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Kathryn Brough

Kathryn BroughKathryn Brough, 19, is a junior at The University of Texas-Pan American who plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication – Public Relations and a minor in marketing in May 2017. She graduated in the top 10 percent from BETA High School in Edinburg in June 2013. Brough is a senator and Personnel Committee chair in the Student Government Association, a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and serves on The University of Texas System Student Advisory Council as one of two representatives from UTPA. She leads worship with the praise band every week at the First United Methodist Church of Edinburg and is part of the Methodist Campus Ministry. She hopes to study abroad in her time here and currently works at the UTPA Office of the Dean of Students.

Awards/Honors: University Scholar Presidential Level Scholarship, Fall 2013, Spring and Fall 2014, and Spring 2015; Gateway Scholarship, Fall 2013, Spring 2014; State Top 10% Scholarship, Fall 2013; Dean’s List, Fall 2013, Spring and Fall 2014; and Who’s Who Among Colleges and Universities Award Recipient, Spring 2015.

What are your plans after graduation? Although graduation is still far away and I’m not sure where life will take me just yet, I plan on entering the work field immediately to gain experience in marketing/PR and learn more about my career path. I am also considering entering graduate school.

Do you plan to stay in the Valley? The Valley is the place I was born and raised in. I want to travel, see the world, and work in other places, but the Valley will always be the home I return to.

What has your education done for you? My education has made me who I am. It has helped me grow academically and as a leader. I’ve learned so much in my short time here at UTPA and many doors have been opened for me. I will be forever grateful for what I have received.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? UTPA is honestly an amazing school. I came into college very hesitant but I fell in love almost immediately with the campus and the opportunities available. There is always something to do or see here at UTPA and every day is a new adventure waiting to happen.

What is your best tip for success? Always give it your all and follow your dreams. Although it might be extremely challenging at times, it’s important to do what makes you happy. You’ll enjoy life a lot more that way and you’ll be passionate about your work. With that passion you’ll be able to go the farthest you can and you will feel successful the entire time because you love what you’re doing.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? J. R. R. Tolkien once wrote, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” Get involved as soon as you can on your campus. There are countless organizations that can be joined and limitless opportunities at every door and mouse click. Take advantage of what the university has to offer and get involved in things you love with people you enjoy spending time with. Also, be confident in every task you take on and don’t be afraid to make friends along the way. Meeting new people is extremely easy with thousands around you, so smile and say “hello” as much as you can. College isn’t forever, so enjoy your time in it and you will have memories to cherish for the rest of your life.

Anna Karen Garcia

Anna Karen GarciaAnna Karen Garcia, 24, plans to graduate with a master’s degree in communication in Fall 2015. She graduated from The University of Texas-Pan American in Summer 2013 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. During her undergraduate studies, Garcia was involved in student organizations on campus. She was a fundraiser officer for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), where she had the opportunity to develop her organizational, planning, and teamwork skills. Also, she had the opportunity to participate as a volunteer in HESTEC and the ENCORE National Convocation. As a CEO member, Garcia travelled to Dallas to attend a national conference where her team won a first place, earning the E-Diffusion Award. She also served as a volunteer to assist two small businesses in Mexico to develop marketing strategies to create and increase their brand awareness. Garcia currently works as an account executive with Studio Twelve01 at UTPA, where she has helped create effective marketing strategies for various campus departments and programs.

Awards/Honors: Dean’s List, Fall 2009, and LeaderShape, Spring 2009.

What are your plans after graduation? I would like to get a job in the marketing field to gain more experience in customer relations and strategies to create brand awareness in the market. After that, I plan to have my own business as a marketing strategist.

Do you plan to stay in the Valley? I love the Valley, a place where I have met great people and, more importantly, got my college education. But I think that I would move if I get a good employment opportunity somewhere else.

What has your education done for you? Education has taught me that with dedication everything is possible. Learning is a never-ending process; with education someone is able to see things from a different perspective. My education has helped me achieve some of my goals, and I know it will help me achieve many more.

 How do you feel about your UTPA experience? It has been a wonderful experience. I have met amazing people who are always willing to help. I can honestly say that I had a real college experience; I’ve been able to participate in study groups, join student organizations, attend conferences and social events, and support the Broncs at their games. My professors at UTPA were always very focused on student learning and success.

What is your best tip for success? One of my tips for success is being consistent in what you do that gives you positive results. If you want it, you can make it happen. Another tip to being successful in your college years is to have dedication and the desire to succeed.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? Ask questions, never give up and be persistent when it comes to your studies. Choose a career that makes you happy because it will be what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life.

Karen Perez

Karen PerezKaren Perez, 21, is a senior at The University of Texas-Pan American with plans to graduate in fall 2015 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and a minor in mass communication. Perez graduated among the top 10 students from Palmview High School in 2012. In her first year at UTPA, Perez worked as a news reporter for the University newspaper The Pan American. In fall 2013, Perez began a marketing internship with the UTPA Office of Continuing Education where she gained hands-on experience in social media marketing and blogging. Currently Perez works on campus as a writer for the UTPA Office of Public Affairs where she continues to gain new skills in PR writing. In her free time, Perez volunteers at the Palm Valley Animal Center and the Food Bank of the RGV.

Awards/Honors: Top 10% Scholarship recipient Fall 2012, Fall 2014; Carl N. and Margaret Karcher Founders’ Scholarship recipient 2012; Valley Alliance of Mentors for Opportunities and Scholarships (VAMOS) recipient 2012-2015; Dean’s List Spring and Fall 2014.

What are your plans after graduation? Although I’m planning to go to graduate school a few years down the road, I would like to get out into the work field as soon possible – the dream of every college senior. I’d like to pursue a career in marketing communications or public relations – perhaps working in an agency. Frankly, the pop culture geek in me would also love to write for an entertainment magazine while my curious self is interested in market research, conducting surveys and learning more about consumer behavior. Whichever career path I, or life, takes me on, as long as I get to write, whether it be a report or a story, I’ll be happy.

Do you plan to return to/stay in the Valley? I’ve lived in Mission all of my life and have always been proud of where I am from but I’d like to explore the job opportunities that lie outside the Valley. However, I love Texas so if I don’t stay in the Valley I’ll probably be just a few hours’ drive away.

What has your education done for you? My education at UTPA has taught me the importance of critical thinking that goes beyond the textbook. Pursuing an education has allowed me to discover new passions and has given me confidence not only as a scholar but as a soon-to-be professional.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? The beautiful campus of UTPA has been like my second home. UTPA has opened many doors for me and I’m truly blessed for the internships, part-time jobs and learning opportunities it has provided me with even before graduating.

What is your best tip for success? Do not be afraid of failure. Sometimes it takes perseverance to see desired results, whether in the classroom or on the job. College isn’t easy but no matter what happens it’s important to always remain positive and keep our eye on our goal – in my case that goal is walking across the stage to receive my diploma.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? Take yourself out of your comfort zone. Play up your strengths and learn from your weaknesses. I’m still a naturally quiet person but it’s amazing the people I’ve gotten to interview, the stories I’ve written and the knowledge I’ve gained all because I’ve decided to challenge myself.

Reba Rivera

Reba RiveraReba Lynn Rivera, 19, plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and a minor in psychology in May 2017. She is a member in and leader of the University Program Board, where she serves as chair of the Night Life Committee. She is also a member of the Student Leadership Academy, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars Honor Society and Alpha Lambda Honor Society. Rivera works on campus as a mentor for first year students in the Bronc Mentoring Experience program. Rivera volunteers in the music ministry as a pianist in her home church, Apostolic Temple of Faith in Raymondville, Texas, where she also assists in other church activities and helps her pastor translate his sermons from Spanish to English. In addition, Rivera has gained valuable knowledge volunteering as an intern with Peggy Ramon, R.D., L.D., a registered dietician at PR Nutrition in McAllen, Texas.

Awards/Honors: Gelman Constitutional Scholarship, August 2014; and Dean’s List, 2013-2014.

What are your plans after graduation? I will begin my career in a hospital as a registered dietitian (R.D.). I will obtain my master’s degree possibly in business. After two years of being an R.D., I also plan to become a Certified Diabetes Educator. Later, after earning my master’s, I am determined to open my own practice in nutrition consulting.

Do you plan to stay in the Valley? Yes because I want to serve the people in the Valley.

What has your education done for you? My education has provided me a wealth of new knowledge to interpret the world around me; I have become self -sufficient and learned key skills such as time management and prioritizing. I have been able to apply things learned in the classroom to my everyday life and become an active member in my university and participating citizen in Edinburg.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? My experience is not done but it has been the most amazing adventure yet. It has required hard work, many hours of studying and determination to get me this far. No other university could have offered any experience greater than the one I have had at UTPA.

What is your best tip for success? Be persistent and never stop looking for new opportunities. You have to raise your hand, ask questions, speak for yourself, and get out of your seat. Do something.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? Sometimes we feel college is an obligation, meaning that you have to go because your school pushes you to or because you have been stuck in the routine of going to school. But college is the steppingstone in which you grow the most. Don’t take college as an “I have to;” it’s a privilege to be here, not everyone will make this decision. Take this and run with it. Learn in your classes, don’t be ordinary, be outstanding. Seek opportunities, explore, study abroad, get involved, become a Greek and become a leader. Find yourself and what you do best. Be smart, and confident in yourself, always give back to others and respect one another. For those who don’t think you can, stop believing this, because you can. I will be the best in what I can do; you will be the best in what you can do. So let’s do this together. God bless you all!

Kristina Garcia

Kristina GarciaKristina Garcia, 21, plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in Fall 2016. She graduated as salutatorian in 2012 from San Benito High School. At UTPA, she is a member of the Association of Computational Machinery and has volunteered at Bronc Roundup. Garcia has also volunteered at St. Theresa Catholic Church in her hometown of San Benito. As a student employee at the University she works at the Office of Career Services which has allowed her to participate in many activities in and outside of school, including career fairs and graduation ceremonies.

Awards/Honors: Top Ten Percent Scholarship, Fall 2012-Spring 2014; Texas Grant Fall 2012-present; Stripes Scholarship, Fall 2013-Spring 2015; and Dean’s List, Fall 2012, Spring and Fall 2013, and Spring 2014.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation I plan to become a game developer and/or movie developer. My dream jobs include employment in companies such as Pixar, Rooster Teeth Corporation, or Bethesda.

Do you plan to stay in the Valley? It’s really hard for someone graduating with my degree to find a job in the Valley. The RGV is my home, however, you need to go wherever life takes you.

What has your education done for you? Education honestly is what has made me the person I am today. It has made everything I want to accomplish in life possible and for that I am very grateful.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? Honestly, I can’t imagine going to another university and liking it as much as I do here. The professors are great, I have gained work experience and, most importantly, I love it here.

What is your best tip for success? Don’t let anybody say that you can’t do it. If you feel that you can achieve your dreams don’t let anybody stop you from your ultimate success.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? Make sure you major in something that makes you happy and that you enjoy. I have changed my major a ton of times and now that I am a computer science major I feel that I am doing something that I truly love and that is what I feel is most important.

Demetrius Martinez

Demetrius Martinez Demetrius Martinez, 21, is a senior at The University of Texas-Pan American and plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in legal studies with honors highest distinction in May 2015. He is co-president for the Pre-Law Society at UTPA, secretary to Eta Omicron Nu, chair of the Political Science Association Constitution Committee, and secretary to the Dean’s Student Advisory Council for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Martinez has been involved in numerous activities in the community and volunteered with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid at Wills and Power of Attorney clinics. He has spearheaded joint volunteer service projects among UTPA student organizations and worked to build organizational connections with the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. Upon completing his Honors Research Practicum at the UTPA Center for Survey Research, Martinez submitted his Senior Honors Thesis, “Access to Primary Healthcare Services for Residents of the RGV” for dissemination at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at Eastern Washington University this spring. After completion of his thesis oral defense he plans to submit his thesis for publication to the Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Journal of Politics.

Awards/Honors: Dean’s List, Spring 2013-Spring 2014; Gelman Constitutional Scholar, Summer 2012; Golden Key Honour Society Member, Fall 2012-present; Law School Preparation Institute, Summer 2013; Undergraduate Research Initiative Grant award, Fall 2014; The Rafael “Felo” A. & Carmen Guerra Honors Program Student, Fall 2013-present; Phi Kappa Phi Honoree, Spring 2014; Pi Sigma Alpha inductee, Spring 2014; and Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, Fall 2014.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation I plan to work at earning a joint degree in law and a master’s in public affairs/policy. Ultimately, I plan to pursue a career as a policy analyst or as counsel for a local, state, or federal administrative agency. At this time I am currently keeping my plans open and considering the many different opportunities.

Do you plan to return to the Valley? The Valley will always be my home but I plan to travel elsewhere for educational and career opportunities. I hope to one day return to the Valley so I can help support my local community.

What has your education done for you? My education has enabled me to further realize and achieve my future aspirations. Most of all, I feel I have gained many valuable skills which will help me succeed in life. I am thankful for the amazing professors who helped me learn and stay involved during my time at UTPA.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? I feel UTPA has had a profound impact on my outlook toward life. I am more aware of the opportunities that exist and the different possibilities each possesses. More importantly, I have made many new friends and built networks that I am thankful for.

What is your best tip for success? To succeed you should not be afraid to take advantage of the many opportunities that exist even if you know they will be difficult endeavors because it is better to have tried and failed then to have never tried at all. An opportunity should be treated as a privilege.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? I think it is important to spend your time wisely and work at balancing time between your studies and personal life. Try to be involved and meet new people. Finally, choose a major you know you will love and enjoy.

Oscar RamosOscar Abraham Ramos Chacon, 21, is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing with a minor in mass communication at The University of Texas-Pan American. At UTPA, Ramos has volunteered to help students with disabilities as a note taker, painted picnic tables to support campus spirit, served as the swimming captain in the Tri4edu Triathlon two consecutive years as well as a coach for the UTPA Swimming Club, and represented UTPA at several national conferences. He has been able to grow his leadership skills thanks to activities he has participated in at the College of Business Administration (CoBA) and the American Marketing Association (AMA). His work with the CoBA dean, faculty and students serving as a social media specialist and his service as an AMA officer for more than two years has greatly enhanced his interpersonal, research and team skills. Ramos has also been a student leader mentor with the MAP (My Achievement Plan), a program designed to recruit and train top CoBA juniors and seniors to serve as mentors to CoBA freshmen. In addition, as a research assistant, Ramos led a team in a social media research project that was presented at UTPA’s Third Annual Undergraduate Research Conference.

Awards/Honors: Dean’s List, Spring and Fall, 2013 and Spring 2014; Excellence Scholarship, 2013 and 2014; National Society of Collegiate Scholars, 2014; Golden Key International Honour Society, 2014; Who’s Who Among Students in America Universities & Colleges, Fall 2014; Student Employee of the Year nominee, Spring 2014; and Student Track Scholarship recipient, 28th HACU Annual Conference, Fall 2014.

What are your plans after graduation? I am certain I will continue to prepare, discover and transform my life throughout my last two years in college. I plan to keep good work flowing, accomplishing a successful internship this upcoming summer 2015, going to study abroad in Germany, and pursuing an MBA in marketing – all of which will prepare me to one day relocate to the northern U.S. to start working and bearing the fruits of my education.

Do you plan to return to the Valley? I plan to return to the Valley when I feel ready to open my own business, bringing all my expertise to the place that saw me grow.

What has your education done for you? My education has opened my eyes to reality and is preparing me for what I want to do with my life.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? I won’t ever regret coming to UTPA to obtain my BBA in marketing. Here at Pan Am I have found more than education, friends, and experiences, I have found a family.

What is your best tip for success? Everyone has their own definition for success, maybe mine is not the same as yours, but what is always key is to do your best, and forget the rest. Dare to try new adventures, challenge yourself, and always remember to never give up in this amazing once in a lifetime journey.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? I firmly believe that the combination of school, work, and extracurricular activities leads to academic and professional success. Participating in all three is not easy, but will lead to great experiences and maturity. I suggest that students should try to be more “out there,” get involved, and learn from mistakes because that’s what helps you learn and be successful.

Adesuwa Ewere

Adesuwa EwereAdesuwa Ewere, 19, plans to graduate in Spring 2016 with a degree in pre-medical biology and a minor in medical humanities. She is a member of the A-PRIME TIME program’s pilot cohort and a member of the Guerra Honors Program. Ewere was a protégé in the First Year Mentoring Program and an intern in the Student Government Association (SGA) First Year Internship Program during the 2013-2014 academic school year. She has also volunteered in local clinics and in health care facilities located in the Greater Houston area, where she is from originally. Currently, Ewere is involved in Eta Omicron Nu, River of Life Fellowship, The Student Leadership Academy, and represents the College of the Science and Mathematics as a SGA senator. She is involved in research and is a science tutor at UTPA’s Learning Assistance Center. In January 2015, Ewere will participate in an International Educational Experience in the Dominican Republic.

Awards/Honors: SGA Member of the Month, October 2014; Voto Latino Essay Contest winner and Power Summit participant, September 2014; Dean’s List, Fall 2013 and Spring 2014; and Outstanding First Year Internship Cohort Intern, Spring 2014.

What are your plans after graduation? I plan on matriculating to medical school, completing my residency, practicing medicine as a physician and serving others as a medical advocate.

Do you plan to stay in the Valley? Although I am not from the Valley and have only lived in Edinburg for a little over a year, I have become fond of the area, the people, and the culture. Within this short time, I have also witnessed the health disparity that exists in the Rio Grande Valley, which indicates the great need for physicians near the U.S.-Mexico border. These issues fuel my passion to advocate for a better health care system and for improved health outcomes. Considering this, I might find myself practicing medicine in the Valley, or another underserved area, but as of now, I have no fixed plans as to where I will be living and working in the future.

What has your education done for you? It is difficult to say, as I am still in the beginning of my educational career, but I can attest that education has and continues to redefine my perspective and sense of purpose. Education has revealed to me how I fit in the bigger scheme of things and has given me a clearer understanding that I am capable of making a difference, irrespective of my limitations.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? I am fond of my experience so far, though not yet content with it, as I would like to become more involved on campus and within the community. I have grown to love this school and the collegiate experience immensely and I can affirm that the idiom, “college is the best time of your life,” is not unfounded.

What is your best tip for success? I believe that refusing to dwell on past accomplishments is one of the best ways to nurture humility, which I consider necessary for success. Being humble prevents sentiments of self-importance and arrogance from developing and complacency and hubris from thriving. Rather than falling victim to excessive pride or becoming paralyzed by one’s “glory days,” view each endeavor as a small step to a much greater goal. By refusing to dwell on the past, every day can be a “glory day!”

What advice do you have for college-bound students? Take your schoolwork and academics seriously, however, do not let them consume you. Strive to strike up a school-work-life balance and get involved on campus, maintain a healthy social life, and enjoy every day of your life with no regrets!

Marvin Martinez

Marvin MartinezMarvin Martinez, 30, plans to graduate with a kinesiology degree and minors in Spanish and military science in April 2016. Martinez was in the U.S. Army on active duty for six years with three tours to Iraq. He is an active reservist, attached to the 95th Army Division out of Harlingen, Texas. Martinez is a member of the Student Veterans of American organization at UT Pan American and a member of the Rugby Club at UTPA and the McAllen Knights Rugby Club. He also volunteers as a football coach at the Boys and Girls Club and as a soccer coach for the McAllen Youth Association. Martinez, a father of two children, also works at UTPA’s Veterans Services Center.

Awards/Honors: Texas Grant recipient, 2013-present; Valley Heroes recipient, 2013; Army Commendation Medal, 2007, 2009 and 2012; Army Achievement Medal, 2012; and Iraq Campaign Medal, 2007.

What are your plans after graduation? I plan to pursue a career in the U.S. Army as a military officer; perhaps get sent back to Ft. Hood and lead troops to where this great nation sends us to perform our duties. Down the road, I’d like to be a football coach.

Do you plan to return to the Valley? Yes, the Valley is home; whenever I deployed, I always wanted to come back home. I strongly believe that the Valley is a great place to raise a family and to stay for good. You can travel state to state and country to country but there is no place like home.

What has your education done for you? My education has provided numerous benefits to me and my family. I have become more marketable in the job force. Being in the military has given me the ability to be promoted to the next rank. Consequently, I have been able to provide a more comfortable life for my family.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? I have been to several schools, but none like UTPA. UTPA has been a wonderful experience and, at the same time, a bit challenging since I have to balance work and student life, taking exams, doing homework and staying up late to finish assignments. The kinesiology department has outstanding faculty. Their outreach and quick responses to my questions has been amazing. They were always there for me when I had a question or concern. Also, the VSC staff has helped me out since day one, easing my adjustment from my military life to the civilian.

What is your best tip for success? I recommend that people live by this quote from Chief Tecumseh: “Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about his religion; Respect others in their views, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, and beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and of service of to your people.”

What advice do you have for college-bound students? Now that you have decided to come to college, stay here until you’re done completely. Take no semester off and if you get tired of school, take summer classes, so you can finish earlier. No matter how hard or how many people tell you that you don’t belong, prove them wrong one step at a time – that is how you climb the ladder. Listen to your professors, be positive every day, smile and get involved with the wonderful activities the college has to offer. It doesn’t hurt to make good grades – as a matter of fact, because I have good grades, the university pays me to continue my education. So does school pay off? Yes, it truly does, during and after.

Danielle Birnell

Danielle BirnellDanielle Birnell, 29, plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication with a concentration in print journalism and a minor in English in December 2015. Birnell served in the U.S. Army for eight years as a licensed vocational nurse before deciding to return to school and pursue her passion of writing. She has been actively involved with the UTPA chapter of the Student Veterans of America for two years. Birnell has written articles for The Pan American and is currently involved in the Stampede, an entity of Bronc Radio and TV. Her volunteer work includes helping at the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley.

Awards/Honors: Dean’s List, Fall 2012, Spring and Fall, 2013, and Spring 2014

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation I plan to enroll in the Creative Writing graduate program to better develop my writing skills. Once I receive my master’s degree, I’d like to work as a freelance writer. I’m also working on a book right now so hopefully I can get it published within the next five years.

Do you plan to stay in the Valley? Although I am not originally from the Valley, the community here has been very welcoming to me and my family. It has been our home away from home. We plan on being here for at least a little while, but eventually I would like to seek job opportunities closer to my hometown in Indiana.

What has your education done for you? My education has opened up so many opportunities for me. It has gotten me outside of my comfort zone and has really helped me see a side of myself that I didn’t know existed before.

How do you feel about your UTPA experience? My experience at UTPA has been invaluable. I attended another university before joining the military and I believe the professors and lecturers at UTPA are top of the line. They really connect with students and make classes interesting. They give students the tools they need to excel, not only in the classroom, but also outside the classroom.

What is your best tip for success? Keep your goals in mind and your priorities straight. It was hard for me at first to find the balance between being a wife, a mother and a student. Finding that balance between personal life and academics has really helped me succeed.

What advice do you have for college-bound students? Find what you are passionate about and follow it. It is also important to make goals. Even if you fall short, setting goals will give purpose to your actions.



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