Tara Trudell first HU Student to Receive New Mexico Press Women Scholarship
New Mexico Highlands University media arts student Tara Trudell is the first student from the university to receive a scholarship from New Mexico Press Women.
Trudell, 42, graduated from Mora High School and returned to Highlands University fall semester 2010 to pursue her media arts degree. The single mother of four brings eight years of experience owning and operating Clarity, a Las Vegas fine art and international fair trade artisan store, to her studies.
“We at Press Women understand that journalism is changing, and as part of the change we want to honor students who have honed their skills in multimedia disciplines to go forward into the new media age,” said Sharon Niederman, New Mexico Press Women president. “By supporting Tara Trudell’s outstanding photography work, we are supporting a student who is deft in carrying forward the highest principals of journalism.”
Niederman said most of the exceptional student work New Mexico Press Women is seeing now is from returning, nontraditional students like Trudell.
“I plunged into media arts full time fall semester and knew it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be,” Trudell said. “I feel blessed to be back at school in this program, but it was also stressful to return to college after 15 years. Media arts professor Andrew Wollner told me, â€˜you’re not struggling, you’re learning.’ The professors push you but also support you, like a parent would.”
Trudell racked up straight A’s fall semester, and reveled in learning as much as she could in media arts courses like digital imaging, screen writing, and videography.
“The media arts professors are extremely talented, and are resources not just for their knowledge but for their own industry experience,” Trudell said. “The graduate students are also generous in sharing their knowledge.”
Wollner, who recommended Trudell for the New Mexico Press Women scholarship, said: “Tara has creativity, professionalism, and maturity. She has an intense personal drive to fulfill and exceed any type of course requirement. She has produced several exceptional pieces.”
“I feel strongly about documenting life through digital photography and digital film making,” Trudell said.”Art is a powerful tool, and I believe it’s the responsibility of artists to bring more social awareness. This is my path.”
Trudell’s roots run deep in Northern New Mexico, dating back seven generations on her mother’s side. Villanueva was named for Trudell’s great-great grandmother Manuela Villanueva. Trudell’s mother, Fenicia Ordonez, is a Mora artist and nurse.
Trudell said her mother’s love and support have been extraordinary, including coming out of retirement as a nurse to help Trudell finance her education.
Trudell’s children motivate her to excel as a student, artist, and provider. Siah is 14, Daisy 12, Talon 9, and Jackson 4.
“I want my children to always remember that I came back to school for something I have passion for,” Trudell said.