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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU graduates using past experiences to help students

For most students at New Mexico State University, attending college was something they had to work hard to achieve. For one group of recent graduates, the hard work is just beginning as they try to better the lives of others.

Natashia Hill, Rene Guillaume, Cheryl Ingram, Ralph Crabbe and Festus Addo-Yobo are five students in the NMSU College of Education who have recently received their doctorates and plan use their knowledge and past experiences to continue to help students.

"Part of the land-grant mission of New Mexico State University is to prepare future academic and educational leaders," said Michael Morehead, NMSU College of Education dean.

"The College of Education is a national leader in preparing diverse graduates who will become the nation's educational leaders."

Hill, a Michigan native, moved to New Mexico in 1999 to pursue a master's in English from NMSU after obtaining her bachelor's from the University of Michigan. In 2002, she began teaching at Santa Teresa High School as an English teacher. In 2003, Hill graduated with her second master's degree. She currently is a dual credit/AP English teacher at Mountain View High School in El Paso. Hill also enjoys working with children who will be first generation college attendees and hopes to create an educational environment that is more responsive to their specific learning needs.

"My experiences in the classroom inspired me to pursue my doctorate," Hill said. "As a public school teacher, one becomes privy to many gaps in the educational system and I wanted to create change through school reformation."

Guillaume is from El Paso and has been at NMSU for seven years. He is currently the director of the TRIO Upper Bound program at NMSU, a federally funded program that works with high school students to encourage them to enroll and graduate from college. Guillaume plans to continue working with students in higher education.

"I love what I do and the students I work with," he said. "The degree I'm receiving falls in line with what I do now professionally and what I would like to continue to do."

Ingram, a teaching assistant at NMSU in the department of curriculum and instruction, moved from Nebraska in order to get a new outlook on her life. She enrolled in college to someday help make life easier for her mother and the rest of her family. She is a mentor and advocate for multiple students in the NMSU Black Programs department. Ingram plans to work in higher education as a professor and would like to develop a program for student support services to help students from challenging circumstances complete college.

"My inspiration to get my doctorate came from multiple circumstances," Ingram said. "I grew up in a single parent household where struggle was no stranger. I was inspired to get my doctorate from watching my hard-working mother struggle to support our family."

Crabbe, born in Los Angeles, came to NMSU in 2006 after attending several universities. He attended Los Angeles City College, California State University, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Missouri. Crabbe is an instructor in the NMSU department of Counseling and Educational Psychology (CEP). Before attending NMSU, he found that the CEP department had received an American Psychological Association Suinn Minority Achievement Award.

"It is given to the academic department that has a strong emphasis on multi-cultural psychology and not only teaches it but lives it," Crabbe said. "With that said, I think that New Mexico State was the best choice for me."

Addo-Yobo came to the United States in late 1983 from Ghana, West Africa. He has been at NMSU for the past seven years. He received his master's degree from Western Kentucky University. Before coming to NMSU he also worked at the University of Minnesota. Addo-Yobo is currently the director of Black Programs at NMSU.

"It has been a great experience," he said. "The one thing I have gotten from the experience here, educational and professionally, is empower yourself so you can empower others. I'm looking forward to bringing better lives to people through transformation."

Since 2007, the NMSU College of Education has graduated 130 doctoral students. The department offers doctorates in education, special education, philosophy, counseling and educational psychology, curriculum and instruction, and educational administration.