Sonia Gutierrez advocates for thriving communities and brighter futures while studying construction management at CMU
Sonia Gutierrez has lived in the Grand Canyon since she was four years old. She previously started her psychology and business degree programs at CMU, but life and family took her in a different direction. “I believe the third time is a charm,” Gutierrez said. “I think going back to school as an adult learner and parent is more nerve-wracking than it was fresh out of high school, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how enthusiastic the other students are, and I’m so glad I decided to do it.”
Apart from his studies, Gutierrez Is an active community and business leader. She is Vice President of Sierra Concrete, Inc., which she co-owns with her two brothers.she also serves on the board Western Colorado Latino Chamber of Commerce and as a community advisor Colorado Mesa University Strategic Planning Steering Committee. In the current strategic planning process, also known as CMU form future initiatives, CMU President John Marshall encourages stakeholders to step out of their comfort zones and gain new perspectives. He first announced the move earlier this year with a video of his first skydive.
Gutierrez gained some valuable perspective to contribute to her community-building endeavors in the classroom as she won Bachelor of Science in Construction Management Her son Luis De La Torre received Associate of Applied Science in Supervision, Construction Technology. “I remember going to night school with my mom as a kid, so it was cool to be back in the classroom with her again,” de la Torre said.
The projects have overlapping classes, and so far, mother and son have been classmates in surveying and building electromechanical classes. “When I first found out that we were in class together, I didn’t want him to feel pressured to sit with me or do anything. I told him I was just another student and I didn’t have to be a mom in class,” Gutierrez said . “Then our professor said we would study in a small group all semester. I told Luis he was free to work with whoever he liked and he said, ‘Mom, I want to be on your group because I know we’re going to achieve Good grades!’”
“Because of my work experience, there were definitely times when I was able to explain things to Luis and he really helped me too!” Gutierrez said. “I hadn’t practiced the math formulas in years and just out of high school he had them in his head. Our professors were really helpful in the classroom and it was a pleasure to help each other with assignments and studies.”
During their weekly family dinners, work and school are also a regular part of the conversation. De La Torre interns at Sierra Concrete. “The classes definitely helped me,” de la Torre said. “I spent the summer working with the crew on Steamboat and things really started to fall into place. I also learned a lot about business from my mom, like how to bid for jobs and how to build the best relationships.”
Helping Gutierrez in the classroom realize how unaware some students are of what opportunities are available to them locally. “I cannot stress this enough, I am passionate about helping students reach their full potential and take advantage of all the opportunities the Grand Canyon has to offer,” Gutierrez said. “I love CMU and am honored to have the opportunity to help make it even better I absolutely love the leadership here, and brainstorming with people from different backgrounds and perspectives on how to increase minority enrollment and help all children see a brighter future for themselves is inspiring. Gutierrez believes her studies at CMU will brighten her own future, preparing her to transition from her administrative, office role at the company to a practical project management role. She’s excited to see more women in the construction industry and have female instructors in trade programs at CMU.
“I’m learning more and more about how the actual construction site works because that’s ultimately where I want to be,” she said. The view from their construction area is satisfactory. Sierra Concrete specializes in mountain construction projects such as resorts, gondolas, and electric and solar utility stations.
“My work with the Western Colorado Latino Chamber of Commerce really brought this to a close,” Gutierrez said. “We have a very exciting partnership with District 51 and CMU and tOne thing we all have in common is a love of our home and wanting it to be as prosperous as possible for our future. Being in the classroom with my son and his friends makes me feel warm because they are part of the future”