Receiving a bachelor’s in family and consumer sciences, emphasis in human services and a master’s in secondary education from ENMU, Jacquelyn has always enjoyed Family and Consumer Sciences [FCS].
In high school, she realized that she wanted to pursue a bachelors and career in FCS because she loved her home economics classes. Apart from school, she was involved in various clubs and extracurricular activities that opened the door to receiving a full ride to ENMU.
Jacquelyn was involved in 4-H, Future Farmers of America, and Future Homemakers of America, now known as Family Career Community Leaders of America.
“I was a part of the history of the FHA name change to FCCLA,” she said.
A fellow friend and state officer of FCCLA went to school at ENMU, and informed her about the USDA Multicultural Scholarship Grant. She asked her FCCLA advisor for the application, applied, and got the scholarship to help pay for her entire undergrad degree at ENMU.
She exclaimed, “I thought even better, I could major in what I like and get a full ride, so why not?”
Jacquelyn liked the university’s small atmosphere because she is from a “little bitty town without stoplights”—Hatch, New Mexico. As part of her FCCLA experience, she got to visit Harvard University on her trip to a national convention in Boston.
“It [ENMU campus] reminded me of Harvard, and the old brick they use on the [Harvard] campus,” said Jacquelyn.
While attending ENMU, she planned on double majoring in education and human services to teach nutrition. She dropped education, and focused on human services and her internship with WIC, the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children.
The WIC program helps low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding moms and their children.
Later, she received her master’s in education to become a teacher, but liked the non-traditional health and nutritional educational setting of her WIC job better.
Jacquelyn has experience as a Community Health Education in Hatch, ICAN Educator for NMSU Cooperative Extension Services in Roosevelt County, and Texas Works Advisor for Texas Health & Human Services Commission.
She has been working for WIC for over seven years from 2005 to 2011, and from 2015 to the present. The best aspect she enjoys most of her Portales WIC Nutritionist Supervisor positions is helping educate people on nutrition.
She provides certified clients with group facilitated nutrition education and information on healthy eating, health counseling, breastfeeding support, nutrition classes, cooking classes, and makes referrals to healthcare providers, social services and outreach activities.
“Think of it like a mom blog. We’re in a classroom setting and talk about different topics ranging from breastfeeding challenges to cooking demonstrations,” said Jacquelyn.
Cooking demonstrations include teaching how to cook on a budget and cooking fresh vegetables that are in season. Agencies also come in to teach WIC clients about child development, or what a baby should be doing ideally at each age.
Jacquelyn believes that FCS is important to know about because it teaches basic skills to use every day in the households.
“We are getting away from it [FCS],” said Jacquelyn. She says that FCS has helped her in her own life with housing, family consumer education, financial management, communication, her marriage and raising her own child.
Jacquelyn is married to John Houser, the Director of Marketing and Communication Services for ENMU, and they have a three-year-old daughter named Isabella Faith.
With a solid FCS foundation, Jacquelyn explains that ENMU is a great school for a quality education at a lower cost.
“The classes I acquired help educate me on the importance of nutrition among families. Extra-curricular activities helped me with my managerial skills,” said Jacquelyn.
Students receive one-on-one time and support from their advisors and professors to excel and exceed in their careers and education—many of which introduced Jacquelyn to resources for networks and future employment.
Professors like Dr. Merlene Olmsted were instrumental to her experience at ENMU. “She saw a lot of potential in me. She encouraged me to try out for president for the Pre-Professional Graduate Student Section,” said Jacquelyn.
As a result of her ENMU experience, Jacquelyn and her husband try to give back to ENMU as much as they can, “My husband and I have a scholarship through ENMU that is offered to family and consumer sciences and child development majors to help with purchasing books.”