Honored Alumna Opens Doors to Student Success
Dedication,passion earns Ornelas '16 Honored Alumna Award
Nohemy Ornelas, M.A., Education, '07, discusses her passion for helping students
and what it means to be a Cal Poly graduate.
Nohemy Ornelas (M.A., Education, 2007) discovered her passion for helping students early in her career. This dedication to others, especially underrepresented students, earned Ornelas the College of Science and Mathematics Honored Alumna award for 2016.
Ornelas first made an impact on students’ lives as a financial aid specialist and counseling assistant at Allan Hancock College, where she now serves as the associate superintendent and vice president of student services. After earning her master’s degree at Cal Poly, she worked at Berkeley City College and Cuesta College, including two years as dean of student services, before returning to Allan Hancock in her current position.
For Ornelas, advocating for student success is the most rewarding part of her job. Her role provides many opportunities to do just that by overseeing a number of support services, programs and departments, and managing several state and federal grants.
“I believe college opens doors to infinite possibilities for students. I see my role as widening those doors and creating pathways to success,” Ornelas said.
As a member of Cal Poly’s Counseling and Guidance Program’s advisory board, Ornelas helps the faculty develop a cutting-edge curriculum. Her contributions to the counseling internship program are part of what makes Cal Poly’s degree stand out among others in the field.
She also provides one-on-one mentorship for students and contributes to increasing the diversity of the program’s applicants.
“Nohemy has been a key player in helping us recruit and retain individuals from diverse backgrounds. She’s made a big impact on our ability to attract outstanding Latino and Latina students,” said Steve Kane, the program’s coordinator.
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