Find Out How CNM Helped This Adult Learner Achieve Her Lifelong Goal Of Going To College

Marisela Ortega always told her daughters to go to school and earn a college degree. Now it’s her turn to follow that advice.
January 20, 2023

When Marisela Ortega moved to the United States as a little girl she remembers her aunt telling her the best thing she could do is get an education. Marisela kept that advice in mind for years while working to support a family, and finally got the opportunity to start working towards her college degree in 2021.

She’s currently on track to graduate in May from CNM with her associate degree in Early Childhood Multicultural Education and wants to attend UNM next. 

Before attending CNM, Marisela worked at an assisted living center. 

“At that job I started thinking ‘is this all there is for me?’ But then my husband told me that I should finally go to school and do what makes me happy. So I applied to CNM and from there everything changed,” she says.

Marisela, who grew up speaking Spanish, started at CNM by taking Adult Basic Education courses in the English as a Second Language Program. This helped her feel more confident and make connections. 

She quickly found her footing and during the 2022 Fall Term Marisela was asked to represent CNM at an event hosted by the New Mexico Adult Education Association. At the event, she gave a speech in English about her experience at CNM as an ESL adult learner. 

“It was amazing to speak at the event,” Marisela says. “I never thought this many doors were going to open for me. Through the Adult Education program I’ve discovered who I really am, what I need, and exactly what I want to do.”

Along with the community she found at CNM, Marisela credits much of her success to the endless support from her family. 

“My daughters are always pushing me and celebrating with me,” Marisela says. “And I want to be a good example to them not just as a mother, but as a woman and as a professional. I wanted to go back to school for myself, but I also wanted to do this for my kids so they can always know that if I can do it, they can do it too.” 

Marisela’s ultimate goal is to eventually work for herself and own a daycare business. 

“I know now to never stop dreaming,” she says. “If there is something I want to do, or that my family wants to do, I know we can work hard and make it come true.”