MOHAVE COUNTY – Elizabeth Najera is a Mohave Community College alumna who went from being an MCC Bighorn to an NAU Lumberjack, and is on her way to quickly becoming a future teacher.
Najera said she started college at MCC because of its affordability, small class sizes and excellent faculty. She graduated a year early from Kingman High School and wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, so she decided to get her foot in the higher education door at the community college.
She said her MCC experience was great and she now encourages others to start their higher education path at the community college.
“It gave me the opportunity to find myself and figure out what I wanted to do for a career, and I didn’t have to break the bank paying for tuition,” Najera said.
Najera majored in Elementary Education at MCC and transferred all of her 100 and 200 level college credits to Northern Arizona University where she entered as a junior and is now working toward her Bachelor’s of Science in Education, with a concentration in Elementary Education.
She is using the MCC2NAU pathway to earn her bachelor’s degree, “because it’s close to home and it was and a great way to earn college credits and save money.”
Najera added that NAU has plenty of opportunities for teachers and MCC made the bridge from community college to the university very easy.
She said her inspiration to go into elementary education was when her parents became foster parents and were caring for two young children.
“We had two little kids that were around three years old and they just blew my mind,” Najera said. “They picked up my mannerisms, and my parents’ mannerisms, and they just took off. It was amazing to watch them.”
Najera was part of several student organizations at the MCC Neal Campus – Kingman. She was Vice President of Scholarship for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Student Activities Council President and Psychology Club Treasurer. During her time with the honor society, she was also elected as a Regional Officer for the Northern District of Arizona where she held the position of Co-Vice President.
Some of her favorites memories from attending MCC include the sense of community she felt at the college. She said she was able to walk around campus and know everyone, and build friendships.
“It was nice to have friends on campus throughout different times of the day to study with, and having the support of friends and people at the college made it easier to get through.”
While in the elementary education program at MCC she was able to shadow a teacher at Hualapai Elementary School, which was one of her favorite parts of the college program.
“At the end we had the opportunity to teach a lesson and that was super fun, especially being in the classroom and watching what the kids go through,” she said. “I got to work with kids, read with them and at the end I was able to teach them a lesson.”
For those considering becoming a college student, Najera’s advice is to get involved with campus organizations and make time for yourself, family and friends.
When she wasn’t working with her student organization events or focusing on her schoolwork, she was working at Starbucks. During her last year in school she held a second job at In-n-Out. Advice she would give to those in similar situation is to stay focused on school when at school, family when with family, and work when at work.
Applying to become a student at MCC is free at Apply.Mohave.edu, and you are encouraged to apply now so the college student services employees can help you get into the classes you want and need before they fill up. Fall classes start on August 23. Call 866-MOHAVECC (866-664-2832) for assistance.