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Bianca Zapata

Bianca ZapataBianca Renee Zapata, 21, plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in criminal justice in December 2016. She is a graduate of Harlingen High School. On campus, she joined the University Program Board (UPB), an organization that creates educational and entertaining events around campus, and has served as chair of UPB’s Heritage Committee. Zapata will continue being a member of the UPB for UTRGV and plans to join other organizations as well. Some of her volunteer work has been with Winterfest, planning Bronc Olympics and Party for the Planet at Gladys Porter Zoo. In May 2015, she attended the LeaderShape Institute, which teaches students to lead with integrity and have a healthy disregard for the impossible.

Awards/Honors: Texas Grant recipient, Fall 2012-present; UPB Programming Assistant of the Month, November 2014; Making the Difference Award, May 2015; and LeaderShape Academy graduate, May 2015.

What are your plans after graduation? Following my graduation, I plan to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio for the master’s program and continue with my sociology degree. I hope to one day work for the government at the state/federal level or work with administration.

Do you plan to return to the Valley? I plan on leaving the Valley for school but who knows what the future will hold. There is so much to explore outside of the Valley. The Valley will always have a special place in my heart but I do wish to travel. I do plan on coming back to visit family and friends.

What has your education done for you? My education has done so much for me. I’ve learned not to take education for granted since not everyone is able to receive the same education as I have. Being the oldest of three kids, I’ve shown my younger brothers what hard work and dedication can do for you. Having my family’s support and seeing how proud they are is a great feeling. Education has opened so many doors for me and the possibilities are endless.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? My UTPA experience has been amazing. The wonderful staff, dedicated professors and my friends have made it extraordinary. The memories I have made here will forever stay with me. I thank each and every person I have come across who has helped me become the woman I am today. However, my experience isn’t over. I still have things to learn and grow as a person. Even though I won’t be graduating as a Bronc, I am still very excited to be graduating as a Vaquero and I am grateful for everything that this university has done for me.

What is your best tip for success? Set goals for yourself. Don’t try to be someone else, just be yourself and work hard. Manage your time wisely and always stay positive even when times get tough. Be dedicated, passionate and patient. Don’t be afraid of failure and learn from your mistakes.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? College is no walk in the park. You have to work hard all four years. Start off strong and don’t slack off. Become involved and join organizations, talk to professors, make new friends and challenge yourself. Ask your professors questions and don’t let the fear of failing get to you. Professors don’t want you to fail, they want to see you succeed. Find out who you are and don’t take anything for granted. Have pride for your university and enjoy your college experience.

Adrienne Brent Estabillo, 21, plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and minors in biochemistry, English and film studies in Spring 2016. He is a graduate of South Texas High School for Health Professions. As a member of the Facilitated Admissions for South Texas Scholars program, he has earned early conditional acceptance to The University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio. He has been inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society and worked for the past three years as the society’s historian and junior adviser. Estabillo has also been involved and volunteered through the Premedical Biomedical Society, Health Care Coalition, and Global Medical Brigades chapters at UTPA. He has also worked as a college mentor for the nonprofit Texas Valley Communities Foundation promoting college readiness across the Rio Grande Valley. Estabillo currently works as a lab teaching assistant in the biology department for the course Genetics.

Awards/Honors: Dean’s List, Fall 2012-Spring 2015; University Scholars Presidential Scholarship, Fall 2012-Spring 2015; South Texas High School for Health Professions Scholarship, Fall 2012; and Security First Credit Union Scholarship, Spring 2015.

What are your plans after graduation? Following graduation, I hope to attend The University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio. I plan to earn my medical degree with the hope of attaining a residency in the field of anesthesiology.

Do you plan to return to/stay in the Valley? Following completion of my medical training I would love to return and practice in the Rio Grande Valley. Raised in the Valley my entire life, it would be an amazing opportunity to return and give back to my community as not only a practicing physician, but also as a professor for the UTRGV School of Medicine.

What has your education done for you? My education in the Valley has taught me to think critically about the world around me. Through my studies at UTPA I have learned to be confident and diligent in all that I do. Additionally, my education has taught me to creatively think outside of the box when it comes to solving problems.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? My experience at UTPA has been extremely rewarding. I have the opportunity to not only study under a diverse faculty, but to also work with a diverse group of students. With such large diversity, we are able to learn something new every single day. Thanks to UTPA, I had the opportunity to work closely with my professors and fellow students to gain a strong grasp on class material. It is because of these close relationships that I was able to work as a biology lab teaching assistant.

What is your best tip for success? My best tip for success is to remain open minded to the world and its opportunities around you. Don’t be afraid to jump into the deep end to try something new. As long as you work hard and remain motivated, your ability to reach any goal you set your mind to can never be diminished.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? My advice to college-bound students is to work hard toward your dreams. Your level of success will always be determined by how hard and how far you are willing to push yourself toward that goal. While in college, try to get involved across campus and in your community so that you can really get to know who you are as a person. Finally, don’t ever be afraid to shoot for the best.

Edgar Padilla

Edgar Padilla

Edgar Padilla, 21, is a senior and plans to graduate in Spring 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a minor in business administration. He is a member of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and this year participated in the LeaderShape 2015 Institute, a six-day conference where students acquire leadership skills that enable them to impact the community and accomplish their vision. In addition, he attended UTPA’s Inaugural Women Leadership Conference which empowers women in society with the opportunity to voice their thoughts on the issues that affect them. Padilla works as an office aide for UTPA’s Office for Student Involvement (OSI), where he provides information about a variety of opportunities to be active in school like community service, fraternity and sorority life, leadership and mentorship programs, and more than 250 student organizations. Padilla volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, located in Harlingen, where he helped accommodate patients, who were children, and their parents in the facility by cleaning, cooking, and reading books.

 

Awards/honors: Dean’s List, Spring 2013 and Fall 2014; and LeaderShape graduate, 2015.

What are your plans after graduation? My plan is to continue my education by getting a master’s in engineering. After completing my master’s, my primary goal is to work for a prestigious company, such as Microsoft or Apple as an engineer. Also, I plan to open a food business, preferably a Mexican restaurant.

Do you plan to stay in the Valley? First, I would like to leave to further pursue my career, especially with all the great opportunities out there. Studying outside the Valley would be a wonderful experience, plus traveling is a beautiful thing to do. As an engineer, seeing different perspectives, cultures and traditions can definitely help me in my career. However, returning is a possibility because I would love to give back to the community that helped me shape my future.

What has your education done for you? My education opened my eyes and helped me understand the importance of obtaining knowledge and a degree to support it. It introduced me to wonderful and amazing friends, made me self-aware, and taught me to grasp opportunities when it comes to pursuing a career.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? My college years have been remarkable with so many events going on around campus, which has allowed me to meet wonderful people. Faculty and staff are always there to help with anything I need. Working at OSI has allowed me to grow as a person; I am more respectful, responsible, self-aware, and outspoken. My communication skills were poor before attending UTPA, but with the help of OSI’s work-study program I have developed that skill.

What is the best tip for success? To accomplish something, you have to take the first step; if you want something to happen, make it happen. Do not wait until someone shows you the way. You are in charge of your own destiny. My favorite quote by David Bly says, “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.”

What advice do you have for college-bound students? The college experience can be a good one, but only if you work for it. I highly recommend joining organizations that have to do with your major; not only will it look good on your résumé, but you will also meet people who can help out with your assignments and in class. Also, asking questions is essential in college.

Alfredo Hinojosa

Alfredo Hinojosa Alfredo Hinojosa, 38, is a senior and plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in information systems in December 2016. He will be joining the Association of Information Technology Professionals Club in Fall 2015. Hinojosa works full-time with UTPA IT Support as a computer user support specialist. Working and attending school full time as well as being a dad of two children has proven to be a challenge, but one that Hinojosa has willingly accepted. Growing up as migrant farmworker, Hinojosa understands that education is the key to opening doors to a better future. In the community, he volunteers at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in LaVilla.

Awards/Honors: Angel Investor Staff Scholarship, Fall 2014-Spring 2015; and UTRGV Assistance Scholarship, 2015-2016.

What are your plans after graduation? Following my graduation, I plan on attending graduate school at UTRGV to pursue my master’s degree in communication. I look forward to obtaining a position in IT administration as a director or administrator in some capacity whether it is a private business, local government or higher education entity.

Do you plan to return to/stay in the Valley? I plan on staying in the Valley while I continue my education and to take advantage of the opportunities provided to me by my current employer. Once I attain my master’s degree, I would like to move to either San Antonio, Austin or Dallas, then eventually return to the Valley after a long fulfilling career and retire.

What has your education done for you? My education has allowed me to help break the cycle of living as a migrant farmworker. I take pride that my parents worked hard all of their lives to provide for their family. I believe that I can show my gratitude to them by liberating myself through education. I wholeheartedly admire them for working so hard and in changing the course of my life. In this, I find honor and I will always be indebted to them. With encouragement to pursue a higher education from them, I have been able to give my children a better quality of life, thus far, and help set a good example for their future as well.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? My experience at UTPA began as an employee at the IT Help Desk. Being around the university environment motivated me more and more every day to further my education. One of the main drives for my return to college can be attributed to the students attending UTPA. To walk around campus and see their eagerness to learn and prosper is a great motivation. I found that I could not simply work here without taking advantage of what UTPA had to offer. Once I started classes, I felt a new sense of purpose and a new goal to be reached. Experiences of struggle, success, hard work, stress and happiness have made me truly appreciate what UTPA has to offer.

What is your best tip for success? During a lifetime a person will go through many points when they will be tested. Be resilient and persistent in your belief that you are successful regardless of the naysayers. Surround yourself with positive minded people and watch yourself truly succeed.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? It is often said that working hard for what you love will be worth the while. I have to agree with that statement. If you can find the fervor to be a success you will propel yourself to achieve greatness. As you embark on this journey, do it with enthusiasm and enjoy all that comes with it.

Julian Martinez

Julian MartinezJulian Martinez, 21, is a senior at UT Pan American and plans to graduate with a premedical biology and chemistry degree in Spring 2016. He is a graduate of McAllen Memorial High School. Martinez is a part of the Pre-Medical Honors College Program and has earned conditional acceptance into Baylor College of Medicine for Fall 2016. At UTPA, Martinez is a member of the Alpha Lamda Delta and Golden Key International Honor Societies where he frequently volunteers around campus and the community. He also works for the Office of P-16 Initiatives as a collegiate mentor for high school students at McAllen High School and tutors biology, chemistry, and physics at the Learning Assistance Center. Martinez regularly spends his time volunteering and shadowing physicians in local hospitals while also remaining active on the tennis and basketball court.

Awards/Honors: Dean’s List, Fall 2012-Spring 2015; UTPA Meritorious Scholarship recipient, Fall 2012-present; Hearst Foundation Pre-Med Scholarship recipient, Fall 2012 and Spring 2013; Pre-Med Scholars Scholarship recipient, Fall 2013 and Spring 2014; Greater Texas Foundation Scholarship recipient, Fall 2014 and Spring 2015; G-Force Mentor of the Month, April 2015; and Intramural Tennis Champion, Fall 2013 and Spring 2014.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation, I will be attending Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. I plan on graduating with a medical degree and pursuing my dream to becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

Do you plan to return to the Valley? After completing my education in medical school in Houston, returning to the Rio Grande Valley remains a tempting option for me. It would be a pleasure to assist the community that molded me into the person that I am today. The Valley will always be home to me and it would be a privilege to be a part of its health care system.

What has your education done for you? My education has not only opened many doors but has also opened my mind to think both critically and creatively. The education I have received at UTPA has led me to grow as a person and has allowed me to obtain a tighter grasp on both local and world issues. I have gained valuable insight and have acquired a strong skill set that I will carry on with me for the rest of my life.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? My experience as a UTPA Bronc has been a fruitful one due to the many opportunities and people that I have come face to face with. The professors at UTPA have been nothing short of brilliant and have opened my eyes to the world of medicine. I am forever grateful for the strong relationships I have made with UTPA students and faculty.

What is your best tip for success? First, I believe it is crucial for people to find a subject or issue that they are passionate about. The next step is to then work hard to try and make a difference in that field. It is key to never give up on the idea that there is always room for growth and improvement. One must never get discouraged on the path to becoming the best.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? College-bound students should enter higher education with an open mind and a heart full of enthusiasm. There will be many humbling moments while in college but it is important to keep your head up high and learn from every situation. I encourage students to get as involved with their university and community as possible. Students should never be afraid to expose themselves to the unique opportunities that college has to offer.

 

Priya Darshni JagadeesanPriya Darshni Jagadeesan, 20, will graduate May 2016 with degrees in biology and psychology and minors in chemistry and business administration. She is enrolled in the Premedical Honors College, a eight-year combined medical program with Baylor College of Medicine. She has been inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, in which she held the positions of community service chair and Relay for Life Community Outreach chair. Jagadeesan has also been involved in the Environmental Awareness Club, Habitat for Humanity, and the Society for Conservation of Biology. She has volunteered at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in various departments such as pediatrics, nursery and rehabilitation. She participated in research with Dr. Bimal Banik in UTPA’s Department of Chemistry. Jagadeesan has also been a teaching assistant in the biology department for Biology 1401 and 1402 courses. Currently, she is volunteering with Hidalgo County Emergency Medical Services.

Awards/Honors: Deans List, Fall 2012-Spring 2015; Hearst Foundation Scholarship, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2014, and Spring 2015; Kleberg Foundation Scholarship, Fall 2014; and Rising Scholars Scholarship, Fall 2014.

What are your plans after graduation? Following my graduation next May, I plan on attending Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and earning my medical degree. After obtaining my medical degree, I hope to specialize in neurology.

Do you plan to return to the Valley? I will be going to Houston for medical school, but after finishing my residency and fellowship, I definitely plan on returning to the Valley. My parents live in the Valley, and my father is a physician in Mission. I hope to one day join his practice and follow in his footsteps.

What has your education done for you? I attended the Science Academy in Mercedes for high school and I am proud to have studied at one of the best public schools in the country. During my time at UTPA, I have become more confident, self sufficient and worldly. I feel my education has given me the tools I need to be a good doctor and the best person I can be.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? The UTPA campus is more than Pan American; it is truly international. At UTPA, I have had the privilege of studying under very accomplished professors. Being a part of the Premedical Honors College has prepared me for the rigors of medical school. My adviser, Dr. Cindy Wedig, has been a truly amazing mentor. She has encouraged and inspired me in many ways. It was because of her encouragement that I had the opportunity to become a teaching assistant (TA) even as an undergraduate. As a TA, I have experienced the other side of education, and appreciate the efforts and dedication of all my professors.

What is your best tip for success? To be successful, hard work and motivation are the two most vital qualities. If you’re not lucky enough to be born with these traits, they can be developed. In addition, organization and time management are essential to keep you on track. Finally, take full advantage of any opportunities that pop up.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? My advice to students is to hit the ground running in the first few semesters of college. The first semesters are generally easier and the higher GPA you get then will offset any difficulty you have in the later semesters, when classes become tougher.

Amanda Pena

 

Amanda PenaAmanda Sofía Peña, 24, plans to graduate in Spring 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a major in bilingual education. As a former Environmental Awareness Club member, she participated in Rio Reforestation and has recently participated in Adopt an Angel. She is currently a member of the Bilingual Education Student Organization, Campus HOPE and serves as the President for K.I.S.S. (Keen Individuals Serving Society), which focuses on building leadership skills and a sense of community. Peña has also just completed LeaderShape, a weeklong training that teaches students to lead with integrity. She is currently balancing school, married life and two jobs, one of which is at the UTPA Office for Student Involvement where Peña works as an intern with more than 250 student organizations.

Awards/Honors: Dean’s List, Fall 2013; and Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi invitee, Spring 2014.

What are your plans after graduation? I plan on attending graduate school to obtain my master’s in bilingual education while teaching at a public elementary school. I also plan on getting a Ph.D. and eventually going to law school.

Do you plan to stay in the Valley? I plan on leaving the Valley for a while to further my education. One day, I would like to work for the university as a professor. The Valley is my home so I will return soon; I love my family and my community.

What has your education done for you? My education has given me a new perspective. I have learned a lot about my own culture and the difficulties we go through since we are not fully accepted as either Mexican or American. Lucky for us we have our own crazy/beautiful culture to call our own. My education has given me the awareness that everyone has the capacity to learn and go to school. What sets apart those who continued in school and those who stopped are the opportunities and circumstances that were given to them.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? I could not have asked for a better experience. The professors here challenged me to think differently and broaden my awareness. The staff here is also amazing and always willing to help. It is a great place to find lifelong friends and meet amazing people. It feels like a home away from home.

What is your best tip for success? You have to “fake it till you make it.” If you are not a good student, you have to pretend to be a good student and do things that you think a good student would do. Also, life’s going to throw some hardships your way. I’ve been through some really hard things while in college and what kept me afloat was thinking about why I was doing it and always looking into the future and knowing that things weren’t always going to be so bad.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? Do it. If you have the opportunity to come to college, take it. It is an amazing experience that will challenge everything you think you know. Also, don’t drop out. There will be times that college seems like too much, just keep in mind that things won’t always be so difficult. So even if you have to take longer to graduate, just keep going.

Ana Vianey Reyes

Ana Vianey ReyesAna Vianey Reyes, 20, plans to graduate in May 2017 with a degree in psychology (a double major with English) and a minor in Spanish. At UTPA, she has been a member of the Guerra Honors Program since 2013. She was inducted in the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society in Spring 2014, serving as vice president this past academic year and selected to be its 2015-16 president. Reyes has volunteered at service events with organizations such as Proyecto Azteca and Make McAllen Beautiful. She currently works with IDEA Public Schools as a paid leadership development intern. This summer Reyes will travel to New York City to teach seventh grade literature to low-income, high-potential students as part of an internship with Breakthrough Collaborative.

Awards/Honors: University Scholars Presidential Scholarship, May 2013-present; The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Fall 2013; and Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society, Spring 2015.

What are your plans after graduation? I plan to join Teach for America and pursue educational psychology in graduate school. I am still unsure of what my final goal is, but I am positive I will find it along the way.

Do you plan to stay in the Valley? I would love to work and continue my education for a couple of years outside of the Rio Grande Valley. Going out and seeing the world and different perspectives is part of the human experience, and provides value and knowledge that you carry with you and share wherever you go. Ultimately, I plan on returning home to give back to my community that has given so much to me.

What has your education done for you? My education is helping break the cycle of poverty in my family and in the region. My siblings and I are the first to attend college, and the doors that have been opened for my older siblings, and will open for me upon graduation is proof that education is powerful. Along the way I have met bright people who have shared their experiences and knowledge with me. My mind has been pushed to think about what is significant in humanity and in my education. I’ve learned that my degree is important, but what is more important is what I learn and absorb in my journey for that degree – those experiences and that knowledge make all the difference.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? It has been wonderful. I am a firm believer that you make your college experience what you want it to be. In my two years here I have had some great experiences – from seeing John Legend speak to listening to outstanding honors students’ research presentations at the Great Plains Honors Conference that UTPA hosted this year.

What is your best tip for success? Grit. In preparation for my summer internship I have listened to TED talks about grit and read articles about students and what gets them through college – perseverance, hard work and dedication. This is applicable to my own experience; every semester is a new battle for me, but it’s also an opportunity for enrichment, and there are times when it’s pure grit that get’s me through a paper or studying for an exam. My favorite quote for this concept was introduced to me in high school and I live by it, “Do not hurry; do not rest” (Goethe).

What advice do you have for college-bound students? Start off strong, don’t slack off, build relationships with your professors, and it’s okay to not have a 4.0. Indulging yourself in your own learning experience is the best thing you can do. You only get four years to soak it all in and experience as much as you can.

Rafael Delgado

Rafael DelgadoRafael Delgado, 29, plans to graduate in August 2015 with bachelor’s degrees in sociology and criminal justice with a minor in social work. Delgado is a member of the Sociology and Criminal Justice Clubs, participating in events and fundraisers in both. Delgado is also a member of the Student Veterans Association, where he also volunteered at events and in activities that benefit the community. He has assisted several of his professors with research surveys to help improve the school and school activities. Delgado has completed more than 100 volunteer community hours with organizations such as Big Brother-Big Sister and the Boys and Girls Club. Delgado is a military veteran, having served four years in the U.S. Army.

 

Awards/Honors: Military: Honorable Discharge, 2007; UTPA: Dean’s List, Spring 2013 and Fall 2014.

What are your plans after graduation? I plan on attending graduate school in Fall 2016 at The University of North Texas at Dallas in the sociology program. After completing the masters program, I would like to pursue a doctoral program to further my education.

Do you plan to return to/stay in the Valley? I plan on leaving the Valley to continue my education and diversify my experiences. I want to learn about education systems in other regions. However, my family is here and I do want to remain close to them. If there are great opportunities in the Valley, I would definitely return back home. Right now, however, first and foremost is my education.

What has your education done for you? My education has provided me with new insight about the world around me, both here at home and outside of the area. I have lived in the Rio Grande Valley almost all my life, but during my time at UTPA, I have come to learn even more about this region, my culture, and about communicating with people in this area. Living here, we become blinded and unaware of just how special our region actually is. My education has given me the opportunity to see the RGV in a new light.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? My experience at UTPA has been very rewarding because of the wonderful people I have met, students and professors alike. There are amazing people at UTPA who caused me to think about my future academic and career goals. My sociology and criminal justice professors were amazing individuals and outstanding teachers who made learning exciting; several of them encouraged me and believed in my abilities as a student and future teacher.

What is your best tip for success? To succeed, one must have perseverance and be passionate. Reaching goals of any sort is very difficult and without perseverance and passion, one might veer off course and fail to reach their ultimate goal. Being perseverant keeps you moving forward, steadfast despite any obstacle or any difficulty that happens in every day life. Having passion allows for the experience along the way worth all the time and effort. You need both to get the job done successfully.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? College is certainly not easy. A student must be able to juggle many responsibilities. Staying focused on the end result and always put their best foot forward are also important things to remember while pushing through their college years. One key important thing that a student must have is the want to go to college and remain positive no matter what the situation, make the best out of it and reach the goal you ultimately wanted.

 

 

 

 

Samantha Rae EstradaSamantha Rae Estrada, 24, is a senior and plans to graduate August 2015 with a degree in psychology and a minor in marketing. As a former member of the American Marketing Association at UTPA, she participated in its 2013 and 2014 fashion shows and assisted at other events, such as the Entravision Soccer Cup and fundraisers. Estrada has also volunteered at the Bridges Nursing Home in Edinburg and the Edinburg Children’s Hospital. Currently, she is balancing school and two jobs, one as an information desk assistant at the Student Union, where she answers questions from students, parents and other guests and assists with Union events. This summer, she will participate in a Sherwin-Williams managerial internship in Houston.

Awards/Honors: Student Union Information Desk Team Member of the Year, 2015; Student Union Employee of the Month, January 2015; Civic Engagement Scholarship, 2010; Diversity Grant, 2009; and Social Justice Leadership Scholarship, 2009.

What are your plans after graduation? My goal is to continue my passion for marketing and work in the marketing department of a company such as Red Bull, Disney, or the NBA. I am particularly interested in event marketing and working with these companies will allow me to organize an array of events. In the future, I plan to continue my education and earn a MBA and Ph.D.

Do you plan to return to the Valley? There will always be room in my heart for the Valley. Coming back for the holidays or even just a visit to eat my mom’s amazing food is always an option.

What has your education done for you? My education has provided me with new insight on my determination to keep learning. My undergraduate career, which started at Kalamazoo College in Michigan and will end here at UTRGV, has empowered me to become a passionate, knowledgeable, and critical thinking individual. Academically, it has given me skills that have prepared me for life after graduation – the adult life. It has opened many doors of opportunities that seemed impossible to me when I first started.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? My experience at UTPA has been rewarding and unforgettable. Moving back to the Valley from Michigan has made me realize how much I missed what the Valley offers. My professors in the psychology and marketing departments are insightful individuals and outstanding teachers who made learning exciting. Several professors encouraged me every step of the way and believed in my abilities as a student and marketer. Also, working at the Student Union’s information desk enhanced my leadership skills and ability to effectively help others. For that, I am forever grateful.

What is your best tip for success? To succeed, one must be passionate and patient. One can easily get overwhelmed with classes, working off campus, or even with problems at home. Getting involved with organizations on campus can help with stress that comes along with being a full time student. Lastly, do not be afraid of failing. Having passion and patience allows you to keep moving forward and get over any obstacles that come your way.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? There is nothing wrong with entering college not knowing what you want to do. Choosing a major can be frustrating and confusing. So, my advice is to choose something that you can become passionate about. Choose a major that inspires you to want to go to class and motivates you to apply it to the real world.

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