Transfers to four-year colleges is trendy at Trinidad State
Valley Campus / November 23, 2016 / By Greg Boyce
From 2010 to 2014 the percentage of transfer students at Trinidad State grew by 19.8 percent according to President Dr. Carmen Simone. Forty more students transferred in 2014 compared to the 202 that transferred in 2010. For this work the college will receive a one-time incentive of $250,000 from the Colorado Community College System in Denver which oversees thirteen Colorado community colleges.
Starting at a community college and then transferring to a four-year school is becoming more common. Community college tuition is typically much less. “I graduated from Antonito high school in 1997 and I wanted something fast track,” said Estevan Lujan, Trinidad State Class of 2000. “I wasn’t certain about doing the four-year thing. At that time TSJC had a small business program that I thought would be ideal for me.” Lujan received an Associate’s Degree in Office Technologies. “With that degree I landed a job as a program specialist with a youth program called SWAP (School to Work Alliance Program),” Lujan said. SWAP is a liaison between the school districts and Vocational Rehabilitation in providing services to youth with disabilities. About four years into the job, Lujan knew he enjoyed this type of work and wanted to be a counselor. Adams State University accepted most of his credits from Trinidad State and he was able to complete his four-year degree in Business with a minor in Sociology in about two more years. When he graduated from Adams State in 2008, he knew he wanted to advance even further. He received a master’s degree from Assumption College in 2012. He now works as a Rehabilitation Counselor 1 for the State of Colorado through the Department of Labor and Employment. “This is the dream job I was working toward,” said Lujan. “I enjoy everything I do.”
Lea Chavez married before finishing high school, but she went back and completed her high school degree in 1998. She followed that with one semester at Trinidad State. “At first I felt like I could go to school for two years, but thought ‘there’s no way I could ever go to school for four years.’ I didn’t want to go to Adams State because it seemed too big and too scary for me,” Chavez said. But she soon got pregnant and stopped her education to stay home and raise her son. She didn’t return to school to study business until after her third child was in Head Start.
“I feel like TSJC helped me grow as a person. When I first started there, I was quiet and very shy. Then I met Miss Genia (Rasmussen). Rasmussen is a professor of Business and Accounting. Chavez recalled Rasmussen saying, ‘Hey, we have a position open for student council.’ Chavez took the position and the next semester took on the responsibility of public relations. She then served as Vice President. She became a work study student assisting in the administration offices. She joined Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges, where she would serve first as secretary and then as Vice President. She earned her business degree in 2013. “I thought ‘I’ve already gone this far, I might as well transfer to Adams State.’ I realized quickly that it wasn’t as scary as I imagined it would be. All of my business classes were in one building,” said Chavez. Nearly all her credits transferred to Adams State and it took her only three semesters to complete her double major in Marketing and Small Business Management. “I really enjoyed Adams State but I didn’t find it my home as much as TSJC,” said Chavez. She now works for the San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group and teaches part time at Trinidad State.
During her lunch break, she can often be seen tutoring in the Trinidad State learning center. “As a new teacher, I try to talk to my students and tell them ‘I know where you’re at. I’ve been there. I understand the stress.’ I let them know that I was in their shoes not that long ago,” said Chavez.
Registration is now open for the start of spring semester at Trinidad State. Classes start on January 16.