Amanda Marie Gutierrez, 20, is a senior at The University of Texas-Pan American and plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a minor in sociology in December 2014. Gutierrez graduated from Business Education & Technology Academy in May 2012 with a Distinguished Achievement honor. At UTPA, she became a Certified Level I and Level 2 Tutor and was employed as a tutor by UTPA’s Writing Center, where she has worked for two years. She worked for the UTPA Physics and Geology Department as a teacher’s assistant for Astronomy 1301 labs. In the Fall 2013, Gutierrez completed an internship with Bobby Flores Jr. for the 139th District Court at the Hidalgo County Courthouse in Edinburg and found that to be a rewarding experience. She served on the Parking and Trafficking Committee for Summer 2013 as the undergraduate representative for UTPA and has volunteered for South Texas Literacy Programs founded to encourage literacy amongst adults and children. Gutierrez also interned for The Pan American newspaper, working as a sports writer in Fall 2013. She feels she owes her academic success to the undying encouragement and support of her parents, Robert Gutierrez and Aurora Rodriguez.
Awards/Honors: Kenedy Memorial Scholarship, 2013-2014; Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, 2014; Outstanding Student Award, 2014; Executive Aide: Athletic Consultant for the Student Government Association, 2014; Senator Representative for the Student Government Association, 2013; and Dean’s List, Fall 2012, Spring and Fall, 2013, and Spring 2014.
What are your plans after graduation? I plan to continue into graduate school at UTPA and pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice. I want to eventually pursue a career with the Drug Enforcement Administration or with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Do you plan to stay in the Valley? While I intend on traveling throughout my life, my intentions are to stay in the Valley to help promote literacy and crime prevention amongst youths, adults and Hispanic immigrants.
What has your education done for you? My education has broadened my knowledge and philosophy in a crime-preventive perspective, as it has allowed me to consider different alternatives that I will eventually apply as an officer in the field. Moreover, it has allowed me to reconsider my own personal beliefs and question them, and therefore has allowed me to attain a greater understanding of myself.
How do you feel about your UTPA experience? Being a student at UTPA has allowed me to surround myself with a talented and diverse set of individuals, each with their own ideas and beliefs. I feel as though I have received a greater understanding of the Hispanic and Mexican-American minority while simultaneously challenging my own leadership skills.
What is your best tip for success? Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and never fail to challenge yourself and place yourself outside of your comfort zone. Listen to others’ opinions, and never reject any on the premise that they’re different from your own. Find a meaning in education that is more significant that a higher-paying job opportunity and change your community for the better.
What advice do you have for college-bound students? If you plan on working during your college experience, find a job on campus; it’s more convenient and your supervisors understand that your priority is your education. Also, your co-workers are also your colleagues and probably have similar goals. Try to become involved at UTPA by joining one of the many organizations the university provides for students.