stage to welcome fresh faces to Northern New Mexico College.

“You are all going to play an important part in the reimagining of Northern New Mexico College,” Dr.Barceló said. “We’re onto something really exciting that each and every one of you are going to be a part of.”

Students that attended the orientation came from diverse backgrounds and walks of life, from recent high school graduates, to transfer students and returning students. 

Incoming freshman Louis Gonzales recently moved to the area from Los Angeles and is interested in pursuing a Nursing degree. Gonzales said he was impressed by the intimate environment and the level of personal attention given to students.

Seth Martinez, a transfer student from New Mexico State University is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in project management. Martinez said that Northern’s proximity to his employer in Los Alamos is allowing him to continue his education while developing his career and working towards his ultimate goal of attending law school.

The new students particularly appreciated the leadership of Northern’s student ambassadors who led campus tours, hosted discussions, and provided a positive presence throughout the event.

“I like having the privilege to talk to students and have a voice,” student ambassador and criminal justice student Cherice Gonzales said.  “When we help them, we give them a voice as well.”

Students also saw presentations about campus resources, attended workshops and had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with representatives from many of Northern’s programs and departments.

The afternoon concluded with a luncheon during which students interacted more intimately with faculty, staff, and their own peers.

A dedicated committee of faculty and staff from diverse departments, chaired by Academic Advisor Amparo Gidney, coordinated the event.

“This is one of our first impressions” Director of Institutional Advisement Kim MiLee said. “The whole point is to get students to feel comfortable, and that’s the feedback we received.” 

Friends and family members were also invited to participate and learn about the college.

“We want the community to know that we are extending an invitation to them on behalf of Northern,” MiLee said.  “We have some wonderful things going on here and we want people to know about them.”

Northern New Mexico College’s summer session begins Monday, June 3. For more information on Northern New Mexico College, visit

Story and photo by Stephanie J. Montoya