Your Gifts at Work


UTEP School of Nursing Scholarship RecipientJessica Corral 

J. Leighton and Virginia Green Scholarship

Nursing student and scholarship recipient Jessica Corral has broadened her scope of education by participating in undergraduate research. She says, “The scholarship has allowed me to focus primarily on my studies. I appreciate that donors are both generous and considerate in giving back to students, and I would like to say thank you.”

The J. Leighton and Virginia Green Scholarship recipient is currently working with Dr. Hector Olvera in the Biobehavioral Research Laboratory, (BbRL). Employed as a research assistant in the BbRL, Jessica is part of the Nursing Engagement and Wellness Study, (NEWS). “We started this past summer and asked students to fill-out questionnaires. We are looking at stress and its effects on the pro inflammatory rate.” According the BbRL website, NEWS examines how a pro-inflammatory phenotype when combined with prolonged exposure to inflammatory stressors, (such as stress, poor diet, chemicals or pollution) might accelerate the development of depression, environmental sensitivities, and cardiovascular disease. “We are looking at things like burn-out and adverse childhood experiences to see how those factors play a role in coping and stress.”

Jessica also spent her summer performing undergraduate research and working at an internship with the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas, (CPRIT). The program is organized by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, however Jessica was able to work in El Paso. She participated in a community outreach program called Healthy Fit that distributed vouchers for a variety of health screenings and vaccinations. After graduation Jessica plans to stay in El Paso and is interested in working in an intensive care unit, (ICU), or the neonatal intensive care unit, (NICU). “It feels good to help the patients that need the help the most. It makes me feel like I’m making a difference,” she says.


UTEP Pharmacy Peer LeaderAlejandro Urueta 

Joseph Mays Scholarship

Pre-Pharmacy major and scholarship recipient, Alejandro Urueta believes in the importance of being involved in the UTEP campus community. Alejandro is currently a peer mentor for UTEP Pre-Pharmacy courses. He sought out the position because of his desire to help freshmen with their college experience. Alejandro is also part of Lambda Chi Alpha, and is treasurer for the UTEP Pre-Pharmacy Organization (PPO).

“The student leadership roles that I have had the opportunity to serve in have helped me develop the communication and organizational skills needed for the peer mentor position. I also enjoy being around the other peer mentors; they are all highly motivated and are goal oriented individuals. The courses we mentor help students explore careers in pharmacy while assisting students with how to have a successful academic career,” Alejandro says.

Alejandro’s interest in pharmacy began when he attended Silva Magnet High School where he completed pharmacy-tech courses that led to employment at the El Paso Psychiatric Center as a nurse tech. “What I liked about pharmacy was the experience of interacting with patients. There’s a lot of things that go into a patient’s treatment plan and I think that’s what intrigued me the most and influenced me to go into pharmacy.”

A peer mentor position requires that applicants submit a resume and have at least 3.0 or better GPA. Alejandro will enroll in the UTEP School of Pharmacy by the fall semester and is on track to be in its first cohort.


UTEP Chemistry Peer LeaderLuis Zuniga 

Peer Led Team Learning Program

First year students enrolled in Chemistry 1305 and 1306 have the chance to gain a deeper understanding of the coursework thanks to the Peer Led Team Learning Program. The program was initiated in 2000 by Dr. James Becvar. Since its inception the peer led program has had successful results and has dramatically increased the passing rate along with the number of chemistry majors at UTEP.

Chemistry Head Peer Leader and undergraduate student Luis Zuniga explains, “The discussions that take place during the workshops are an asset to students. Discussions enable students to further investigate the topics being covered in the courses in smaller groups. In the workshops, we will take every day items that people may not realize are connected to chemistry and show students how it works. Additionally, as a peer leader, I’m provided with the unique opportunity to be a mentor to students and also learn from senior faculty members.”

Luis meets with faculty twice a week to receive input as to how to present the information at the upcoming workshops as well as receive training on how to present the explorations. Employed in his tenth workshop, Luis, who is finishing his degree in Cellular Molecular Biochemistry, explains that he keeps returning to the program because he sees how the weekly workshops benefit students.

“It puts us in closer contact with the students so that they feel more comfortable asking the important questions. It can be intimidating for students to stand-up in a 400 student lecture hall to ask a question, but with the help of workshops we can answer these questions and also further investigate the topics being covered with explorations.” Combined the Chemistry 1305 and 1306 courses currently have 75 workshops with 49 peer leaders. Luis says of his experience as a peer leader, “I’ve learned that it’s okay to make mistakes when you’re learning because it helps assess an area of weakness and address it, and in the end it helps you to be better prepared when it really counts.”


UTEP College of EngineeringCelena Arreola and Isaiah Webb 

Engineering Education and Leadership Program

Financial contributions to the Engineering Education and Leadership Program (E-Lead) are providing high-impact educational practices for students like Celena Arreola and Isaiah Webb. Celena and Isaiah are able to commit their time to extracurricular activities and professional development opportunities without additional financial worry. Over the summer they interned with renowned companies and gained valuable skills that continue to enrich their academic education and provide them with opportunities to follow their passions and professional dreams.

E-Lead major, Celena, interned with the Environmental Protection Agency-UTEP Air Quality. She attended an air quality training in Sacramento, CA, presented by distinguished pollution scientists. Upon her return to El Paso, the Office of Sustainability and Resilience selected her for the second time to assist in environmental projects and research areas such as green roof infrastructure, bike lanes, adopt-a-lot grant work and energy code training.

“These experiences have given me the chance to develop professionally and I appreciate all that this University has offered me,” says Celena.

Isaiah interned at Halliburton, one of the world’s largest energy providers. During his time with the company he worked alongside another intern making observations in the Production Enhancement and Fracturing Department. Isaiah learned first-hand how equipment is maintained in the shop and in the field, and how to target areas requiring improvement. As a capstone project, Isaiah and his cohort presented their results to Halliburton’s staff members.

“I am extremely grateful to be part of E-Lead and to have been given the opportunity to participate in this incredible experience,” says Isaiah.


UTEP College of Liberal Arts Mayra Rodarte

Presidential Scholarship

Scholarship recipient and stage management major, Mayra Rodarte, will be the first in her family to graduate from college.

“I’m very appreciative of the mentorship I receive at UTEP. It is allowing me to learn from different areas of study,” says Mayra.

Mayra is part of the Liberal Arts Honors Program (LAHP) under the direction of Dr. Michael Topp. The program offers challenging and engaging upper level courses for students and promotes an environment of collaboration among classmates and mentors. “LAHP has provided me with amazing opportunities to meet and learn from professionals across multiple fields like Gary Shteyngart, one of my favorite American writers,” Mayra says.

During her time at UTEP, Mayra has concentrated on participating in several professional development activities. She was the stage manager for the play King Lear at the UTEP Wise Family Theatre and volunteers with the National Society of Leadership and Success. Mayra recently attended a practicum in advocacy at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City with the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom and also works as an undergraduate research assistant with the Campus Office for Undergraduate Research Initiatives to develop a computer program for stage managers.

Mayra plans to continue her college career by pursuing a master’s degree in public administration.


UTEP College of Health Sciences Anatomy Lab New Anatomy Teaching Laboratory

The College of Health Sciences

The UTEP College of Health Sciences recently celebrated the opening of its new Human Anatomy Teaching Laboratory. Students from the College of Health Sciences and the College of Science will now have access to this enhanced, educational resource. The state-of-the-art facility will give students the chance to learn anatomy through the dissection of cadavers which is essential to their future careers explains Mark Caulkins, M.D., DPT, and Director of lab. Students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program and Master of Occupational Therapy Program, as well as graduate students in the Biomedical Engineering Program, will use the facility. Additionally students in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences Program and Speech-Language Pathology Program will be visiting the teaching laboratory to study the dissected cadavers, and continuing education courses for community physical therapists and occupational therapists will be available.

The facility, which is nearly twice as large as the old lab, includes all new dissection tables, and greater storage space. It also features three high-definition video cameras, four large plasma screen displays, white boards and wireless internet. The high-definition cameras and plasma screens will allow the faculty to display anatomic structures to the entire class. The technology will also allow for projecting PowerPoint Lectures, or videos that will be helpful to the students. Caulkins states, “Health care professionals like physical therapists and occupational therapists need a comprehensive knowledge of anatomy to be able to diagnose and treat their patients.” Caulkins also explains that it is critical for students to be able to dissect and explore anatomy because it is a very three-dimensional subject, with layers of different tissue arranged in a complex manner. “Everyone involved should be very proud of the new College of Health Sciences’ Human Anatomy Teaching Laboratory. Ultimately our community members will benefit by having more optimally prepared graduates serving them,” Caulkins says.


UTEP School of Pharmacy New Faculty

The School of Pharmacy

The School of Pharmacy has been busy expanding its faculty just in time for the start of the new academic year. New faculty members who have joined the School of Pharmacy team include Doctors Sweta Andrews, Jong Wha Chang, Emily Christenberry, Jennifer Hartman, Fadi Khasawneh, Liliana Lunares, Sarah Norman, Cynthia Perez, Denise Pinal, Jwala Renukuntla, and Suman Sirimulla. Overall, the School of Pharmacy currently accounts for a team of 18 faculty members to support and guarantee the success of the PharmD program at UTEP, including the signing of a Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Fadi T. Khasawneh, Ph.D., who brings expertise in Pharmacology.

Enthusiastic about continuing her work with an interdisciplinary patient care team while teaching and precepting pharmacy students, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Emily Christenberry explains, “I am looking forward to working with a diverse group of clinical pharmacists and pharmaceutical sciences faculty as we work to develop the School of Pharmacy and my biggest hope for students is always that I can inspire them to develop a lifelong and self-directed desire to learn.”

In other great news, having reached an important objective, the School of Pharmacy is on its way to fulfill its vision and mission. In November of 2015, the UT System Board of Regents approved the start of a School of Pharmacy at UTEP. Its application to obtain pre-candidate status from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) will be submitted for review in December 2016. Furthermore, the School of Pharmacy has completed an evaluation visit from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), and are turning feedback and recommendations into accomplishments. The School of Pharmacy is now moving forward with strategic efforts to prepare for an appearance scheduled for September 2016 in front of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Pending final recommendation by THECB, the School of Pharmacy would be granted official endorsement to offer a PharmD degree.

“We know there is a shortage of pharmacists in our El Paso region. I hope the new Pharmacy School will serve the local and national needs. I am sure the new School will emerge as leader in training Hispanic students in pharmacy, and it is my hope that we will also become a leader in pharmaceutical research,” Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry Suman Sirimulla says.


UTEP DPT Students Volunteer DPT Program

The College of Health Sciences

The UTEP Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program has recently partnered with Gigi’s Playhouse, one of several organizations that the DPT Program collaborates with in the El Paso community. Each DPT student completes a minimum of 20-service-learning hours at their assigned location over the first two semesters of the DPT curriculum. Gigi’s Playhouse is an educational and therapeutic center that provides free programs to individuals with Down syndrome and their families. The partnership benefits the students and Gigi’s Playhouse. DPT students gain hands-on, career-related experience interacting with clients from various backgrounds, while providing assistance to Gigi’s Playhouse with their services.

DPT student Lauren Cruz explains, “We’re involved with the Special Olympics and we work with children that range from toddlers to 6-year-olds. The first week we do moving and running, and the next week is jumping and hand-eye coordination.” Lauren says that she has also gained experience in learning how to modify therapy techniques to each child, and adapt to what the children can or can’t do. Cruz’s DPT student colleagues are equally enthusiastic about their service-learning experiences. Reba Joseph explains that she likes working with the children and watching them develop their physical and social skills.

Reba says,“I was unaware of the need for physical therapy presented by the population of individuals with Down syndrome. Volunteering here has opened my eyes to the broad our scope of our work. Interacting with the organization, the children, and the parents has helped me to develop interpersonal skills for a variety of different age groups.” Ray Delgado explains that volunteering at Gigi’s Playhouse has given him the chance to work with children who have varying disabilities. He says, “It’s a great way to apply what I am learning in my classes, and I also enjoy interacting with the kids and having fun.”

“We get to teach the parents how to interact with their children, because not all the parents know exactly what they can do with their kids. Parents can take what they learn here and use it at home,” adds Lisa Soulé. The UTEP DPT Program’s partnership with Gigi’s Playhouse is just one example of the win-win situation created by service-learning activities. Through engaging in the community, DPT students experience invaluable learning outside of the classroom, and contribute over 720 hours of service annually to the El Paso region.


UTEP Geological Sciences Imperial Barrel Award Geological Sciences IBA Team

The College of Science

The UTEP Department of Geological Sciences Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) Team, comprised of five graduate students Patrick Rea, Eric Bergersen, Alan Vennemann, Andy Anderson, and Andre Llanos took first place in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Worldwide Imperial Barrel Competition in Calgary, AB, Canada and brought home a $20,000 prize. Andre explains, “This experience has been the most rewarding in my life. I hope to have a long reputable career working within the oil and gas industry where I can help to innovate and strengthen the energy needs of the future.”

Andy says that the team analyzed real data such as seismic, well logs, and geochemical data donated by multiple companies to AAPG for the competition. The team then identified potential oil and gas plays in carbonate mounds of the subsurface of offshore Norway, in the Barents Sea. Dr. Rip Langford, UTEP Geology professor says, “The students live and breathe this material for eight weeks. At the end, they developed the knowledge and skills that a typical petroleum geologist learns in their first year as a professional.” Alan explains, “This competition introduced me to what it is like to work as a team to reach a common goal, and the synergy and comradery that we all had was paramount to our success.”

Each team delivered their results in a 25-minute presentation to a panel of industry experts where they were judged on technical quality, clarity, and originality of presentation, which also gave members the opportunity to impress potential employers in the audience. “Upon evaluation, we proposed three wells for production with a total oil in place of 48 million barrels and 1.35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas,” Alan says. UTEP geology teams have been competing since 2007 and have won at the regional competition five times, however this is the first time the University has achieved a first place win in the international competition. “The teams that win are viewed as the future of the industry. Winning the Imperial Barrel Award raises UTEP’s stature within one of the major global industries,” Dr. Langford says.


UTEP Kinesiology Scholarship Recipient Cynthia Montenegro

Shiloff Family Foundation Endowment

Thanks to the support from her scholarship, Kinesiology major, Cynthia Montenegro has been able to give her complete attention to her undergraduate courses in both kinesiology and biology as well as participate in additional academic enrichment opportunities related to her field of study. Having started out as a volunteer, Cynthia, a Shiloff Family Foundation Endowment recipient, has since been hired at the Skeletal Muscle Metabolism Laboratory at UTEP and is working on research related to insulin sensitivity. One project she is working on is called the High Intensity Training or HIT Diabetes Study. This study takes healthy individuals with a family history of diabetes and healthy individuals with no history of diabetes and has both groups participate in an eight week exercise program to see how insulin sensitivity changes.

Cynthia will also be presenting other research this year at the American Physiological Society (APS), Integrative Biology of Exercise VII Meeting on the topic of immunohistochemistry. “This scholarship has definitely inspired me a lot. It drives me to be the best student I can be, and that has influenced my life. Hopefully one day I am able to give back and do the same for other students and give them the same kinds of opportunities I received.” Upon earning her undergraduate degree, Cynthia has plans to apply to physical therapy programs for graduate school. Cynthia explains that she began to research the fields of kinesiology and physical therapy when she was still in high school. She explains that her grandmother after having suffered an accident needed to attend physical therapy sessions and that is when Cynthia became interested in the exercises and movements used to help heal her grandmother’s injury.


UTEP College of EducationLauren Peña

Josephine Clardy Fox Scholarship

English major and secondary education minor, Lauren Peña, developed her love for literature at an early age. Today, she is pursuing her dream of becoming an English teacher with the financial help from the Josephine Clardy Fox Scholarship.

“My goal is to motivate future generations and to help them find their voice through reading and writing,” says Lauren.

Lauren works as a teaching assistant for a UTEP introduction to theatre course. This experience is allowing her to gain important teaching, writing and mentoring skills. Additionally, Lauren is a performer with the UTEP Dinner Theatre where she recently played the leading role of Carrie White in the production of Carrie: The Musical. “The activities I participate in are providing me with experience and skills that will translate to my professional career,” says Lauren.

Already emerging as a writer, Lauren applies her passion by writing short stories which she then submits for publication to a local magazine. She also has plans to participate in an open mic series and poetry slam, where literature enthusiasts come together looking for inspiration by listening to each other’s pieces.

Lauren will graduate a year ahead of her class to pursue a professional career as a high school teacher. Her goal is to encourage students to open their hearts to literature and provide them with the tools to express themselves effectively in writing. She strongly believes that high-quality writing skills will open the door to success in any profession. Lauren’s long term objectives include applying to graduate school and later returning to UTEP to teach for the English Department.


UTEP College of Education Angélica Monarrez and Claudia Saldaña

College of Education

Doctoral students, Angelica Monarrez and Claudia Saldaña, traveled to Washington, D.C. this year to attend the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual conference where they had the opportunity to present their research to an international group of distinguished professionals and researchers.

AERA is the largest association dedicated to promoting the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. More than 15,000 participants attended the conference.

“Attending conferences like this one gives me the opportunity to enrich my studies by learning from other research topics and methodologies being conducted in my area,” says Angélica. She is pursuing a doctoral degree in Teaching Learning and Culture under the STEM program at the UTEP College of Education. Angélica presented the data results from her dissertation titled Teachers' Challenges in Implementing Cognitively Demanding Tasks in Middle School Mathematics Classrooms. Angelica’s goal is to contribute to the improvement of techniques used to teach mathematics; especially to minorities who speak English as their second language.

Claudia presented the results of her research project titled Building a Pathway to Engineering: Identities and Discourses of Mexican and Mexican-Origin College Student. Her research included results from data she collected and analyzed to understand how Latina/Latino students constructed their identity in their decision to study engineering, and how their family, activities and mentors influenced their decision-making process. “The diversity of the presentations at the conference enhanced my visualization of theoretical frameworks and analysis skills for my own research,” says Claudia. Claudia is pursuing a doctoral degree in Teaching Learning and Culture under the program of Bilingual Education, Literary/Biliteracy and Sociocultural Studies (BELSS).

Students at the College of Education are currently preparing for next year’s AERA conference that will take place in San Antonio, TX.


UTEP College of Business Administration UTEP American Marketing Association

College of Business Administration

The UTEP American Marketing Association Chapter traveled to New Orleans to participate in the 38th International Collegiate Conference organized by the American Marketing Association (AMA). Twenty-one undergraduate students from the College of Business Administration learned about career options, cutting-edge marketing techniques and sales practices from experts in the field.

The UTEP AMA Chapter competed in the Exhibit competition where each chapter was challenged to incorporate the theme of the conference and design a t-shirt. UTEP placed 3rd among 70 other competing groups. UTEP students also joined the SABRE Business Simulation event where competitors were responsible for developing a strategy to obtain the greatest market share in the industry. The performance of UTEP’s AMA Chapter placed them as one of the top five chapters in the nation for the 2015-2016 academic year.

UTEP students had the opportunity to network with prominent business professionals such as featured key note speakers Monica Skipper, VP of Brand Experience Marketing for FedEx services and Peter Horst, Chief Marketing Officer for the Hershey Company.


UTEP School of Nursing Scholarship Recipient Idaly Diaz

Davidson Family Charitable Foundation Scholarship

Pre-nursing student, Idaly Diaz, says that having someone believe in her education was an incentive for her to work hard and to one day become a nurse practitioner and provide high quality health care to those in need. “I really like helping people and want to play a role in helping improve lives’,” says Idaly, a Davidson Family Charitable Foundation scholarship recipient. Idaly is currently a pre-nursing student, and she will soon transition into her nursing courses to prepare for her professional future. At UTEP’s School of Nursing’s Center for Simulation (SimLab), nursing students gain experience in a hospital environment and practice various nursing skills in a safe setting prior to working with real patients. Students have the opportunity to apply and practice their nursing skills while being observed by professors during the nationally recognized “Simulated Hospital Days.”

During these lab days, which are scheduled 18 times throughout the semester, students act as nurses to others who are playing the role of a patient for the four hour simulation. The patients must act out certain scenarios in an effort to present the nurses with a variety of situations that they may encounter in real-life and have to respond to in a competent and professional manner. Multiple schools from around the country have been educated on UTEP’s “way” to conduct simulation. The SimLab is equipped with 54 hospital beds, 63 cameras and several life-like mannequins that can perform a list of body functions such as having a pulse, bad heart, lung sounds, and bleeding to having a runny nose. There is also a simulated apartment that teaches students how to arrange a living space for patients who need to use wheelchairs or walkers.

Idaly says that she looks forward to the day when she gets to participate in SimLab and says that although she knows the nursing field is competitive, her scholarship has been a strong motivator for her to maintain a high GPA. She also hopes to give back one day saying, “There are so many people that need help to attend a university that I think it’s very important for people to give back. Somebody helped me and I want to pay it forward. I am grateful that someone gave me an opportunity to better myself and grateful that they believe in my education.”


UTEP School of Nursing Legacy of Healing Kenneth "Trey" Stice

UTEP School of Nursing

As the School of Nursing continues to celebrate its 40th anniversary, we are proud to boast over 4,500 alumni. If you have been to a local hospital or a doctor’s office in El Paso, it is possible that you have been helped by a UTEP graduate. More than 60 percent of El Paso nurses have earned their degree from UTEP and are making an impact in the community! UTEP alum Kenneth “Trey” Stice received his Bachelor of Science in nursing in 2012. Trey keeps a busy schedule as an adjunct clinical professor in the graduate nursing systems management program at UTEP, while also working as the unit director in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Hospitals of Providence for both the Sierra Campus and the Children’s Hospital. Additionally Trey has returned to UTEP as a graduate student and is working on his master’s degree in business administration.

Beginning his nursing degree at the Hotel Dieu School of Nursing, Trey spent the second half of his nursing education at the new location and saw the opening of the School of Nursing’s Center for Simulation, (SimLab). “When we moved over to the new facility in December of 2011, it was fantastic to see the differences, and to witness how much UTEP was willing to invest in its students. The SimLab is unique to this area and there are very few like it in the country. The SimLab provides training that is needed to develop skills, and graduates of UTEP are much more prepared than those at any other facility in the region.” Trey explains that his professional goal is to create a better health care environment for the people of El Paso by mentoring future nurses and promoting leadership, which in turn will improve health care services in the borderland community. “I think the greatest experience I had at UTEP was being around a diverse group of people where we all came together and worked as a team to become patient advocates.”


UTEP Legacy of Healing School of Nursing Eileen Boureslan

UTEP School of Nursing

The impact of the School of Nursing on the surrounding community and its legacy of healing continues with each generation of UTEP graduates. More recently Eileen Boureslan received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in 2015 and was pleased to be hired by the Hospitals of Providence Memorial Campus just a month after graduating. Eileen was hired to work in the NICU, an area of nursing that she describes as one of her “top preferences.” Eileen says that she feels UTEP’s School of Nursing is “the best” because it prepares students with a variety of real-life scenarios that they may face in a hospital setting. These practical applications presented in UTEP’s SimLab allow students to be better prepared in a hospital setting and are proving to contribute to the success of our graduates.


UTEP COBA Your Gifts at WorkNicholas Alarcon

Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship

I am truly grateful and hope that one day I can inspire others to further their education at UTEP – the university I’ve come to know as home.

The Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship has served as a terrific motivator for Nicholas to do his best. Nicholas says that in addition to the scholarship, the UTEP College of Business Administration is providing him with high impact practices to succeed both academically and professionally.

“The high standards I am required to maintain my scholarship have showed me that my potential goes far beyond what I thought I could achieve.” Nicholas says that his accomplishments are not a one man’s undertaking - they are the product of the positive influence and support from the people that have been with him throughout this path. He thanks his late mother and his peers at the Office for Student Affairs for believing in him.

Nicholas is a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success which helps students discover and achieve their goals through community service projects, career building and professional networking activities. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in business administration and looks forward to being a role model to UTEP students by encouraging them to have a powerful and positive way of thinking.

“I attribute my success to the combination of all my experiences and help from mentors, which will transpire the day my name is announced at the Don Haskins Center at commencement.”


UTEP COENG Your Gifts at WorkRicardo Vela

Bob and Diane Malone Scholarship

Ricardo Vela looks forward to improving the quality of life for those in need of prosthetics. Growing up, he witnessed the emotional distress and physical challenges his grandfather went through after losing his leg due to diabetes. Moved by this experience, Ricardo is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering complemented by a minor in biomedical engineering with the support of the Bob and Diane Malone Scholarship.

“The support of my scholarship motivates me to excel and take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities presented to me.”

The opportunities offered by the UTEP College of Engineering are providing life changing experiences for Ricardo such as those at the Locomotion in Mechanical and Biological Systems (LIMBS) laboratory where students help look for new ways to improve prosthetic limbs while interacting with hospitals and clinics around the world, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Bolivia, India and Kenya. Additionally, Ricardo has attended leadership conferences and research symposiums where he was able to polish his networking skills by meeting other outstanding scholars and representatives from top universities around the nation.

Ricardo plans to participate in a post graduate research study to build a stronger profile for his application to graduate school. “Continually establishing and reaching new goals is key to my academic accomplishments and to being a successful scholarship recipient.”

Ricardo’s strong ties to UTEP extend far beyond his experience. His oldest two siblings also pursued a college education at UTEP thanks to the financial support they received from a scholarship.

“I want to inspire other students and help foster an environment of success that UTEP has embodied for me and my family.”


UTEP School of Pharmacy Research Jennifer Navar

Belding-de Wetter Memorial Scholarship

Prior to UTEP announcing the soon-to-be-established School of Pharmacy, pharmacy student and Belding-de Wetter Memorial Scholarship recipient Jennifer Navar researched the impact that the UTEP Pharmacy Program has had on the longstanding shortage of pharmacists in the El Paso area. Under the guidance of her research mentor, Dr. Celeste M. Vinluan, Jennifer presented her findings at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

She found that despite El Paso’s ranking as the sixth largest city in the state of Texas with a population of 833,487, the amount of pharmacists in the region continues to be disproportionate to the rest of the state. Currently there are 56 pharmacists per 100,000 people in El Paso County while the state average is 87 pharmacists per 100,000 people. Additionally her research discovered that the UTEP Pharmacy Program has made the largest contribution toward alleviating the long standing shortage of pharmacists in El Paso, among any other pharmacy school in Texas, however the need for pharmacists is still great. Since its establishment, the Program has produced over 20% of pharmacists with an active TSBP license in El Paso County. The first cohort graduated in 2003 and currently 21% of the pharmacists who live or work in El Paso County graduated from the Program.

What is even better news is that UTEP will continue to make even greater strides against this occupational deficit as the University develops its own doctoral program and establishes the UTEP School of Pharmacy. Last fall, Dr. José O. Rivera was named founding Dean of the UTEP School of Pharmacy and will help lead the transition from the current UTEP Cooperative Pharmacy Program to a fully accredited UTEP School of Pharmacy which will be able to serve larger cohorts.


UTEP College of Liberal Arts Lillian Sanchez

Amelia Eckhardt Dennis Scholarship in Communication

Lillian Sanchez expects to graduate a year ahead of her class with a major in multimedia journalism and a minor in legal reasoning.

“Attending college is fundamental to prepare ourselves for the competitive work environment we live in today.”

Lillian attributes her success to the support she receives from family, faculty mentors, peers and the financial support presented to her by the Amelia Eckhardt Dennis Scholarship in Communication. Lillian maintains a 4.0 GPA and has committed herself to applying to one of the top ten law schools in the nation upon earning her degree from UTEP. “I felt extremely happy and blessed when I found out I had been selected to receive this scholarship, it made me realize someone believes in me, in my education and my future. It transformed my life.

Lillian says the UTEP College of Liberal Arts has been a family-like learning environment where her professors are always willing to support the success of the students. She hopes to one day inspire others as her professors are inspiring her.

The financial help she receives from her scholarship allows her to stay on top of her studies while pursuing potential venues for personal and professional development. She looks forward to participating in the Law School Preparation Institute (LSPI) and getting an internship with Univision or Telemundo where she can get hands-on experience in the journalism field. Her goal is to pursue law school to work in the journalism field as a broadcaster or reporter with a focus on politics, law or government.


UTEP College of Engineering José Andrés Cabrera Máynez

Josephine Clardy Fox Scholarship

"A scholarship creates the opportunity for talent to shine and for hard work to be rewarded." José Andres Cabrera Maynez, computer engineering major, can pursue his passion for computers thanks to the financial support he receives from the Josephine Clardy Fox Scholarship. Coming from a single parent household, pursuing a college degree is not only providing him with the tools to succeed but will also allow him to help his family.

José expresses how grateful he is for this opportunity and comments that attending college would not have been possible without the aid of this scholarship. "I’ve always had a passion for computers and technology. This scholarship together with the College of Engineering provide me with the perfect opportunity to follow a career that I love and the chance to reach my professional goals."

Originally from Chihuahua City, José move to the United States to attend UTEP and build a better future for himself. His time at UTEP is also a personal growth experience. Living away from his family and being a college student, has required him to learn skills such as effective time management, financial responsibility and being self-sufficient. "This scholarship serves as a force that constantly pushes me to become a better person, to go that extra mile. It’s an incredible opportunity that I hope will help me reach places I never thought possible."

The financial support from his scholarship allows José to dedicate time to apply for internship opportunities to acquire valuable field experience without the stress of financial constraints. He hopes to intern for Microsoft, Google or Intel to one day become a software developer in one of these companies.

José plans to start graduate school after receiving his bachelor’s degree. He strongly believes that a graduate degree will open the door to additional career opportunities and allow him to gain more knowledge in the area that he chooses to specialize in.

“I am grateful for the donors that made my scholarship possible, and for what this experience is teaching me. The generosity of others gives UTEP students like me the opportunity to forge a better future for ourselves. Thank you.”


UTEP College of Health Sciences Celeste Orozco

Presidential Scholarship

Celeste Orozco explains that she knew she wanted to work with children, and learned about Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) when her younger brother was being observed for autism. The 20-year-old Presidential Scholarship recipient is currently a year ahead in her studies, and should complete the condensed program in five years. She will first receive her Bachelor’s in Multidisciplinary Studies and then continue-on to complete her Master's in SLP. “My favorite part about SLP has been learning about play therapy. It’s so interesting that one can have fun with the kids and just play with them while you’re working. It’s a chance to listen to how they say a certain word and listen for words they can or can’t pronounce. I like to dissect the whole language and I find it very interesting.”

Celeste is involved in the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, a student organization here at UTEP for SLP. The organization is active in the community and students participate and volunteer their time to assist the autism community. “We volunteer at Region 19 by helping to take care of children and organize play activities while their parents attend a meeting to learn about the autism spectrum disorder.” Celeste additionally explains how her education is preparing her professionally, “Along with learning to teach in the different communities, I will be able to help throughout all ages. I think it's amazing that when I graduate I will be able to help young children, the elderly, and every age group in between.”

Celeste is grateful for her scholarship because it has given her the time she needs to focus on her studies and maintain a high GPA in an area of study that she described as “intense.” As for her future she says that she would like to continue to learn more about autism and pursue a doctorate in audiology. “To receive this scholarship shows that my hard work paid-off. I know that if my GPA drops lower than a 3.5, I could lose my scholarship. It's a strong motivation to keep my grades-up and it's as though I'm actually getting paid for doing well in school. Everything is covered by the scholarship and that gives me more time to focus on my classes and do the best that I can do. I love UTEP. It’s an awesome school and it’s very beautiful, and when I have the opportunity to give back in the future I will.”


UTEP COEDU Luciene Wandermurem

Woman’s Auxiliary Fellowship

Luciene arrived from Brazil in 2008 to pursue graduate school at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). She received her master’s in Education in 2010 and continued to pursue a doctoral degree in Education with a concentration and literacy and bi-literacy with the goal of becoming a professor in an institution where she can help student minorities.

“I want to be a professor in an institution like UTEP where I have the opportunity to teach and continue my research to help improve college success rates among minority students.”

The Woman’s Auxiliary Fellowship has allowed Luciene to dedicate her time to fulfill the demanding requirements of being a doctoral student at the UTEP College of Education. Her dissertation titled Entering the World of College: The Literacies and Identities of Mexican American Students in their Transitions from Secondary to Post-Secondary Education, under the supervision of Dr. Erika Mein, analyzes the transition from high school to college in the city of El Paso. The primary focus of her study is first generation college students, as many UTEP students are. Luciene hopes that her dissertation will make a significant contribution to academia and impact students’ lives.

“The importance of fellowships is very clear to me. Aside from the positive impact it has had in my personal and student life, I have also witnessed students leave their dreams aside due to financial restrictions”.

Luciene explains how from the fifteen students that she started with in her study, only seven were successful in their pursuit of a college education. The remaining students were divided into two groups; students who did not consider college as a feasible path for them and students who dropped out of college to get a full time job. She hopes her research findings will help identify how to support future generations overcome challenges encountered while pursuing higher education.

In addition to advancing her research, this fellowship has allowed her to participate in important curriculum building activities such as presenting in national and international conferences, and participating as a conference proposal reviewer after being recruited by the Literacy Research Association (LRA). This year, she will have the opportunity to present the results of her dissertation to educators from all around the world at the American Educational Research Association (AERA), an international conference in Washington, D.C.

To improve her skills as a researcher, she is also a research assistant in an interdisciplinary collaborative research study by the Center for Research in Engineering and Technology Education (CREaTE) at UTEP. Here, she collaborates with students from engineering, education, anthropology and sociology who are analyzing the mitigating factors influencing Latina’s resilience and persistence in computer science and engineering, and the aspects that make women stay in a particular career path.

“I am very thankful for the opportunities this fellowship has exposed me to. The fact that someone looked at my accomplishments and skills, and believed in me, will have a lifelong impact in my future.”

Luciene mentions that having access to extracurricular activities is key to being a successful professional after graduation. Thanks to the financial support she receives from her fellowship, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA and is able to dedicate time to publish her work and meet with professionals from all over the world. Luciene submitted job applications to various colleges and hopes to be employed as soon as she receives her doctoral degree and represent UTEP as a proud alumna.

“I am grateful to have had this opportunity and, when I have the resources, I am committed to help at least one student in the future.”


UTEP Mathematical Sciences Mary Mackay

Mathematical Sciences Program Fund

Academic enrichment activities such as attending national conferences to present research findings are helping students create lifelong networking partnerships that are not only creating internships but career opportunities and partnerships for The University of Texas at El Paso.

Mary Mackay has a master’s degree in education and is currently working on a master’s degree in mathematics. Recently Mary, along with other UTEP graduate students, traveled to Albuquerque, NM to meet with some of the vice presidents and researchers at Sandia National Laboratories. She explained, “Both groups discussed our current research projects to find an overlap. I was invited to apply to one of their internships. Our visit also created a partnership between UTEP and Sandia.” While there Mary met with Dr. Carter Edwards who is a core developer of Kokkos, a parallel programming model in C++ which Mary and other students at UTEP could potentially use in computational science courses. This meeting helped open a communication channel with UTEP professors who would like to work with Kokkos and the developers at Sandia.

UTEP Mathematical Sciences Conference Desmond Koomson

Mathematical Sciences Program Fund

Desmond Koomson is working on his master’s degree in statistics and anticipates receiving his degree this summer. Currently he is working in collaboration with the UTEP Biological Sciences Department, with respects to sample size estimation in the presence of gene association. His thesis has applications in other fields such as behavioral sciences and defense sciences where association studies are very common and important.

Desmond has attended two conferences, a career based event called The National Society of Black Engineers, and the research based Conference of Texas Statisticians. These two opportunities gave him exposure to companies and research connections. He stated, “These conferences were beneficial to me because I know what employers are looking for. Experiencing this professional setting will help me approach internships and employment opportunities. While at the Conference of Texas Statisticians I met a statistician who works as a consultant at Cuellar Associates in San Antonio. Our discussion was helpful; connecting with individuals like him make for great networking opportunities.”


UTEP Student Gilbert Carranza Carlos Enrique Barba

Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award

With music in his heart and the piano as his instrument, Carlos Enrique Barba is excelling as a music major at The University of Texas at El Paso studying commercial music.

Carlos’ dedication was rewarded when he received the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award; a scholarship given to those who show extraordinary commitment to excel academically. “I have always put my heart into what I do and am honored to have been selected as one of the recipients of this scholarship. It is a clear example that perseverance and hard work pay off. It motivates me to be the best student and musician I can be.”

His interests include jazz, music production, recording and writing. Carlos joined various UTEP music ensembles and has participated in recitals and concerts at different venues around the community.

The scholarship has given Carlos the opportunity to share his love of music with others which has resulted in gaining valuable professional experience. Today, his extracurricular activities include giving private music lessons to aspiring musicians and impacting children’s lives with his music as he collaborates with Kids Excel El Paso (KEEP) to help elementary school children gain discipline and self-confidence.

Carlos says he looks forward to receiving his bachelor’s degree and to dedicating his life to his passion for music. He would like to help other artists become successful professionals and encourage them to not give up on their dreams.

“I am reaching my goals thanks to the camaraderie of my classmates who help me perfect my skills, to my professors who serve as my mentors, and to UTEP supporters who provide the university with the means to help students like me.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree in commercial music, he looks forward to continuing his studies as a graduate student to teach at a university or at a music conservatory in the future.


UTEP Student Gilbert Carranza Stephanie Alarcon

El Paso County’s Fund for Excellence

Stephanie Alarcon’s dreams are becoming a reality, thanks to the financial support provided by the El Paso County’s Fund for Excellence which is helping her pursue a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Texas at El Paso. “UTEP is offering me a quality education and it feels like home. This motivates me to pursue my dreams.”

After earning her degree, Stephanie has plans to apply to medical school to become a pediatrician. Her goal is to practice in El Paso and give back by helping educate the community. “I believe that I am here to do something great, and medicine is the way. I want to educate my patients and make a difference in their lives.”

Having this financial assistance enables Stephanie to focus on her studies and on maintaining a good academic standing, which she says is preparing her for the competitiveness of medical school applications. It also gives her time to participate in professional enrichment activities such as shadowing El Paso physicians, volunteering at the women’s shelter and being an active member in the Medical Professions Organization (MPO), a student organization that provides crucial information concerning health professionals, carriers, and admission to medicine schools.

“I’m very grateful for this fund because it provides me with the opportunity to focus on my studies and not having to worry about the financial burden that comes with being a college student. Having someone believe in me and in my dreams serves as an inspiration to get me through the challenging times. It encourages me to be the best student I can be.”


UTEP Student Gilbert Carranza Gilbert Carranza

Bob and Diane Malone Scholarships in Engineering

Excelling in his academics not only permitted electrical engineering major Gilbert Carranza to enter UTEP as a 2nd semester sophomore, but it has also helped him secure a scholarship in his field of study. Gilbert, who is currently a junior at UTEP is one of the recipients of the Bob and Diane Malone Scholarships in Engineering. The generous award covers most of his tuition and requires him to maintain a 3.5 or better GPA.

Gilbert says that both his father and grandfather were electrical technicians and believes growing-up and watching his father work with electrical components sparked his interest in the field of study. “I really like math and building things, and I’ve always liked challenges. Electrical Engineering has all of these elements.” Gilbert is currently part of the University’s Honors Program along with belonging to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) which is an organization that helps coordinate events that provide networking opportunities for EE majors.

Gilbert says his dream job would involve working for Disney. He says he would like to be a part of the creative team and design attractions and rides. Gilbert says he would also enjoy working with musical sound equipment. “I play guitar and I would really like to understand how amplifiers work and how the inside of guitars and pedals work. I would like to build my own [guitar] rig and pedals just for the experience.” After graduation, Gilbert says he will go straight on to graduate school here at UTEP to obtain his master’s degree. He explains about his award, “The scholarship has been very good incentive to maintain a high GPA. I think it’s a really good motivator. I am very grateful for this scholarship and I think if alumni have the means to give back they should definitely do it. I would like to say thank you to the donors that created this scholarship. It has helped me a lot and allowed me to do more than I thought was possible.”


UTEP Student Catalina Mata Catalina Mata

Woman's Auxiliary Scholarship

Inspired by her job, Catalina Mata says her interest in nursing was sparked when she began working in the home healthcare industry, providing assistance and care to elderly patients in their homes. “I really liked helping people, so I began doing research on different jobs similar to the one I had, and that’s how I found nursing.”

Catalina received the Woman’s Auxiliary Scholarship while in high school and says that because of it she knew she would be able to attend nursing school. “It helped me financially. It definitely removed the stress, unfortunately money can be a stressor for anyone in school.” After Catalina graduates she plans to work as a nurse, before she begins the application process for her graduate studies. Her long term goals include furthering her education in her field of study saying, “My ultimate career goal is to be a nurse anesthetist or a nurse practitioner, so I definitely want to go further with my education.” Catalina would like donors to know that their gifts are making an impact in a students’ lives. She says, “Even a little bit of money is a great help. In high school students may not realize how expensive college costs and even a scholarship that can help buy books makes a difference.”

She also says that the scholarship made her feel good about all the hard work she put in along with feeling accomplished. “It made me feel like I did something right in high school, and proud of myself,” she says. Catalina expresses her gratitude for the opportunity her scholarship has given her, “I love UTEP and I love the faculty, and I’m just really thankful to be here.”


UTEP Student Mariana Castaneda Mariana Castañeda

Bob and Diane Malone Scholarships in Engineering

Mariana Castañeda says her passion for mechanical engineering was discovered through her love of math and science. “ What I love about mechanical engineering is how much thought it takes to answer a question. The answer is there, but it's the process that matters. Ideas can be produced into something tangible, and it's possible to create something that can help the world."

As the recipient of the Bob and Diane Malone Scholarships in Engineering, Mariana has been able to devote all of her attention to her studies which helps her meet the scholarship requirement of maintaining a high GPA. She is also a member of the Society of Women Engineers. “In high school, the hard work I put into my studies definitely paid off for me, and I’m really grateful for it. Thanks to this scholarship, I don’t have to worry about the financial stress that comes with being a student. It is a huge load off my shoulders as well as my parents. Right now, my schooling comes first and then everything else comes after.”

Mariana says that she enjoys her design courses the most. “I think these courses give a good foundation of what I might be doing in the future. My computer is my tool for the rest of the time as a student and I am learning the same thing that actual engineers are doing.” As for her future, Mariana wants to obtain her master’s degree and secure an internship in her field. She also hopes to achieve her dream job and work for Shell. “I would definitely love to be one of the project engineers at Shell or even be working in the fields. I believe Shell is an innovative company, and I want to help make the future a better place for those that come after us.”

Mariana says that giving back to scholarships is a good investment in the future, “It gives opportunity to those who need it, and it rewards hard work. I would like to say thank you to the donors who established my scholarship.”


Scholarships are Making a Difference

Gifts toward scholarships impact students by providing invaluable opportunities. Click to watch.


Jorge Lopez

The Rho Sigma Tau-Robert L. Schumaker Endowed Professorship

UTEP Endowments help provide faculty and students with research opportunities and practice-based learning. Dr. Jorge Lopez, holder of The Rho Sigma Tau-Robert L. Schumaker Endowed Professorship in Physics, says this endowment has enabled him to garner extra resources such as providing financial support for students to travel and attend conferences in nuclear physics and education. “Providing students with this opportunity would not be possible without this endowment.”

“The endowment has also provided Dr. Lopez with the opportunity to participate in a Science Foundation program which introduced him to a new teaching mythology used in chemistry and math. Thanks to that program, he created a series of UTEP conferences that incorporate those same teaching concepts. For three years, his conferences have been benefiting UTEP and high school students in the region by providing them the training they need to excel as physicists at the UTEP College of Science. He often invites guest speakers and visiting faculty which provide an invaluable source of knowledge to students.”

Dr. Lopez invited Laszlo Sajo-Bohus, and Simon Bolivar, from Caracas, Venezuela to assist UTEP students in teaching a course on applications of nuclear physics. Alfredo Aranda, a visiting faculty member from The University of Colima spent one semester at UTEP. Aranda taught a UTEP undergraduate level course, and also supervised a UTEP graduate student who he later invited to the University of Colima for one summer.


Renee Malooly Renee Malooly

Helen and Roy S. Magruder Endowed Scholarship

Multimedia journalism senior, Renee Malooly has a passion for writing and a love of art. The aspiring journalist likes to combine the two areas in her articles featured in the UTEP Borderzine digital publishing platform, where she has been published seven times. Some of her art story topics have included a profile on folklorico dance pioneer, Rosa Guerrero, and another feature story about the Rembrandt exhibit that was shown at the El Paso Museum of Art.

“I want to become immersed in art history and develop a better background in the subject; this scholarship opportunity has enabled me to do that. Thanks to the scholarship, I now have more time to focus on school, fine tuning my writing style (and articles), and learn more about journalism. I no longer have to worry about finding employment during the semester. I feel that school, along with maintaining a high GPA is my job.”

During her freshman year, she received the Helen and Roy S. Magruder Endowed Scholarship, which is available to students who meet its GPA requirements and are pursuing a degree in communication.

Along with the personal validation that she is on the right path, the scholarship has also given Renee the opportunity to pursue other academic interests. She is currently a member of the Art History Association at UTEP, which is also helping her enhance her knowledge in her field of study.

Renee's goal is to graduate to then apply to Graduate School. “When I graduate, I too want to contribute toward student scholarships. The experience I have received as a scholarship recipient is something I want to pay forward. I want to show my support for UTEP and its students.”


Joel Quinones Joel Quinones

David and Guille Lindau Endowed Scholarship

Joel Quinones is completing his bachelor’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry after only three years at the University, and after he graduates he plans to spend the next year studying for his DAT (Dental Admission Test), and applying to dentistry schools.

Joel was born in Mexico before moving to the United States with his family, at the age of ten. He and his family moved to Florida and eventually relocated to El Paso when he was sixteen-years-old. “I lived in Durango, Mexico as a child and had a pretty good life. My dad was a dentist and owned a clinic. He gave up the clinic in order for me to have a better future away from corruption and violence in Mexico.”

Joel received the David and Guille Lindau Endowed Scholarship as a freshman and says he was thrilled. “I knew this scholarship would help me spend more time on my studies and help me reach my dream of attending a dental school to become a dentist.”

Joel is part of two societies at UTEP; he is a member of the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, or SACNAS, while contributing to the beginning stages of a potential society for molecular biochemists on campus. In effort to give back to students, he also works as a tutor in high schools and helps mentor students towards college.

Although he will have to move to either Dallas or Houston for dentistry school, Joel says he would like to return to El Paso after he accomplishes his dental degree. “After all the support I’ve received from my scholarship, I’m a firm believer that it is important for alumni to give back to scholarships – I hope to do the same one day. I’ve met wonderful peers here at UTEP, some who do not have the resources to further pursue their academic dreams.”


Brittany Diaz Brittany Diaz

Occupational Therapy Graduate Student

Graduate student Brittany Diaz says she loves the idea of helping people reach their fullest potential, and says that the UTEP Occupational Therapy Program is fully preparing her to do that across a range of patient settings and scenarios. She is being prepared through a variety of labs and hands-on courses in areas such as mental health, research, and pediatric courses.

“I received scholarship support as an undergraduate and again as a graduate student. Scholarships have afforded me the opportunity to immerse myself in my studies and enjoy student life without the additional stress and pressure of working. I am currently an active member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association, (SOTA) and hold two positions in the Pi Theta Epsilon honor society as social chair and treasurer. My scholarships also eliminated the need for student loans, which I am very grateful for.”

When Brittany was an undergraduate student, the requirement to maintain a high GPA changed how she thought about her education, causing her to consider continuing her education beyond her bachelor’s in Multidisciplinary Studies.

“My undergraduate scholarship made me more responsible for my academic work and gave me the mindset of wanting to succeed and not just go through the process of school. It made me want to do better and not just good. Being a scholarship student is special to me because of what it has allowed me to do and pursue.”

Brittany anticipates receiving her master’s degree in December of 2015 and plans to work as an occupational therapist for a children’s hospital or pediatric clinic.

“I believe any support in higher education is greatly appreciated and beneficial to a student. Alumni understand and know first-hand the stresses and expenses that higher education can put on a student. Their commitment to students reaffirms our efforts and provides the confidence we need to succeed.”


Jessica Gruver Jessica Gruver

Gordon B. Okum Endowed Drama Scholarship

As a theatre arts major, Jessica Gruver is passionate about teaching and theatre arts, and says her scholarship has helped validate her studies which are preparing her for the future. “Theatre arts has always been in accordance with my interests and I would love to bring the discipline of self-expression and cultural awareness to other students.”

Jessica is already contributing her passion to the community as an emerging instructor. Last spring, Jessica directed and produced a children’s play called the Children’s Traveling Show. The play was performed at various elementary schools throughout school districts in the city. Jessica is also an aquatics and theatre arts instructor for UTEP’s Professional and Public Programs. The financial support from the scholarship has allowed Jessica to focus on her studies and these unique and promising opportunities.

She expects to graduate in the spring of 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts and a certification to teach. After graduation she would like to pursue her master’s degree in literature and teach at the high school level.

Beyond the financial benefits, Jessica feels that scholarships provide students with the confidence to succeed and strongly pursue goals. “It’s a wonderful feeling of encouragement and validation to know that scholarship donors (who we don’t personally meet until after the scholarship has been awarded) believe in students like me.”


Arturo Ramirez Arturo Ramirez

Reese Rowling Endowed Fund Scholarship Recipient

Arturo Ramirez once dreamed of becoming a civil engineer, but all that changed when he took an introductory class in geology at UTEP and found himself immersed in field work that included the exploration of rock formations and geologic processes. He changed his major to economic geology with a focus on mineral exploration and earned his bachelor’s degree in 2013.

Now a graduate student and the incoming president of the UTEP Chapter of the Society of Economic Geologists, Arturo is a scholarship recipient of the Reese Rowling Endowed Fund for Geology, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He works with UTEP Geology Professor Philip Goodell on the geochemical, geophysical and remote sensing methods of mineral exploration in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range in southwest Chihuahua, Mexico.

Arturo’s geological studies have afforded him the opportunity to travel to a number of conventions and mining trips, including a December 2013 trip to the Crystal Caves in the Naica Mining District of Chihuahua, Mexico. In March 2014, Arturo also attended the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada International Convention in Toronto. Arturo says, “Having the Reese Rowling scholarship makes me feel accomplished and motivates me to succeed.”

The Reese Rowling Endowed Fund for Geology is named for the Texas Western College (now UTEP) alumnus who established it in 1993. Reese Rowling (B.S. Geology 1951), co-founder and principal of Tana Oil and Gas Corporation, one of Texas’ most successful oil and gas exploration companies, was later awarded UTEP’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006.


Edwin Ramirez Edwin Ramirez-Homs

The Michael and Caprice Brochu Scholarship

As a student at Mission Early College High School, Edwin Ramirez-Homes was introduced to many different careers paths including College of Engineering camps and the UTEP Law School Preparation Institute. He participated in a high school Summer Session of the Institute, which sparked an interest in practicing law.

When Edwin graduated from high school, he received both his diploma and an associate’s degree, allowing him to enter UTEP as a junior, and to major in economics and financial analysis in the College of Business Administration.

The Michael and Caprice Brochu Scholarship has served as a terrific motivator for Edwin to do his best. “The scholarship gave me the opportunity to do so many things such as studying abroad and participating in the Law School Preparation Institute at UTEP. In the spring of 2013, Edwin studied in Vigo, Spain through the International Student Exchange Program supported by UTEP. “I learned how inherently good people are all over the world.”

Edwin says that having the financial help gives him peace of mind and motivates him to do great things. As a senior, Edwin is now applying to a number of law schools and preparing for a very bright future.

The Michael and Caprice Brochu Annual Scholarship is named for UTEP alumnus and 2004 Gold Nugget, Michael Brochu and his wife, Caprice. Michael Brochu is a seasoned technology executive with over 20 years of experience at a variety of global companies. He graduated from UTEP in 1974 with a BBA in Finance and Accounting from the College of Business Administration.



Evelyn Garcia Evelyn Garcia

Freeport McMoRan El Paso Operations Employees Library Endowment

Contributions in support of the UTEP Library enhance collections and extend its reach beyond the confines of the campus and into the global environment. Valued gifts such as the Freeport McMoRan El Paso Operations Employees Library Endowment support the acquisition of new books and important electronic resources. This gift has directly impacted students like Evelyn Garcia, a senior Health Promotions student.

A member of the Eta Sigma Gamma national health education honor society, Evelyn relies heavily on the electronic databases provided through the UTEP Library to access full-text articles from scholarly journals and thousands of other publications. “Four out of the five classes I took in the spring required me to use the databases made available through the UTEP Library, which provides UTEP students access for free,” Evelyn says. “Without the Library, I would have no way to access the information I needed. Most information is otherwise available only for a substantial fee or just not available at all. The Library’s electronic resources make my searches easier and ensure that I can successfully complete my class projects.”

For more than 80 years, Freeport-McMoRan (formerly Phelps Dodge) has been a dedicated and highly valued partner of The University of Texas at El Paso. In 2013, employees of the company’s El Paso Operations established the Freeport-McMoRan El Paso Operations Employees Library Endowment to support the Library’s role as the intellectual hub of the campus.


Kallol Bagchi Kallol Bagchi

Nita and Jim Phillips Endowed Professorship in Business

Google Glass, the latest innovation from tech giant Google which integrates a computer into a pair of glasses, has been heralded as “the next paradigm in consumer electronics.” To help inform researchers and industry professionals about the factors required for widespread acceptance and use of this wearable technology, a survey-based study is being developed by UTEP Professor of Computer Information Systems Kallol Bagchi, Ph.D. The study, which will involve UTEP students, will simultaneously contribute to UTEP’s robust research climate, enhance the quality of the University’s educational programs and advance knowledge for broader societal impact.

The study is funded through the Nita and Jim Phillips Endowed Professorship in Business, which is named for the longtime friends of the University who established the endowment in 2010. The Phillips Professorship has enabled Bagchi to expand his teaching and research activities. He successfully organized workshops on information privacy and security preceding the 2012 and 2013 International Conference on Computer and Information Science, and funds from the professorship also are supporting the research activities of several of Bagchi’s Ph.D. students.

Jim and Nita Phillips’ fervent support of UTEP spans decades: Jim Phillips, former Chairman of the Board for Wells Fargo Bank in El Paso, has been a member of the UTEP Development Board for 36 years, twice serving as Chairman. He also was a member of UTEP’s 2001 Commission and 90th Anniversary Committee. Nita Phillips contributed her time and wisdom to UTEP’s College of Education as a member of its Advisory Council.


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