Las Vegas, N.M. – The academic adviser and recruiter for Highlands University’s Santa Fe Center earned the New Mexico’s New Professional Rising Star award for his dedication to student degree completion.
Robert A. Anaya, a Galisteo, New Mexico native, received the award from NASPA, a national organization for student affairs professionals in higher education.
“Robert relates well to our student body population because he’s experienced the same journey they are on in pursuing their education while balancing life’s responsibilities ranging from working multiple jobs to raising families,” said Thomasinia Ortiz-Gallegos, the director for Highlands University’s Santa Fe Center. “He’s extremely dedicated and very invested in serving our students.”
Ortiz-Gallegos said she greatly appreciates Anaya’s ability to be culturally sensitive, open minded and cognizant of opportunities for students, noting the average age for Highlands’ Santa Fe Center students is 35.
Anaya, 47, earned his B.A. in political science from Highlands in 1992 and is on track to complete his master’s degree in public affairs from Highlands in December 2017.
“I had challenges when I was completing my own college education and fought very hard to finish my bachelor’s degree,” Anaya said. “My goal is to help nontraditional and all students on their pathway to graduation, and make it as smooth as possible. It’s very fulfilling when our students achieve their educational dreams.”
Anaya said he sees himself as a facilitator who connects students with the right faculty and staff to complete their degrees, as well as connect them with important resources like the university’s Financial Aid Office and support services like tutoring.
“I am very fortunate and humbled to work with outstanding faculty and staff throughout the Highlands University family,” Anaya said.
Anaya also serves as a Santa Fe County Commissioner representing District 3. He is in his second term, which extends through 2018.
“I’m honored to serve the citizens and communities of District 3 in Santa Fe County,” Anaya said.