Our People: Stepping up to serve
Last updated 8/13/2022 at 11:53am
In July, Christopher Baca turned his drive to serve up a level.
He moved from a teaching position at Clovis Christian School to become the program specialist for the TRIO Educational Opportunity Center at Eastern New Mexico University.
If TRIO were ever an acronym, it is unclear what it may have stood for, but federally funded TRIO programs assist low-income students, especially those who represent the first generation in their family to attend college.
Baca is a Clovis native who graduated from Lake Arthur High School in 2004 while living in Artesia, and returned to eastern New Mexico, where he attended Eastern New Mexico University with degrees in English and Religion, and began a teaching career at Clovis Christian School.
Baca took time out on Wednesday for an interview with The News.
Here are our questions and his responses.
Q: Do you have family members in Portales?
A: My father and mother, and a sister live in Portales.
Q: You've been a teacher for quite a few years. What motivated you to seek this position at ENMU?
A: It's an opportunity to serve a wider range of students. Here I can serve many students from low-income families and see that they succeed. They don't know the ways to do it. They don't know anything about admissions, how to get financial aid, and even choosing a career.
Q: What is your most immediate goal?
A: Getting the word out about our programs. I'm doing interviews on all the local radio stations and I want to put flyers out all over campus.
Q: What motivates you to serve students?
A: It comes from a desire to serve the community. I am also the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus in Portales and a deputy Grand Knight for the state of New Mexico. I also maintain the website for St. Helen's Church in Portales. I do a little bit of everything.
Q: How well do you relate to younger students?
A: I know I do well in advising students. I was the middle school basketball coach, and I was always the one the students came to for help with different matters, more than others. They would come to me before they would come to others.
Q: There are others, though, right?
A: I'm here for everybody, not just the younger students. People are calling me who are over 50.
Q: And you are continuing your own education, I understand?
A: I have received a master's degree in Psychology and Educational Leadership (from the University of the Rockies in Denver). I'm a PhD student at the University of Arizona. My dissertation is on college advising for low-income students. I have three or four chapters to go.
Q: Your Facebook profile shows you are interested in many things. How do you find time?
A: I like keeping busy.
Q: What do you do when you have time and everything is done for the day?
A: I like reading just about anything. I especially like western novels.