I had the privilege to participate in the First Serve New Mexico program for 5 years before I went to college. When I started First Serve I was in eighth grade. I remember being a nerdy kid who did not want anything to do with sports. I tried several sports and I quit every single one after about three practices. Once I got into middle school I was determined not to play any sports. My father had other plans for me. At the beginning of my eighth grade year, my father gave me an ultimatum: either I find a sport I want to join or he will find one for me. It happens that I heard about the First Serve program the next day at school. The program was advertised as a tennis and tutoring program that included playing tennis two days a week and tutoring the other two days a week. After hearing about the program I knew I wanted to join. Now looking back on my many years of being in First Serve, I believe that this program helped me get to the place I am today.

In May of 2020 I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Materials Engineering from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. I studied metal alloy development with rare metals. My master’s degree opened my eyes to new and exciting opportunities for my future. One of those opportunities that I applied for was the National Graduate Fellowship Program. This program employs promising graduate students and gives them an opportunity to work for the National Nuclear Security Administration. During my fellowship I worked in the defense programs office, where I helped maintain the nation’s nuclear stockpile. After completing my fellowship, I was offered a job at the National Nuclear Security Administration in Albuquerque NM.

I finally started working in my dream job and First Serve helped me get there. If it was not for all of the tennis coaches pushing me to do better or the tutors helping me with my math exams, I would not be here today. I also want to mention that this program has helped several other graduates get to where they wanted to go over the years. Recently, I found out that one of First Serve graduates just graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Diplomacy with a passion to work overseas. Another graduate is finishing a nursing degree with a passion to save lives. What we all have in common is a program that did not only teach us how to play tennis, but it also guided us to where we wanted to go. Eleanor Roosevelt said that “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” I believe First Serve New Mexico is helping children achieve their dreams to build a better future.