Many people have seen Devonna James’ beautiful smile as they approach the registration table at the NACEP National Conference. Her positive demeanor emanates through everything she does. She has been volunteering for NACEP since 2013.
James recently started a new position as Program Manager for Central New Mexico Community College in late 2017. Previously, she was the Dual Credit Coordinator/Advisor for Eastern New Mexico University-Ruidoso.
James believes that those running dual credit programs have a responsibility to foster true collaboration with secondary institutions in order to assess, develop, and implement best practices. For James, providing students with a clear pathway to success is what should drive any dual enrollment program’s mission. James also pursues this mission through her position as president of the New Mexico Academic Advising Association Board (NMAAA).
James began her volunteer work for NACEP by joining a committee, then helping out in various ways at the National Conference: working the registration table, serving as a room monitor, and stuffing goody bags. More recently, she has served on the National Conference Planning Committee (2015-17). James describes volunteering as “a great way to learn more about NACEP and the wonderful opportunities and resources they provide. You also get to meet so many wonderful new people.” She adds, “Jamie, Jennie, Eric, and Adam are just a delight to volunteer with and their passion for what they do is contagious. You cannot help but want to be part of the NACEP family.”
Her best memory of NACEP was the first time she attended a conference. She describes how she absolutely loved the camaraderie of all the attendees and the opportunity to “geek out” with people who support and appreciate the potential of dual enrollment to change students’ lives. Because of her positive experience as a first-time attendee, the following year James presented on serving rural students with a colleague she met at the conference from Alaska. James built on these efforts to foster this type of collegiality and networking back home by organizing a dual credit workshop in conjunction with the New Mexico Higher Education Assessment and Retention Conference in spring 2017, and recruiting a NACEP representative to speak.
When James is not working or volunteering for NACEP, she likes to hike the trails in New Mexico and Colorado. She explains, “The outdoors is my happy place, and I volunteer with many organizations within my mountain community of Ruidoso, New Mexico.” She also points out, “Orange sherbet makes me do the happy dance!”