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Opportunity takes



FLIGHT Support from Wolslager Foundation makes the difference for DACC, NMSU students by Darrell J. Pehr

14 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Spring 2016

little help can go a long way in providing an opportunity for those who otherwise might not succeed, and one family’s commitment to New Mexico State University has provided that help not just once, but hundreds of times over more than a decade. Since 2002, the Wolslager Foundation has supported non-traditional students through scholarships at Doña Ana Community College and NMSU. During that time, more than $2.29 million has been provided for students who might not have made the commitment to transformative higher education without it. The scholarships were available to full-time students at DACC and NMSU students who transferred from DACC to complete their undergraduate work, and the results were often life-changing. “I can tell you that at the time I was going to school, my husband and I were both working part-time, minimum wage jobs with three small kids to support and the thought of dropping out to get a fulltime job was always on my mind, especially since we were both in school,” says scholarship recipient Sarah Keesling ’11 ’13. “Had it not been for scholarships, I would have never been able to finish school. I was debating whether to even finish my associate degree, but because of scholarships, I was able to get through, and now I have a master’s degree in special education.” Keesling is now a math teacher at Oñate High School in Las Cruces working with students who have disabilities. “I am grateful every day to have been given the opportunity to go to school,” Keesling says. For Vanessa Mendez ’11 ’13, currently a graduate teaching assistant in NMSU’s Department of Communication Studies, the scholarship came as a boost to her confidence at just the right time. Mendez started at DACC as a firstgeneration student. There, she received excellent support and guidance, became involved in student government and earned an associate’s degree. The next step, though, was not as clear to Mendez. When she was finished at DACC, she was concerned about how she was going to navigate in a four-year university setting at NMSU and was especially concerned about going into debt to pursue a degree.

Panorama - Spring 2016  

Panorama is NMSU's Alumni and Friends magazine. To read the current issue, visit To view the Fall 2016 issue as a...