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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.

 

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3. Under My Applications, click on Assist

4. Then go to Student Services and click on Registration

5. Select Term

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Roberto Curci, Ph.D. in Business Administration ‘99

Where are you originally from?

Colombia.

What are you doing now?

I am currently working at the College of Business at Butler University. My position is Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Programs and Eugene Ratliff Endowed Chair Professor of Finance.

What are your career goals?

To become an outstanding academic leader and to design and implement academic programs that provide superior value to students, industry, and other university stakeholders.

To exhibit superior commitment to diversity and to facilitate the integration of individuals and institutions into the mainstream U.S. society and to the rest of the world.

What has your UTPA graduate education done for you?

I will always appreciate the opportunity UTPA offered me to work during my doctoral studies with outstanding and committed faculty members. My professors provided me the proper training in the scientific research process and also made it easy for me to understand the literature within my chosen field of specialization. The doctoral program at UTPA prepared me tremendously to become a faculty member with a deeply commitment to superior teaching research.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience?

My UTPA experience was outstanding. My learning took place not only through exceptional interactions with faculty members, staff, and administrators but also through engagements with a very diverse group of Ph.D. students who broadly represented the world. My experience at UTPA was unique.

Best tip for success?

Work hard, be nice, and don’t create mental limits; try your best and shoot as high as possible.

Do you have any advice for prospective graduate students?

The long-term return on your investment will be positively correlated to the time and energy you put into it. Be prepared to work hard and to go the extra mile.

Check out last week’s profile HERE.

Berenice Martinez, Master in Arts in Experimental Psychology ’11

Where are you originally from?

I was born in Brownsville, Texas. I lived in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico until the age of 10. At 10 years old, my family moved to Mercedes, Texas where I currently live.

What are you doing now?

I am a current employee at the Rio Grande State Center developing the role of Behavior Analyst as part of the Psychology Department. As a Behavior Analyst, my role is to run, train, and develop Structural and Functional Assessments in conjunction with Positive Behavior Support Plans. These plans and assessments provide detailed information including prevention, teaching, and dealing with problem behavior strategies for severe problem behaviors with individuals with intellectual disabilities.

You received a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Success Scholarship while at UTPA. How has the scholarship impacted your life?

Being a recipient of the STEM scholarship provided me with limitless opportunities regarding my graduate degree. Thanks to the STEM scholarship I was able to conclude my graduate studies in Experimental Psychology with a concentration in Behavior Analysis. The scholarship relieved me of any financial expenses, which at the time represented barriers to the acquisition of my dreams.

What are your career goals?

Some of my career goals include expanding the field of Applied Behavior Analysis in our region. There is a need for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) in our region as there are many individuals who require behavior therapy for their current challenging behaviors. Additionally, I plan on publishing several of the behavioral procedures that we have implemented in our field which have resulted in immediate success.

What advice would you give to future graduate students?

My advice to future graduate students is to take full advantage of all of the opportunities that UTPA has to offer. Take as many courses as you can, participate in internships and attend job fairs. Good networking connections are established early on in your career and they can take you a long way. Participate in research opportunities and get involved in any of the social and learning communities established in UTPA. Your university experience and all of the opportunities it conveys only happen once in a lifetime!

Check out last week’s profile HERE.

Samuel Morin Jr., Master in Science in Information Technology ‘10

Where are you originally from?

Houston and Mission, Texas and currently living in San Antonio, Texas

What are you doing now?

I’m a Software Engineering Associate Manager at Accenture Federal Services. Accenture Federal Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Accenture LLP, delivers federal solutions that help our clients seize opportunities amid significant challenges and change.

You received a STEM Success Scholarship at UTPA – how did it enhance your academic or professional career?

The STEM scholarship allowed me to focus on learning and applying my studies into my profession. Without the STEM scholarship, my graduate career would have been more heavily focused on the financial impact instead of what being a graduate student entails. Furthermore, the STEM scholarship gave me the opportunity to finish my graduate degree in a year and a half instead of two-to-three years if I had paid for tuition myself.

Professionally, the STEM scholarship has opened doors to opportunities and industries that always seemed out of reach. It has greatly enhanced my career and I am grateful for the STEM scholarship for allowing me that opportunity.

What are your career goals?

My goal is to become the CIO of a global technology firm. I am on track to do so within the next 10 years.

What has your UTPA graduate education done for you?

UTPA Graduate School was an enriching experience that has exposed me to cutting edge technology that I use on a daily basis. The education was top notch and the faculty was world class.

What advice would you give to future graduate students?

Overcome and dismiss the feeling that you do not belong or that others are smarter than you. The imposter syndrome among new graduate students is very common, even with the best and the brightest students. If you are a graduate student, that is because YOU earned it.

 

Check out last week’s profile HERE.

Sergio Palacios, Master in Business Administration ‘08

Where are you originally from?

I was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico

What are you doing now?

I am currently pursing my doctoral degree at New Mexico State University.

What has your education done for you?

My education opened the doors to great opportunities, such as being able to pursue my dream of being an academic. My MBA allowed me to teach Operations and Supply Chain Management at New Mexico State University.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience?

Thanks to my graduate degree from UTPA, I was fortunate to learn from the best about topics that I really care about. Dr. Hale Kaynak provided such a great MBA Operations Management class, which helped me decide that a Ph.D. in Operations and Supply Chain Management was the right choice for me. Thanks to her and to the rest of the faculty from the College of Business, I was able to continue following my dream.

My experience at UTPA was great for me and it is in a wonderful location. As a Mexican national, I was always very close to my home. I was able to learn a great deal during my year and a half as an MBA student. I polished my writing skills through the writing center; I learned how to do research with the help of the library and my professors; I developed my professional network, and made excellent friends. UTPA provided great service opportunities. I volunteered as the MBA-Association President, and became an active board member of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA). UTPA provides a great learning atmosphere in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, very close to Mexico.

What is your best tip for success?

Invest in your education. Believe in yourself!

What advice do you have for prospective graduate students?

College is a wonderful time in your life. Make the right choices based on what you believe is good for you. Take good care of yourself, include exercise and healthy eating in your life. You will thank yourself in the future. Remember that you are investing in yourself; education will allow you to get better opportunities in your professional career. Never stop learning!

Check out last week’s Profile in Excellence HERE

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?

India.

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?

India.

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.

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