Carla Ruiz, who graduated from Eastern New Mexico University in December 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication with an emphasis in broadcast journalism, is the social media coordinator for livthecity, a free text messaging service that sends out a weekly text featuring local events in certain area codes.
With the question "What do you want to do tonight?" as its core message, livthecity serves the West Texas area and is soon expanding to New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona among other area codes.
"My current position is exposing me to marketing and working with social media promotions," explains Carla, who started the job in January 2018. "Basically, what I do is help promote the brand by creating content online for the livthecity brand."
From a young age, Carla enjoyed storytelling, writing and working with cameras.
When Carla was a student at ENMU, Dr. Patricia Dobson, an associate professor of communication and one of Carla's mentors, took her on a tour of the KENW newsroom. As a result, she ventured into broadcast production working for News 3 New Mexico on KENW-TV and acquired skills in producing, directing live newscasts and editing.
"Working for News 3 New Mexico helped set the foundation for my journalism career. I owe all of this to my mentor Allan Crawford," she said. "My journey at ENMU was filled with endless memories and friendships. The ENMU motto is 'Student Success,' and I can honestly say that my professors were there every step of the way cheering me on to succeed."
Carla graduated from ENMU in just two and a half years. As a sophomore in high school, she started planning towards her college degree by enrolling in dual credit courses at New Mexico Junior College.
"What motivated me to take advantage of this opportunity was to get ahead; this would help my parents later down the road, considering my brother would graduate just two years after me," she said. "If it wasn't for my family, I wouldn't be where I'm at."
She was born in Hobbs, New Mexico, and grew up in Lovington, New Mexico. She shares how growing up was an adventure because she was fortunate enough to spend her summers with her brother Luis playing baseball, hide-n-seek and riding bikes.
"My roles models and inspiration have always been my parents. Thanks to their hard work, sacrifices and desire to live the American Dream, I became the first member of my family to pursue a higher education," she said.
One of her favorite sayings describing her life is "Atrás de cada logro ahí una historia de lucha y sacrificio," which means, "Behind every achievement, there is a story of struggle and sacrifice."
After graduation, she took a producer position with a CBS affiliate in Odessa, Texas. She was responsible for producing a two-hour show alongside an "amazing morning crew."
Being a producer taught her about patience, to always seek the truth, to persevere, to keep learning and to always strive for a great show. Carla credits her mentor, Santos Gonzales, for everything she knows about producing.
"Life is about learning and growing, so I took a leap of faith and pursued a different path" which led to her learning about station promotions, sales and event planning.
"I planned a community tour during the month of July. Our entire station traveled to different locations in West Texas and broadcasted a live show. I found locations, worked with chambers and residents in the area and made some friends along the way," she said.
Carla says if she could leave future student with some words of advice, it would be this:
"Dare to dream and dare to work towards making that dream come true. Remember to always walk by faith and trust God's plan, for He will lead you closer to live the life you always dreamed of because when there is a will, there is a way."