Samantha 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.