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“I chose Luna!”

Jessica Weber says college has family feel while offering quality education

by Jesse Gallegos
SPRINGER — Jessica Weber is a first-generation, non-traditional college student.  Mother, wife, student, and employee are some of the hats she wears. To truly understand Weber, you have to understand her journey.
Weber, 31, will graduate from Luna Community College in May 2018, with an associate of science degree in general science.  In the fall, Weber will be attending New Mexico Tech, one of the top science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) institutions in the nation.  She has also earned a summer internship at Los Alamos National Labs, where she will be working under a National Science Foundation STeP, student internship, on a small business development project with the earth and environmental sciences division of the labs.
Born in Stockton, California, Weber moved to New Mexico when she was seven after the death of her four year old brother, Andrew May.  As a child, she never lived in a single place for longer than two years, resulting in her attending five different high schools.  At age 15, Weber lost another brother, Jonathan Pollock (aged 18), to a tragic automobile accident.  Jessica was sent to live with foster parents.  Under their care she learned many valuable life skills.
“God has blessed me with the ability to efficiently manage my time, and the skills necessary to maintain a dynamic lifestyle,” says Weber.
Efficient is probably an understatement.  After she graduated high school, Weber got married, and focused her energy on raising her family.  Weber now has four children ranging from ages six to twelve. Once her youngest child came of age to go to school, Weber decided to pursue her dream of continuing her education.
After awakening at 4 am each morning, she and her husband Adam wake up the kids at 6 am and get them on the school bus.  After her husband leaves, she does housework, then is off to work and school.  After spending all day at Luna and at work, Weber goes home, prepares dinner, and helps her kids with homework.  After the children are in bed, it is time for her own  homework.
Weber says that the first people she met at Luna were the financial aid staff; Michael Montoya, Amanda Ortiz, and Rochelle Mueller, and they played a crucial role in her success.
“Luna is a small community college that empathizes with the life of a non-traditional student,” says Weber.
From that point on, she knew Luna was the place to be.
“Everyone was so welcoming and helpful,” says Weber.  “The cost of tuition initially drew me in, then I was encouraged and supported from a number of faculty, staff, administration, and students.  Not to mention, the resources that Luna has to offer are invaluable to me.  Thanks to Francisco Apodaca (Director of STEM Department) and Nichole Collins (NSF-STeP coordinator and CS Instructor), I am a participant in the NSF STeP Program, with which, I will be able to attend New Mexico Tech on a full-ride, as well as the LANL student internship.  So many things have kept me here.  I like to think of Luna as my campus family.”
Weber plans to major in biochemistry or organic chemistry at Tech and perhaps work as a soil scientist in the future.
“Jessica is a model student, she motivates and encourages others, and is a joy to work with,” says Francisco Apodaca.
Compassion, perseverance, courage and kindness are the four words Weber likes to live by.
What a journey it’s been, and there’s more to be come!