Carmen Soto, NMJC Adult Education Student, Recognized as “Outstanding Student of the Year” for Adult Education and Literacy Day 2024

Carmen Soto, NMJC Adult Education Student, Recognized as “Outstanding Student of the Year” for Adult Education and Literacy Day 2024

By Deira Fernandez


New Mexico Junior College (NMJC) congratulates Carmen Soto as the recipient of the Outstanding Student of the Year award for Adult Education and Literacy Day 2024. Carmen's remarkable dedication and achievements were celebrated during a special recognition ceremony in Santa Fe, NM where she was honored as a legislative guest.

Soto embarked on her educational journey with NMJC Adult Education in the fall of 2023. Soto stated she had found the program accessible, thanks to the convenience of finding it on her phone. Her enthusiasm and motivation caught the attention of the program's director, who conducted Carmen's interview personally. Carmen shared, "I feel like a teenager all over again because age doesn't matter in the classroom. Going to Santa Fe to receive the recognition was a great honor. They spoke very kindly about me, and this experience helped me learn that it is never too late to start."

NMJC Adult Education Director, Kathleen Ferrell commended Carmen's commitment and progress, stating, " In addition to her scheduled classes, she comes to the program to study in one of our available classrooms several times a week. When placed in an online learning support program, Carmen was concerned and shared that she did not know much about computers. To help her overcome this barrier, one of our staff, met with her twice a week to teach her computer skills. Today, she is thriving in the online class! It is because of her commitment and dedication, she moved from ESL Level 3 to Reading transition in one session! She pushes herself to speak in English at every opportunity and can now engage in an English conversation!”

In her native language, Soto shared a powerful message: "Querer es poder," meaning "where there's a will, there's a way." She encouraged young individuals who may be hesitant about pursuing education, stating, "Don't waste the time. Know that picking up a pencil is much easier than having a job that will work you out in the sun all day."

Soto’s journey exemplifies the power of education and determination. Her success serves as an inspiration to learners of all ages, highlighting the importance of perseverance and seizing opportunities for personal growth.



New Mexico Junior College (NMJC) is a leading educational institution committed to providing success through learning and high-quality education to its diverse student body. Founded in 1965, NMJC offers a wide range of academic programs, certifications, and services to empower students to achieve their educational and career goals.

Contact: Valerie Onsurez Gauna, Director of Outreach & Engagement, 575-492-2780,, or Deira Fernandez, Recruiter, 575-492-2776,