Silver City NM- On the main campus of Western New Mexico University, on the bottom floor of the Juan Chacon building, past the nurse’s station and slightly beyond the vending machines you will see a door. Behind that door is a woman, but not just any woman. Behind that door is Kathy Sorells, the Program Manager for the Department of Communication and Workforce. This is her story:
Kathy was born in Fabens, Texas, a small farming community right outside of the El Paso city limits. Her father was a traveling salesman, and she often remembers the Friday Night Lights that are so common in the Permian Basin. Being the oldest of three, her father had dreams of Kathy becoming a nurse and although helping people will always be in the cards for her, she knew from that age that it was not the path she wanted to pursue.
After graduating in the top 5% of her class in Fort Worth, Kathy attended Kilgore. There she worked a variety of jobs, usually multiple at a time, while taking intense class schedules and commuting about two hours every day.
“One day the cook of the restaurant where I was working and I decided to run away together. I spent the next 30 years raising my children and loving every minute of it.”
Kathy is a tough mother, doing everything she could to provide for her children to the best of her abilities. She looks back on those stressful but blissful years fondly, recalling a time she had to protect her family from the neighborhood gang members.
“We were living in El Paso in kind of a bad neighborhood,” Kathy said. “One-day while the family was out of the house, someone came into our yard and stole my child’s bike. I was furious and once I found out who had my bike, I went to go get it back. I saw some cops and warned them that I would be going to get my bike back should they hear of anything…and then I went, and I got her bike back.”
Kathy has always had the natural instinct to protect others, and that is how she found herself at Western. Kathy is force to be reckoned with, working with each student in her programs to ensure that they receive the best education and opportunities possible. There is nothing Kathy wouldn’t do for the students of this university, and her work is both noticed and appreciated.
Kathy believes that in leading by example, women can change the world. When asked what is the best part of being a woman Kathy went on to comment, “the best thing about being a woman is the opportunity we have to pass down our wisdom to the next generation.”