ENMU Student Serves as State Ambassador for Educators Rising New Mexico

Olivia Daniels
Olivia Daniels

ENMU Student Serves as State Ambassador for Educators Rising New Mexico

Olivia Daniels is studying elementary and special education with an endorsement in social studies at Eastern New Mexico University to prepare her to teach secondary education and possibly pursue a role in educational administration or become a college professor who teaches future teachers.

olivia daniels selfie

She shares, "I feel very called to teach and to help reform the public education system for the better. I love working with kids, and teaching is something that has always come naturally to me."

She dreams of teaching overseas, possibly for the Department of Defense, and becoming a "well-established teacher who impacts the lives of many students for years to come."

The sophomore was born in Viet Tri, Vietnam, and was adopted at seven months old. She was raised in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, with her younger brother. Her mother is a fifth-grade teacher, and her father is a certified public accountant.

Olivia was drawn to Eastern because of the Education Program. "My program is a blended degree that is only offered at a few universities, and ENMU happened to be one of them," she explains.

"I also chose ENMU because of the close-knit community that I found on campus and because it was far enough away from home, but close enough that I can still visit on the weekends if I want to!"

The dean's list honoree was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha (and received Outstanding New Member in spring 2021) and the National Panhellenic Conference at ENMU, as well as serving as a Dawg Days counselor in fall 2021.

She is the president of Educators Rising's ENMU chapter and a state ambassador for Educators Rising New Mexico.

The selection process for the state ambassadorship entailed submitting an application with a resume and letter of recommendation and an interview with the program's director and coordinator, who work at New Mexico State University.

Olivia's term started at the end of the fall 2021 semester and will end in May, but she is hopeful that she will be able to serve as a state ambassador again next school year.

"I've been working to help plan the state conferences, which has included planning activities for the high school students, updating social media and helping plan the activities that will take place the day of the conference," she says. "I also got to judge competitions and make sure that all events ran smoothly, and I hosted a photo scavenger hunt for the students on the day of the conference.

"Getting to work as a state ambassador has been such a privilege, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity that I have been given."

olivia daniels dress

Olivia is also the medical driver for Safe Ride and a part of Kappa Delta Pi. She works in the Office of Campus Life and volunteers to teach Sunday School at Central Christian Church in Portales, New Mexico.

She has presented at two Educators Rising conferences this semester, one in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and one in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Both of the presentations were on InTASC Standards and the importance of and methodology behind student-centered pedagogy.

The Green and Silver Presidential Scholarship recipient was awarded a scholarship from ENMU Educators Rising after winning a competition at the 2020 New Mexico EdRising State Conference as a senior in high school. She has been accepted to a teaching fellowship in Minnesota for summer 2022.

Her mentors at Eastern include Dr. Kathleen Wagner and Dr. Kathie Good, who Olivia considers herself "extremely privileged to have met and gotten to work with."

Olivia's favorite course at ENMU so far has been Structured Observations of Teaching and Learning, taught by Dr. Wagner. "I enjoyed this class because I got to spend time in the classroom and see what it was like to be with students and observe how the teachers managed and maintained their classroom," says Olivia.

Her go-to spot at Eastern is the Education Building. She explains, "Between my classes and my organizations, I spend most of my time in that building, and it has become a second home to me."

Her advice to fellow Education students is: "Don't be afraid to ask for help and get to know your professors and other teacher candidates. The Teacher Education Program is a tight-knit community, and everyone wants you to succeed!"

She loves life as an ENMU student, sharing, "My favorite thing about being a Greyhound is all of the school spirit that exists here, and how much all of the professors want you to succeed."

She discusses another perk of attending Eastern: "In addition to pursuing my degree, I am also pursuing an additional teaching license, which will allow me to teach history for grades 7-12. This license is a 7-12 Secondary History License, so when I graduate, I will have three teaching licenses rather than just two, and I will still graduate in eight semesters!"

Olivia's hobbies include reading, writing, napping, watching Netflix, baking, doing arts and crafts and swimming.