From fieldwork to homework

(Photo courtesy of Jasmine Camponeschi). Siblings, Alyssa Tovar and Alejandro Tovar with younger sister, Anel, and mother, Patricia Sosa, celebrate completing their Adams State undergraduate degrees.

The Tovars trade shovels for college diplomas

ALAMOSA — First,generation college students Alyssa and Alejandro Tovar owe the beginning of their great story to their mother, Patricia Sosa, Center, whose constant love and support lead to a move from Mexico to the San Luis Valley.

Today, June 6, the siblings will receive their Bachelor of Arts degrees during the Adams State University Virtual 2020 Spring Commencement Ceremony. Alyssa graduates with honors with a degree in psychology and a minor in Spanish. “My mother would always tell me ‘a pencil weighs less than a shovel.’”

Sosa knows the value of education because everything she built in her life was through sweat and hard work. She inspired Alejandro to persevere even when pursuing his college degree was not easy. “I was so scared because I did not speak English very well. I worked so hard on my weaknesses they became my strengths.” He graduates with a degree in sociology with a criminology/social work emphasis. Center High School graduates Alyssa and Alejandro had worked alongside their mother in the fields.

As seasonal farmworkers, they were eligible for the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at Adams State. The program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, provides academic, social, and financial services to assist students in their first year at college. CAMP Director Jasmine Camponeschi taught Alejandro leadership, communication, time management, organization, listening, and emotional intelligence skills. He decided to stay at Adams State because of his sociology classes.

“This is a university with an amazing staff who are devoted to supporting students and helping them reach the American Dream.” At Adams State, Alyssa gained the confidence to pursue her passion. “I have a hunger to make a difference in this world and I have the capacity and tools to succeed.”

She wants a career with the U.S. Department of Education in their migrant education program and to eventually earn a doctor- ate in educational psychology. “It is not about me, but what I represent. Si se puede. (We can do it.)”

Alejandro plans on working with immigrant and migrant students and address, reduce, and eliminate barriers to immigrant students for academic success. Internships with Tu Casa and the SLV Immigrant Resource Center provided him with professional experience. “I learned that I have the capacity to excel and succeed in any place or at any goal that I pursue.”

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(Photo courtesy of Jasmine Camponeschi). Siblings, Alyssa Tovar and Alejandro Tovar with younger sister, Anel, and mother, Patricia Sosa, celebrate completing their Adams State undergraduate degrees.


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