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“I couldn’t get over how beautiful and green the campus was,” she said.

She enjoyed visiting the ENMU campus and decided to attend not only for the beauty, but the size.

“It was small enough to not feel overwhelmed,” she said.  “I came from a very small high school, so I knew I needed a smaller college for the transition to be easier and for me to feel at home.” 

The 21-year-old grew up in Red River, New Mexico, with her parents and older sister, who was also her best friend.  Red River is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, so Brianne enjoyed many childhood experiences with nature.

 “I got to experience things other kids didn’t; for instance, going skiing with your school for a field day, or snowmobiling on Sundays, hiking up the mountains behind your house, going hunting practically in your back yard or feeding deer from your hand outside your front door,” she said.

She attended elementary and middle school in Eagle Nest, New Mexico, and graduated in 2013 from Cimarron High School in New Mexico, because those were the closest schools. 

Brianne admires her parents for their hard work.  Her mother worked two jobs while earning her nursing degree and caring for Brianne and her sister.  She currently works as an ER nurse at Holy Cross

Hospital in Taos, New Mexico, and will soon pursue her master’s degree in emergency disaster management.  She goes on medical mission trips every year to Guatemala to help those in need.

“She is an incredibly hard working woman with so much drive and heart; I hope to be half the woman she is,” Brianne said.

Her father is the deputy chief at the Red River Fire Department.  During the summer, he travels the country to fight fires with the Wild Land Fire Crew.  He also serves as an EMT.

“He never thinks twice about providing for his family and risking his life for others, animals and the land while he goes out on these fires,” said the environmental science major.

Brianne feels grateful that her parents raised her in Red River.

“Growing up in the mountains is the best thing my parents could have done for me. It is the reason why I pursued my bachelor’s in environmental science and the reason why I have such a love and respect for the Earth and nature itself,” she said.

She will graduate from ENMU in May 2017 with a major in environmental science and a minor in geology feeling prepared.

“I know this bachelor’s degree will get me into a job that I will love and be happy at,” she said.

Though she is happy to move forward, she will always fondly remember her time at ENMU.

“All in all, I have experienced a lot here at ENMU these four years, but the thing I will remember most won’t be how hard the classes were, how many hours I’ve spent in the library or the parties I may or may not have gone to, but the people I have come in contact with, grown a connection with and will continue to be lifelong friends with after I leave this university,” she said.

She recommends Eastern to others, particularly those from small towns.

“Being the size it is, ENMU is so extremely helpful because of the one-on-one connection you can have with professors and how willing they are to help you succeed. It is far enough from home so you can feel independent, but close enough where you can still go home on the weekends if you want,” said Brianne.