Abby Pino
Abby Pino encourages young writers to "be fearless, be bold, be passionate." Photo by David Aguirre.

Abigail "Abby" Pino is a graduate student at Eastern New Mexico University and the acting editor for the University newspaper, "The Chase," two time-consuming undertakings that she balances with motherhood.

Abby holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Cottey College, which is located in Nevada, Missouri. She is currently on track to graduate from Eastern with a Master of Arts in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism in May 2018.

"Eastern had initially been my first choice as it was the college my mom had attended and graduated from," Abby said. "Upon graduating from Cottey, I began to take a harder look at Eastern and its programs, moreover, the environment in which I would be moving my family to."

After determining ENMU had a similar feel to her small liberal arts alma mater, Abby decided to attend the University. "Eastern has provided a place where I am able to implement the things I have learned in the classroom and experience the realities of my job."

She was inspired to pursue her master’s degree by her mother. "I’ve always admired my mom and her decision to stay in school while taking care of my brother at the age of three," Abby explained. "I am very fortunate to have family, friends and colleagues who understand the challenge of attending to two responsibilities."

As editor of "The Chase" Abby has found the most difficult task to be balancing an extensive editing process with keeping the newspaper’s content relevant and timely. "You take each day as it comes, and you learn how to balance the responsibilities as you go."

After she graduates, Abby plans to "return to my community, located on the Laguna Pueblo reservation, and work with the Kukadze'eta/Towncrier Newspaper as a photojournalist."

She encourages young writers to "be fearless, be bold, be passionate. Don’t forget to ask questions. Be receptive to guidance. And above all, bring diverse perspectives to the table and empower others to do the same."

Learn more about Abby:

What made you choose the Department of Communication at ENMU for your master’s degree?

I’ve always been passionate about three things: my family, my Indigenous community and activism. Upon graduating from my previous institution, Cottey College, I began to take a harder look at Eastern and its programs, moreover, the environment in which I would be moving my family to. Having already attended a small liberal arts college and being that my mother was an alum, I thought Eastern would be a great transition into my graduate program. The first friendly face I saw was Dr. Patricia Dobson, who encouraged me to combine my passions and write like there was no tomorrow. As I refined my writing, I felt my voice growing stronger and stronger. After my first communication course, I knew I had made the right choice in becoming a part of the Department of Communication at ENMU.

What hands-on experience have you received during your graduate program?

In addition to my responsibilities as a mother and graduate student, I am also the editor of “The Chase” student newspaper on campus. I’ve had an abundance of hands-on experience ranging from the newspaper to photography shoots to business networking. Without a doubt, the graduate program has challenged me on an educational and personal level. As an Indigenous scholar, I feel empowered to discuss and encourage a wide variety of diverse perspectives. More so, I feel confident in my abilities to communicate and strategize, effectively. Among everything else, Eastern has provided an environment for me to learn and experience the realities of my job. I couldn’t have done it without the wonderful staff at headquarters (Communication Department).

When do you graduate? What are your plans after graduation?

I am pursuing a higher education, not only for myself but my community who continues to provide me with the opportunities to realize my goals and strengthen myself as a leader. After the completion of my Masters, in May 2018, I would like to return to my community, located on the Laguna Pueblo reservation, and work with the Kukadze'eta/Towncrier Newspaper as a photojournalist. I will also be applying to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque Journal, and if possible, Indian Country Today Media Network.

In your opinion, what are the biggest advantages of earning a degree at ENMU?

Your education is individually personalized to fit your interests, passions and career goals. The faculty and staff prepare you well for the trials and success.

What are some examples of things you have learned managing “The Chase?”

From my experience working in student media, one of the biggest challenges is the editing process; the stories we receive go through an extensive editing process with multiple rough drafts. Moreover, we have to take into consideration time-sensitive stories and follow-ups. It is hard work which requires much time and strategical planning. Most recently, the biggest challenge we’ve run into is what follows printing the publication. As part of the job, we always need to be prepared for receiving both constructive and unconstructive criticism. Furthermore, responding to such challenges is difficult, but one in which needs to be handled with utmost professionalism. Nonetheless, be fearless, be bold and be passionate. Don’t forget to ask questions. Be receptive to guidance. And above all, bring diverse perspectives to the table and empower others to do the same.

If you had to choose your favorite memory at ENMU, what would it be?

I am very fortunate to have family, friends and colleagues who understand the challenge of attending to two responsibilities as a full-time mother and student. I’ve always enjoyed bringing my daughter into work and seeing her interact with faculty, staff, and peers in the building. In fact, at times, my coworkers and I would bring our kids together for a day at headquarters; the office is never dull when they’re around. The people and the friendships are and will always be my favorite memory of ENMU. All of them have made it possible for me to continue my education and, in doing so, have contributed to my daughter’s life immensely.