Jovani Gallegos
Jovani Gallegos (Photo by Jonathan Elkins)

Jovani Gallegos, who is majoring in social work with a minor in Spanish, hopes to work within the school system as a social worker after she graduates from Eastern New Mexico University this May.

"I love working with kids, and I want to help them see their potential lead them to success," says Jovani, who interns at Clovis Municipal Schools under Family Services as part of her social work degree program.

Her goal is to "build strong networking connections with various agencies in the community I am in to give my clients. I want people to recognize me and know that I am someone they can always rely on to do an excellent job, like the way my field specialist Raymond Beachum and field liaison Mary-Helen Urioste have taught me at my internship. They are well-known and respected around their community, and I want to achieve that same level of greatness in my career."

Jovani's passion for helping others lead to her interest in pursuing a degree in social work. "I was often told growing up that I had a servant's heart, and I loved volunteering in high school, so I knew I wanted to help make a positive impact in people's lives and felt that social work was the best way to do it," she says.

Her advice to students interested in studying social work is to "practice self-care and always look for the positive in everything because that is what is going to help keep you going as a social worker."

Jovani shares that Tyleen Caffrey, an instructor of social work, and Deborah Chavez, a CYFD liaison, are "two professors that I can always rely on. They give the best advice possible and push me to be successful as a social worker."

The class that has stood out to the three-time dean's list honoree the most was Child Psychology. "I loved learning about different theories on the development of children and how much a child can thrive in the right environment," she explains.

The Greyhound is very active on campus. "I believe that I have made the most out of my time here at Eastern and tried to be involved as much as possible," says Jovani, who joined ASAB her freshman year, participated in Dawg Days as a counselor or captain for the past three years, was a peer mentor her sophomore year, is a member of Chi Omega, served as the vice president of Recruitment in Panhellenic and is the coordinator of Public Relations for the Student Government Association.

She works at the Information Desk under Alumni Affairs for Annamaria Short and Melissa Sena and in the Office of the President for Karen Van Ruiten and Dr. Elwell. She was nominated for Student Employee of the Year in spring 2019.

"I rarely have time to myself, but I love to stay busy because it'll all be about work once I graduate. I want to have great memories of Eastern to look back on," she shares.

Her favorite part of being a Greyhound is serving as a student senator. "I get to learn more about Eastern and do things not every student gets a chance to do, such as lobbying in Santa Fe or being part of the Student Fees board," she says.

Her go-to place on-campus is the Golden Student Success Center because of the flexible hours (Jovani often studies until midnight) and being able to meet up with friends, sorority sisters and others who study there, too.

Jovani is from Carlsbad, New Mexico, where she was born and raised with her three siblings. She chose to attend ENMU because of the "affordable tuition, great scholarships, and it's only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Carlsbad. My mom also felt secure about my safety here."

She will be the first in her family to graduate from college.

One of her dreams is to see the world. "I never had the opportunity to travel growing up, so one of my biggest dreams is going to Greece and Italy," shares Jovani, who enjoys spending her time painting, drawing and doing crafts for her friends.