by Ashley Galloway
Eastern New Mexico University business instructor Crista Wiegel uses her own experiences to teach students about the business world.
Crista grew up in Clovis, New Mexico, but moved to Las Cruces to attend New Mexico State University.
About half way through graduate school, she married. She then moved to Denver, Colorado, to live with her husband, who was working for an insurance company.
Five years ago, Crista’s husband bought two companies that became available, bringing their family back to Clovis.
For her first year back, Crista taught one course at ENMU to gradually integrate herself back into the community. After that, a teaching position opened up and she took advantage of the opportunity. She has been teaching at ENMU since.
Being a business professor and a business owner go hand-in-hand for Crista. She enjoys having “real examples for the students.” She can explain first-hand struggles she and her husband have faced while running their business and how various concepts the students are learning apply. Owning a business also establishes her credibility.
Crista enjoys teaching at ENMU because it allows her to have the flexibility she needs to balance business, school, faith and family.
She knew her family would return to Clovis eventually to “be close to family”—a big priority for her. “Family inspires me to pursue my passion,” said the mother of two.
Crista and her family have an active lifestyle. She and her husband enjoy wake surfing at a lake on weekends. Her husband loves hunting. Her daughter shows horses. They also enjoy hiking, skiing, sailing and anything they can do as a family. They “like being busy if it’s good for the whole family.”
Crista hopes to teach her children beneficial values, some of which she also teaches her students. She teaches them by being a good example.
She hopes her kids will also keep “grounded in who they are, their faith, and who they’re called to be.”
Crista’s faith greatly impacts her. She teaches second-grade Catholicism at her church. Her and her husband’s main goal in parenthood is to “get their kids to heaven.”
Crista believes in maintaining a healthy balance in life. The key to that is “good time management.” While balancing family, business, school, faith and activities, it’s essential. It “gives you control of your day.”
Her career is one of Crista’s priorities. She loves helping her students. She tells students to “be confident in what they know.” She helps make students aware of opportunities and resources surrounding them. “Teachers are working outside of just teaching to help their students,” she said. Each department plans opportunities to help students in that area of study.
Crista also strongly believes that students “learn more by experiences than they would through the textbooks. ‘What’s going to set you a part?’” she said. “Learn another language, study abroad, do an internship.”
Crista is “satisfied with where she is, but will continue to evolve.”
If evolving means earning a doctorate, then she will do so, but not at the cost of her family. She hopes to be “constantly learning” in life.
“Success is happiness, not financial status,” she said.