Ashlyn Jude Peralta, a social work major at Eastern New Mexico University, is preparing for a career in mental health counseling.
"I want people to know that needing help is not a bad thing and there is always help out there," says Ashlyn, who plans to pursue a master's degree in counseling after graduating from ENMU. "In my career, I hope to help as many people as I can. I love seeing people enjoy their lives and love themselves and, if I can help at least one person do that, then I will consider myself to be successful."
Her goal in life is to "just to be happy. Whatever is going to get me there, I will do with 100 percent of my power and just enjoy the journey."
The dean's list honoree was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and raised in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She has one older sister, Jordyn Peralta, who graduated from the Social Work Program at ENMU in December.
Ashlyn chose to attend Eastern due to the "tight-knit and personal community. Walking around campus, you always see a friendly or familiar face, and I love that. Everyone on-campus, professors, students and staff, are all so friendly!"
The second-year member of the Spirit Squad says her favorite spot at ENMU is Greyhound Stadium since that is where she has "spent some of the best times cheering on the Greyhound football team."
Ashlyn is also a member of the Student Association of Social Workers (SASW), a group focused on fundraising, advocacy, volunteering and educational opportunities on-campus and in the local community. They have volunteered at the Baptist Children's Home, the Christian Children's Home, the Retirement Ranch and more, and have partnered with several other student organizations. "SASW is a very focused group of social workers who are hopeful of bringing positive change to the world," she explains.
The junior shares that her mentor at Eastern was Linda Craig, a professor who "pushed me mentally and physically and was always a smiling and positive person when I needed someone. She was also a listening ear and gave the best advice and words of wisdom."
Ashlyn's favorite class at ENMU has been Health and Wellness with Dr. Sarah Wall. "Not only did she provide us with lecture and class time, she actually got us out of our comfort zones and introduced her students to activities we would have never tried, such as tai chi, yoga, meditation and self-defense classes," she explains. "This class also makes you aware because of the self-assessments you have to take; it made me seriously evaluate where I was at mentally and physically in life."
The social work major advises students interested in her field of study to "get involved! There are so many opportunities to volunteer, and it is all so worth it! Volunteering gives you a chance to meet others in this program and help people in the community at the same time. This program offers you so much help and, if you apply yourself, you will not fail."
Ashlyn's hobbies include volunteering in the community, going to concerts and enjoying the company of her two dogs, Corduroy and Coda.
She closes out her interview by giving recognition to her family for "always supporting me no matter what decision I have made. They have stuck by my side throughout this entire journey, and I am so thankful for that."
The ENMU spirit squad at the Heritage Bowl in 2019.