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Home | Tag Archives: University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)

Tag Archives: University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)

8th Annual Young Achievers Forum Welcomes ‘McFarland USA’ Championship Runners

On Saturday, CommUNITY en ACCIÓN—a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for the Hispanic community in El Paso—held its eighth annual Young Achievers Forum (YAF) at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

YAF is an education focused event that gives at-risk sixth-grade students and their families a taste of college for a day.

This year’s keynote address was given by Johnny Samaniego and Thomas Valles, two of the members from the 1987 McFarland High School championship cross country team, of which the Hollywood film starring Kevin Costner, ‘McFarland USA’, is based.

“We want to show that we were once these kids. We came from similar backgrounds and faced similar challenges growing up. But what they need to know is that no dream is too big and that through hard work, determination and the support of family and community they can achieve those dreams,” said Valles.

UTEP and Dr. Diana Natalicio have been key partners of YAF and have hosted the event for eight years in a row.

“UTEP’s strategies to ensure that all students in this region have an opportunity to achieve their dreams begin long before they enter college,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “Our partnership with the Young Achievers Forum enables us to share information about the exciting opportunities on the UTEP campus. Each year, the UTEP team looks very much forward to being part of this energizing event and the opportunity to interact with so many talented young people and their families.”

Parents were highly encouraged to attend the event along with their students. Financial aid workshops and information sessions, in both English and Spanish, were held during YAF ensuring that parents are equipped with the knowledge and resources to help demystify the college and financial aid process.

“Parental involvement has shown to be a key factor in student success,” stated Raymond Palacios, President of Bravo Chevrolet Cadillac and founder of YAF. “Our aim is to create an interactive experience for both the student and the parent; exposing the student to various career paths and giving parents the tools to guide their students long after the conference is over.”

Organizers prepare months in advance to lock in expert speakers and presenters from career fields that are in high demand. The students have an important role of shaping the programming for following years by providing their input at the end of every session.

“Through the years, YAF has built a diverse and compelling presenter list consisting of experts from pharmacologists and aerospace engineers to news anchors and FBI agents,” said Ruben Chavez, this year’s YAF Chair. “We’ve only been able to do this the help of the students.”

In addition to getting their first taste college and touring the campus, students and parents attended hands-on learning and informational sessions covering five broad fields of study: health and medicine; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); business and finance; liberal arts and education; and public safety.

“The interactive career sessions are really the best part of the entire day for these kids,” said said Carmen Perez, CommUNITY en ACCIÓN Member and Partner, Delgado Acosta Spencer Linebarger & Perez Law Firm. “You can see the wonder and excitement in their eyes as they are working as a team to put together a robot. We want to ignite that spark and inspire them to pursue those passions they never knew they had until they experienced it during YAF.”

YAF was created to instill the importance of a higher education in its student attendees and showing them that attaining a college degree is a realistic and tangible goal. Since its inception in 2011, the forum has introduced over 7,000 students across El Paso County to the possibility of a higher education and each year its impact continues to grow in the region.

The program will also take place in Southern New Mexico on February 23, where students will descended onto the New Mexico State University campus to learn more about their post-secondary options.

UTEP & EPCC Social Work Interns Help SEISD’s Alarcon Elementary

Lorenzo G. Alarcon Elementary is proud to open its doors to students in the Social Work Internship Program from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and El Paso Community College (EPCC).

“We are always so grateful every time UTEP and EPCC sends us interns,” said Nora Garcia, Counselor at Alarcon Elementary. “We love having them here. They serve as additional support to our students, parents, and staff and make an incredible difference in our students’ social and emotional growth. Interns will always be welcomed here with open arms.”

The interns sent to Alarcon Elementary are completing their Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degrees in Social Work at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. They made the commitment to complete 16 hours of internship per week for a total of 240 hours.

Both UTEP and EPCC have assigned several of their students to complete their internship hours at San Elizario ISD’s Alarcon Elementary.

“So far this experience has been very humbling because I have never worked with kids in a school setting before,” said Diana Romero, a Social Work major at UTEP.

“The environment at Alarcon Elementary is very welcoming and the students and staff are all so friendly and full of energy. I am having a great time here.”


For residents that may be interested in interning at Alarcon Elementary, please contact Nora Garcia at (915) 872-3930  ext. 3458.

UTEP Graduates 70 Youth HACEP Residents from 8th Annual H.O.T. Summer Youth Conference

For the eighth year, The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) collaborate through the H.O.T. (Higher Opportunities Thrive) Summer Youth Conference to expose youth who live in affordable housing to university life and the endless possibilities a college degree can pave.

On Friday, July 14, 70 participants from HACEP’s affordable housing program officially graduated from the annual conference and received their very own H.O.T. diploma from UTEP.

“The H.O.T Summer Youth Conference is a great way to get our talented and deserving HACEP youth into experiencing campus life and exposing them to higher education,” said HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon. “For the last eight years UTEP has provided a fun and creative way to promote career and college preparation through the H.O.T. Program.”

The H.O.T. Program, a week-long set of college and career awareness classes, was developed for youth ages 10 to 18 in affordable housing to broaden their perspective on career possibilities and offer a taste of what it would be like to be a university student.

The conference provides learning opportunities through an interactive curriculum led by UTEP staff, faculty, student volunteers, conference alumni, and community leaders as their instructors and mentors.

“HACEP is an outstanding partner of the University.  Together we promote higher education for the HACEP communities,” said UTEP Assistant Vice President of University Relations Beto Lopez.

Graduates had the opportunity to hear from several notable local leaders who discussed the importance of higher education and offered their own story as to how they managed to overcome adversity in their own lives.

UTEP President Dr. Diana Natalicio, HACEP Chief Operations Officer Satish Bhaskar and Assistant Vice President of University Relations Beto Lopez each addressed the body of graduates.

EP ELEC 2019 728×729
Mountains 728
STEP 728
Utep Football Generic 728
Amy’s Astronomy
Bordertown Undergroun Show 728