Adriana Tijerina, 23, plans to graduate with a master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders in May 2016. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders with a minor in rehabilitation from UT Pan American in May 2014. As an undergrad, she worked as a leasing consultant while taking classes, was actively involved on campus, and participated in intramural sports. She served as vice president of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association and as a student representative for the College of Health Sciences and Human Services’ Student Leadership Council (SLC) and the college’s Inter-Professional Education and Practice (IPEP) Council. As a graduate student clinician, Tijerina helps provide speech therapy services at UTPA’s Speech and Hearing Clinic and remains an active SLC and IPEP committee member. She served as primary research investigator on a research team directed by Dr. Ruth Crutchfield. The team presented their research on attitudes and knowledge regarding fetal alcohol syndrome at the University’s 2013 research symposium and were selected to have their research published.
Awards/Honors: Dean’s List, Fall 2011,Spring 2012,Spring and Fall 2013, and Spring 2014; Top 10% Scholarship, 2009-2010; and Academic Competitiveness Grant, Fall 2010.
What are your plans after graduation? After graduation, I will take a month or so to relax and in June 2016, I will marry my fiancé, who’s been my greatest supporter throughout my education here at UTPA. My plans are to work as a speech-language pathologist in a therapy clinic or a school district, then open my own bakery.
Do you plan to stay in the Valley? I plan to stay in the Valley for the first few years of my career, then possibly seek a position in a children’s hospital where I can work with neonates. I love the warm Valley culture, but it would also be nice to experience a new area and help provide services wherever they’re needed.
What has your education done for you? My education has helped me grow in every facet of life. It’s opened my mind and heart to see what the world has to offer. I’ve realized that there are an infinite number of opportunities available for us, however, it’s up to us to pursue them. I’ve learned how to be a hard worker who is determined, strong-willed, and passionate, while remaining kind and humble.
How do you feel about your UTPA experience? UTPA has been incredible! I’d never seen such a close bond between a president and his students. The professors in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department (COMD) have been a blessing and a true inspiration to my peers and myself; our little COMD family is my home away from home.
What is your best tip for success? I have many tips for success. Money doesn’t always equal happiness. If you love what you’re doing and you’re passionate enough, you will succeed indefinitely. Kindness, determination, and passion are key. Never give up or let anybody tell you that you don’t have what it takes to succeed. Lots of laughter, love, and Jesus have gotten me through the worst days and the best years of my life. Soak in every moment because life passes so fast. Help as many people as you can, love with everything you have, and enjoy it!
What advice do you have for college-bound students? Network, ask every question you have, join organizations, become organized, and never lose your hunger for knowledge. Learning is a lifelong process. Never settle for less than you deserve. When you feel like things get tough, count your blessings and remember there are millions of people who would give anything to be in your spot.