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NMSU TRIO Upward Bound builds a foundation for graduates

  • By Tiffany Acosta
  • 575-646-3929
  • Sep 03, 2019
Woman standing near an NMSU sign.

As an undergraduate student at New Mexico State University, Angelica Ruby Garcia didn’t consider attending medical school. It wasn’t until working at a hospital in El Paso, Texas, did the 2013 NMSU biochemistry graduate start thinking about another career path. 


Currently, Garcia is in her second year of medical school at the University of New Mexico, after spending six weeks this summer in Las Cruces for a rotation with the Southern New Mexico Family Medicine Residency Program at Memorial Medical Center.


A Sunland Park, New Mexico, native, Garcia was a four-year TRIO Upward Bound participant at Santa Teresa High School before graduating in 2008. She said Upward Bound staff members encouraged her especially during the summer programs.


“Upward Bound allowed for me to think outside of just my little town,” she said. “As a high school student, I don’t think you realize what’s important unless you already have an idea of what you want to do and that’s awesome, I admire those kids that already know, but I didn’t. Having someone saying ‘yeah this is possible. Totally go for it.’ That’s how I figured if I can do the summer, then maybe I can do a university.”


Upward Bound is a federally funded TRIO program. Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families, and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.


Since 1989, NMSU has sponsored the Upward Bound programs in the Gadsden Independent School District/Las Cruces Public Schools, and programs were established in 2017 at Alamogordo High School and Hatch Valley High School.


“Angie epitomizes the countless number of success stories of former TRIO Upward Bound participants,” said Tony Marin, NMSU’s assistant vice president of student affairs. “Angie took advantage of every opportunity afforded her through the program: Santa Teresa High School, TRIO Student Support Services and New Mexico State University. We are really proud of her accomplishments and desire to serve the medical needs of Southern New Mexico. We look forward to cheering her on as she completes medical school as well as inspiring the 190 participants in Upward Bound programs that serve the Alamogordo, Hatch, Las Cruces and Gadsden school districts.”


Once Upward Bound students arrive at NMSU, TRIO Student Support Services provides similar resources at the next level. Garcia said her experience in high school and college helped her know how to find resources for medical school. At NMSU, Garcia spent a year working as a TRIO Student Support Services mentor.


“Being a mentor, I felt fulfillment helping out the students,” she said. “Now, I see how the residents are teaching us, so they get something out of it too, helping us, taking us wherever they go. It’s kind of like mentoring in a different way. I got a lot out of mentoring. More than I thought I would.”


During her rotation, Garcia said she enjoyed helping train community health workers and volunteering at the center the city of Las Cruces set up to assist asylum seekers at the former U.S. Army Reserve Center.


“Even though I don’t know medical Spanish, carrying on a conversation is really important so they could connect and tell me their story,” Garcia said.


To learn more about the TRIO Upward Bound programs visit