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Ixel Macias Found A Perfect Fit at Aims

Ixel Macias has always wanted to work in the sports industry, specifically basketball. Her love of the sport started when she was a child when her uncle took her to see a Denver Nuggets game against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Ixel Macias

“I've just been surrounded by the idea of sports and mainly basketball since I was seven or eight,” Ixel said. 

She’s coached track and managed basketball teams but acknowledges she doesn’t have the aptitude to turn it into a career. “Coaching is fun, but I don’t think I’m the best at it,” she said. Ixel instead began looking toward a career in sports administration, management or law with an organization like the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Ixel is working on the foundation of this career at Aims Community College by pursuing an associate degree in Liberal Arts with a designation in English, with a May 2024 graduation date. She plans to get a bachelor's degree next and eventually attend law school. 

Academic Excellence and Support 

Even though Ixel is a first-generation college student, her parents have always encouraged her to further her education. Her dad and mom were born and raised in Mexico and only completed schooling up to the fifth or sixth grade. The couple came to the United States in their early 20s. Ixel sees her parents’ journey as an inspiration as she goes through school. 

“A lot of what I do and why I wanna do it is because of them. They risked their lives, came over, and gave me everything they never had and always dreamed of. It pushes me to make sure that I am accomplishing what they couldn't.”

Ixel’s time at Aims wasn’t her first attempt at college. She obtained a semester's worth of credits at Front Range Community College through the concurrent enrollment program in Loveland. She then began attending Metropolitan State University in Denver. “After being at Metro for like a year, I decided it was no longer a good fit and decided to take a break and see what else there was.” Ixel enrolled at Aims and said the last year and a half has been “the greatest experience.”

First and foremost, Ixel appreciates the welcoming environment at Aims. She notes the TRIO Support Services program and the support they give first-generation college students. “That little support group makes you feel like we can all help each other.”  

This level of support is also evident in the classroom. She feels like the Aims faculty care about her as a person. “Coming to Aims, I had a lot of teachers constantly reaching out to check in and see how I was doing.” Ixel recalls that many of her instructors knew that she had academic and mental health challenges in her previous college experience. She thinks her comfort in building relationships with her teachers put her on a path to success. 

Ixel also believes that the instruction at Aims also fosters intellectual rigor. “My professors definitely challenged my way of thinking. I'm challenged a lot more than I was at previous schools, in the best way possible,” Ixel said. She feels like her instructors keep pushing her to keep climbing to something bigger and better. Even though they encourage her to take it to the next level, she still feels comfortable asking questions and gaining further understanding of her learning. “You get as much as you want out of college. That being said, ask, and you shall receive.”

Campus Involvement and Enrichment

In addition to getting involved in her studies, Ixel is an advocate for co-curricular activities. She encourages others  to “get involved.” She didn’t take her own advice early on in her college career. Ixel admits, “I just wanted to get my associate's and move on,” and feels that “it didn’t push me to enjoy college.” She realized that she missed out on some great experiences. 

“Being involved has really just made it feel like a community, and I feel like I should tell others about Aims and show them what we have to offer. That has been great.”

Ixel is currently part of the Campus Activities Programming (CAP) Board. Her area of concentration is leadership development programming. Last semester, she was able to help with Student Opportunity to Lead (SOL) training. Through a series of workshops, students defined what leadership means for them and how to live by their values. The program built skills to develop holistic leadership competence, inspire positive change, foster inclusivity and collaboration, and demonstrate ethical leadership. “I have gotten to meet so many great student leaders and be able to learn and give advice,” she said. 

Ixel worked with Student Club and Organization Coordinator Whitney Cowling on the SOL training program and other events. “ Ixel has been an incredible Leadership Programmer,” Cowling said. “I have had the privilege of seeing her take everything she has learned and apply it within her club leadership roles and in her personal life.”

Another activity that Ixel hosted was Spirit Week to foster a sense of community within Aims. “College is a serious place, but spirit week has helped it make it feel light and welcoming when students need a break,” she said. “My favorite event I have hosted has been "Thank an Aardvark Leader" which provided the students with an opportunity to thank those at Aims who have been helpful in their success.”  The event provided a thank you package and a note card for students to leave a personal message. They could then give them to those leaders at Aims. “It was great to interact with students who were grateful to be able to give thanks. It was an awesome experience to be a part of,” Ixel said. 

Another activity that has enhanced her Aims journey is Ixel’s participation in honor societies. These organizations foster academic recognition, networking, mentorship and community service. She is part of the English Honor SocietyNational Society of Leadership and Success, and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She has found these groups to be a great place to make connections. “I've met some of the best people on this journey with me.”

Ixel also found mentorship and encouragement from the advisors of those societies. She observed that “the faculty that cares for everyone is supportive and wonderful.” Her group involvement has provided her with tools as she moves to the next phase in life. “Some of my best recommendation letters have come from those willing to cheer me on as I get ready to move on.”

Ixel Macias

Stepping Into the Future

After Ixel graduates from Aims this spring, she plans to make her next achievement a bachelor’s degree. Through the Aims2UNC program, she is already admitted to the University of Northern Colorado, where she will double major in English and Sports Administration. She also applied to Harvard University but hasn’t heard back on her admission status. “The idea behind Harvard is that I can stay there for a law degree in the future,” Ixel said. However, UNC has something that Harvard doesn’t: a sports administration major. If she goes to UNC, she intends to attend law school someday. 

Whichever route Ixel chooses, she will be a success with her determination, tenacity and positive attitude.