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NMSU’s Aggie Pathway helps students transition from community colleges, celebrates first graduates

In 2016 the Aggie Pathway program was launched to help students at New Mexico State University’s community colleges fulfill the requirements to transfer to the NMSU Las Cruces campus in pursuit of bachelor’s degrees.


Man sits at a table outside.
A May 2020 New Mexico State University graduate, Devon Johnson was a member of the first cohort of Aggie Pathway students. The program helps students transfer from NMSU community colleges to the Las Cruces campus. (NMSU photo by Andres Leighton)

Four years later, 10 students from the first cohort have graduated, including Devon Johnson who earned his bachelor’s degree in counseling and community psychology in May 2020. Johnson started at the Doña Ana Community College Gadsden Center and transferred to the NMSU Las Cruces campus in May 2018.

“The Aggie Pathway helped me a lot getting into contact with people in my department or different resources that were available to me both when I was attending DACC and when I went to main campus,” he said. “The Aggie Pathway lets people transfer over once they are ready. You can transfer after your first semester or after your third semester, I really enjoyed getting the choice of when to transfer over.”

As a new initiative, Associate Director for Transfer Recruitment Danielle Staley acknowledged the challenges Aggie Pathway navigated.

“Being a new program, there isn’t word of mouth advertising or established support for the program,” she said. “So we really had to build upon the information students received from a brochure and presentations. We had to deliver a program they would want to be a part of and that would help them from start to finish.”

Students in the Aggie Pathway program have a peer mentor who can provide insight into the college experience.

“Our peer mentors contact our students on a weekly basis to just check in to see how things are going and if students have questions, need assistance, etc.,” Staley said. “We have an Aggie Pathway adviser who assists our students with the transfer process and helps the student create a transfer plan so they have an idea of what semester they will be transferring to NMSU and make sure they are staying on track for a bachelor’s degree.”

Aggie Pathway also hosts and advertises events for students on the Las Cruces campus.

“We encourage students to become familiar with the Las Cruces campus before transferring so the change won’t feel so overwhelming,” Staley said.

A new course through DACC, COLL 155, has been developed to assist Aggie Pathway students create a career, academic and financial plan.

“Fall 2020 will be the first semester this course is offered and we think this will be a game changer for our students,” Staley said.

Additionally, Aggie Pathway is partnering with the College of Engineering for the DACC-NMSU STAR project, which helps engineering students and provides scholarships. To learn more visit https://star.nmsu.edu/.

Now as an NMSU alumnus, Johnson, who plans to gain work and life experience for a few years before pursuing a master’s degree, has advice for prospective students.

“Starting college can be scary, I would definitely encourage just asking questions,” Johnson said. “They help make the transition easy and definitely have some fun along the way. Everyone in the program is willing to help and are also very friendly.”

For more information about Aggie Pathway visit https://aggiepathway.nmsu.edu.