Jonni Chavez-Mast is a Bernalillo High School junior who has also been enrolled at UNM’s West campus through the Dual Credit Program since summer 2016. Jonni has taken numerous courses at UNM and due to her dedication to education, Jonni will be graduating high school a year early, in May 2017. By taking UNM’s core curriculum courses, she was able to complete 30 credit hours, while receiving high school credit that was used to fulfill graduation requirements. For example, Jonni took ENGL110 (Accelerated Composition) at UNM West, and the same course was applied as junior English. Other examples include ENGL120 (Composition III), used for senior English, and HIST161/162, which counted as U.S. history at her high school. She also took a number of other UNM core courses, which counted as elective credit at Bernalillo High School. Jonni is an outstanding student who shines in the classroom and we are very proud to have aided her in achieving her educational goals. We recently interviewed Jonni to determine how the Dual Credit Program has helped her achieve her goals. The transcript of the interview can be seen below.

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I attend Bernalillo High School. My hobbies include playing softball and guitar. I also love to travel to new places and learn new things. I am interested in nutrition and dietetics, which is what I will be working toward as a degree program.

Q: What drew you to apply to the Dual Credit Program at UNM West?

A: The opportunity of being part of the Dual Credit Program at UNM West came about through an interest in fulfilling some of my core requirements at BHS. Graduating early was the biggest catch for me, I would not have been able to do it without the Dual Credit Program.

Q: What do you like the most about the UNM West Dual Credit Program?

A: I like that the Dual Credit Program gives those students that want to start gaining college credits early an opportunity to do so. It also gives us (students) a sense of responsibility and lets us grasp what it will be like when we are officially college freshmen.

Q: What course(s) have you enjoyed the most? Why?

A: I have enjoyed History 161 and 162, U.S. History before 1877 and U.S. History after 1877; respectively. I had both these classes with the same professor [Dr. Yvonne

Darcy] who really made them interesting. History in general is my favorite subject, so being able to go into depth about occurrences throughout the time period was fascinating.

Q: Which course(s) have you least enjoyed? Why?

A: So far, I have not had a class that I have disliked. My professors have all been very helpful and interesting. From each course, I have learned a lot and overall has been a positive experience.

Q: How is the Dual Credit Program different from high school?

A: There are many ways that the Dual Credit Program differs from high school. For one, there is independence that you get in college that you don’t in high school. Things that would normally have to be asked to do in high school like go to the bathroom, eat food, not be at school etc. are not required at college. The professors treat students like adults. Another difference is the students are responsible for themselves, getting to class on time and turning in assignments when they’re due are crucial to succeeding in a college class rather than a high school teacher constantly reminding to turn in homework.

Q: How does the Dual Credit Program prepare you for your future goals? How so?

A: The Dual Credit Program has helped me prepare for my future goals by granting me the privilege to take their courses not only for completion of my high school credits but also to stack up credits towards my major, which is nutrition/ dietetics. By the end of the Spring 2017 semester I will have 30+ credit hours thanks to the opportunities that the Dual Credit Program has helped me achieve. Graduating early will be one of the biggest accomplishments I have attained in my life so far. Through the Dual Credit Program, I am able to use the credits I’ve received for both my high school core requirements and my college credits. Instead of having to stay another year in high school I will be able to go to college and start working toward my career goal.

UNM West would like to congratulate Jonni on her accomplishments, especially on her graduation from Bernalillo High School. If you are interested in taking Dual Credit courses, contact your school counselor, or UNM West staff.