Alumni Success Stories - Marina Pina

Alumni Success Stories - Marina Pina

My name is Marina Pina and I currently serve in a Statewide leadership role as the director of communications for the New Mexico Human Services Department where we serve 51% of the state’s population and they are mainly low-income families across the state. I am very proud to be part of that team. I graduated from Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications with an emphasis in public relations and graduated with Cum Laude honors.

Tell us about your family and background.

My mother, my younger brother, and I migrated to the US from Mexico in 2004. We came to the U.S. to join our father who had been a migrant worker since he was 16 years old. Going back and forth and we decided to come in and have the family together here in Portales, NM. We made it our home. Coming from a Mexican immigrant family and being an immigrant myself, our family values became to work really hard in this country and speak up to unfairness back in 2005 we were part of the families advocating for undocumented immigrants to be able to go to college here in the U.S. and that’s how I was actually able to attend a college at ENMU. I am a first generation college graduate and the only one in my family and I am working really hard to not be the first and only in my family. But as a former undocumented immigrant or DACA and recently becoming a U.S. citizen that is a big part of my identity and story. Not only in my personal life but professional life as well and it’s also a big part of who I am now in the success in my life.

What are your hobbies?

As a full-time mom of a three-year-old and working professional I’m really finding ways to protect my “me time”. I am an avid reader and I do consider reading as a hobby, I like to read non-fiction novels English-Spanish. That is a big part of my time to ground myself recharge and re-energize and then come again to the world at home and at work and give the best of myself. Recently though I am becoming a runner which I also consider a hobby that I am trying to pick up. Just to stay healthy and have that time just with myself.

Why did you choose to attend ENMU?

When I graduated from high school I still hadn’t really decided where to go even though I had everything ready to apply to colleges. And something that my mother instilled in me was that I was going to college, I didn’t really have a choice. I was going whether I decided to go back to our home country in Mexico or here. That was really a big part of me and my identity and wanting to go to college. I wanted to major in broadcast journalism and after looking at some options that were available to me I feel like I hit a home run because I was living in Portales and that’s where my family was and then I wanted to do broadcast journalism, before knowing that ENMU offered it and then when I discovered that the university had that major and I wanted to do that it was a no-brainer I applied to go to ENMU I got accepted and I went into that program and really like I said it was really a blessing because I couldn't really afford moving out of town to attend any University so I feel very grateful for Eastern New Mexico University and having that option of really great Majors for the community around and also for those who come from outside you know uh outside the region.

Why did you choose to study communications?

I wanted to do broadcast journalism because I love storytelling I've been a Storyteller in writing and just you know oral storytelling since I was a little girl mainly in Spanish but I love to connect with people and work on issues that are important to me and I felt that major really fit who I wanted to become and it really fit my interest so that's why I decided to go into communication.

What do you hope to ultimately achieve in your career?

I believe what I ultimately want to achieve in my career is really continue being part of something greater than myself. And something for the greater good build a career of public service where I can contribute to Health Equity that's important to me, where I can be and become a better leader for diversity Equity inclusions and belonging that's important to me.

Were you involved in any activities outside of the classroom?

I was the president of the Hispanic Association, which at that time it was more of the political branch of student organizations and under my leadership we were able to pass a resolution with the ENMU student government to support the DREAM Act. Which is a federal legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to gain a pathway to citizenship since the very beginning I've been very interested and also working on public policies. I wouldn't be here without it I am grateful for the work that I got to do um and uh in the support that I had while attending ENMU and even after graduating because it's been 13 years and I am aging myself here but I still I'm still in touch with many of the professors and even if you know when you are for instance at the New Mexico State Legislature and even if you don't know the person but you know that that person is attending ENMU or graduated from ENMU there's an immediate you know bond so it's pretty amazing.

What was your favorite location on campus?

My favorite place on the ENMU campus is the communications center. I spent a lot of time there and then at the Golden Library not the new one but the previous one.

Which professors helped mentor you the most?

I have several so when I was attending ENMU we had an instructor for the public speaking class she was doing her Master's in Communications back then, Tamara Palmer, being able to stay in contact throughout the years but she was the one who asked me have you ever thought of doing public relations. I hadn't at that moment but that was my first semester so I did a tweak in my major and I changed from broadcast journalism to Communications with emphasis in public relations. And that definitely served me well and served what I wanted to do and you know my personality so thank you. And then of course I wouldn't be here without the mentorship of Dr. Patty Dobson she continues to Mentor me and being a friend and a cheerleader to everything that  I've been doing and then Professor Jenny Flores who was the lead instructor of the Aurora Club. Then also Lonzo may he rest in power Lonzo was an amazing human being that was very grateful to you know to cross paths with.

What other dreams do you have?

At a personal level I would say spending time with my family, my kid always three years old and they grow really fast. With my husband and with my parents and then travel I really would like to see more of the world and I'm fortunate enough to have done some traveling so far but that's something that I would love to continue doing and traveling around the world

What advice would you give to students pursuing a career in communication?

If you are interested in Communications in public relations it is broad enough for students to go into different career paths so go for it and learn and ask questions about it. You know from people who are more advanced than you in their careers that have probably struggled and have some of the same challenges that you are having like I said you can go and do so many things because the skills that you are learning are so transferable you can go into marketing, public relations, Communications. You can work or you know the government or the non-profit sector or you know the Private Industry Do Your Own Thing but it's just so broad and at the same time so rewarding that you can do a lot of things with it and I would say if I may add a just in general I think Eastern New Mexico University is a great place to make that dream happen. Because you ask me what other dreams do I have well 15 or so years ago my dream was to graduate from college and I was able to do it but I didn't do it alone. I had an entire community and family to support me and I also had a great University and great support at Eastern New Mexico University. It feels like it's small enough but then also big enough and it has all the resources that that we need as students to succeed during our college experience and then after we graduate.


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