Class of 2020: UNM Taos

Jeffrey Oxford, a first-rate student and a student of firsts

– Submitted by University of New Mexico-Taos
Posted 6/3/20

Student Jeffrey Oxford (general studies) experienced many firsts during his time at University of New Mexico-Taos. He is a first-generation student — the first one in his family to graduate with a college degree. Canadian by birth, Oxford was also the first international student to begin and complete his degree at UNM-Taos.

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Class of 2020: UNM Taos

Jeffrey Oxford, a first-rate student and a student of firsts

Posted

Student Jeffrey Oxford (general studies) experienced many firsts during his time at University of New Mexico-Taos. He is a first-generation student — the first one in his family to graduate with a college degree. Canadian by birth, Oxford was also the first international student to begin and complete his degree at UNM-Taos.

With no frame of reference for what to expect in his first year of college, he started his first semester in the General Sciences program with an emphasis in construction technology. He learned instruction on how to be successful in higher education. He learned about self-reflection and through that process, realized his true passion lay in the arts.

“In addition to discovering a new passion in art, the second semester was also a pivotal moment in revealing my desire to help others,” Oxford said.
“At this point, I was averaging a 4.0 GPA and was successfully utilizing many of the time-saving study skills I had learned just one semester prior. I felt inspired to share what I had learned with my fellow students; therefore, I applied for a position with the Center for Academic Success and Achievement (CASA). I was hired as a supplemental instruction leader for algebra and the freshman prep class known as ‘First Year Experience.’ To this date, it has been a truly rewarding experience to support both the instructors and students in this capacity.

Oxford added that the community and connection that he quickly established with the faculty and students of the arts department became the fuel for a series of creative and academic successes.

“Going into the third semester, I was now leading workshops for CASA and had been awarded the Andy Johnson Creative Arts Scholarship for my mentoring influence on others while demonstrating dedication and commitment to the field of the arts. In the midst of all this, I realized how the presence of support and encouragement within an artistic community was the key to my educational success.”

With this revelation, Oxford started formulating a way to bring art into our current curriculum that was so heavily influenced by STEM. He watched students excel in the classroom, yet perform poorly on exams.

“This inspired me to find a means to foster growth and elevate the students to achieve their goals. With this intention in mind, I felt it imperative to address the test-taking disparities first. Working as a supplemental instruction leader provided me the perfect opportunity to develop a ‘Preparing for Exams’ workshop followed by a pre- and post-questionnaire to track progress. I am now ready to apply everything that I have learned thus far to make this endeavor become reality. I [presented] this workshop in class on Oct. 29, 2019. This process has been an immensely rewarding journey that I am excited to share with my peers.”

Oxford was also involved in the UNM-Taos Student Government Association and worked hard to advocate for his fellow students and make campus a more inviting, engaging and supportive environment for all. He and another student, Caleb Adams (pre-science), were named to the Phi Beta Kappa All-State Academic Team for outstanding intellectual achievement, leadership and community and campus engagement.

The Phi Theta Kappa All-State Academic Team — America’s most prestigious academic honor society — recognizes high achieving college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society.

As members of the All-State Team, Adams and Oxford qualify to be named to the prestigious All-USA Academic Team, an academic honor for students attending two-year colleges.

Oxford is transferring to New Mexico Highlands University in the fall.

– Submitted by University of
New Mexico-Taos

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