May 5, 2010 by Avra Elliott NMSU Round Up
Eight New Mexico State University students with an agricultural employment background will graduate this semester with the help of the College Assistance Migrant Program.
CAMP Academic Advisor Martha Estrada, who has worked with CAMP for six years, said she has met some of the most hardworking students through the program.
“They not only give it their all in the agricultural fields, topping onions and picking chiles, but they hit the books with the same work ethic,” Estrada said.
The federally funded CAMP program assists migrant workers or their children in achieving a college education.
“I will be graduating with a social work degree that will not only open up my horizons but also guide future endeavors,” said Maria Realzola, a CAMP student.
Realzola said she and fellow CAMP member Tayde Soto heard about the program when a recruiter visited their high school in Hatch, N.M.
“My agricultural employment background made me appreciate my opportunity to be in college that much more,” Soto said.
Estrada said 37 CAMP students have received their bachelor’s degrees, six received master’s degrees and they have just had their first doctoral student. She said four of the eight graduating this semester will go on to graduate school and the other half will begin or continue to work in their field of study.
“Now potential students and their families find out about us by word-of-mouth, while working side by side in the fields with our current CAMPers or their parents,” Estrada said.
Soto said she was grateful for her agricultural employment background. She said her parents reminded her that although she couldn’t change her past, she controlled her future.
“I could strive towards something more than being agriculturally employed,” Soto said.
Avra Elliott is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.