University of New Mexico
Elizabeth Jacquez-Amador strives to provide the best service possible for students — because her job in financial aid is to ensure that everyone is given the tools they need to succeed and achieve their educational goals.
"Financial aid is no joke; it can be confusing even to those of us who work in the field on a daily basis," Elizabeth said. "It would be ludicrous to expect our students, traditional and non-traditional alike, to be experts and know the ins and outs of our world."
As a first-generation college student, Elizabeth has had her most meaningful interactions with countless professionals in her postsecondary education. Along the way, those who took the time to explain things and guide Elizabeth in the right direction — whether it was advising, financial aid, tutoring, or anything between — made the most memorable impact. As a means of paying that support forward, Elizabeth approaches every student interaction with that mindset as well.
She has been actively involved in her state's financial aid association and her regional association, most recently serving as a Regional Liaison for New Mexico Student Employment from 2017-21. Elizabeth said that being a DLP participant will allow her to become involved in the national association and help foster more opportunities for personal growth within the field of financial aid.
Learn more about Elizabeth in the brief Q&A below.
Who is your favorite historical figure, and why?
I'd have to say Rosa Parks. We all know her resistance to give up her seat on that bus paved the way for other civil rights movements. I can't help but imagine the thoughts going through her head at that moment. The courage it took to not give in to the demands of others is inspiring. She's a perfect example of how resilience overrides injustice.
How have you seen diversity in higher education change since you began your career?
Generally speaking, the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion has become more prevalent over the last 10-15 years. The same is true within higher education. Institutions now focus on recruiting and enrolling a diverse student population or developing awarding policies that focus on diversity and equity packaging. We often ask ourselves, "Do we have students from various socioeconomic backgrounds? Ethnic and cultural backgrounds? How about geographical locations?" While institutions have diversity policies, though, not the same may be said about its practice. Equity and inclusion should be just as important as diversity.
What are some of your life goals?
I'd love to obtain a doctoral degree eventually. As a first-generation college student, this would probably be the most important accomplishment I could give to my parents. While I don't feel quite prepared to start an application process just yet, my goal would be to start a program in educational leadership within the next five years.
I'd also love to be debt-free … so I can travel the world when I retire! This adrenaline junkie wants to find some more cool spots to bungee jump. Add skydiving and zip-lining in exotic places to the mix and I've got the perfect post-retirement adventure in the making.
How did you get your start in financial aid?
Probably just as other financial aid professionals — as a work-study student! Toward the end of my third semester, I found myself unemployed and in need of a job. I went to the financial aid office to ask about a work-study award on my financial aid file and the nice lady explained what it was and said they were looking for someone. I started working the following Monday, and it's been a fun ride since then.
Any hidden talents?
I'd say shooting. Outside my family and close friends, no one knows I'm an avid shooter. My husband doesn't like it, but my skills are sharper than his! Guns used to scare me to death. I didn't want to feel that way, so I took a gun safety course once and it definitely changed my perspective, to the point where I now enjoy this hobby — in a controlled environment and with safety precautions, of course.
What do you do when you're not working?
Think about work, what else? Just kidding! I love spending time with my son. We're both very active people, so we like adventuring during our free time. Camping and ATV riding are our favorite hobbies, so we're out and about any chance we get.
My family and I love traveling as well. We love exploring our state, so weekend getaways are very common and at least once a year we like to take a bigger trip. As time goes by and my son gets older, cherishing the time we have as a family is very important to me.
Publication Date: 1/31/2022