Greyhound Grad Carla Anaya is making a difference as youth market director of the American Heart Association for Southern Arizona, where she provides heart health curriculum, activities and equipment to 180 schools in the area to help prevent heart disease and strokes for future generations.
"This is the first generation in history not expected to outlive their parents due to the increase in childhood obesity and lack of physical fitness," Carla explained. "I want to make sure there is a culture of wellness at each school, so every student has access to caring for their health with resources that are free and up to date."
Her favorite part of the job is traveling to urban and rural areas to provide students of different races, religions, socioeconomic statuses and ages with the resources that doctors provide to the American Heart Association. "Not only do I get to share this information with them, I get to do it in a fun and exciting way that helps them learn it and implement it in their lives," said Carla, who previously worked as a community manager for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and as a development associate for the Children's Grief Center of New Mexico.
Carla feels her time at Eastern New Mexico University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in university studies with a focus on communicative disorders and psychology in spring 2015, prepared her to pursue a career centered on helping others.
"I wouldn't have taken the non-profit career route if it wasn't for the Associated Students of Eastern New Mexico University advisor and student body vice president at the time trusting me to be the Up til Dawn director and coaching me to be successful in that opportunity," said Carla, who served as an ASENMU senator from 2012-15. She was the director for Up til Dawn, a student-run program that raises funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, from 2013-15, student body vice president from 2014-15 and a Student Fees Board member from 2013-14.
Carla chose to attend ENMU because her sister was studying at the University. She also wanted to be a broadcast journalist and chose Eastern for its well-known communication program. Upon attending, she switched to communicative disorders because she loved her sign language class.
She was named to the Dean's List for the fall of 2014 and was awarded "ASENMU Outstanding Senator" in 2013 and "ASENMU Outstanding Director" in 2014. She also worked as a cataloging assistant for the Golden Library, an office assistant for the Department of History, Social Sciences and Religion and an office assistant for the Office of Campus Life.
Carla calls her time at Eastern "one of the best personal growth experiences I've ever been in. I continue to admire the team of students and faculty that I worked with in Campus Life and ASENMU. Being part of that team provided opportunities for advancing my career, keeping a network of influential people and improving my professional development skills.
"I have so many memories from my four years at ENMU that I love to share with my colleagues, friends and family. Being involved with the ENMU Alumni Board has been a fun way to keep that experience with my alma mater and provide experiences for other alumni," she shared.
Carla's career goals are to keep working with non-profits and help train others to be successful in their careers. She encourages students to pursue their goals by "taking advantage of the amazing opportunities that ENMU offers and work hard for them. Not only will it reward you but you get to reward your University with the skills you build and apply through it. Someone at Eastern told me 'hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work' and I'll never forget that."
The Greyhound Grad was born in Albuquerque and raised in Edgewood, New Mexico. She currently lives in Tucson. Her hobbies include walking her rescue dog, Andy, playing tennis, swimming and hiking at different locations in the local area.
Her role model is her grandmother, who she described as "such a hard working woman. I hope that I can be as much as an influence to others as she was to me."