Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands alumna Sessyon Crawford is the new advocacy and education coordinator at the main campus for HU CARES, the Center for Advocacy, Resources, Education and Support.
“Sessyon’s experience in crisis management gives her the ability to remain calm and assess situations appropriately,” said Ruthy Watson, HU CARES director. “Because she’s a Highlands alumna, she has valuable insight that allows her to connect with all students on so many levels. Sessyon is a great addition to the HU CARES team and we’re so excited to have her on board at the main campus.”
Crawford, 27, earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Highlands in 2014 and her Master of Social Work in clinical practice in 2018.
“My academic experience at Highlands was very hands on and one-one-one with my professors,” Crawford said. “This was especially important to me as a first-generation college student and played a critical role in my success in completing my bachelor’s and master’s degrees.”
Crawford said the social work curriculum at Highlands prepared her well to handle the complexity of issues students experience.
“My social work professors’ expertise in both real-world clinical as well as academic settings helped me understand and implement specific programs tailored for clients,” Crawford said.
Crawford was a graduate research assistant at Highlands for criminal justice professor Gloria Gadsden and sociology professor Erika Derkas.
“Their research focused on social justice issues related at the societal, economic and institution levels. Working with Dr. Gadsen and Dr. Derkas gave me the opportunity to delve into the research topic, think critically, and attend professional conferences,” Crawford said.
As part of her MSW education, Crawford interned for a year at 7 Circles Justice Center in Las Vegas, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide substance abuse and crisis counseling.
“In my practicum, I learned that you can’t take people’s life experiences at face value. Everyone has a story that got them to their current situation. It helped me develop a calm and nonjudgmental clinical approach,” Crawford said.
Outside the classroom, Crawford was a leader at Highlands, serving as a student senator.
“Being a student senator gave me the ability to understand and address student needs and concerns,” Crawford said.
Crawford, a Long Beach, California native, came to Highlands on a track scholarship. She ran both the 400 and 800 meters in track in addition to competing on the cross country team. In 2012, Crawford ran a 400-meter leg of the Cowgirls 4 by 400 relay team that became RMAC champions.
“As a student athlete, I learned how to juggle the demands of my sport along with striving for academic excellence in the classroom. It was an honor to represent my school,” Crawford said.