Get to Know is a series that highlights the community through the unique perspectives, interests, and commitments of our faculty and staff at CU Boulder. In this issue you will learn more about the corner of the campus of Ofelia Morales.
Without saying your title, describe who you serve on campus and what you do.
When asked what I do, I like to say, “I make dreams come true.” My own dream began in seventh grade, when I first stepped onto a college campus. As a first-generation student, I have accomplished the seemingly impossible by earning a BA in Social Work and an MBA.
I believe with all my heart that my education changed my life and I love doing work that makes that dream possible for others. I do this by leading the Admissions, Financial Aid and Financial Aid offices and working with almost everyone on campus to ensure we recruit, support, retain and graduate students who are pursuing their educational dreams.
Aside from your unit, what is a campus group or effort that you are involved with or would like to highlight?
I’ve been with UndocuNetwork since the early days. This is a group of campus leaders, faculty, staff and students coming together to find ways for our campus to better support our undocumented students. I feel energized every time we meet because we all care deeply about the unique issues and challenges these students face.
What are you most proud of professionally or personally?
Professionally, I am most proud of all of the financial assistance programs that we have expanded or implemented over the years such as CU Promise, ASSET grants, Impact grants and First Generation grants. However, during the pandemic, I have never seen these employees devote so much time and dedication to managing emergency grants. In total, we have provided over $50 million in emergency assistance to students affected by COVID-19 and the Marshall Fire. It was a true team effort and I will never forget what it was like to lead the team through something so extraordinary.
Personally, I’m proud of the lessons I’ve learned as a mom. My children are now adults aged 27 and 24. They may not have walked the path I dreamed of for them, but they are confidently walking their own path and I couldn’t be prouder.
What are your favorite places or moments on campus?
What I love most about being on a college campus is the opportunity to see guest speakers. My two favorites were Laverne Cox and Viola Davis, both of whom have incredible life stories. I was so inspired by both of your powerful messages. These are events I will never forget.
What does your current office look like?
It’s still a very interesting time. There’s still a lot of hybrid and remote work happening, and students aren’t coming into our offices as often as they were before the pandemic. Employee engagement and retention is high on the agenda and I am confident that we are making sustainable plans for moving forward in a post-pandemic world.
What is the best kept secret on campus?
Pekoe Sip House at ATLAS. Seriously, the best chai latte I’ve ever had.
Morales is from Pueblo, Colorado. She began her work as a working student on the first day of her studies and has been working in the welfare sector for over 26 years. In May 2022, she was promoted to Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Enrollment Management.