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NMSU student from Alamogordo gets national recognition

Alamogordo native Celina Roa Millerd was featured as one of the nation's top 100 Hispanic college students in the June issue of SuperOnda magazine. A New Mexico State University second-year graduate student, Millerd has a 4.0 grade point average.



NMSU graduate student Celina Roa Millerd was featured in SuperOnda magazine as one of the nation's top 100 Hispanic college students. (NMSU photo by Michael Kiernan)

Millerd, a single mother, is majoring in marriage and family therapy. Her two children, Rebecca, 13, and Michael, 10, are learning too, she said. "They are very responsible. They understand that Mom has homework too, and sometimes that means late nights at the computer lab."

She works at Mesilla Valley Hospital as a student therapist. As an NMSU undergraduate, she also worked with the Adolescent Family Life Program in Las Cruces, providing child safety and parenting classes to pregnant and parenting teens.

As an undergraduate, Millerd earned a 3.85 GPA and received the Debra Orozco Memorial Hispanic scholarship. She also received the Public Service Company of New Mexico Hispanic Heritage Scholarship. In 1999 she graduated as a Crimson Scholar and was selected as the Outstanding Hispanic Student Graduate in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department. Millerd also participated in the McNair program, a two-year federal program for undergraduate minority students planning to enroll as graduate students. Millerd said the program helped open doors for her. With the help of her faculty mentor, Esther Devall, Millerd has learned that success doesn't fall in your lap. "Being a single parent in college is a struggle," she said. "Hopefully I will meet my goal of being a therapist."

Aside from practicing therapy, her goals are "to be a college professor, certified family life educator and published researcher." In the spring of 1999 her abstract, "Military Mothers: Balancing Family and Country Responsibilities," was published in the NMSU McNair Journal. The study compared how single and married active duty mothers affected their children's behavior. A divorced military wife herself, Millerd feels the study can be used by family support centers to help military families cope more effectively.

Millerd said that her mother is her role model. "She raised us alone too, and I know if she could do it, so can I. She was thrilled when I decided to go back (to school) and she does all that she can to offer encouragement."

The emotional support from her family keeps her focused, she said. Her children have chores and responsibilities such as doing their own laundry and helping with dishes. Millerd said she couldn't do it without such cooperative kids. "They understand that they have homework, and so does Mom," she said.

Photo below is available at http://kiernan.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/millerd_c.jpg
For a print, call (505) 646-3221.
CUTLINE: NMSU graduate student Celina Roa Millerd was featured in SuperOnda magazine as one of the nation's top 100 Hispanic college students. (NMSU photo by Michael Kiernan)

Maria C. Lucero
Oct. 3, 2000