SFCC Academic All-Stars share their journeys

During the recent legislative session, two SFCC students, Tintawi Kaigzabihner (pursuing an associate degree in Creative Writing) and Joshua Trujillo (pursuing an associate degree in human services) were recognized as Academic All-Stars. They received their recognition while accompanied by Phi Theta Kappa advisor Andrew Lovato, Ph.D.
Here’s what they shared about their personal experiences:

Tintawi Kaigzabihner: “I am 41, a wife and mother of five children. I was born in northern New Jersey, and relocated to Santa Fe seven years ago. I attended Sarah Lawrence College in the ’90s, but left before completing to start my family. I am currently pursuing an associate degree in Creative Writing at SFCC and simultaneously completing courses at Harvard Extension School working towards being accepted into their bachelor’s program. My most recent published work can be seen here. I write to give a voice to people of African descent.”

Joshua Trujillo: “I’m 31. I am pursuing an associate degree at SFCC in Human Services. My ultimate goal, however, is to obtain a master’s degree in Social Work with licensure specializing in substance use disorder counseling. I am originally from Española where I fell to heroin addiction for over eleven years. …Fortunately for myself and society I entered long-term recovery from all substances on October 21, 2011. This day I began an on-going journey of self-discovery, spirituality and fellowship. Through this process I’ve become a functioning member of society and hope to use my experience, strength and hope to help the still suffering addict find recovery. As a result of learning how to live life without the use of drugs I’ve discovered that I have the potential to earn a higher education in an effort to improve the skills I need to help others suffering with addiction.”

“Furthermore, I have come to believe in myself and know that I am worth self-improvement to the highest degree in all areas in my life. I deserve a better future. My kids deserve a better future. Our community deserves a better future and obtaining a degree is the first stepping stone towards ending generational trauma and addiction in New Mexico. It is my goal to live a principle-based life and pave the path for others to follow towards advocacy for families suffering from addiction in our community. Addiction is a family disease but the cycle can be disrupted with one willing member. Today that member is me, but I hope to educate and empower others to do the same so that we can all come together and fight the addiction epidemic that is killing our people. … I am humbled by the experience of being selected as an All-Star nominee for Phi Theta Kappa. It’s absolutely a gift . … This honor was earned through the help of my wife, family, friends and support group. Together we celebrated the fruits of our labor and are grateful for the opportunities it has opened up for my future educational goals. I thank everyone at SFCC, especially Mr. Andrew Lovato, for allowing me this opportunity.”