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The Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) is taking applications for a $15,000 scholarship to be awarded to female doctoral students at UTPA during the Fall 2015. More details can be found on the application form.
PEO promotes educational opportunities, encouragement and support for women throughout the world. To learn more about PEO go to www.peointernational.org. Applications can be delivered to the UTPA Graduate Office, MASS 1.158, by November 3, 2014.

Javier Saldaña Jr, Master in Business Administration, ‘13

What are you doing now?

I work with Allstate Insurance. My current title is: Licensed Liability Claims Adjuster. In other words, it is my job to investigate insurance claims, determine liability, and provide our insured/claimant with the “Good Hands “ experience.

What are your career goals?

My initial goal was to work for a Fortune 100 company. With that out of the way, I now set my eye on climbing up the corporate ladder. My current goal it to make my way into the regional headquarters in Dallas and ultimately move into the corporate headquarters in search of a senior manager position.

What has UTPA graduate education done for you?

UTPA gave me the tools to succeed in today’s dynamic workforce. It showed me that the only way to succeed was to adopt a philosophy of continuous improvement. Never stop learning. Thanks to UTPA, I now have the education and skills to succeed.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience?

I loved it. The faculty noticed my potential and encouraged me to take on challenging assignments. Aside from the awesome faculty, the support staff for UTPA is excellent and very helpful.

What is your best tip for success?

My best tip for success is: continuous improvement! Be proactive and never stop learning. The world is constantly changing… Don’t get left behind.

What advice do you have for prospective graduate students?

I decided to pursue graduate school because I wanted to make myself more marketable. A few years of graduate school turned into a lifetime of opportunities. Whether you are looking for that big promotion or are looking for career, graduate school is the answer!

COED Info Session

SBS Info Session

The National Science Foundation (NSF) East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Fellowship Program provides U.S. graduate students in science and engineering with an opportunity to spend 8 weeks (10 weeks for Japan) during the summer conducting research at one of the seven host locations in East Asia and Pacific: Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan. The program is a collaboration between NSF and counterpart agencies in each host location.

EAPSI is open to graduate students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and are enrolled in a research-oriented Masters or Ph.D. program in science or engineering. Applicants must propose a research project in a field of science, engineering or STEM education supported by NSF, including Engineering; Computer and Information Science and Engineering; Mathematical and Physical Sciences (Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Materials Science); Biological Sciences; Geosciences; Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences; Education (STEM); and Multidisciplinary Research in these fields. Applicants identify and contact host researchers on their own, prior to submitting their EAPSI proposal; lists of prospective host institutions are available at the end of each Handbook.

NSF provides EAPSI Fellows with a $5,000 stipend and roundtrip airplane ticket to the host location. Our foreign counterparts provide in-country living expenses and accommodations (arrangements vary by host location). Please see www.nsf.gov/eapsi  for additional information for the Program Solicitation (NSF 13-593); host location-specific Handbooks; How to Apply Guide; and Helpful Tips Applicants.

In 2015, approximately 215 EAPSI Fellows travel to seven locations in the East Asia and Pacific:
Australia – 30
China – 40
Japan – 65
Korea – 25
New Zealand – 15
Singapore – 15
Taiwan – 25

The application submission deadline for the Summer 2015 is November 13, 2014.

EAPSI Informational Webinar will be conducted on Fri, October 17, 2014, at 2:00 pm ET. Log-in instructions will be available at www.nsf.gov/eapsi


Vanessa Lizeth Garcia, Master of Science in  Chemistry, 13’

What are you doing now?

I am currently a Senior Laboratory Instructional Specialist at The University of Texas at Brownsville in the Chemistry and Environmental Science Department. I am a full-time laboratory instructor to introductory, general, organic chemistry and biochemistry chemistry laboratory sections, including assisting with the preparation of lab materials and equipment for experiments, maintenance of lab inventories and assisting in the chemistry stockroom. Other responsibilities include setting up and grading examination, quizzes, lab reports, and participating in outreach programs and student orientations.

What are your career goals?

I look forward to helping students understand a science that is known to be an intimidating subject and motivate them to purse a degree in chemistry. In the future, I want to obtain my Ph.D or go into Veterinary Medicine to obtain a D.V.M.

What has your UTPA graduate education done for you?

My graduate education has blessed me to apply my research and academic experience to many different fields and broadened my outlook on many situations. It taught me to question everything and assume nothing. The faculty and staff were very helpful from the start. Having former industry experience, my graduate education added more curiosity to my already curious mind. On a personal level, I gained more self-confidence, learned the value of a hard day’s work, and know there is no limit to my potential.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience?

I felt the sense of dedication and commitment while attending UTPA. I drove on a daily basis from Brownsville to Edinburg for two years out of the three, while I obtained my masters. It was not easy but I knew what goal I had to reach and if driving for two hours (to and from) was one of the obstacles then so be it. I made many new friends, experienced different challenging opportunities, and made awesome memories while attending UTPA.

Best tip(s) for success?

Word hard, play later. You’ll spend more time at school, in the lab, and in the library than in your own home, but never forget the goal in mind especially during the final stretch of the race. Make every memory count because it comes and goes in an instant. Ask a lot of questions. Exercise on a daily basis.

Do you have any advice for prospective graduate students?

If graduate school makes you cry, then it is being done correctly. There will be tears of joy and tears of frustration, but in the end it will be worth the long nights, stressful seminars, and endless hours in the lab and library. Be aware of deadlines. Take advantage of all the resources available. Become a better you, not striving to be better than everyone else.

Juan Diego Prado, Master in Science in Information Technology ‘12

Where are you originally from?

I’m originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela.

What are you doing now?

I’m currently working at a technology company called Two Sigma that applies a scientific method-based approach to investment management. My current position is Data Analyst, and my work includes capturing and processing massive amounts of data for thousands of different tradable instruments. I use technology to achieve goals efficiently, delivering high quality datasets and improving our internal processes. The technologies I work with every day include Unix, Java and SQL.

What are your career goals?

One of my career goals is to continue to acquire skills that will allow me to become more productive, by growing as a software developer, and learning new technologies, to make processes more scalable and more efficient. I would also like to grow as a project manager to use time and resources more efficiently towards sustainable, long-term solutions that generate value and also continue to provide outstanding customer service.

What has your UTPA graduate education done for you?

UTPA graduate education created a world of opportunities for me, gave me the chance to learn from talented professionals and faculty, and allowed me to earn the tools that enabled me to catapult my career.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience?

It was a time where I worked and studied hard, got the chance to meet talented, driven individuals, and had the opportunity to establish the goals that drive me to become a better professional. I also made life-lasting friends.

What is your best tip for success?

Go above and beyond. We can always do things the easy way to get them out of the way. Never settle for easy. Be bold, and don’t be afraid to propose changes and better ways to do things. This may seem hard or frightening at first, but the best gratification comes from going outside the comfort zone and challenging the norm.

What advice do you have for prospective graduate students?

Graduate school is full of opportunities. During this time, make the most of every day, get involved, and ask any questions you have. UTPA professors enjoy passing along what they know, and they will go out of their way to teach you, especially if you prove motivated and keen to learn. How much you make of your graduate experience is up to you. Keep in mind that the choices you make today will define your career, and will set an important milestone in your life.

Check out last week’s profile HERE.


Registration Instructions:

 1. Go to myUTPA (my.utpa.edu)

2. Log on with your Username and Password*

3. Under My Applications, click on Assist

4. Then go to Student Services and click on Registration

5. Select Term

6. Then Register for Classes

 *If you don’t have your UTPA Account Username or password, contact the IT Helpdesk at (956) 665-2020 or at helpdesk@utpa.edu.


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