Scholarship winner Daniela Gurule, left, and Thomasinia Ortiz-Gallegos, director of the Highlands University centers in Santa Fe and Española.
Las Vegas, N.M. — New Mexico Highlands University business management senior Daniela Gurule was awarded a $1,000 scholarship from MANA del Norte.
MANA stands for Mexican-American Women’s National Association, a nonprofit that has worked since 1974 to empower Latinas through education, community service, leadership development and advocacy.
Gurule, 33, is a Santa Fe native who has earned a 4.0 GPA at the Highlands Santa Fe Center. She also works full-time as the dual credit specialist at Santa Fe Community College.
Gurule is on track to complete her BBA in May 2014. She plans to pursue her MBA at Highlands through its accredited program that is offered through in-person or online instruction.
“I have a deep love for higher education and helping people improve their quality of life through education,” Gurule said. “Eventually I’d like to be a director of educational programs at a college or university.”
The married mother of two sons, aged five and eight, said the strong support she’s received from the Highlands Santa Fe Center has helped her persevere in reaching her educational goals.
“It’s a team effort when you’re not a traditional student, from your family to university staff and professors. It’s challenging to find the balance, determination and perseverance. The Highlands Santa Fe Center staff is awesome and the business professors are simply outstanding, especially Dr. Jenny Quillien, who made a big impact in my life — professionally and personally,” Gurule said.
Thomasinia Ortiz-Gallegos is the director of the Highlands University centers in Santa Fe and Española.
“Daniela is a very strong, smart and tenacious student, and I admire her devotion to her education,” Ortiz-Gallegos said. “Her future is very bright and she’ll go far in her chosen career. She has the potential to make a tremendous difference in people’s lives.”
Ortiz-Gallegos said Gurule is a positive role model for other Latina students of all ages and stages in life.
“It’s our passion to provide services for all students, including non-traditional students like Daniela who are currently the majority of our student population in Santa Fe and Española. We understand and embrace their additional responsibilities in life and want them to succeed academically, personally and professionally,” Ortiz-Gallegos said.
She added that some of the tools her centers use to support non-traditional students who often work full time include extended office hours, Skype, text messages, and more.