Selene Chavez, who is studying business administration with an emphasis in information systems and a minor in accounting at Eastern New Mexico University, wants to become a data analyst at NASA. She enjoys collecting data and putting it into an understandable format that businesses can use for better decision making.
"I believe NASA to be one of the most interesting places to work and I would like to contribute my knowledge and skills to help this agency succeed with its future plans," she shared. "I want to make a difference and contribute as much I am possibly able to so that, one day, I could end up training students like me that dream of being a part of something big and amazing as NASA."
The senior became enthralled with data analysis and technology when she worked as a computer lab manager for Clovis Municipal Schools. "Being able to help the teachers understand their data to enhance the learning of our students was a great feeling," she explained. "I learned the importance of data security and accuracy to ensure the quality and consistency of information."
Selene, who currently works as a full-time network and IT support specialist for the City of Clovis, chose to attend ENMU after many important people in her life told her that she should return to school and get a degree.
"I had dropped out after being a nursing student because of the added stress of being a young single mother," explained Selene. "After researching ENMU and figuring out that I could complete my degree completely online, I decided to take on the challenge.
"I am grateful that ENMU is considerate of students like myself who have family and work obligations and are not able to attend the on-site classes. ENMU has been a life saver for me; just when I had lost all hope of ever completing college, ENMU became the light at the end of the tunnel."
Selene credits her advisor, Dr. Veena Parboteeah, with making her time at ENMU easier. "I am always looking for ways to better my education, and she is always there to listen and give her input about how to reach my goals. She has shown true faith in me and my accomplishments, and I appreciate every bit of help she has given me since the start of my educational career at ENMU," Selene shared.
The senior, who made the Dean's List last semester and was awarded the Peter Kaunitz Memorial Scholarship this year, enjoys ENMU's sense of community. "I like being part of a group that is dedicated to their education and pursue their dreams. Being a Greyhound has given me the joy of looking forward, knowing that there are many of us struggling through similar situations and all sharing the vision to become something better."
Selene advises students interested in pursuing her field of study to be "very focused and determined on what you want at the end of this. Technology is our future and with it changing constantly; it is imperative that we continue to learn every step of the way. Our learning doesn't stop when we graduate; we just keep going. It takes a lot of dedication and willingness to learn in order to be successful in this field."
She would also like to emphasize the importance of obtaining an education based on her experiences.
"I was a straight-A student through high school, and when I got pregnant at 15, I was sort of stereotyped. I was told I would not finish high school, much less college. However, I graduated from high school at the top of my class as Valedictorian. I continue to face many struggles but have overcome many as well and will continue to, because being a teen mom is not what defines me. My daughter was the blessing I needed to show me to believe in myself, and I still see her as my drive to succeed."
Selene was raised in Hatch, New Mexico. She is the youngest of five sisters and four brothers. Her father was an agricultural laborer, and her mother was a homemaker until Selene was old enough to go to school. After that, her mother helped provide for the family while still taking care of the children. "My parents have shown me how difficult life is without an education but also how rewarding it is to work hard and pursue your dreams," she said.
She shared that her husband and two children have been "extremely supportive in this journey [to pursue a degree]. I would not be here if I didn't have them to look forward to every day."
The Greyhound enjoys reading Nicholas Sparks' books and mystery books, doing jigsaw puzzles and spending time with her family. She considers her extracurricular activities to be whatever her children's activities are, including soccer practices, games, band concerts and Bible school.
She volunteers with the United Way as a fundraising campaign assistant. She also participates in "Reality Check Day" to help teach freshman in high schools about how to handle their finances.