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NMSU senior receives national outstanding mentor award

Alicia Romero, a senior at New Mexico State University, was recognized as the 2019 College Reading & Learning Association’s Outstanding Mentor at the organization’s annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, Oct. 30-Nov. 2. She was honored for her work as a TRIO Student Support Services peer mentor at NMSU.


Two women standing.
Alicia Romero (right), a senior at New Mexico State University, accepted the 2019 College Reading & Learning Association’s Outstanding Mentor award from Ashley Lewis, a CRLA representative, at the organization’s annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was honored for her work as a TRIO Student Support Services peer mentor at NMSU. (Courtesy photo)

A Roswell, New Mexico, native, Romero is set to graduate in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, wildlife management and conservation ecology. She is in her fourth year as a TRIO mentor and has received a CRLA Level 3 Master Mentor Certification, which is the top certification possible.

Romero said she was surprised when she received the announcement.

“I was in shock at the beginning because I didn’t fully know what it meant, but I feel so honored to be able to represent the TRIO Student Support Service team in this way,” Romero said.

“The biggest reward of mentoring that I have experienced is when the students share with you their accomplishments,” she said. “It’s the text messages that say, ‘I’ve made it into the program!’ or ‘I’ve passed the test!’ I enjoy celebrating in their accomplishments with them.”

Bernadine Booky, TRIO Student Support Services mentor coordinator, said she is very proud to have the top mentor in the nation working with NMSU students.

“She (Romero) has changed so many students’ lives both academically and personally. Alicia is very dedicated to her job and students. She goes above and beyond to help her students accomplish goals and achievements they are unaware they are capable of. She spreads positivity and motivation to anyone who comes in contact with her on a daily basis,” Booky said.

Romero has spent more than 400 hours mentoring students and more than 100 hours attending trainings.

“Mentoring is about empathy and using the skills that you are taught through trainings to help students in their endeavors,” Romero said. “Applying what we learn through training helps us work with our students to help them succeed. As this is learned you also start to unconsciously mentor those around you. It isn’t necessarily about telling them what to do. It is about being a confidante and offering advice or resources when asked. It is about being a part of the support system for the student that helps them succeed.”

In addition to accepting the award, Romero participated in a student panel at the conference, “Peer Educators: Who They Are, What They Do, and How They Benefit Colleges and Universities.” As one of six peer educators, Romero spoke about how she is successful in her job, challenges overcome and helpful trainings for her position.

“Alicia did an outstanding job representing TRIO SSS and NMSU as she mentioned the strong community and collaboration TRIO and NMSU has with each other,” Booky said.