New Mexico Junior College

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Alumni Cristal Corrales Achieves Journalism Dream

Alumni Cristal Corrales Achieves Journalism Dream

By Haley Bonner

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New Mexico Junior College (NMJC) graduate, Cristal Corrales, went on to attend New Mexico State University (NMSU), double majoring in Journalism and Foreign Languages. She currently lives in Las Cruces, NM working as a Multimedia News Reporter for Telemundo. 


Originally from Lovington, NM, Corrales came to NMJC as a first-generation college student. Her experience at NMJC gave her the skills and the confidence to pursue further education at New Mexico State University: 


“I was still scared after highschool. I didn’t want to leave home, but I wanted to continue my education. The JC (junior college)  just kind of helped me put my feet in the door. I had no experience whatsoever in college, and it kind of helped me know I could do this [...] It’s affordable, there’s help, and the JC just helped me get experience with FAFSA to look into other colleges. It was basically the first stepping stone. I think I would not have done as good in a bigger college, just being thrown out there. [...] My parents didn’t know anything about college, so everything I know about college I learned at the JC.”


While at the junior college, Corrales ran for our Cross Country and Track teams. She says one of her favorite memories at NMJC was when her team won regionals. “To all of us that was something huge. It was in Cross Country and it was a home invitational, and all of our friends were all together there, cheering us on, it just felt great.” 


During her time here, she received athletic scholarships for participation on those sports teams, as well as the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship, and our own Foundation Scholarships. The scholarships she received here at NMJC made a huge impact on college affordability for her, even at NMSU: 


“I always tried to keep on top of my grades and get as many scholarships as I could, and since the JC is not as expensive as other colleges, I had scholarship money left over, and that money helped me come here (NMSU). I saved a lot, some people spend it, but I saved any (scholarship) money that I had leftover, and I was able to use it here, in a bigger, more expensive school. If it wasn’t for that, then I don’t know, I probably would have had loans right now.” 


Thinking about her current position as a reporter on Telemundo, Corrales says, “It is my dream job. People would be like, “You have to start from the bottom, you can’t be a reporter right away,” but I got it.” When asked about the ways she feels that NMJC prepared her for her current job, Corrales points to her professors. “(In the) English classes I had, the professors there challenged my English skills to better my writing. Journalism is about writing. The professors would compliment my work, and kind of boosted my confidence (in my writing).”


Speaking to students considering NMJC, Corrales says, “Honestly, it's the best choice (you) could make. I always tell my brother and sister the best decision I made was to go to the JC before a four-year university, because it's more economical and affordable. There is so much help, like scholarships, and, your professors, they know you by name, you’re not just a number [...] it’s a smaller community, and it’s a good option. It’s the best decision I ever made.”