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NMSU Scholarship Winner Focused on Degree

LAS CRUCES - Gena Telles can't wait to put a prestigious hospitality scholarship to work as she finishes her degree at New Mexico State University.



Gena Telles, a returning student at New Mexico State University, will use a prestigious hospitality scholarship as she completes a bachelor's degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management. Telles, a senior, plans to graduate in December. (04/04/2005) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by J. Victor Espinoza)

Telles is the first NMSU student to win a $1,500 Four Seasons scholarship from the National Society of Minorities in Tourism, which supports students who are role models in the hospitality industry.

Telles, a returning student with a daughter, plans to complete a bachelor's degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management in December. To finish, she'll complete an internship this summer and take 19 hours of coursework in the fall.

"It is exciting for me to have her recognized," said Telles' faculty adviser, Priscilla Bloomquist. "She has overcome several obstacles."

Telles enrolled at NMSU in 1992 but left school after three years. She returned in August 2004 with fresh determination.

During her second stint in college, she's been named to the dean's list, nominated for outstanding senior and selected for an Albuquerque Innkeepers Association scholarship.

"I had to go out in the real world and become focused," Telles said. "I know what's out there now."

Telles previously worked as a legal secretary and as a local catering manager for Aramark Corp., a food service company.

She returned to school to improve her professional prospects and pursue a long-term goal of owning an event planning business in 10 to 15 years.

Another strong motivation is setting a good example for her daughter, Jorgi, who is 6.

"If I tell her, 'You can be anything you want to be,' I have to follow my own advice," Telles says.

Mother and daughter do their homework together, and they've made the sacrifices of staying on a strict budget and bedtime schedule so Mom can study.

Telles's graduation dream involves Mickey Mouse ears instead of a cap and gown. She wants to celebrate graduation with a trip to Disneyland with her daughter.