New Mexico Junior College

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NMJC Ford ASSET Alumni, Arnulfo Gonzales, Builds Career in Auto Industry

NMJC Ford ASSET Alumni, Arnulfo Gonzales, Builds Career in Auto Industry

By Haley Bonner

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Arnulfo Gonzales came to New Mexico Junior College in 2015. A Texas-native, he was drawn to NMJC by the Ford ASSET automotive program offered at the college. 


While in high-school, Arnulfo mostly worked in farming and with racehorses. He hadn’t initially planned on going into college and was intent on just going into the workforce. He says, “In my mind, I thought it was the easiest thing at the time.” After graduating from high-school, Arnulfo was able to begin working in a local auto-shop. His role quickly grew as he began helping one of the shop technicians. 


That man, who became Arnulfo’s mentor technician, convinced Arnulfo to look into the automotive program at NMJC. “My mentoring technician [said], ‘I wish I’d gone that route,’ because it was a lot faster. He had to wait 10 years to get his full certification, and I ended up getting mine in two (years) through the college.”


When speaking about the measure of his time at NMJC and the standard of the program, Arnfulfo says “The quality (of the program) went above my expectations. The professor, Mr. Williams, he’s very knowledgeable. Him having worked on cars prior to teaching, and having that experience and not just being somebody off of the street, [...] it really helps out. He’s very knowledgeable.”


Some of his favorite memories at NMJC, outside the automotive program, include playing flag-football as part of the junior college’s intramural teams. He also speaks highly of his time living on-campus and encourages incoming students to consider campus housing. “When I first went to the program, I [thought], ‘I just want to be on my own, doing my own thing.’ And then I got really bored.” After switching to campus housing, Arnulfo found he really enjoyed the community atmosphere of housing and spending time with his fellow students in the court-yard area. 


Now, after graduating, Arnulfo’s long-term goal is to become a shop foreman, and he is steadily moving toward that goal, using the education he received at NMJC. 


When asked what he would tell a student considering NMJC, as an automotive student or in general, he says “It’s an awesome college. It’s very affordable, and it will lead you into your career, just like it did for me.”