Nearly 2,000 students will earn their degrees from The University of New Mexico as part of the Fall Class of 2018 – each one with an inspirational story sure to inspire others. Their commencement celebration is the culmination of many years of hard work, perseverance and dedication to their studies, their university and their desire to better themselves.

For some, this is just a stepping stone in further academic studies. For others, this is the start of a new journey as they pursue careers in their chosen fields. For all of them, commencement is a moment to celebrate their achievement up to this point; and revel in the knowledge that they are now Lobos for Life.


Class inspires Sabrina Baca to take risk in theater

Student overcomes struggles to complete degree

It’s safe to say Sabrina Baca has worked hard towards her degree. Baca is a theater major receiving a Bachelor of Arts that took five-and-a-half years, switching her major, and three different campuses to complete. 

Sabrina Baca head shot
Sabrina Baca

Right out of high school in Belen, N.M., Baca wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. She was passionate about theater in high school, but she was told by her high school counselor that it was risky dedicating her life to something that didn’t necessarily promise a job. 

Baca decided to start community college studying communications for about two years. But studying communications made her feel even more lost than before. She then took a theater class just for the fun of it, and felt motivated and inspired from taking the course. Baca realized she wanted to take the risk and dedicate her life to theater.

For the full story visit, Class inspires Sabrina Baca to take risk in theater


Journalism fuels degree for Elizabeth Sanchez

Sanchez finds her passion through self-discovery

For many students at The University of New Mexico, college is a time for self-discovery and exploration. Many try to find their passion and work to realize the impact they want to make on the world. For Elizabeth Sanchez, she found her passion in journalism.

Elizabeth Sanchez head shot
Elizabeth Sanchez

Sanchez is a double major in journalism and Spanish and will soon graduate as part of the Class of 2018. Sanchez came to UNM from Santa Fe High School, which is where her interest in journalism started.

“Since high school, I have had an interest in journalism, and throughout my time at The University of New Mexico, I have been fortunate enough to learn more about my career path and a variety of other topics as well,” said Sanchez.

For the full story visit, Journalism fuels degree for Elizabeth Sanchez


Two generations embracing higher education
Persevering through a crisis, Alea and Lori White to receive degrees

When Alea White wears her cap and gown for commencement this Friday, collecting dual Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degrees – one in Journalism & Mass Communication and one in Psychology – from The University of New Mexico, she’ll be joined by an unusual schoolmate: her mother Lori White, who is earning her Master of Health Administration (MHA) through UNM’s School of Public Administration.

Lori and Alea White
Lori and Alea White

After Alea graduated from Cibola High School in 2014, she started her college career by earning an associate degree from Central New Mexico Community College (CNM).

“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Alea admits. “But when I think about it, it is a big deal. In the four years since I graduated high school, I managed to get two degrees-“

“Three degrees,” her mother counters. “Your associate degree counts.”

It was around this time that Lori started thinking about moves for her own future. She started the MHA program in Fall 2016, and Alea transferred to UNM in January 2017.

For the full story visit, Two generations embracing higher education


Knowing the value of a diploma

A Veteran's journey form one desert to another

Just two days after his 20th birthday, Jesse Preciado made a commitment that would ultimately affect most of his daily thoughts. It’s been nearly two decades and the relationship that took him to the Middle East to see and experience many things he finds hard to describe is what has defined him as a Lobo.

Jesse Preciado mug
Jesse Preciado

“I was pretty much in the mindset that I wanted to do something else besides the security job I had at the time,” said Preciado. “I signed papers on the same day I went in to talk with my recruiter about becoming a Marine.”

Like many people Preciado’s age, the events of Sept. 11, 2001 immediately marked his military career as being spent in the Middle East. 

“I did two tours in Iraq,” said Preciado. “I started off in motor transportation and eventually became a refueler. I drove those civilian trucks that you see at the gas stations.”

For the full story visit, Knowing the value of a diploma


Finding your place in the pack

Carlton overcomes health issue with campus support

When students leave for college, they hope to find their home away from home, and graduate, Jessica Carlton, was able to find just her place here at UNM.

Carlton TB
Jessica Carlton

When Carlton first started attending UNM in 2012, she knew she wanted the full UNM experience, and as an Albuquerque Native, she felt that commuting to campus everyday was inhibiting that.

Following freshmen year, Carlton moved onto campus and quickly became integrated with campus life taking a deep passion for residence life. Starting off as a Resident Advisor in the dorms, Carlton made her way up the ladder and eventually secured the job of Resident Director at Casas Del Rio on campus.

Following her undergraduate degree, Carlton decided to continue her education at UNM as a graduate student.

For the full story visit, Finding your place in the pack