Talal Saint-Lôt was going to college in California during the 2004 Haitian coup that forced his family to leave their homeland in search of a different life in the United States. After his family settled down in Albuquerque, Talal’s first visit to Albuquerque left him wanting to experience more of the desert southwest.

“Albuquerque was an interesting city, and UNM always stood out as the place where things were happening. The campus was beautiful. Places like the Duck Pond and Popejoy Hall were places that people in the community were talking about. So before I was taking classes in New Mexico I had heard about UNM as a place to go, a place with a lot of opportunity.”

Saint-Lôt earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science at UNM, and decided that he needed more, continuing on to get dual masters degrees in Public Administration and Community and Regional Planning. Two degrees that Saint-Lôt is confident will help him achieve his future goals of helping his country.

While he loves the Land of Enchantment, Saint-Lôt is planning to take the skills and experiences learned from his time in Albuquerque back to help his country rebuild after it was hit with a catastrophic earthquake in 2010.

“I love living here in New Mexico and Albuquerque, but my plan has always been to go back home to Haiti. I came out here to get an education. I have a lot of friends and family still back there. I’m planning on going back and helping out and working in the government or with some with nonprofit organizations and try to do my part to help with the situation since the earthquake.

“I have a lot of skills and experiences that I’ve gained while living in New Mexico. Being able to bring these skills back to Haiti and introduce new approaches to dealing with old problems.

“And maybe even bring over some green chile and tacos, Haitian-style, of course.”