What’s your position at First Citizens?
I’m VP and financial sales manager. I work with business clients, in the community.
Tell me about your background — your family, goals, personal interests.
I was born and raised in Santa Fe. I went to school here — elementary, Capital High. I was Senior Class President. I’ve had a rewarding career. My goal is to continue in banking, and continue to help my community. I’m the board president for Esperanza Shelter.
Why did you choose SFCC?
I chose it because they offered a banking degree. I didn’t expect to find my degree program at the CC, but I did. I fell into banking. I’m not gifted with numbers. You don’t wake up and say “I want to be a banker.” You don’t choose banking, banking chooses you.
When did you attend?
I started in 2007 and graduated in 2009.
What was your major?
Banking and Mortgage Services. They don’t offer that degree anymore, unfortunately.
Were you a full-time student? Part-time?
Yes, full-time, and a full-time employee at First National.
Did you attend classes during the day? At night?
Evening and on Saturdays, and online. We have a three-year-old son, and my wife is finishing her degree. It would have been too hard for both of us to be in school during the day. I also have degree through Western School of Banking , it’s like a Master’s.
Tell me about your experience at SFCC. Was it what you expected? How was it different?
It’s a fun place — so much energy when you walk in. I didn’t expect everybody at the CC to be so friendly and caring. I can’t say that enough. You can tell everybody there wants to make sure that students get the education they need and deserve. I met great people there who helped me. Danielle Gonzales is my academic advisor. She’s been very helpful, from the moment I met her. And Rebecca Estrada — she’s now director of the Higher Ed Center.
Did you receive financial aid? What kind?
No, the bank paid for everything.
Did you use any of SFCC’s student support services? (Counseling, tutoring, help for veterans?) Did they help?
I used the tutoring center.
Did you face any obstacles to completing your education? What kinds (financial, scheduling, emotional support)?
That was the most difficult, finding the dedication to get it done. I’d stay up late getting homework done. I had no weekends. But I was determined to graduate.
What advice would you give to a prospective or current SFCC student?
I definitely would advise them to take advantage of the resources that are available to them, and talk to people who attended and to the academic advisors. They don’t have to go full-time, they can do what ever they need to to get their degree at their pace. It really is a great school.