January 14, 2020
Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands University psychology senior and student government leader Angelica Aragon is headed to law school at the University of New Mexico in August 2020.
Aragon, a Mora, New Mexico native, has earned a 4.0 GPA at Highlands and is on track to graduate in May 2020.
“Growing up in a small town taught me the importance of caring for others in my community and is a large part of why I want to pursue a legal career,” Aragon said. “I always wanted a career where I could best help people and found my passion in law. I gained valuable shadowing experience from family members who practice law.”
Aragon said she is currently most interested in practicing criminal defense law.
“I’ve always believed in the notion that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. With criminal defense law, I can protect people’s rights in the judicial system,” Aragon said.
Aragon said Highlands has offered her opportunities she couldn’t get elsewhere, which has been a big key to her academic success.
“Highlands cares about its students and gives us every tool we need to be successful. The professors make sure what is learned in the classroom is relevant to the real world. The quality of education I received here is excellent, and the small classes make you feel like more than a number,” Aragon said.
She said Leon Bustos, a psychology faculty member who also directs the Highlands Undergraduate Enrichment program, influenced her education the most.
“As a Las Vegas native, Leon Bustos has similar life experiences to me and encourages his students to give back to those who raised them. He continuously stresses the importance of community outreach and has been an outstanding role model in this regard,” Aragon said.
Bustos said Aragon is an exceptional student.
“Angelica has unusual academic curiosity and the ability to show strong leadership among her peers,” Bustos said. “I admire her passion, integrity and grit.”
Aragon said she became a student senator at Highlands to empower her fellow students.
“I wanted to be an advocate who could make a real change on campus for students. Our student regent, Rebekah Peoble, inspired me with her strong commitment to Highlands University students,” Aragon said.
Aragon is one of the students representing Highlands in the university’s Legislative Fellowship Program, which was launched in 2019.
“I became a legislative fellow because I was interested in learning how our government worked through practical experience. As someone who is pursuing law, I feel it is important to understand how legislation becomes the law I will be practicing,” Aragon said.
Aragon said she gained valuable experience working in the Career Services Office at Highlands as a career peer adviser.
“This job with Career Services is helping me prepare for law school because it taught me great communication skills. I present to hundreds of students at resume workshops and new student orientation,” Aragon said.
Aragon said she is looking forward to learning about New Mexico law from a New Mexican institution.
“Something unique about the UNM School of Law is that the New Mexico Court of Appeals is located on campus, giving students the opportunity to experience the judicial system first hand,” Aragon said.