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Home | Tag Archives: el paso community college

Tag Archives: el paso community college

UTEP, TTUHSC El Paso, NMSU, EPCC, DACC unite to encourage community blood donations

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso), New Mexico State University, El Paso Community College and Doña Ana Community College are uniting efforts to encourage the community to donate blood and save lives.

A combined goal of 100 pints of blood is set for a two-day blood drive that will take place on the UTEP and TTUHSC El Paso campuses.

The blood drive will take place from noon to 6 p.m., June 25 and 26 at the El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center on the UTEP campus and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., June 25 in Academic Education Classroom 221 on the TTUHSC El Paso campus.

“It’s great to see UTEP and all other universities working together to assure there is blood on the shelves for the community we serve; it’s truly amazing!” said Martin Gomez, donor recruitment manager at Vitalant.

“Blood should always be there waiting for patients. Patients should never have to wait for the blood.”

To ensure that blood donors are in a safe environment that upholds local health ordinances and social distancing protocols, appointments made in advance are required.

Appointments can be made at vitalant.org (search for sponsor code “UTEP” or “TexasTech”) or by calling 877-258-4825.

Blood donors are required to wear face coverings during the drive.

EPCC President releases letter on hatred, racism and challenges facing the community

Wednesday morning, officials with El Paso Community College released a letter written by EPCC President William Serrata, Ph.D to the community regarding George Floyd’s death, the August 3rd Walmart Massacre, bigotry and racism.

Below is Dr. Serrata’s complete letter.

Dear College Community,

On August 3rd of last year, our community experienced violence and being a target of hatred and racism.   Tragically, across the country, we continue to see the effects of ignorance, bigotry and hatred far too often.  We know the pain that it causes, and we know the time for positive change is long overdue.

From Ahmaud Arbery to George Floyd, the past weeks have once again demonstrated the ongoing challenge of systemic injustice and inequality that exists in our nation.   This is heartbreaking, appalling and reflects a pervasive history of racism towards African Americans and other individuals of color.  We share the collective pain and the grief caused by these tragedies, but we must do better.   In higher education and in all we do, we have a responsibility to strive for an equitable society that values differences.

EPCC has been and remains committed to breaking down barriers and striving for equity.  Diversity and inclusion must remain at the forefront of all of our decisions and all of our actions. Now more than ever, we must support one another and focus on making our college and our world a better place.

Together, we can be the positive change that embraces diversity and respects all individuals.  It starts with each of us.

In solidarity,

William Serrata, Ph.D.

President, El Paso Community College

EPCC Forensics Team excels in Virtual Tournament

The El Paso Community College (EPCC) Forensics Team excelled in the 2020 ProtoCommunications Asynchronous National Tournament hosted by San Diego State University, Santiago Canyon College, and Mount San Antonio College.

Daniel Eduardo Gamboa placed 5th in Prose Interpretation and Damaris Ostos placed 4th in Dramatic Interpretation.

“The entire team worked hard all year and it’s good to see that they still have an outlet to perform and showcase their work before the end of the academic school year,” EPCC officials shared.

The tournament involved the students recording themselves at home and then working with their coaches to find the best performance to submit for review.

The videos were judged over the course of three weeks by various judges online.

While this is far from the standard that our students are accustomed to, they rose to the challenge in working to prepare for this tournament in addition to keeping up with their online class work.

The EPCC team competed with students from across the country as we all tried to come to terms with the new format of competition online.

“While the students couldn’t meet face to face with their fellow competitors, they learned that speech and debate is more than meeting together for tournaments. It is about sharing ideas,” team officials added.

El Paso Community College honors 1900+ Graduates

With a total of 1,930 associate degrees and certificates of completion were awarded during this difficult time, El Paso Community College (EPCC) officials and staff proudly honored their graduates for the spring 2020 semester.

“You have worked hard, dedicated yourself to your studies and now have reached degree completion. EPCC is very proud of you,” EPCC President, Dr. William Serrata said in a recent message to graduates.  “This large graduating class represents the resilience of our student body and sacrifices students make to complete their degrees.”

Earning a college degree is an important accomplishment and for many EPCC students, they are the first in their family to do so.

“Achieving this goal is even more significant in light of challenges students have faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic which postponed the spring graduation ceremony,” EPCC officials added.

A complete list of graduates can be viewed by clicking here.

A total of 1,930 associate degrees and certificates of completion were awarded as follows:

Associate of Arts                              1,156
Associate of Science                           277
Associate of Arts Teaching                  84
Associate of Applied Science            339
Certificates                                             74

El Paso Community College highlights training, experience of essential Healthcare Heroes

With essential, frontline healthcare workers in the spotlight during the battle against COVID-19, El Paso Community College (EPCC) is highlighting their contribution to the community’s safety and the college’s role in training them.

“El Paso Community College has a long history of training our community’s workforce,” EPCC President Dr. William Serrata said.  “EPCC has prepared many of our region’s first responders and health care workers with a high-quality education so they can help you and your family.  We are proud of our graduates working in many fields throughout our community.” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said.

Each year, more than 125 students graduate from EPCC in a variety of healthcare fields, including the Nursing Program and the Respiratory Care Technology Program, which are the types of fields directly involved in the care of patients with various forms of acute or chronic respiratory illnesses, such as the Coronavirus.

In addition to these healthcare workers, EPCC trains first responders such as Firefighters and Emergency Medical Techs (EMT) and Paramedics.

The Emergency Medical Services Professionals program trains Emergency Medical Techs and Paramedics, graduating almost 150 first responders each year in a variety of settings.

“At EPCC the Emergency Medical Services Professions program, not only trains traditional EPCC students, but trains soldiers from Fort Bliss and students from area high schools through the college’s Dual Credit program,” Antonio Ayub, EPCC Emergency Medical Services Instructor, explains.

EPCC also trains other heroes who have key roles assisting in this pandemic such as Medical Assistants, Surgical Technologists, Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) students, and Medical Imaging Technology-Radiographers.

El Paso Community College Culinary Arts Faculty, Tejano Food Pantry Help Students in Need

When Daniel Guerra was an elementary student, he remembers his mom taking him to get free lunch with his sister at school during the summer.  

Guerra, who is now a chef in El Paso Community College’s (EPCC) Culinary Arts Program, says this experience, combined with knowing that hunger also affects college students too, inspired him to create Chefs Share along with other chefs in the program.   For the past month, this program has been preparing and delivering meals to EPCC students in need.

EPCC knows that food insecurity is a common challenge faced by college students even during regular times.  Guerra explained that because of the COVID-19 pandemic that students have even greater need intensified by the inability to gather resources, including money for food.

As a result, he and the other chefs knew they needed to do something to help.

Chef Patrick Rosser was among the first to volunteer when he knew he had a chance to help EPCC students.  He says he was overwhelmed by the willingness of faculty and staff to put in hours of hard work to make this happen.  “With so many people dealing with the extremely negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m honored to help in some small manner,” Chef Rosser said.

Then other Culinary Arts Program faculty and staff jumped into action, developing a plan to prepare meals and food care packages for students.   They also partnered with the Tejano Food Pantry which was created by students in EPCC’s Student Government Association for students in order to address food insecurity.

The Tejano Food Pantry staff is the point of contact for Chefs Share meal distribution.   So far, they have reached out to hundreds of students to check on them and let them know about program.  “When we were approached by the chefs for this initiative, it was seen as another opportunity to continuously advocate for students,” Arvis Jones, Director of Student Leadership and Campus Life, said. “Our goal is to help students through this crisis as much as we can.”

Each week the chefs prepare boxed meals along with a care package of snacks and baked goods.  Since the program started in late March, more than 500 pounds of food has been prepared.

The chefs personally deliver all the meals themselves already logging more than 1,000 miles across the county from Red Sands, to Tornillo to Canutillo.  Students are happy and relieved to see them arrive.

Jennifer, who only wanted to share her first name, is in her second semester at EPCC.  She works, is a single mom to a 3-year-old son and is a full-time student.  She says it is a struggle to make ends meet during normal circumstances, but that it has been even harder after she lost her job due to COVID-19 closures.  “When I got the call from EPCC, I felt like someone cared,” Jennifer said.  “When the chefs showed up with a meal for my son and I, that was one less thing I had to worry about that day.”

Making that difference and giving back is what drives the chefs to do as much as they can. “When there are hungry students suffering through a pandemic, in need of a delicious cooked meal, that is when a chef should step in and help out,” Chef Andres Diaz said.  “While I can’t contribute to the front lines in the medical field, this is a way I can use my skill set to make a difference.”

The EPCC Culinary Arts Program has a long history of making a difference by giving back and supporting the community in times of need.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, chefs, along with their students, volunteered to prepare meals for evacuees sheltered at the convention center.  They’ve prepared Thanksgiving Dinners for youth at the Child Crisis Center, supported the Ronald McDonald House, Villa Maria and countless other organizations.   EPCC chefs and students regularly volunteer their time and talent in many ways.  “It’s rewarding to be able to help our community when it needs it the most,” Ezequiel Gutierrez, Culinary Arts Lab Assistant said.

To sustain this critical effort, EPCC Chefs have been relying on the generosity of program partners like Sysco and others who have donated product to make the meals possible along with monetary donations from individuals.  The Foundation for EPCC has started the StayStrong Student Emergency fund which provides support for students.

To donate, click here and select the “StayStrong Fund”.  Donations to support Chefs Share can be made by scrolling down to the “EPCC Cares, Chefs Share” fund.

Chef Guerra says the project is an important opportunity for the chefs to make an impact and put their skills to good use.  More than 200 meals have been made and delivered so far.

From chicken, green chile and cheese on house made bread, served with chips and salad to roasted chicken, macaroni and cheese along with stewed tomatoes and cobbler, each meal is prepared with care.  With continued support from community donations, Guerra hopes the program can serve more students.

Reflecting on his childhood experience and the impact he can make now, Guerra says, “it’s my turn to pay it forward.”

EPCC Promotes Service during National Community College Month

El Paso Community College (EPCC) students, faculty and staff have stepped up to assist the community during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Annually during April’s National Community College Month, EPCC highlights its high standards in educating the area’s workforce.  This April, EPCC’s place in the community is even more important.

EPCC Math Instructor Fan Chen, with other community members, is making medical masks using a 3D printer supplied by EPCC.

The group, El Paso Aid, has already received hundreds of local orders, as well as, orders from New York City and other U. S. locations.

Another group at EPCC answering the call is the student Philosophy Club. After being recognized by the Mayor of El Paso for their community work in November, the club continues their work by raising over $1,000 to purchase masks for frontline workers and those who are homeless.

Now the Philosophy Club has gone to the sewing machine. Under the guidance of the local medical community, the 15-member group is making their own masks to give to those in need.

“We decided to practice what we preach and use practical philosophy to help others,” Daniel Avitia, EPCC Philosophy President said. “This is a cultivating experience motivating the need for social solidarity.”

As EPCC continues to educate and assist students through distance technology, awareness of the El Paso community is foremost in the workings of the college.

EPCC remembers founding President Dr. Alfredo De Los Santos

On March 8, 2020, higher education lost a visionary leader in higher education: Dr. Alfredo de los Santos

Dr de los Santos was the founding president of EPCC and served from 1971-76. He strived to build a college to serve the students and community. More than a half a century later, his impact on EPCC is still seen today.

David Henry, recently retired EPCC English Faculty, gives De Los Santos credit for creating a shared governance model of leadership and emphasized a college focused on student success which still exists today. “Through his great force of character, Dr. de los Santos directed every aspect of the birth and infancy of the college. He interviewed all new administrators and faculty, looking to see if they shared his vision,” Henry said.

When reflecting on EPCC during the college’s 50th Anniversary in 2019, De Los Santos said, his original vision for EPCC had been fulfilled in three ways: “On a broader scale, EPCC has helped educate thousands of individuals in El Paso County who might never have the

opportunity. As well, many of the students who began their higher education at El Paso Community College have transferred to The University of Texas at El Paso. Thirdly, the community college has helped to prepare the work force that has helped employers—and has helped to drive the economy.”

Dr. de los Santos was proud of his work at El Paso Community College. “It would be almost impossible to measure to positive impact that

El Paso Community College has had on thousands of El Paso students over the years. Working to found the institution was an interesting adventure,” de los Santos said in a 2019 interview.

“I still have clear memories of working with groups of people in the community, hiring the administrators and the faculty playing basketball with the students—full court on the outdoor at Logan Heights–the hundreds of individuals who provided help and support.”

EPCC mourns the passing of Dr. Alfredo de los Santos, our college’s first President. “Dr. De Los Santos was a trailblazing leader who was among the first Latino community college presidents in the nation,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC’s current president said. “He is known for his lifetime commitment to higher education and for his visionary leadership at EPCC. We are grateful for his legacy and impact. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Read more about Dr. de los Santos’ legacy and impact via this article and these testimonials

Alfredo de los Santos (R), Joe Foster, 1st EPCC Board President (2nd R) Open 1st Campus Logan Heights 1972 | Photo courtesy EPCC
Alfredo de los Santos (circa 1974) | Photo courtesy EPCC

‘Valiant Women’ honored at EPCC event

The El Paso Community College (EPCC) Diversity and Inclusion Programs (EPCC) recently celebrated the history of women with their annual Diamond Awards.

This year’s event: “Envisioning 2020: Valiant Women Leading the Way.”

“The history of women is important to remember, all the achievements that women have accomplished,” said Olga Chavez, director of the EPCC Diversity and Inclusion Programs. “The goal of the Diamond Awards is to honor the commitment and hard work of EPCC employees.”

Mrs. Christina R. Sanchez was the keynote speaker. Sanchez, a member of the EPCC board of trustees, spoke about women have to achieving their rights and obtaining high leadership positions.

The EPCC Diamond Awards is in its 12th year of honoring EPCC staff for their hard work mentoring students. The Diamond Awardees are the positive face of EPCC diversity.

Rita Pando, Dr. William Serrata | Photo courtesy EPCC
Olga Chavez, Christina Sanchez, Patricia Martinez (MC) | Photo courtesy EPCC

EPCC adopts Anthony Elementary to promote a College-Going Culture

On Friday morning, El Paso Community College (EPCC) adopted Anthony Elementary as part of its school adoption program during a proclamation ceremony held at the school.

EPCC President Dr. William Serrata welcomed Anthony Independent School District (AISD) Superintendent Dr. Oscar A. Troncoso, Anthony Elementary Principal, Oralia Moseley and the student body to the program.

“A student is never too young to learn the importance of going to college,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said. “Reaching out to elementary school students and their parents allows students to learn that higher education is within their reach and we build a college-going culture.”

Anthony Elementary School is EPCC’s tenth school adopted and first for AISD.

“We want all of our students to be college ready. Elementary students are at a crucial point in their lives when career beliefs and aspirations are being developed. We all know that the more you learn the more you will earn. So a good education will benefit you but a great education will transform your life,” said AISD Superintendent Dr. Oscar A. Troncoso,

“Thank you to Dr. Serrata and El Paso Community College for taking this initiative to promote higher education and more importantly a better life and future for the children of this community.”

EPCC has plans to continue adopting elementary schools across its district. Previously EPCC adopted the following schools:

  • Campestre Elementary from Socorro Independent School District
  • Frederick Douglass Elementary from El Paso Independent School District
  • Ramona Elementary from Ysleta Independent School District
  • Canutillo Elementary School from Canutillo Independent School District
  • Frank Macias Elementary School from the Clint Independent School District
  • O’Donnell Intermediate School from Fabens Independent School District
  • Lorenzo G. Alarcon Elementary School from San Elizario Independent School District
  • Benito Martinez Elementary from Fort Hancock Independent School District
  • Tornillo Elementary School from Tornillo Independent School District

Marathon Petroleum grant enhances training in welding and machining tech at EPCC

On Wednesday, officials with Marathon Petroleum and El Paso Community College, as well as students and teachers in the Welding and Machining Technology programs at the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) met to discuss the partnership and celebrate a new grant.

Kathy Huffman, Director of the Marathon Petroleum Foundation, VJ Smith, Marathon Petroleum, El Paso, Manager, Government & Public Affairs,  and Ashley Cooke, Administrative Assistant visited El Paso Community College (EPCC) students and faculty of the Welding and Machining Technology programs at the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) to discuss the insight and advantages of the partnership between EPCC and Marathon Petroleum for workforce development.

During the meeting, Marathon Petroleum presented a grant of $167,000 to EPCC for its Welding and Machining Technology programs

Welding Student Using Marathon Grant Equipment

housed at the Valle Verde campus.

EPCC officials say the new grant funds the latest equipment to train students in these high-demand fields.

“Education and ongoing training are required for today’s workers and the success of our community,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said. “EPCC fills a vital role for our region’s employers to ensure that their employees have the skills they need to be successful in the workplace.”

EPCC officials added that, through the grant, the college has expanded its Welding and Machining Technology programs and offers additional credentials for students to receive advanced certifications.

“Certified graduates expand the skill base of our regional workforce by being prepared for work with training in the professionalism and safety required in modern industry.”

Dr. Dolores Gross, Dr. Olga Valerio, Ashley Cooke, Kathy Huffman, VJ Smith, Steven Smith, Keri Moe

EPCC releases statement regarding college’s Coronavirus initial response and preparation

On Thursday, officials with El Paso Community College (EPCC) reached out to students and residents alike, regarding their preparations ahead of any local cases of the COVID-19 illness, better known as Coronavirus.

“EPCC is closely monitoring developments in the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),” college officials shared via a statement on their website.  “As always, EPCC will follow the guidance of local, regional and national health authorities.”

“Currently, there are not any known cases of COVID-19 at EPCC or in El Paso County,” officials added.

Officials went on say that the “health and safety of EPCC students, faculty and staff are of utmost importance and our campus community should take the preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)”

To that end, officials shared the following tips:

  • Practice good hand hygiene, including washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Follow appropriate cough and sneeze etiquette
  • Stay home, rest and avoid close contact with others when you are sick or have a fever
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

“EPCC will remain vigilant of this situation as it changes and is prepared to act in a timely manner. The campus community should consult the CDC and City of El Paso Public Health Department for the most recent COVID-19 information.”

For the most recent health developments on COVID-19, visit:

EPCC ranked #1 Degree Producer for Hispanic Students for 15th consecutive year

The Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine has once again ranked El Paso Community College (EPCC) on its Top Community Colleges for Hispanics list.

For the15th year in a row, EPCC has earned the nation-wide distinction of being the #1 granter of associate degrees by 2-year schools.  EPCC officials say this ranking substantiates the college’s dynamic efforts to increase degree attainment in our region.

“Being ranked #1 for 2-year degrees awarded to Hispanic students exemplifies EPCC’s role as a national higher education leader and our reputation for student excellence,” said EPCC President Dr. William Serrata. “It reflects our commitment to open admissions with high expectations for the students we serve, and as a result, EPCC is strengthening our community, the state, and the entire nation.”

According to data presented in the Top Community Colleges for Hispanics issue of the Hispanic Outlook Magazine, EPCC awarded 3,528 associate degrees to Hispanic students.

The College ranks #2 among the Top 25 Community Colleges with the most Hispanic enrollees, with a Hispanic population of 228,819 students totaling 85% percent of the total student enrollment.

Serrata credits the work of faculty and staff for facilitating student success that helps students cross the stage at graduation and earn that degree or certificate.  As a first-generation community college student himself, he says it is extremely important to help all students, including Hispanic students, and others underrepresented in higher education get degrees since higher education is the only path to the middle class.

“The capability of our students is exemplified by this ranking and we are especially proud of their dedication and success,” Steve Smith, Vice President of Workforce and Continuing Education said.  “This is evidence of our commitment to affordable and high-quality education, and is also testament to the efforts our excellent faculty, staff and administration who strive every day to provide our students with powerful educational opportunities.”

The annual ranking is based on several factors, including the percentage of Hispanic students in attendance, total student enrollment; 2-year schools awarding the most associate degrees to Hispanics, and the percentage of Hispanics awarded associate degrees by 2-year schools. Data for the rankings is from the NCES IPEDS Database for community colleges granting the most associate degrees in 2018.

Visit the magazine’s website for complete rankings.

UTEP, EPCC study focuses on Antibiotic Resistance in Rio Grande

A 1,260-mile portion of the Rio Grande flows between the United States and Mexico along the entire length of Texas’ southern border, providing water for drinking, irrigation and recreational activities to communities on both sides of the border.

But according to a study in the Journal of Health and Pollution, researchers at The University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College discovered that the Rio Grande is a “hotspot” for multidrug-resistant bacteria, antibiotic residues and antimicrobial resistant genes, which “may represent a public health concern” for people who use the river.

“We know there is bacteria in the Rio Grande’s water, but we wanted to see if there was antibiotic multidrug-resistant bacteria and residues because the water from the river is treated as potable drinking water and kids and their families go and swim there, especially from Mexico,” said Maria Fuentes, a student in UTEP’s Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Ph.D. Program and the paper’s first author.

“This could potentially be a public health issue because if you come into contact with the contaminated water, it could lead to more gastrointestinal infections,” she added. “It could also contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance through the development and spreading of more genes of resistance in the environment. However, more research needs to be done to see how serious of a public health concern this is.”

Fuentes participated in the yearlong 2017 study led by Delfina C. Domínguez, Ph.D., UTEP professor of clinical laboratory science (CLS) and co-investigators Wen-Yee Lee, Ph.D., UTEP associate professor of chemistry, and Maria E. Alvarez, Ph.D., professor and coordinator of biology and chemistry programs at EPCC’s Transmountain Campus. The Edward N. and Margaret Marsh Foundation funded the study.

During the months of February, April, July, September and December, Fuentes and EPCC students sampled water and sediment from three sites within a 16-mile radius of the river from El Paso to Sunland Park, New Mexico, and Anapra, Mexico.

In addition to collecting samples, EPCC students identified the bacteria isolated from the water and sediment. UTEP’s chemistry department conducted a chemical analysis to determine which antibiotics were present in the river. Fuentes and the CLS program collaborated to identify antibiotic resistance genes found in bacteria.

The study found that antibiotics were in 92% of both water and sediment samples gathered from the Rio Grande. Genes conferring resistance were recovered from all collection sites. Of the isolated bacteria, 64% were resistant to at least two synergistic antibiotic combinations and 15% were found to be resistant to 20 or more individual antibiotics.

“This project indeed involved different expertise and resources to study a very complex and unstudied issue on antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in our region,” Lee said. “The project required researchers from biology, chemistry and health sciences to provide a better understanding of what antibiotics (are in the water) and to what extent they have impacted our region.”

Fuentes said antibiotics have found their way into the Rio Grande through animal and human waste and discharge from wastewater treatment plants, which do not have the capability to filter medications out of the water after they’ve been flushed down the toilet.

Bacteria can develop antibiotic resistance after being exposed to drugs in the water, as part of a process of natural selection which, according to the study, may lead to an increased number and severity of infections, frequency of treatment failure, allergies and alteration of intestinal flora if people come in direct contact with the water.

Despite these findings, researchers suggest more studies are needed to determine the risk of the river’s water quality to public health. In the meantime, Dominguez hopes to raise awareness about the use and misuse of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance in the border region.

“Other studies show that antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been found in rivers all over the world, not just the Rio Grande,” Dominguez said. “But we still need to study the impact on public health. We need to conduct surveys and do testing in the community. But very minimum concentrations of antibiotics are not good at all in the river because they may impact the microflora we have.”

Alvarez said the study has not only had a profound impact on the protection of water quality and human health in the U.S.-Mexico border region, but it also enabled students from different disciplines and institutions to engage with one another.

“The collaborative nature of the projects conducted in the laboratories at UTEP and EPCC provide outstanding opportunities for students at both institutions to acquire expertise in research areas that directly affect our community,” Alvarez said. “Co-authors Stephanie Gutierrez, Daniella Sahagun and Jose Gomez were EPCC students when this project was done and Jose Mendoza and Stephanie Bauer were former EPCC students who graduated from UTEP and NMSU.”

For Fuentes, a 2018 graduate from UTEP’s Master in Public Health program, working on the project made her more aware of how the choices people make impact the environment.

Last summer, she continued her research by looking at the water quality at water parks and irrigation sites around El Paso, after the water has been treated. This pilot study showed that genes of antibiotic-resistant bacteria have the ability to survive the filtration process and find their way back to the community. Still, more data and research is needed to understand the impact of these findings as a health concern on antibiotic resistance.

“This (Rio Grande) study has definitely made me more aware of the environment,” Fuentes said. “It makes you think about what you’re drinking, what you’re eating, and what you’re throwing away. This study is more a reflection of our behavior. It is about understanding how we interact with the environment and how we all have to be responsible for how we treat the environment, because we depend on it.”

Author:  Laura L. Acosta – UTEP Communications

EPCC Vice President elected to Statewide Office

Julie Penley, Ph.D., El Paso Community College’s (EPCC) Vice President of Research, Accreditation & Planning has been elected to the Texas Women in Higher Education (TWHE) Board of Directors. 

Dr. Penley came to EPCC in 2002 and has since served in various roles at the College, including Professor of Psychology, Dean of Instructional Programs and Campus Dean of the Mission del Paso Campus, Associate Vice President of Instruction and Student Success, and her current role as Vice President of Research, Accreditation & Planning.

In addition to her time at EPCC, Dr. Penley has served on numerous local, state, and national boards and committees dedicated to higher education, and is beginning her second term on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee. She holds a master’s degree and doctoral degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), as well as a master’s in Higher Education Administration from New Mexico State University (NMSU).

The TWHE is part of the American Council on Education (ACE) Women’s network representing Texas. Texas Women in Higher Education (TWHE) is a Texas non-profit corporation dedicated to developing, advancing and supporting women employed at colleges and universities across the state.

TWHE is committed to providing its members with the skills needed to reach leadership positions and to enhancing the leadership skills of those already in such roles.

Penley will serve on the board until 2021 and will work to transform higher education leadership in Texas and beyond.

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