Las Vegas, N.M — A New Mexico Highlands University education student is making an impact at the New Mexico Higher Education Department through the Governor’s Summer Internship Program, a competitive paid position.
Megan Moffett, a 19-year-old junior at the Highlands Rio Rancho Center, is working in the Higher Education Department’s Financial Aid Division in Santa Fe. Her first assignment was a grant-writing project.
“Megan assisted us with writing a federal grant for our health professional loan repayment program,” said Heather Romero, interim financial aid director. “She was phenomenal in reviewing the grammar and content.
“Megan has an exceptional work ethic and is a very bright individual. She works so well with our staff and has great ideas. Megan has a strong skill set and I’m confident she’ll be a highly successful special education teacher,” Romero said.
Moffett will also develop new content for the state’s higher education financial aid website, among other projects.
“My internship is a wonderful opportunity to gain a better understanding of HED rules and regulations related to scholarships, grants and other financial aid,” Moffett said. “When I’m a teacher, I want my students to know that they can apply for higher education financial aid regardless of any disability they might have. I want all my students to succeed.”
The Rio Rancho resident has maintained a 4.0 GPA at both Highlands and Central New Mexico Community College, where she earned her associate’s degree. She was named to the New Mexico All State Academic Team in 2011.
Moffett, who started college as an English major, switched to special education and elementary education after a positive experience as a substitute teacher in the Rio Rancho Public Schools.
“I discovered how much I love the classroom, the children, and teaching,” Moffett said.
During the spring semester, she juggled school and working full-time as an educational assistant for young autistic children in the Rio Rancho Public Schools.
“My goal is to be a special education teacher with a focus on children with autism,” Moffett said. “It’s very rewarding to see the autistic children grow academically and socially. Autism is a process disorder where they need more time to process information, along with a more structured learning environment and schedule. With the right support, autistic children can learn like other children.”
She’ll work full-time again this fall with autistic children in the Rio Rancho district.
“Megan brings a particular passion for special education students to our classroom discourse,” said Diane Walker, an education professor at the Highlands Rio Rancho Center. “She is a thoughtful young woman with an outstanding academic history who is focused on improving student learning and achievement.”
Moffett said being a student at the Rio Rancho Center is like being with family.
“The education professors are so welcoming and supportive, and are extremely knowledgeable in their fields,” Moffett said.
Teaching is becoming a tradition in the Moffett family. Her brother, Brian, graduated summa cum laude from the Highlands Rio Rancho Center in May with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education. Her mother, Edna, is a college-readiness instructor at Central New Mexico Community College.