When Veronica Muñoz-De La Cruz arrived at the University of New Mexico, she was planning on merging her interest in science with her passion for creativity and design. A double-major in biology and multimedia journalism when she first arrived, Muñoz-De La Cruz thought her future path might lead her to study neuroscience, or explaining the changing world as a writer for National Geographic.

Things changed when she joined the staff of the university’s short lived, student-run publication, “Bound Magazine,” where she worked as a columnist and designer, and helped market the fledgling publication.

“I wrote and editorial column called “Things That Grind My Gears.” I really enjoyed it, and I got my first taste of marketing and design because I designed fliers for them. The student running the club also worked in the Student Union Building’s Marketing Department and she told me that her department was hiring.”

Muñoz-De La Cruz was hired to promote student life and many of the events held at the Student Union Building. After a discussion with the former Marketing Manager for UNM Student Life, Ashley Fate, Muñoz-De La Cruz was encouraged to take on more design projects, and focus on what she was truly passionate about – the creativity that graphic design allowed her to express. She continued to hone her skills when she was hired by the Daily Lobo, the student newspaper, as a designer.

“I mentioned to Ashley that I was interested in graphic design and she gave me a couple of projects and she was blown away by my work. She told me she didn’t expect those projects to look as great as they did.

“I realized that biology wasn’t was I was looking for, and having this creative outlet, I found what I was passionate about. What inspired me and motivated me. I used to be one of those people who would start a project and never finish it, but working in the SUB and the Daily Lobo, doing design, seeing the finished product was such a great feeling, and that really motivated me.”

Muñoz-De La Cruz was familiar with student life before arriving at UNM. A graduate of Valencia High School, in nearby Los Lunas, New Mexico, she always felt welcome when she visited UNM’s main campus.

“It’s always felt like home. I remember in kindergarten we would have field trips to Popejoy. When my brother went to the architecture classes when I was 13, I would go to school with him and sit in on his classes. It’s this sense of community, all of these people that support each other.

“People here are more likely to help each other, more likely to lend a hand. People don’t judge here. You see a number of different communities on campus, like the biology students, the engineers, the artists, UNM is a good place for people to come together.”