Story by Ann Palormo
Everyone has had at least one moment when the path to the future seems too difficult to tackle. As an 18 year old, Tara Jaramillo first met Judy Farmer, a recruiter from the department of communications disorders in May 1989. Farmer’s goal was to convince her to attend New Mexico State University and enroll in the department of communication disorders. Jaramillo had a litany of reasons why attending college was out of the question but Judy Farmer was not to be dissuaded. Jaramillo recalls, “She took my hand and said, ‘I am not going to lie to you, it will be incredibly difficult, you will be exhausted, you will doubt yourself and you will be challenged. However, in the end, the rewards will outweigh your challenges.’”
Feeling that this department wanted and valued her as a potential student, Jaramillo was convinced to give it a try and enrolled. With the mentor support offered, she felt she could find a way to overcome whatever obstacles might come along. In the end Jaramillo obtained not one but two degrees from NMSU, completing her master’s in speech language pathology in 1995. In 1999 she founded Positive Outcomes, Inc. with the single focus of providing pediatric therapy to the diverse county of Socorro.
As her career progressed, she has worked with many wonderful mentors and colleagues however, Dr. and Mrs. Farmer have always held a special place in her heart. This year Jaramillo has established an endowment to support graduate students in the department of special education and communication disorders in honor of Stephen and Judy Farmer.
“I believe my life experiences are not unique in New Mexico,” Jaramillo states. “What was unique or arguably a gift, were the people who were placed in my path. Those who took the time to interpret that smile and encourage more; those who chose to fan and ignite a spark and love of education and ultimately, those who inspired by simply being themselves and giving of themselves. Dr. and Mrs. Farmer unarguably have been a positive force in many New Mexican lives and it is good to have had them touch mine and to have an opportunity to pass on that gift of kindness.”
A fully funded named endowment requires an investment of $25,000 within a five-year period. This fund needs several thousand dollars to reach that goal. While Jaramillo intends to achieve that goal, she hopes others who were similarly touched by the Farmers’ mentorship will consider making a gift to this fund. Please contact Kelley Coffeen at 646-2130 in the College of Education to support this endowment or click here to give online.