Feed on

Hey Broncs!

Please join us from August 12 through August 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and

August 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UTPA Student Union for this year’s Teaching Academy Boot Camp.

Learn about classroom managements tips, mock classroom scenarios and much more!

Be sure to register here for this FREE event.

We hope to see you there!


Sirisha Koneti

Master of Science in Computer Science ‘13

Where are you originally from?


What are you doing now?

I got a great job opportunity to work with CISCO as a Software Developer, where I can use my knowledge and skills acquired from my degree.

What has your UTPA graduate education done for you?

I’ve gained the technical and interpersonal skills needed to grow in my career and fulfill my dreams.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience?

It was a great learning experience at UTPA. It boosted my confidence and made me into the person I am today.

What contributed to your success?

Hard work and dedication, along with the support and guidance I received from the faculty and staff while I was doing my graduate assistantship.

What advice do you have for prospective graduate students?

Focus on your goals and work hard to achieve them.

Check out last week’s Profile in Excellence HERE

Ashok Reddy

Master in Computer Science ‘12

Where are you originally from?


What are you doing now?

I work as the Oracle Apps Database Administrator for Ingersoll Rand in Davison, North Carolina.

What are your plans now that you have graduated?

I am looking to learn more and contribute to my area of expertise.

What has your UTPA graduate education done for you?

At UTPA, I learned more than just the content! It was about making me explore and immerse myself in technology.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience?

I am proud to say that I have graduated from UTPA. I have never felt such friendly vibes anywhere else. Education wise, the rate at which the university is growing shows the value.

What is your best tip for success?

Work hard.

What advice do you have for prospective graduate students?

Have fun and learn things UTPA style.


Check out last week’s Profile in Excellence with Violeta Diaz HERE.

Violeta Diaz

Ph.D. in Business Administration ‘11

What are you doing now?
I’m currently an Assistant Professor of Finance at New Mexico State University at Las Cruces, NM.

What has your education done for you?
A graduate degree for anybody is a great investment, but a graduate education for a Hispanic woman means recognition, security, and confidence. When I was at UTPA, Dr. Cynthia Brown, and Dr. Marie Mora were great role models for me. When I became a professor, I realized that I also had the responsibility to become a role model for other female and Hispanic students.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience?
I loved my educational experience at UTPA. I miss my friends and professors, and the friendly atmosphere I always experienced in my classes, and around the halls. UTPA also offered great opportunities for Ph.D. students to improve their teaching through the Teaching Academy workshops. I had the great opportunity to attend the first workshops, and I can definitely say that not only did UTPA influence my research interests, but it also shaped my teaching skills.

Best tip for success?
I believe that you have to be confident. Every day and everywhere, you will hear criticism, but if you believe in yourself you can accomplish great things.


Check out last week’s Profile in Excellence HERE.

Tips to Get a Job After Graduate School

A graduate degree confers significant advantages in the modern workforce. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with a master’s or doctoral degree have a significantly higher earning potential and are much less likely to be un- or underemployed than those with lower levels of educational attainment. However, current graduate students (as well as those who have recently graduated) could profit from some additional research before starting their job search if they want to maximize the competitive advantage of their degrees. Here are 8 tips to maximize your chances of snagging that dream job straight out of graduate school:

  1. Start networking with people in your industry. Nothing is more dangerous for your job-searching quest than long isolation in the ivory tower of academia. Be sure to get out every once in a while and attend business conferences in your industry. Use online resources to connect with thought leaders in your field and participate in the relevant conversations. Ask people in the ‘outside world’ for advice and get in touch with friends who might help you establish industry-specific connections. Join a LinkedIn Group and participate.

  2. Use LinkedIn more than Facebook. Although Facebook is an amazing tool to connect with friends and family, LinkedIn can help you connect with your next boss. As with any tool, you need to invest some time developing your skill in using your LinkedIn profile. Make sure it has the right balance of key words show up in the maximum number of relevant search results. If you think LinkedIn is not important, let this fact sink in: 93% of headhunters and job recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates.If thought of using social media in a job search seems a bit confusing, you might wish to peruse this article on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile

  3. Make sure everybody knows about your research. One big mistake of recent graduates who have research experience is “not bragging enough about it”.Humility is definitely appreciated, but if you want to find a job you need to use your experience in the field to showcase your expertise. If you have published research, make sure you include it in your resume. You can use a link-shortening service like Bitly.com or Goo.gl to include easy to open URLs to your published research in your printed resume (for example: http://nationalsciencearchive.gov/incredible-long-url-888942524634 becomes Goo.gl/AlexArticle8  )

  4. Get work experience in your field. A graduate degree is fantastic, but employers want to know if you can actually apply all that knowledge in a the real-life work setting. Make sure you have some internships to back up your degree or have an online portfolio of your work ready to impress potential employers. If you want to work in a creative field, upload some of your masterpieces to a professional portfolio service like Behance or TheCreativeFinder. If you work with data/Business Intelligence or software development Github is a must (you might also want to check out and be active in StackOverflow).

  5. Join and participate in local MeetUps. A great way to network offline is to join a MeetUp. The Rio Grande Valley is not as active as other regions in Texas but you can still network with other professionals in South Texas. Something I particularly recommend you to do is to join MeetUps in nearby cities and try to attend their events whenever you get a chance to do so. For example, if you are visiting family in San Antonio, you might want to look ahead for MeetUps in your industry/field and make an effort to attend one of their events.

  6. Yes, you do need business cards. Even in an increasingly digital world, business cards still have relevance. If you do not have a business card, you can have “personal cards”. You can buy the pre-cut templates at Staples or Office Depot, but I would recommend getting a professional-looking card since your card will form part of that vital first impression. A great place to get cheap business cards online is VistaPrint. On your card, you might want to include a link to your online portfolio or personal website to encourage people to check out what you have accomplished.

  7. Get your own branded domain name and website. Your next employer will most likely search your name online (you can use the Google’s Me On the Web tool to continuously monitor your name online, you need to have a Google Account to sign up for alerts).  Having a branded domain name (like alexandrogarrido.com) and your own showcase website can give you the extra competitive edge in your job hunting quest. Make sure you include your formatted CV, portfolio, and contact information. Having your own branded website is fairly easy and costs around $40 USD per year depending on the Domain Name Service Provider and the Hosting Company. A great place to start is GoDaddy or Hostgator. Many of these services provide “drag-and-drop” web design solutions, but if you would like to fine tune your web design skills to create something more impressive, I recommend checking out the Web Design Certification from UTPA Continuing Education.

  8. Beef up your resume. The key to your dream job is in your resume. Employers use many automated filtering tools to select potential candidates. If your resume lacks the buzzwords favored by HR in your industry or otherwise fails to impress, you will most likely stay trapped in the first filter. If you resume catches the prospective employer’s eye, you are much more likely to make it to the second filter, which is usually a phone/online interview. A strong showing from a distance will then lead it to the coveted in-person interview and higher chances to land the job. Nevertheless, the first, most important step is still your resume. Make sure the resume is not only grammatically correct but also customized for your ideal job. You can use the resources that the UTPA Career Services Office provides or an online resume evaluation (they are usually between $100 – $500 USD). I recommend you reading this article on the 10 second resume.

Thank you for reading this article, if you find it useful please help us help more people and share it with your friends.

Maricela De León, Master in Public Administration ‘11

What are you doing now?

I am self-employed. I am an independent legislative consultant and a registered lobbyist in the State of Texas. I assist clients on strategy implementation to ensure legislative efficiency and effectiveness for their business and county government. More so, I am the Founder of an Edinburg based non-profit, “Just Kauz It’s Right” where along with our board of directors, are committed to assisting school children throughout the Rio Grande Valley with educational tools, such as school supplies to succeed in the classroom. With the help and financial support of local donors, we are able to make a difference in the community.

What are your career goals? 

As a former Chief of Staff and Chief Committee Clerk on Technology for State Representative Aaron Peña and with over 10 years of public service in the state of Texas, I have a strong desire to continue my commitment to public service. As a result, I am currently on a 37-week LSAT prep and looking forward to attending law school next year, where I plan to specialize in Family Law, Real Estate Finance and Education Law. I plan to obtain a partnership with a Fortune 500 company as their top lobbyist. Obtaining my law degree is the epitome of my educational career. Reaching this milestone will position me to continue to fight for the people of Texas, specifically South Texas, and become a voice in Education Policy.

What has your UTPA graduate education done for you?

My UTPA graduate education has allowed me the opportunity to put in to practice the theory of policy into government policy implementation and evaluation.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience?

My UTPA experience ROCKED! From my undergraduate to graduate years, I stayed committed to having an experience that can be taken off campus and used in my personal and career ambitions.

Best tip for success?

The best tip for success is to be kind. Be determined. Have a positive attitude. Nothing in life is easy, nothing was given to me and no one will take care of you, except for you. These thoughts have proven successful in my life. It has not been an easy road, but if I had a negative attitude with no determination I would be a bitter person with no happiness and no success to show. It’s as easy as having a smile on your face. I try to live by this simple proverb a stranger taught me, “Hoy por ti, mañana por mi.” The people you meet in your life are God’s angels to make sure you stay on path.

Do you have any advice for prospective graduate students?

The best tip is to make sure you have a strategic plan and know what you want to have accomplished when you decide to embark in a graduate degree. Try to make your coursework decisions apply to what you plan on doing post-graduate school. Be sure to set priorities for family, work and your education. I don’t believe in excuses, so upon making a choice to seek a graduate school degree, you need to make sure it’s a true priority. Additionally, organize yourself and have a calendar book, utilize effective time management skills and always engage in class lecture because it’s the BEST way to learn!

Check out last week’s Profile in Excellence HERE.

Bernando (Berny) Diaz, Master of Science in Accounting ‘11

Where are you originally from?

I am from Mexico City, Mexico.

What are you doing now?

I am a Tax Senior Analyst with the Cinemark Company in Plano, Texas.  I prepare the company’s income tax returns, U.S. reporting of foreign operations and partnerships.  I assist in the provision for income taxes for quarterly and annual reports, review foreign filings, various memorandums and gather data for tax audits.  I am also involved in preparing quarterly estimated state income tax payments and extensions.

What are your career goals?

Keep on growing within the company and develop a manager level expertise in the international taxation area.  I also plan to attend law school in 2015 to expand my taxation expertise into a more consultative and legal approach.   With that knowledge, I plan to offer tax consulting expertise to the different enterprises residing in both the U.S. and Mexico borders, which have a large volume of cross-border operations.

What has your UTPA graduate education done for you?

It has opened several doors and career opportunities.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience?

Attending UTPA was one the most rewarding experiences of my life. I met friends, faculty, and staff, who I now consider family.  I have great memories of my educational and work experiences at UTPA.

Best tip for success?

Think BIG.  Sounds redundant, but the sky is the limit.  Set high goals and expectations for your career and make sure to take every step to accomplish those goals.  While some goals might be hard to achieve, at the end of the day, fulfilling those goals is what gives a true purpose to your life and career.


Do you have any advice for prospective graduate students?

Take advantage of all the opportunities offered during your education.  Apply for scholarships, seek mentors, become a mentor, join student organizations, study abroad, apply to internships, find and set up a plan in which you will end up working for the company of your dreams.

Paul G. Barretta, Ph.D. in Business Administration ‘13

What are you doing now?

Currently, I am an Assistant Professor of Marketing, a tenure track full-time faculty position, at St. Bonaventure University in St. Bonaventure, NY.  As a full-time faculty member at an AACSB accredited University, I teach undergraduate and MBA level courses in marketing and pursue a research agenda.  Research is conducted both individually as well as collaboratively with colleagues from within my current University as well as other universities, including UTPA.  In addition, I serve as an academic advisor to students who major in Marketing and serve on the School of Business Research and Creative Activities Committee.

What has your UTPA graduate education done for you?

As I complete my first full year as a full-time faculty member, I am struck by how well prepared I have been as a result of the UTPA Ph.D. program, which includes both research and teaching.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience?

It was challenging, broad and completely worth it.

Best tip for success?

Persistence, boldness and hard work.

Do you have any advice for prospective graduate students?

Open your mind.  Combine your life experiences and who you are with new experiences to grow.

Kalyan Chakravarthy Manthena

Master of Science in Computer Science ‘10

Where are you originally from?


What are you doing now?

I am currently a Senior Informatics Developer for Hyundai Information Services in Los Angeles, California. 

Career Goals?

UTPA has provided a perfect background for me to start my current career and throughout my time here I plan to become a Data Architect.

What has your UTPA graduate education done for you?

My graduate education helped me achieve a good job in my field of interest, which in turn helped my family be financially stable. I was honored to have received a Teaching Assistantship within the Computer Science Department and a Research Assistantship with the Office of Graduate Studies during my time at UTPA.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience?

UTPA has excellent faculty and good opportunities for student assistantships and jobs. The tuition and fees for international students is extremely affordable compared to many other universities in the United States.

Best Tip for Success

Don’t pursue a graduate degree if you don’t enjoy or have a passion for the field you are going into.

Any advice for prospective graduate students?

Challenges are big in the learning phase of life and later challenges can be easily tackled with past experiences and knowledge.



Cameron County Mental Health Task Force Scholarship

Graduate Level Studies


The Cameron County Mental Health Task Force (CCMHTF) is a local non-profit organization that is comprised of representatives from local mental health and social service agencies, hospitals, clinics, school districts and other community representatives. CCMHTF is committed to increasing mental health services and resources by increasing community awareness about mental health and substance use issues and by advocating for improved accessibility to quality mental health practitioners in Cameron County. It is for this reason that CCMHTF has created a scholarship fund with the goal of increasing the number of mental health professionals in our community. Cameron County is one of the most underserved communities in regards to mental health and CCMHTF looks forward to investing in the future by supporting higher education for mental health related professions. We commit to this investment by assigning a CCMHTF mentor to the recipients in order to provide continued support and guidance. The scholarship is available to eligible students pursuing higher education in one of the following programs of study: Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Social Work, Guidance and Counseling, School Psychology, Psychology, Special Education, or other mental health related fields.



Applicant must:

  • Be pursuing graduate studies in one of the following fields:  Psychology, Guidance and Counseling, School Psychology, Special Education, Nursing, Social Work or a degree related to mental health.
  • Be at a minimum part-time student. Part-time status is reflected by registration for at least 6 hours of college course credits per semester.
  • Have a GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Attach a copy of their official transcripts
  • Attach the recommendation form that must be completed by a professor, mental health related supervisor, or civic leader.
  • Write a Statement of Goals, including the timeline for completion of studies as well as his/her intent to provide services to the Cameron County community for at least one year after completion of their graduate studies.
  • If awarded, the recipient must supply a copy of proof of registration with specified major from program of study
  • Applicant will be required to disclose if they are related to a member of the CCMHTF.



  1. The CCMHTF Scholarship Committee will review applications to include those that meet the minimum qualifying criteria. Final decision will be made by the CCMHTF Scholarship Committee and its governing boards.
  2. The awards amount is $1000.00 and will be provided during the fall semester.
  3. Award recipients agree to participate in a scholarship mentoring program in which a mentor will be assigned to provide monthly contact and support to the recipient. Recipient will provide minimum of three activities sponsored/organized or in collaboration with the CCMHTF. Activity participation may include monthly meeting attendance, committee work, fundraising attendance, presentations at public events, among others.


Application form

Recommendation form

Please submit the application to: cameroncountymentalhealth@yahoo.com for further information you may contact: Rose Gomez, Chair-Scholarship Committee, at RGomez@co.cameron.tx.us. (956) 399-3075 or Janie Lopez JanLopez@sbcisd.net (956) 361-6477

Deadline for submitting applications: June 1st.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »