How long have you been in the San Luis Valley (SLV)? Are you a native? If not, what brought you there?
I have lived in the San Luis Valley for most of my life. I was born in Monte Vista and have lived in several areas of the valley before settling in Alamosa. I moved to Phoenix briefly in my mid-twenties but came back the first chance I could, as I feel deeply connected to the San Luis Valley. My family roots are here--my paternal lineage has resided in the San Luis Valley for generations. I have great love and appreciation for the people, the land, and it’s history.
Tell me a little about your background and previous experience.
I grew up as a country girl with 5 siblings on a farm/ranch. We had the privilege of roaming wild & free on our land as well as in the mountains that surround the valley. When I was young, we would go on family horseback camping trips filled with adventure and the best scenery nature has to offer. While times were often tough living off the land, it gave me grit and a resiliency that I will never take for granted. When I attended school, I was heavily involved with sports and played volleyball, basketball, and track every year. I attended college at Adams State University but did not graduate as I had no direction at that time in my life. I felt it was not the right time for me. I opted to work instead. I threw myself into learning any work-related skills that I could, as well as nourishing my hobbies with photography, writing, and cosplay.
Presently, I live in Alamosa and have for the last 15 years with my husband. We have 2 daughters, 2 dogs, 2 cats and a magical secret garden. When I became a mother, there was no other role in life that meant more to me. It has been the sole focus of my adult life. My biggest accomplishments are healing my own childhood trauma and giving my children a safe, loving, stable, magical childhood, as well as reconnecting with my Indigenous and Hispanic heritage. BLM, Indigenous rights, and food sovereignty are passionate causes I hold. I have a spontaneous and eclectic approach to life which keeps me excited to dabble in lots of activities. Lately, I love kayaking, gardening (outdoor and indoor), down-hill and cross country skiing, full-moon hikes, knitting, and reading. Always reading. Books are life.
I have a varied background in regards to work experience. I have long sought after jobs that gave me growth and an array of strong skills that are hands-on, computer-related, and people centered. My background consists of corporate office work, sales, real estate, working with forensic populations in community corrections, providing nutrition education in a non-profit organization, and presently… community-based research. I’m one of those people who did not know what they wanted to do as soon as they graduated high school or college, so I’ve experimented. Each step brought me closer to where I am today, a career path that suits me, as it’s work that contributes to scientific research while serving my beloved communities across the valley at the same time. I am incredibly grateful for the myriad of experiences I have had and I am very excited for future possibilities.
Why did you decide to work at CU and with the RMPRC?
I started working for CU and the RMPRC when I was offered a part-time position doing parent recruitment for the Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP). I had just re-entered the work-force after being a stay-at-home mom for a few years and it was the perfect part-time job that allowed me to ease back into working with a flexible schedule which was highly appealing to me at that time in my life. As I got to know the INEP and RMPRC teams, I knew I had found something special that would give me the best employment growth experience and opportunities. The INEP part-time Parent Recruiter position led me to a full-time Program Coordinator which eventually led me to my current position, a RMPRC Professional Research Assistant on the STANCE Project researching Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s). My life has taken interesting twists and turns but has led me to the amazing place I am today. I am so grateful for the ability to work for CU/RMPRC and be a part of incredible teams who are bettering our world.
What do you enjoy most in your role?
The people. Hands down. The pandemic has made this part harder as we handle everything virtually but the people are the stars of this show—my colleagues, the schools I work with, the parents/communities we serve, and the partnerships we make and maintain. It’s always the people who are at the heart of work like this. On the back-end, I really enjoy independent work such as creating and improving systems and anything that allows me to bring out my own brand of creativity.