Sabrina Baca is a first generation college student and a senior who will graduate Friday with a Bachelor of Arts in theater from the University of New Mexico. Baca said she took five and a half years to graduate with her degree which she said at times was discouraging. However, after five years of hard work Baca will be joining the workforce.

“Now that I have graduated I would love to get a job teaching children theatre,” Baca said. “I also want to get involved in the film industry here in New Mexico.”

According to Baca’s mother, Gen Sedillo, Baca encountered many challenges in her college career, partly because she did not receive adequate college preparation in high school, she said.

“Her greatest strength is perseverance,” Sedillo said. “When she lost the lottery she was very upset and she contemplated giving up. She had to work while she was in college and although work and school was difficult for her she was motivated to finish.”

Baca was an active community member at UNM and participated in extracurricular theater events and student films. UNM is the third campus that Baca has studied at and this helped her develop the ability to “jump into scary situations despite the risk.” Baca described this ability as her greatest strength.

Baca said one challenge she faced was mental illness. Many college students deal with mental illness in college, and in this way she was not alone, she added.

“I’m very proud, but I hate to take all the credit because I’ve had so much love, support and motivation from my friends, family and boyfriend,” Baca said. “I don’t actually think my story is that unique. So many students suffer with a mental illness and don’t talk about it.”

Baca described theater as a dying art, and desires to encourage others to find passion in theater. Reviving the arts here in New Mexico is very important, she said.

“I’m proud that through all Sabrina has been through, she continues to keep a strong moral high ground. Every time I talk with her I know I have raised a strong, kind and persevering daughter. It’s more than just her actions, it’s her everyday conversation that she proves she lives for more than just herself,” Sedillo said.

Megan Holmen is the assistant news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @megan_holmen.