By LUIS “LUIGI” FINSTON
NMSU: All about Discovery. We’ve seen the slogan all over campus. Whether it’s on billboards or on pamphlets, it is always there. It is not only a way to get students attention. It is a statement about our campus and the students who are involved. Not all students who go to NMSU are well known. Not all students at NMSU are rich. And not all students at NMSU are critically acclaimed. But what students are at NMSU, are involved. Students at NMSU are pursuing a degree or a minor in some type of field. This is a given. It could be Engineering or it could be Business. Everyone has a focus and an agenda. A goal to finish school and go on to work at a solid job and receive a solid income.
But some students take the word “involved” to a higher level. There are students who work on campus as teacher aids, tutors, or in student organizations. They commit hours of their own time to work with others and further benefit their organization. Some do it because they want to put more experience on their resumes. Others do it for the thrill of being known and establishing connections. And still others do it because they are passionate about what they do. Whatever the purpose may be, these students are giving New Mexico State University a better name and a better face.
There are multiple ways to get involved at NMSU. They don’t have to be serving as a Student Ambassador, joining Greek Life, or becoming a student athlete. The more involved one becomes, the more out of college you will get. One person who knows this better than anyone is Renee Baca. Baca is a Senior at NMSU majoring in Human Resource Management with a Minor in Public Health. She is scheduled to graduate in May of 2017. Upon graduation she intends on going to Graduate School and pursue a Masters in Health Administration. Baca is the student president of the Society for Human Resource Managers or SHRM. She is also a member of the College of Business Student Ambassadors and a Student Camter at the NMSU Newman Catholic Center.
Baca is no stranger to a booked and busy schedule. This semester she is taking 15 credits and continues her work as president of SHRM, an ambassador of the college of business, and a student campus minster. With a 3.52 GPA, Baca has worked hard to maintain good grades and a Crimson Scholar. She also accepted a scholarship from the Southern New Mexico SHRM. There are many things that motivate her to accomplish duties, but none more important to her then the people she holds dearest to. “When it comes to my personal goals on my undergraduate journey, my biggest motivator is my family, friends, and underclassmen who look up to me without verbally expressing anything”, she said.
Baca hails from Las Vegas, New Mexico, a small town in Northern New Mexico with a population of roughly 14,000. She came to New Mexico State University in 2013 as a freshman. “Before I entered College, I always saw myself as a follower”, she said. “I never thought I had the skills myself gets me halfway to achieving anything I wish to become.”
One could ask themselves how does Baca do everything. And not just her. There are many other students who are involved in other activities that have busy schedules and are not heard of or aren’t given proper credit. Just because one isn’t in the spotlight of the University doesn’t mean that the efforts that are coming forth are worthless. One of best ways to accomplish something is organization. Baca has a way of processing matters into an organized fashion. “First I look at the bigger picture and set goals or look at what the goals are”, she said. “From there I brainstorm on the “How’s”. How to obtain resources we will need, how to prioritize, how to assign people tasks, and how we can most efficiently accomplish the tasks.”
For example, when it comes to serving as the President of SHRM, Baca divides her work ethic into three different parts. She gave me a run through on how she executes her method. “I divide things or experience to ever lead a group of people.” As a Freshman she participated in the Air Force ROTC. There she developed many leadership skills. Even though Baca is not in ROTC anymore, she states that she still carries traits with her.
Her sophomore year Baca became involved with SHRM and the NMSU Catholic Campus Ministry. The NMSU Catholic Campus Ministry is a student group that reaches out to college students through retreats and through various events such as community service, active involvement in the Catholic Church, and presents students an opportunity to find a community of faith. “I met so many positive role models and mentors that only saw greatness in students”, she said. As her Junior year approached she found herself accepting the position of a student intern at the Newman Center and served as the Vice President of SHRM. Baca said that it was during this time that she felt she grew and matured as a leader and an individual the most. “By now I know my capabilities and I realize that believing in into a “what”, a “how”, and a “why”. And each one of these has its importance. For the “What” I try to boost HR Skills and try to gain interest. For the “How” I do everything from inviting guest speakers to promoting networking, internship, and scholarship opportunities. And “Why” do we do it? It compliments what we learn in our management classes, by allowing us to apply it to real life. It prepares us for the workforce.” Baca is also seen as a role model by her family. A family experience with her cousin gave her a notion of how much of an impact she has. “My cousin was in high school at the time and decided to take dual credit classes because that what I did in my high school years.” Her cousin stated that she wanted to follow in her footsteps. “Even though this was just a small expression, I recognized that this was important to keep in mind because I am seen as an example. I would hope I am a positive one.”
From a student popularity point of view, Baca may not be as well-known as a member of Greek Life, a student senator, or the president of ASNMSU. But from a student involvement point of view she is acting and serving the community, the students, and the university with enthusiasm and charisma. One could defiantly say she is doing everything correct going to new heights. “Focusing on the why is what motivates me during small tedious tasks that don’t seem as much until they are applied to the bigger reason of why I do them in the first place”, she said. “It’s renewed reassurance every time that I really am making a difference on campus.” Wise words from a wise student. Let us hope that fellow students learn from Baca’s hardworking example and continue a tradition of NMSU excellence. After all, NMSU is all about discovery!