“So just how worried are you all about going to college?” UNM sophomore and Elementary Education major Izzy (Isabelle) Reeves asked.

This all-important question was directed to a conference session of approximately 50 future educators during the recent 9th Annual Educators Rising State Conference in Albuquerque.

Some nervous laughter followed from an audience of high school students from Logan, Carlsbad, Farmington, Santa Rosa, Ruidoso and cities throughout New Mexico. The UNM Educators Rising club aimed to turn that into confident answers.

This year’s state Educators Rising conference hosted over 400 students from throughout New Mexico at the Embassy Suites recently. The College of Education & Human Sciences (COEHS) and UNM’s Educators Rising chapter had the opportunity to engage and present to many of these attendees.

“Educators Rising is geared toward educational pathways, but is a program that teaches work and technical skills for the job market. I’m passionate about the Educators Rising program as it builds kids and leadership by practice theory,” State Director of Educators Rising Christine Reyes said.

With the theme of this year’s conference ‘Todos Unidos NM- Leap into Education’ UNM’s Educators Rising club focused on that leap into college life.

“I graduated with the same class of students in rural Colorado who I had started kindergarten with. I had never had to meet new people before coming to UNM,” Isaiah Zubia Soto, a UNM sophomore and presenter said.

Soto, Reeves, Mariel León-Lazcano, Andrés De Santiago and Adriana Archuleta shared advice on how to handle homesickness and a college workload, as well as recommendations for UNM campus resources to help future educators practice self-care and manage stress.

While a few students were unsure about their plans after graduation, others raised their hands to ask these five UNM Education students questions that ranged from whether pets are allowed in the dorms (yes, in some) to how to make friends on campus (join clubs and exchange social media info.) 

Advocacy and peer support are defining characteristics of the Educators Rising mission. 

“The goal of the UNM chapter of Educators Rising is to build a community where we can all support each other and have a place,” León-Lazcano said.  

The UNM Educators Rising club’s Leap Day presentation is the first of many initiatives planned to grow the profession of teaching in New Mexico, to connect to Ed Rising chapters across the country and New Mexico’s high schools. They also hope to present nationally on bilingual education and curriculum design. 

“Educators Rising chapters at UNM had existed previously, but ebbed and flowed with graduation and the unique nature of each incoming class,” club advisor Aaron Vogel said. 

Reeves started UNM as a freshman in fall of 2022 and dreamt of bringing Educators Rising back to UNM after taking first place in the 2022 National Educators Rising conference as a Cleveland High School student. Reeves and Vogel worked closely to reestablish Educators Rising as a UNM club, drafting a constitution and becoming officially chartered in September 2023.

UNM’s Educators Rising club is actively accepting members. Interested students should contact Izzy Reeves.