Kelly De La Rosa, a new nursing instructor at Eastern New Mexico University, started her pre-med education at Eastern.
"Eastern got me prepared [for my career]. The small classes, affordability and availability of instructors helped me. I was well prepared to transfer, I got all A's in nursing school and graduated with honors."
Kelly grew up in Portales and enjoyed living in a small town with all of her family. She says that none of her family does anything medical-related; they are all teachers.
"It was foreign [that I wanted to do something in the medical field], but I love to teach, as well. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to help people."
Discussing her next step with someone in a nursing program, she started to piece together her love for nursing.
One of Kelly's close friends had health problems, and she realized her heart was being with patients at their bedside.
"Doctors do amazing things by looking at all the information to make decisions and write prescriptions, but nurses are actually right there with the patients taking care of them.
Kelly graduated from Portales High School and started school at Eastern in 2004.
"I thought I wanted to go to medical school, then I realized I wanted to do nursing and transferred in 2007 to Texas Tech."
After receiving her bachelor of science in nursing from Texas Tech and her nursing license in 2009, she worked at the University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas in Labor and Delivery for six years.
In 2010, she married her husband, Jose "Jojo" De La Rosa, whom she met at ENMU. The couple has two sons and daughter.
"I worked in the Student Affairs Office, and he worked in Financial Aid as a President's Ambassador. Whenever I moved to Lubbock, he finished his [psychology] degree, and came with me," said Kelly.
After having children, they decided to move closer to family in Portales. Jojo got a job in Clovis and she got accepted for a nursing position at Clovis Community College.
"I worked there for two years, but, of course, we were commuting because I lived here [in Portales] and worked there in Clovis. The position opened up here. I thought it would be awesome and perfect to be in Portales. I'd be happy to be back at Eastern," she said. "I'm excited to be here and get involved with the campus again."
Kelly graduated with a master's degree in nursing from Grand Canyon University in June 2017. She wants to receive her doctorate eventually.
She says everything she's achieved this far is "pretty exciting." Ten years ago, she wasn't sure what she wanted to do with her life and now she's been able to do "so many things" within the nursing profession.
"I enjoy the best of both worlds in nursing and teaching," she said. Kelly is teaching online in the undergraduate program, so she has limited interaction with students, but she's enjoyed learning to connect with students online.
This semester, she is teaching students about global healthcare, economics and nursing and nursing research.
"I want to give my students an increased passion and desire to learn more, do more and to always experience lifelong learning," said Kelly. "Teaching in the bachelor program, these students are already nurses, so I want to teach them how to become leaders, expand their knowledge and expand what they know about healthcare and their job."
Her focus is to discover her teaching techniques and style. She wants to "learn from the best" to be the best she can be for her students.