Faces of CNM: Victoria Temple

Victoria is the wife of a veteran and got to use military benefits to study at CNM
June 24, 2021

Victoria Temple and her husband Brandon Temple were excited to get on with the next chapter of their lives when they moved from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to Albuquerque back in March 2020. Brandon, who is from Albuquerque, had spent the past 10 years serving his country in the U.S. Army with deployments to South Korea and Afghanistan. Victoria, meanwhile, was proud to have helped back home while working as a middle school teacher on the Fort Bragg base.

But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Brandon had planned on going back to school using his military benefits and Victoria was going to be a substitute teacher for Albuquerque Public Schools. With everything shut down, they were unsure of what would happen next.

Luckily, both Victoria and Brandon were able to meet with the Veteran’s Resource Center (VRC) at CNM. Matthew Fuentes, the VRC Coordinator, and Ian Scott, Veteran Affairs School Certifying Officer, helped Brandon enroll in online computer science classes, and they told Victoria she had educational benefits as well as a result of Brandon’s service. She decided to enroll in the Human Services program with the hopes of starting a whole new career. 

“Having that team available to help me and Brandon understand the educational and community resources available was crucial during our time of transition,” Victoria says. 

Brandon had medically retired from the Army so taking in-person classes would have been nearly impossible for both him and Victoria. While it was hard to be stuck at home, they were both glad that all of CNM’s classes were being offered online during the pandemic. 

“Being able to study and collaborate remotely at CNM is something I am extremely grateful for,” Victoria says. “That kept me safe, occupied, and motivated during these trying times.”

The kind of help the VRC provided to Victoria is one of the reasons CNM recently received the Military Friendly Spouse School designation for the first time in 2021. The designation recognizes colleges and universities with programs and services that support veterans and their families. CNM has also received a Military Friendly designation for two years in a row because of its support for veterans. CNM’s VRC currently serves about 1,400 veterans and dependents including spouses and their college-aged children. 

Currently, Victoria is still studying at CNM and is also a work study employee at the VRC where she helps veterans like her husband navigate various departments at CNM. She plans to graduate from CNM in fall 2021 and then wants to transfer to New Mexico Highlands University to study Sociology and Social Work. Her husband plans to finish his degree in Computer Science. Both Victoria and Brandon say they’re deeply grateful for the opportunities they’ve had at CNM.

“Throughout our entire time at the college I’ve found that having a support system such as the VRC is essential for our veteran population to assimilate back into civilian life,” Victoria says. “Both Brandon and I are excited for what comes next.”