Dr. Jayson Evaniuck, assistant professor of education foundations and secondary education at Eastern New Mexico University, wants to help education students "get experience in the fields they want to teach."
Before moving to Portales, the former high school teacher taught "World History," "AP Human Geography" and "AP World History" in Memphis, Tennessee. He won several awards, including "Geography Teacher of the Year" and "Lesson Plan of the Year" from the Tennessee Geographic Alliance and the Tennessee Council of Social Studies.
The teacher also won awards for his work as a doctoral student at the University of Memphis, including the "Outstanding Secondary Education Doctoral Student."
The Denver native has "always felt the pull to be in the west" and, when the opportunity arose for him to teach at ENMU, Dr. Evaniuck accepted.
"I was drawn to ENMU for the opportunity get to know the students," he said. "Ultimately, this is an institution that encourages that."
He says that ENMU's work environment is one that encourages everyone to "work hard as a family. When I walk through the halls, I am happy to be here."
The professor moved to Portales with his wife and six children in June. They "felt welcomed by the small community" at various outings such as the county fair and ENMU events.
He has found that adjusting to life in Portales is not so different from his life in Memphis, and said the "relaxed pace has been refreshing."
One of the Evaniuck family's hobbies is to grow their food.
"As a family, we are working toward trying to provide most of our food for ourselves," said Dr. Evaniuck, who tended to a garden and raised chickens while living in Tennessee. "The chickens are the easiest, as long as you can keep the predators away."
The family also loves to travel and, according to Dr. Evaniuck, is "looking forward to exploring what New Mexico has to offer."