Wednesday , August 23 2017
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AHA Awards Grant to UTEP Pharmacy Researchers

A new grant from the American Heart Association (AHA) will help UTEP researchers study new ways to battle cardiovascular disease, which remains the leading cause of death in the United States.

The AHA awarded Fadi Khasawneh, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, with a two-year, $154,000 grant to expand his research into a protein inside the blood cell platelets that could contribute to diseases such as strokes and heart attacks. These studies could lead to new therapies that could target that protein and counteract these diseases.

Khasawneh will use genetic models and human platelets as part of the research. His co-investigator will be Fatima Alshbool, Ph.D, assistant professor of pharmacology. They will be assisted by Zubair A. Karim, Ph.D., research assistant professor.

“Our work is expected to link the bench and bedside research,” Khasawneh said. “It may result in defining a new therapeutic target for managing certain forms of cardiovascular disease.”

The grant started in July 2017 and will finish at the end of June 2019

Herald-Post Sports In Depth: UTEP Soccer Continues Homestand Friday, Sunday

UTEP will continue its three-game homestand by playing host to CSU Bakersfield at 7 p.m. MT Friday and I-25 rival New Mexico at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Friday will have the annual pre-game UTEP Soccer Alumni Association tailgate starting at 5:30 p.m. with free food from Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q while supplies last.

Additionally, all kids (12 and under) will get in free and there will be a post-game autograph session. As part of “Jersey Day” on Aug. 27, all individuals who wear a soccer jersey will receive free admission.

“UTEP Soccer is ready for an incredible weekend of soccer at University Field,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “The Alumni Association tailgate sponsored by Rudy’s Barbecue is one of the very best events of the year that we really look forward to. We appreciate the Alumni Association and Rudy’s support of UTEP Soccer. How can you beat free barbecue and great soccer! CSU Bakersfield is an excellent program with a great coach and great culture. We tied them last year, so we know they are a very strong program. On Sunday we have our old rival, New Mexico, back on our schedule after a long absence. They have always had a great program, so we are going to have to be at our top soccer to get a good result. It will be a great weekend for all our UTEP Soccer fans!”

Going Back In Time
UTEP went to overtime in both matches to start the year for the first time since 2014. The Miners dropped their season opener in double overtime at NM State, 2-1, on Aug. 18 while falling by the same score in OT in their home lid lifter against ACU on Aug. 20.

Series History Vs. CSU Bakersfield
The two sides are meeting for the second consecutive campaign. Last year the Miners and Roadrunners battled to a scoreless draw in California.

Brief Rundown On The Roadrunners
CSU Bakersfield is off to a 1-1 start, scoring at least three goals in both of the games. Alexa Orrante (two goals, two assists) and Aryana Harvey (two goals) features a balanced attack which has received goals from six different players. The Roadrunners have outshot foes, 46-22, including 20-12 in shots on goal. CSUB lost its opener to Sam Houston State, 4-3, on Aug. 18 before bouncing back to rout Prairie View A&M, 5-0, on Aug. 20.

Series History Vs. New Mexico
UTEP is 5-3-1 all-time against its I-25 rivals, although the two programs haven’t squared off since the 2007 season. The Miners and Lobos played annually from 1996-02 but then not again until 2006 and 2007. When locking up in El Paso the Orange and Blue stand

Brief Rundown On The Lobos
New Mexico was upended in its opener to San Francisco on Aug. 18 before bouncing back to shut out Grand Canyon, 1-0, last time out on Aug. 20. Emily Chavez and Claire Lynch have scored the goals for the Lobos, both of which came in the first half. The Lobos have controlled tempo, outshooting foes 39-19, including 13-7 in shots on goal. They also hold a significant advantage in corner kicks (14-3).

It’s Been A Long While
The Miners have dropped back-to-back matches to start the year for the first time since 2000, the season before Kevin Cross assumed the head coaching position.

Team Of Character
The Miners have a proven track record of bouncing back under Kevin Cross. UTEP stands 5-0-1 since 2013 when entering a match on a two-game winless skid.

Balanced Attack
Danielle Carreon (one goal), Kennadie Chaudhary (one goal), Vic Bohdan (one assist), Isabel Trevino (one assist) and Aylin Villalobos (one assist) all got involved offensively to start the season.

Save The Day
Alyssa Palacios recorded at least five saves in back-to-back games to start the season. She now has 254 stops in her career to rank fourth on the Miner all-time charts. Up next for Palacios to pass is Brittany Popoff, who recorded 270 saves during her career from 2004-07.

Start It Up
Junior GK Alyssa Palacios started the first two matches of the season, giving her 44 starts in as many matches since the start of her UTEP career. With her next start, presumably Friday against CSUB, she will pull into a tie for fourth with former Miner GK Chandra Morden (2008-11).

Youth Served
Even though the Miners have 13 letter winners returning, including six starters, they are notably young in 2017. Of the 27 student-athletes on the roster, 20 are either freshmen (12) or sophomores (eight). There are only three seniors and four juniors.

Looking At The Line-Up
Eight Miners (Vic Bohdan-Fr., Hannah Burbank-Fr., Lauren Crenshaw-So., Kennadie Chaudhary-Sr., Jeanna Mullen-Sr., Cayla Payne-R-Fr., Alyssa Palacios-Jr., and Payton Ross-Jr.,) started both matches last weekend while seven others also appeared in each of the contests. Overall 21 student-athletes, including 14 underclassmen, have seen action thus far.

Closing In On Club 200
In his 17th year as the Miners’ head coach Kevin Cross has a record of 197-110-23, putting him on the cusp of joining an exclusive club in UTEP Athletics lore. With three more victories Cross will become the fifth head coach in Miner sports history to reach 200 career wins at the school. Previously Don Haskins (men’s basketball, 719-354), Norm Brandl (volleyball, 355-337), Keitha Adams (women’s basketball, 284-209) and co-head coaches James and Kathleen Rodriguez (softball, 211-325) achieved the feat. Cross also has the fourth-most tenured run by a Miner head coach. He trails Haskins (37 years), Jere Pelletier (women’s golf, 22 years and counting) and Bob Kitchens (track & field, 22 years).

Trailing Only Haskins
Not only has Kevin Cross put himself on the cusp of the 200+ win club at UTEP, he has done so in style. His winning percentage entering 2017 stands at 63.6 percent (197-108-23). That figure would trail only Hall of Fame Coach Don Haskins (men’s basketball) among the 200+ victory UTEP head coach club. Haskins had a 67.0 winning percentage (719-354) in his 37 seasons roaming the sidelines.

There’s No Place Like Home
The enthusiasm and passion for UTEP by Coach Cross has helped him build a loyal fan base, which has made University Field one of the toughest places to play at in the country. The Miners have forged a mark at home of 119-30-10 since 2002, including 0-1-0 this year.

The Basic Facts
UTEP is in its 22nd season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 239-156-30. The Miners are under the direction of 17th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 197-110-23 in that time frame. He is assisted by two former Miners (Heather Clark and Jessie Pettit).

RPI Success
One of the best ways to measure a team’s worth across the board is the RPI, and that’s an area UTEP has thrived in. The Miners have produced a top-100 RPI in five of the eight past seasons and 10 times total under Kevin Cross, including a program-best 31 in 2005. Additionally, the Miners have secured a spot in the NSCAA Central Region top-10 poll in 11 of the past 13 seasons.

Matter Of Consistency
The Miners have averaged 12 wins while appearing in three conference title games and one NCAA tournament (2005, second round) under Kevin Cross. UTEP is one of 12 programs nationwide (325+ programs) to have hit 10+ wins in each year since 2002. Joining the Miners are Boston College, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, North Texas, Notre Dame, Penn State, Stanford, Texas A&M, Virginia and West Virginia.

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UTEP Football Fan Day to be Held on Saturday

UTEP football will hold its annual “Fan Appreciation Day” on Saturday, August 26 at the Sun Bowl Stadium’s North Concourse.

Fan Day, scheduled from noon to 2 pm, will feature an autograph session, a mini-pep rally with the UTEP Band, Cheer and Golddiggers, activities for families, giveaways, raffle items, and free popcorn and water.

Admission for the event is free and fans will receive a commemorative 2017 football season football poster and will be limited to one additional item to be signed.

After the autograph session, fans will have the opportunity to show off their athletic abilities in a Kick, Punt and Pass event down on the field. UTEP Marketing will record scores from all fans who have entered and post them on the UTEP Athletics Facebook page at the end of the day. The top three participants will win an on-field experience for the home opener Sept. 9 versus Rice.

The UTEP Band, Cheer and the Golddiggers mini-pep rally is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. in the North Concourse.

The UTEP Marketing table will have season ticket, Kids Club, Miner Maniac and Miner Athletic Club (MAC) tailgate information. Individual tickets for the home opener/Conference USA opener for the Rice game on Sept. 9 will be sold at the ticket center at the North Concourse.

UTEP will open the 2017 campaign at no. 7 Oklahoma in Memorial Stadium with kickoff set for 1:30 p.m. MT. The game will also be televised on FOX (El Paso local channel KFOX).

UTEP Falls to Abilene Christian In OT 2-1

Alyssa Palacios made six saves while senior Kennadie Chaudhary registered a goal (41′) but visiting Abilene Christian spoiled UTEP’s by toppling the Miners, 2-1, in overtime.

Sam Vestal (30′) and Dylan Owens (93′) scored for the Wildcats, who were outshot 14-13.

The youth-laden Miners have dropped back-to-back matches to start the year for the first time since 2000, the season before Kevin Cross assumed the head coaching position. Furthermore, it is the initial occasion in program history to have consecutive overtime losses. UTEP was upended in double OT at NM State Friday.

“I thought we played a better game than we did on Friday” Cross said. “We played pretty good soccer and just had a little bit of bad luck to be honest. Credit to them on that counter attack. We had a few chances that we could have scored and played pretty good.”

In the sixth minute the Miners did good work to earn a corner kick. The ball was batted around in the box but UTEP couldn’t generate a shot. Nine minutes later off a free kick the Miners found Jeanna Mullen for a header. But to her credit, the ACU GK Erin Smith was able to make the save.

In the 19th minute it was a nice idea by Devyn Hunley to put a shot on target but it was blocked away by the defense. The Miners earned a corner out of the sequence but they couldn’t convert. Midway through the stanza ACU generated its second shot on goal of the game but Palacios displayed top form by making the save.

The Wildcats got on the board thanks to a corner kick by Vestal in the 30th minute. She sent a service into the area with serious English on the ball; Palacios’s punch attempt unfortunately redirected into the goal to give the visitors the lead. It was short lived, with 11 minutes later the Miners finding the equalizer.

Off a corner kick, Villalobos got it to Trevino, whose header went to Chaudhary. The senior then headed it home to pull the home side even at one.

Early in the second half the Miners created two shots in a three minute span, including one by Lauren Crenshaw that led to a corner kick. The pressure didn’t, however, pay dividends.

In the 68th minute and the sun now bearing down on University Field, from inside the box the goal scorer for ACU Vestal fired a low shot net but Palacios denied it. The Miners initiated a nice counter attack, eventually leading to a sweet counter attack for Chaudhary but she was robbed by Smith with a diving stop.

UTEP displayed outstanding set piece execution in the 75th minute with Villalobos threading the needle to a cutting Valentine. Her header, though, was saved. Ten minutes later there was a sneaky left-footed flick by Dynastee Cain from point-blank range but it inched just wide of the frame.

There was a great chance off a giveaway but unlucky strike by Valentine, and her shot sails wide of the net.

The Miners generated a chance early in OT but Mullen’s blast went wide. ACU then countered, and capitalized with the match winner.

UTEP will continue its three-game homestand by playing host to CSU Bakersfield at 7 p.m. MT Friday and I-25 rival New Mexico on Aug. 27. Friday will have the annual pre-game UTEP Soccer Alumni Association tailgate starting at 5:30 p.m. with free food from Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q while supplies last.

Additionally, all kids (12 and under) will get in free and there will be a post-game autograph session. As part of “Jersey Day” on Aug. 27, all individuals who wear a soccer jersey will receive free admission.

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Gallery+Story: UTEP Offense Scores Six Touchdowns in Sunday’s Scrimmage

RUIDOSO, N.M. – The UTEP quarterbacks looked solid during the second and final scrimmage at Camp Ruidoso as Zack Greenlee threw a trio of touchdowns and Ryan Metz connected on a pair of throwing scores on Sunday.

The Miners will head back to the Sun City on Sunday following the scrimmage and will start practice at Glory Field on Tuesday morning in preparations for Oklahoma on Sept. 2 in Norman.

“It was a good scrimmage and we wrapped up a really productive camp,” fifth-year head coach Sean Kugler said. “As a staff, we talked about our goals that we set going into camp. We talked about becoming unified as a team and comradery. We discussed developing on both sides of the ball, finding out about some youngsters and newcomers, and how they can help our program. We accomplished all our goals.”

And most importantly, the Miners stayed healthy for the most part.

“We’re fairly healthy,” Kugler added. “All the guys who were injured are expected to be back for the first game [at Oklahoma].”   

Walter Dawn Jr. started the scoring spree on the first drive with Metz under center at the 35-yard line to being the morning scrimmage. Dawn Jr. opened the drive with a 17-yard run and ended it with a two-yard plunge into the end zone. A key play was a Metz pass to Terry Juniel for a 29-yard gain to the 20-yard line. Dawn Jr. used runs of 13 and five yards following the Juniel catch to set up the touchdown.  Dawn Jr., a sophomore who was switched to running back, carried five times for 42 yards (8.4 avg.)

On the second drive (35-yard line), Greenlee opened with a 47-yard pass completion to transfer Alan Busey, who’s been a bright spot during the two-week camp. Greenlee completed two more passes, an eight-yard pass to Keynan Foster and a five-yard toss to Sterling Napier. But the defense responded with a sack by Dedrick Simpson.

Simpson’s sack was the first of five as second-year defensive coordinator Tom Mason kept encouraging his squad from the sideline. Dylan Parsee added the second that stopped a drive, while newly converted linebacker Treyvon Hughes, freshman Keith Sullivan and Mike Sota each took down the quarterbacks.

With the defense making plays, the offense stepped up again as Greenlee found Kevin Dove for a 12-yard scoring pass. The drive started at the 25-yard line during the red zone drills. Greenlee opened the red zone drive with an 11-yard pass to Tyler Batson.

Of the five red zone drives, the offense found the end zone twice as Metz hooked with Busey for a 12-yard score. Parsee notched a sack to end one of those red zone drives.

Greenlee finished with 209 yards on 9-of-12 passing. Greenlee found Warren Redix for a 34-yard touchdown and then ended the scrimmage with an exclamation point. On the final drive of the day, the offense was penalized for five yards to put the ball back at the 35-yard line. But Greenlee rolled out to his right and launched a 65-yard scoring pass to freshman and El Paso native Richie Rodriguez.

Metz finished 11-of-13 with 141 yards and a pair of scores. The UTEP signal callers didn’t commit any turnovers on the day.

“I thought the quarterbacks, really during the past week, have stepped up their game from an efficiency standpoint,” Kugler said. “They’re more accurate and doing a good job at handling the audibles versus the blitzes. We has the defense blitz the quarterbacks a lot this past week.”

Juniel led the receivers with 82 yards on five catches, while Dylan Kittrell impressed with 55 yards on four receptions. All of Kittrell’s receptions came from true freshman quarterback Alex Fernandes. Transfer tight end Josh Weeks caught three passes for 39 yards and Busey tallied 59 yards on a pair of receptions.

Defensively, Alvin Jones led with five tackles, while transfer defensive back Khalil Rashaad-Brown registered four stops. Justin Rogers tallied three tackles and a pass breakup, while Sullivan and Sota each added pass breakups. Sullivan, at 6-foot-7, 260 pounds, drew a few holding penalties. ​

Photos by Andres Acosta, El Paso Herald-Post Chief Photographer

UTEP Volleyball Takes Down Western New Mexico in Exhibition

The UTEP volleyball team made their debut on Saturday, beating Western New Mexico 4-1 in an exhibition match that the two programs decided to take to five sets. 

The Miners edged the Mustangs in the first set 25-23 and took the second set 25-20 behind a strong hitting performance from Macey Austin and newcomers Cheyenne Jones and Mallory Yost. The Mustangs avenged the losses by taking set three 27-25, but the Miners bounced back with their strongest hitting percentage of the match (.375), to dominate set four 25-16.

Jones led the Miners in kills during the set, hammering down six in her seven attempts and Niki Cebak kept the UTEP defense in check with eight digs.

UTEP head coach Holly Watts and Western New Mexico head coach Jim Callender agreed to play one more set, which the Miners took 15-11.

“Our ball control and our ball handling was actually pretty good a lot of the match,” Watts said. “We just had a couple little runs there in the third set that ended up giving them a chance to win that one. We had a little bit of a lull in energy in the fourth and the fifth sets, but we were able to come back with a run of our own and push through to win.”

The Miners will now prep for the I-10 Cardinals Classic, hosted by Incarnate Word, Aug. 25-26. First serve against Tulane is 9 a.m. on Aug. 25 in San Antonio, Texas.

UTEP Professor Receives Prestigious Hispanic Education Award

Great Minds in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) today announced its 2017 Class of HENAAC Award Winners. UTEP’s Jorge Gardea-Torresdey, Ph.D., Dudley Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry, was selected in the education category.

“Dr. Gardea-Torresdey is an extraordinarily accomplished educator, mentor and researcher,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “This prestigious national award celebrates his 25-year commitment to guiding our UTEP students toward exciting futures in STEM fields, where their success enhances UTEP’s reputation as a major contributor to a high-quality and diverse workforce.”

The organization created the education award to honor individuals involved in higher education across the U.S. Nominees are typically educators, administrators or distinguished professors who demonstrate a strong commitment to promoting STEM education. Gardea-Torresdey was selected from a long list of national nominees.

In his UTEP career, Gardea-Torresdey has mentored 33 Ph.D. students (26 in environmental science and engineering, six in chemistry and one in materials science), and 29 students have received their master’s degrees under his mentorship. He has mentored more than 39 undergraduate students in research.

He also helped establish two (environmental science and engineering, and chemistry) Ph.D. programs at the University.

Great Minds in STEM is a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping America technologically strong by promoting STEM careers. Established in 1989 and based in the Los Angeles area, the organization’s nationwide programming focuses on STEM educational awareness from kindergarten through college, and on seeking out and documenting the world-class contributions of Hispanic professionals in STEM to serve as role models for the next generation of American engineers and scientists.

“I am very happy that my efforts to produce the future generation of environmental scientists and engineers and Ph.D. chemists is being recognized with this award,” Gardea-Torresdey said. “I am extremely proud that many of our first-generation Hispanic students are now professors at esteemed universities or work for national government agencies like the EPA.”

Gardea-Torresdey has authored more than 420 publications and holds five U.S. patents for environmental remediation. In 2016, he received the first Graduate Mentor Award in UTEP history. His research achievements are highlighted in the Lawrence Hall of Science of the University of California, Berkeley. Other accolades include the 2009 SACNAS Distinguished Scientist of the Year Award and the 2012 Piper Professor Award, which is one of the most prestigious honors conferred to a professor in the State of Texas.

He will be honored at the 29th Annual HENAAC Conference in Pasadena, California, Oct. 18-22, 2017. A full list of winners is available online.

UTEP Upended At NM State In Double OT, 2-1

LAS CRUCES, N.M.–  Sophomore Danielle Carreon scored her second career goal (31’) while junior Alyssa Palacios recorded five saves but homstanding NM State received goals from Devin Hart (87’) and Audriana Chavez (105’) to post a 2-1 double overtime win in the First Light Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10.

Vic Bohdan was credited with an assist on Carreon’s tally, which gave the Miners a 1-0 lead midway through the first half. Palacios and company looked to make it stand up but the home side, spurred on by 1,020 fans, found the equalizer with about three minutes to play in regulation and then won it in the second overtime period.

The Miners started seven underclassmen (four freshmen and three sophomores).

“I’m just really disappointed,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “You know we had the game with three minutes left. That’s a tough way to lose to give up a late goal and lose in double overtime. We have no excuses. Abilene Christian (Sunday’s opponent) works their tails off so we are going to have to work harder.”

The Aggies earned a pair of corner kicks in the first six minutes but the Miner stop troops held strong and didn’t yield a shot in the sequence. UTEP then launched a counter attack that led to a great chance for Natalie Valentine in the eight minute. She timed her run perfectly to get in behind the defense but her shot eked just wide of the frame.

In the 13th minute a good look by Jeanna Mullen forced NM State GK Dmitri Fong to block it wide, setting up a Miner corner kick but NM State defend. Four minutes later another rush by the Orange and Blue was wipe out by an offside call.

The homeside came up with a good sequence to register two shots on frame but Palacios delivered two stellar saves in a span of a minute to keep the match scoreless. The Miners were determined to change that, and did just that eight minutes later.

Off a cross, Bohdan found a streaking Carreon who buried it past a helpless Fong to put the Miners on the board. UTEP nearly made it 2-0 in the waning minutes of the stanza but Fong punched away a service off a free kick.

The two sides traded offensive opportunities over the first 15 minutes of the second half with both keepers called upon to make a pair of saves. Also of note in that time was sweeper Payton Ross, who had played every minute of every match her first two years in a UTEP uniform, being forced to sub off due to a health issue.

Play settled down then, with neither side again recording a shot on goal until the 77th minute when Anna Jimmerson’s rocket was pushed away by Fong. Devyn Hunley then sent the ensuing corner kick, one of five in the game for the Orange and Blue, into the area but it was not to be.

The Aggies managed one final rush late and came up with the equalizer before eventually also netting the golden goal.

The Miners will wrap up the opening weekend of action by playing host to Abilene Christian in their home opener at 1 p.m. Sunday. It will be the “Camper Reunion” game, with Miner soccer academy members getting in free. There will also be posters given away, prize packs, autographed gear and mini soccer balls.

The contest marks the start of a three-game homestand, with CSU Bakersfield (Aug. 25) and New Mexico (Aug. 27) also on tap.

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Video+Story: Miners End Costa Rica Road Trip With Victory Over UBC 78-73

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA – The UTEP men’s basketball team wrapped up a productive three-game stint in Costa Rica with a 78-73 triumph over the University of British Columbia on Friday morning.

The Miners had a big second quarter, outscoring UBC 16-4 to instate a 39-27 halftime lead.  They led by as many as 15 points (68-53) in the second half, shooting 47.6 percent (30-for-63) from the field on the day.  A 12-0 run to start the second period enabled the Miners to pull away from a 23-23 deadlock at the end of the first quarter.

UTEP played three games in San Jose, dropping a pair of tight decisions to another Canadian team, McGill University (56-54 and 86-82) on Wednesday and Thursday.  Earlier this month, McGill took SMU to overtime and beat Kent State, a 22-game winner and NCAA Tournament participant in 2016-17.

In the end the trip to Costa Rica wasn’t about wins and losses, it was about building team chemistry while affording coach Tim Floyd and his staff the opportunity to experiment with numerous lineup combinations.

“It’s about trying to get some of our younger guys minutes and putting them in situations that they haven’t been in,” Floyd said.  “There were times that we played three big guys, times that we played three point guards, times that we moved Isiah Osborne from small forward to the point, just because we know that throughout the course of the season we’re going to be in those situations.”

The statistics show that 12 of the 13 Miners who made the trip saw action over the last three days.  Freshman guard Evan Gilyard was with the team but didn’t play while nursing a shoulder injury.

Sophomore guard Isiah Osborne led the team in minutes (94, 31.3 avg.), while seven Miners were on the floor for 50 minutes or more.  Osborne and freshman guard Trey Wade paced the squad with 11.3 points per game, while sophomore center Kelvin Jones averaged 10.3 ppg, senior center Matt Willms 9.0 ppg, senior guard Omega Harris 8.3 ppg and junior forward Paul Thomas 8.3 ppg.

Osborne was the leading rebounder with 6.0 per game, while Wade posted a double-double against UBC with 16 points and 11 boards.

The trip wasn’t just about basketball.  The Miners toured San Jose, visited a local orphanage, sampled the local culture and food, and have more activities planned on Saturday before returning to El Paso on Sunday morning.

The team will take a break from mandatory activities until early October when practice officially resumes for the 2017-18 season.  UTEP already has a major head start on the upcoming campaign with three games and 16 practices under its belt.

“I thought it was a good week,” Floyd said.  “We know that we’ve got a lot of work to do in October, but every team does.  I like the fact that our guys were able to bond and get together.  We didn’t play Matt Willms any minutes.  We tried to play Kelvin Jones a lot of minutes. We didn’t play Paul Thomas and Omega Harris today because it wasn’t about any of those things, and it hasn’t been for the last three days.  This is going to be a good basketball team before the season is over, and I think this experience is really going to help us.”

UTEP’s Korir Declares to Run Professionally for Nike

The now former UTEP track and field star Emmanuel Korir has decided to forgo his remaining collegiate eligibility and start competing professionally after signing a pro contract with Nike.

“Emmanuel started running well at the start of the indoor season, that’s when talks of turning pro came up”, said associate head coach Paul Ereng. “He’s ranked number one in the world in the 800m and top 10 in the 400m so he has the tools to become another house hold name for Kenya.”

Korir made his debut for the Miners at the Vanderbilt Commodore Invitational. The native of Kenya competed indoor for the first time in his career and claimed gold in the 800m with an impressive 1:46.50 time. The mid-distance runner went undefeated in each race he took part in including setting a world record 600m time of 1:14.97 at the New Mexico Cherry and Silver.

Wrapping up the indoor season, Korir became the first Miner to win the NCAA National Indoor title in the 800m clocking a time of 1:47.48.

“The decision for him to turn pro not only benefits him but also the program”, stated Ereng. “We want the best for our athletes and if we can help them achieve the goals they want and help further their education we will do everything we can to help them.”

During the outdoor season, Korir broke the school record in the 400m at the UTEP Invitational setting a time of 44.67 previously held by Bert Cameron (1981). The All-American is just one of three athletes in the world to run a sub-45 second 400m (UTEP Invitational) and a sub-1:44 in the 800m (1:43.75; Brutus Hamilton Challenge). He captured his second national title in the 800m (1:45.03) at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., the Mecca of track and field.

Making his professional debut back on July 21, Korir demolished a quality field with a world-leading 1:43.10 at the Herculis Monaco Diamond League in France. He captured the gold at the Kenyan trials running 1:43.86 in Nairobi to solidify his spot on the Kenya national team and a spot in the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) World Championships. Korir made the trip to London, England, where he reached the semifinal round of the 800m before narrowly missing out of the final.

Korir will return to the Sun City to continue his studies and train with Ereng.

Be sure to follow @UTEPTrack on Twitter and uteptrack on Instagram for breaking news and live updates.

UTEP’s Summer Research Symposium Showcases Talent

There’s no question that college students experience a level of transformation as they advance through their university years, but adding research into the mix can further chart their course toward a career.

“I always thought I was going to grad school for [chemistry], but after coming [to UTEP], I’ve changed my mind, kind of taking a new direction of where I want to go,” said Jason Small, a senior at Trine University in Angola, Indiana who spent the summer doing research at UTEP.

The chemistry and biology major was one of 140 students who presented their research at the 2017 Campus Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives (COURI) Summer Symposium on Aug. 5.

“At first I was thinking of just getting a traditional Ph.D. in chemistry and working in a lab, but now, knowing I can do research as a professor, I am going to get my Ph.D. in biochemistry and continue on a neuroscience path and hopefully be a professor,” Small said.

Small came to UTEP as part of the Summer Mentoring and Research Training: Methods In Neuroscience of Drug-abuse (SMART MIND) program and was one of 32 visiting students from 14 universities around the world. With Sukla Roychowdhury, Ph.D., research associate professor of biological sciences, as his mentor, he studied how alcohol and nicotine affect the addiction pathways and the shape of brain cells, and how by using them together, nicotine affects alcohol addiction and exchanges in brain cells.

“I love being able to share the work I did this summer,” said Alexis Cohen from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. “It also gives you the opportunity to learn as a scientist and be able to communicate your research with other people. I think that’s really important moving forward working in a science or medical career. You have to be able to communicate your findings and what you’re working on with other people in order to share your knowledge and progress as a society.”

Cohen was also part of the SMART MIND program and was paired with Kristin Gosselink, Ph.D. Together they looked at stress and its effect on the brain; specifically, how stress affects your vulnerability to drug addiction. They identified protein markers and concluded that stress does make a difference, especially in adolescents.

“I absolutely loved UTEP, I’m really sad about leaving,” Cohen said. “Everyone here is so nice and great, and my lab was so helpful; everyone was so patient with me. It was really the first time I had worked in a research lab, so I didn’t exactly know what I was doing when I came in; but my postdoc and my PI were super helpful, and I was so grateful for the opportunity.”

Lourdes Echegoyen, Ph.D., COURI director, says it has always been a goal of her office to bring students from other places in the U.S. and from other cultures for a beneficial exchange and experience. She says the stories from the visiting students and others exemplify the goals of the various programs and the symposium.

“Undergraduate research is one of the most valuable educational practices,” Echegoyen said. “It has a high impact on learning, on retention in students’ majors, and on acceptance to graduate school.”

Echegoyen started the symposium in April 2011 with 40 students from the College of Science. The biannual exhibition has now multiplied to 140 students from across the campus.

Jade Williams is a senior at UTEP and was one of the presenters representing the College of Liberal Arts.

“I think that every field needs research because every field is a constant flow of learning, and there’s always a learning curve, especially for the arts and humanities,” Williams said. “We are not so much tackling diseases or cures or manipulating molecules, but we’re tackling social issues. They may be much more abstract, but research is always going to be necessary in those fields to continue to grow and to continue to progress.”

The English literature major researched African-American coming of age narratives and representation of race in African-American museums around the country. Her mentor was Marion Rohrleitner, Ph.D.

“I think this research is really important and it’s going to make a difference because it’s pointing out the severe lack of public space and immortalization for African-American communities, and how that can affect construction of race and racial identity for youth of color,” Williams said.

While the symposium provides invaluable opportunities for students, family and community members receive a firsthand look at what students are studying.

“When you family members see what their undergraduate student is capable of doing, they get a better glimpse of the future of that student,” Echegoyen said.  “Many times they see their son or daughter leave home in the morning with their books under their arms, come back home in the evening for dinner. They know that the student gets into their bedroom and does homework, but they don’t know what happens – where everything is leading. Perhaps the student comes home and says ‘I’ve been accepted into a research program,’ but the parents don’t understand what that means until coming here and seeing the final product.”

2017 COURI Summer Symposium Award Winners:

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Best presentation: David Esparza. Mentor: Jeffrey Olimpo, Ph.D.
Honorable Mention: Heber J. Lara. Mentor: Jessica Shenberger-Trujillo, Ph.D.

Computational, Engineering and Applied Sciences

Best presentation: Jerry Duran. Mentors: Ming-Ying Leung, Ph.D.
Honorable Mention: Jordan A. Orozco. Mentor: Jamie Desjardins, Ph.D.

Life Sciences

Best presentation: Grace G. Hendricks. Mentor: Laura O’Dell, Ph. D.
Honorable Mention: Zayra N. Dorado. Mentor: XiuJun Li, Ph.D.

Physical Sciences

Best Presentation: Miguel A. Baeza Cinco. Mentor: Skye Fortier, Ph.D.
Honorable Mention: Jose A. Rosales. Mentors: Mahesh Narayan, Ph.D., and Christelle Hureau, Ph.D.

Author:  Lauren Macias-Cervantes – UTEP Communications

UTEP Volleyball Sets Exhibition Match For Saturday

The UTEP women’s volleyball team is set to take on Western New Mexico in an exhibition match on Saturday to prep for the 2017 campaign.

First serve against the Mustangs is 1 p.m. The match is free and open to the public.

This will be the first opportunity for fans to get a look at the 2017 team, which features 2016 Conference USA All-Freshman Team selection Macey Austin, junior Kylie Baumgartner, senior Amanda King and El Paso native Briana Arellano.

Austin hammered a team-leading 280 kills as a true freshman in 2016 and Baumgartner paced the squad with 111 total blocks as a middle blocker. King will be at the helm of the setter position and is anticipated to build on her 371 assists registered in 2016.

Arellano, a 2016 Canutillo High School graduate, will return as an outside hitter, but is also skilled defensively, tallying 220 digs as a true freshman.

The Miners will start the regular season Aug. 25 against Tulane at the I-10 Cardinals Classic, hosted by Incarnate Word.

Teachers Take Summer School at UTEP

On the third day of the Teacher Quality Summer Program at The University of Texas at El Paso, Geological Sciences Professor Laura Serpa, Ph.D., stood in front of a classroom of middle school teachers to demonstrate how they, too, could build a weather station anemometer using plumbing supplies from Home Depot and a hot glue gun.

Rather than buy a $30 weather station kit to teach their students about climate change, teachers began to construct a fully functional weather station powered by Rasberry Pi, a low-cost, credit card-sized computer that is used to learn programming.

Scattered across their desks were PVC pipes, magnets, and other small pieces of hardware they used to assemble the station’s anemometer, a weather monitor instrument that resembles a weather vane but calculates wind speed. The device will allow teachers and their students to collect wind speed data and monitor weather patterns at their schools.

“This is what we’re going to use to measure wind speed,” Serpa said, holding up the anemometer she made from scratch. “When we’re done, we’re going to have a program that will log all this data to the web that you’ll be able to share between schools and look at how the weather is doing in different places. You’ll have a large data set that your kids can work with.”

For 20 years, the Teacher Quality Summer Program at UTEP has offered area school teachers hands-on professional development opportunities to expand their skills and explore new ideas to increase their students’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Teachers receive stipends and materials to facilitate active learning and implementation in the classroom.

“Teachers get very inspired by this summer program,” said Olga M. Kosheleva, Ph.D., associate professor and co-chair of the Department of Teacher Education and director of STEM education. “They create innovative lessons they will be implementing during fall in their classrooms. This brings teachers’ teaching and learning to a higher level.”

The year-round program is funded by a Teacher Quality Grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Serpa, Mourat Tchoshanov, Sc.D., professor of teacher education and mathematical sciences, and Kosheleva have collaborated on the grant for the past 12 years.

“I love this grant,” said Kimberly Watson, a former special education math teacher at Parkland Middle School. This was the third time she participated in the program. “It’s amazing how you can integrate science into all content areas using hands-on activities. You can bring up a science topic like climate and weather and make a math lesson out of it to teach kids how to graph or find the range, mean, median and mode in a data set. Hopefully, they will have a better understanding of those concepts when they go to their science class.”

Over the past three years, Watson has applied the knowledge she has gained from the program to make her classes more interactive. She said her students are more engaged when they’re working on hands-on projects.

Watson hopes the students in her English class will be just as eager to learn when she teaches English instead of math this fall.

“I’m excited to see how we’re going to be able to incorporate science into English,” Watson said.

Her colleague Jamie Diaz has taught 6th grade English at Bassett Middle School for nine years. She said that with a little creativity, science and math can be incorporated into any English Language Arts class. Diaz suggested using the anemometer’s instructions to teach students about organization and procedure. She also considered incorporating the device into a lesson about science vocabulary and weather-related words.

“I’ve noticed a difference in the way that I teach as far as being more hands on and getting the students to talk more collaboratively,” Diaz said as she fastened a bolt with her fingers. She joined the program in spring 2017. “I’m also learning how to incorporate other content areas into mine.”

Ten area school teachers attended the program from July 18-20, 2017. As part of the curriculum, they discussed the causes of weather and climate change and learned about the different instruments that meteorologists use to monitor the weather. They also learned how to program code into the Rasberry Pi to measure wind speed.

To assemble the anemometers, teachers closely followed Serpa’s step-by-step directions.

First they glued two magnets to the inside of a PVC cap, along with a reed switch to download the data to the Rasberry Pi. On the outside of the cap, they fastened three plastic ornament shells. As the wind blows, the shells will rotate, making the cap spin and causing the magnets to send electrical impulses to the Rasberry Pi. The anemometer will count the number of rotations the cap makes to calculate wind speed. The stronger the wind, the more rotations the cap will make.

“Weather is part of our curriculum,” said Stephanie Klenke, a social studies teacher at Charles Middle School. Klenke earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UTEP. “Usually (students) just see pictures of wind. So, if they do a hands-on activity like this, they’ll understand it a little bit better.”

The Teacher Quality Grant will continue into the fall semester at UTEP. Teachers will finish building their weather stations during future sessions. They plan to add temperature, pressure and humidity sensors and a rain gauge. Teachers are also expected to implement a lesson about weather into their classroom lesson plans.

Serpa said these types of hands-on activities help school teachers better prepare their students for college.

“The main reason I do this is because I would like to get good college students that are enthusiastic and prepared to be here,” Serpa said. “This is the future of education. Students need to be able to do things. They need to be able to cross disciplines and not be intimidated by the idea that they’re going to get their hands dirty.”

Watson said the program has helped her become a better teacher by making learning fun for her students.

“It’s definitely made my classroom a lot more hands on,” Watson said. “I like my classroom to be a place where students can be engaged. I want them out of their desks. I don’t want them sitting. I want them doing. Kids get a lot out of that.”

View photos from the UTEP Teacher Quality Summer Program here.

Author:  Laura L. Acosta – UTEP Communications

Baker Announces UTEP Women’s Basketball Schedule

The return of the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic and a 16-game Conference USA slate, match-ups against both New Mexico and NM State and non-conference contests against power league members Arkansas, East Carolina and Georgetown highlight the 2017-18 UTEP women’s basketball schedule as announced Wednesday by head coach Kevin Baker.

The schedule also features games against three teams that played in the 2017 NCAA Tournament (NM State, Texas Southern and WKU) and four from the 2017 Postseason WNIT (Georgetown, LA Tech, Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss)

“We look forward to our pre-season schedule,” Baker said. “We will begin our season with six straight home contests. We are very excited about the opportunity to play in front of our great fan-base.”

The Miners will tune up for the campaign with a pair of exhibition games, facing Sul Ross (Oct. 29) and St. Mary’s (Nov. 4) before tipping off Baker’s first season at the helm against CSU Bakersfield (Nov. 11).

It will be the first of six straight in El Paso to start the year, equaling the second-longest homestand at the onset of a season in program history.

Also on the docket are Texas A&M Corpus Christi (Nov. 18), Arkansas (Nov. 24), Texas Southern (Nov. 25), New Mexico (Nov. 30), and Houston Baptist (Dec. 2).

The contests against Arkansas and TSU will come as part of the Sixth-Annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic. NM State will help round out the field by facing both Texas Southern and Arkansas.

“We are really excited about our Thanksgiving Classic,” Baker said. “We will play two upper level teams in Arkansas and Texas Southern. Soon after, we will hit the road to Myrtle Beach to play East Carolina and then to New Orleans to participate in the Tulane Classic. We will then tune up for conference play by heading out to Los Angeles to play Cal State Fullerton and UC-Riverside. We hope that this competitive schedule helps our team improve daily and prepares us for tough conference play.”

Baker’s charges then will wrap up non-conference action with seven straight road or neutral-site games. Up first is a trip to Arkansas State (Dec. 5) before coming back to the Borderland for the First Light Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 at NM State (Dec. 10).

UTEP will then head to the east coast for a tilt against former C-USA foe and current American member East Carolina (Dec. 17) in Myrtle Beach. The Orange and Blue will then take place in the Tulane Classic where they will play two games in as many days, squaring off with Samford (Dec. 21) and Georgetown (Dec. 22).

Following a holiday break, UTEP wraps up non-conference play in Los Angeles with contests vs. CSU Fullerton (Dec. 29) and CSU Riverside (Dec. 30).

“We are very excited about the new Conference USA schedule,” Baker said. “Our conference has worked very hard to put together a new format which will undoubtedly enhance our chances to put several teams in the mix to obtain a spot in the NCAA Tournament. In any event, this year’s conference should be extremely competitive and should make for some great basketball.  Our players and coaching staff are eager to get this season underway and compete in this great conference.”

C-USA play commences on the road at FIU (Jan. 5) and at FAU (Jan. 7). Other league road contests are at Rice (Jan. 26), at North Texas (Jan. 28), at UTSA (Feb. 4), at Marshall (Feb. 15), at Old Dominion (Feb. 17) and at Southern Miss (Feb. 25).

The Miners’ league home opener comes against Charlotte (Jan. 11). The other C-USA teams to venture to the Don Haskins Center are Middle Tennessee (Jan. 13), Florida Atlantic (Jan. 18), UAB (Feb. 2), LA Tech (Feb. 10), UTSA (Feb. 23), FIU (March 1) and WKU (March 3).

2017-18 UTEP Women’s Basketball Schedule

 

Date              Day                       Opponent                                                Location                                    Time

October 29    Sunday                 Sul Ross&                                               Don Haskins Center                1 p.m.

November 4   Saturday               St. Mary’s&                                             Don Haskins Center               1 p.m.

November 11 Saturday               CSU Bakersfield                                     Don Haskins Center              1 p.m.

November 18 Saturday               Texas A&M Corpus Christi                       Don Haskins Center             7 p.m.

 

UTEP Thanksgiving Classic

November 24 Friday                   NM State vs. Texas Southern                   Don Haskins Center                   12 p.m.

                                                 Arkansas at UTEP                                    Don Haskins Center                   2:30 p.m.

November 25 Saturday               NM State vs. Arkansas                             Don Haskins Center                   12 p.m.

                                                 Texas Southern at UTEP                          Don Haskins Center                   2:30 p.m.

 

November 30 Thursday              New Mexico                                             Don Haskins Center                   5:30 p.m.

December 2   Saturday               Houston Baptist                                       Don Haskins Center                   1 p.m.

December 5   Tuesday                at Arkansas State                                     Jonesboro, Ark                          TBA

December 10 Saturday               at NM State                                              Las Cruces, N.M.                        TBA

December 17 Sunday                 vs. East Carolina                                      Myrtle Beach, S.C.                     11:30 a.m.

 

Tulane Classic

December 21 Thursday               vs. Samford                                             New Orleans/Tulane Univ.            TBA

December 22 Friday                   vs. Georgetown                                        New Orleans/Tulane Univ.            TBA

 

December 29 Friday                   vs. CSU Fullerton                                      Los Angeles, Calif.                     TBA

December 30 Saturday               vs. CSU Riverside                                     Los Angeles, Calif.                     TBA

January 5       Friday                   at FIU*                                                      Miami, Fla.                                 TBA

January 7       Sunday                 at Florida Atlantic*                                    Boca Raton, Fla.                        TBA

January 11    Thursday              Charlotte*                                                Don Haskins Center                   1 p.m.

January 13    Saturday               Middle Tennessee*                                  Don Haskins Center                   1 p.m.

January 18    Thursday              Florida Atlantic                                        Don Haskins Center                   7 p.m.

January 26     Friday                   at Rice*                                                    Houston, Texas                          TBA

January 28     Sunday                 at North Texas*                                         Denton, Texas                            TBA

February 2     Friday                   UAB*                                                        Don Haskins Center                   7 p.m.

February 4     Sunday                 UTSA*                                                      San Antonio, Texas                    TBA

February 10   Saturday               LA Tech*                                                  Don Haskins Center                   1 p.m.

February 15    Thursday               Marshall*                                                  Huntington, W. Va.                     TBA

February 17    Saturday               Old Dominion*                                          Norfolk, Va.                               TBA                    

February 23   Friday                   UTSA*                                                      Don Haskins Center                   7 p.m.

February 25    Sunday                 Southern Miss*                                         Hattiesburg, Miss.                      TBA

March 1         Thursday              FIU*                                                         Don Haskins Center                   7 p.m.

March 3         Saturday               WKU*                                                       Don Haskins Center                   1 p.m.

 

Bold denotes home game

& Exhibition Game

* Conference USA Game

All Times Mountain​

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UTEP Recognized for National Materials Research Partnership

Danisha Rivera-Nazario, Ph.D., credits the Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) program at The University of Texas at El Paso for a successful start to her future in chemistry.

The alum completed a postdoctoral appointment in the Emergency Response Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta over the summer.

“I strongly believe that the PREM program equips us with the necessary tools to continue a career in science, either as researchers or educators, or both in my case,” she said.

Rivera-Nazario is one of 74 participants who have been part of the program since it started at the University in 2012 with a $3.3 million grant. The main goal of this National Science Foundation (NSF) initiative is to enhance diversity in materials research and education by stimulating the development of formal, long-term, collaborative research and education partnerships between minority-serving colleges and universities and the NSF Division of Materials Research (DMR)-supported centers and facilities.

“The big issue in the U.S. is that science and technology are extremely underrepresented by minorities and women in general,” explained Luis Echegoyen, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and PREM lead. “Females are doing much better now, but traditionally that wasn’t the case. Diversity of thought, of intellect, upbringing, education is crucial. That’s why the U.S. is what it is. Increasing diversity in general is crucial for progress. Solutions are much more creative if we do this.”

UTEP’s partner in the endeavor is the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). The California school is ranked as one of the top in the world in materials research. The UTEP/UCSB PREM has been symbiotic and recently earned recognition among the 12 active PREMs in the U.S. It received a Creativity Extension Award of $666,000, making the total investment from the NSF about $4 million since 2012. The creativity award reflects the foundation’s appreciation for a team that has gone above and beyond to embrace the objectives of PREM.

Jose Alfredo Caro, NSF program director, cited the UTEP PREM as a model to emulate, complimenting Echegoyen’s leadership and the program’s success in achieving almost twice the average number of publications for this type of award.

“For an award in its first 5-year cycle, it is the only one that has achieved a 100 percent URM (underrepresented minority) participation in supported students at all education levels,” Caro said in an email to members of the 12 active PREMs. “The use of the funds given by NSF is also exemplary – 100 percent of the resources were applied to support students and their work, a quite unique case in the entire PREM portfolio. The effectiveness of the PREM resources used in this way has been maximized and constitutes an example to follow by other awardees.”

The PREM program at UTEP provides students accepted into the program the opportunity to work with seven researchers, including Skye Fortier, Ph.D. assistant professor of chemistry and UCSB alum.

“The PREM program is a research-intensive endeavor that is focusing on improving the way we harness and store energy,” Fortier said. “The efficient harnessing of clean solar energy is something that has worldwide implications. Additionally, for its students, the PREM program provides many of the skills and training that early-career scientists need to be competitive in a 21st century global market.”

Students in the program receive a salary, travel stipends, and materials and supplies to conduct their research. There is also a strong outreach component.

“PREM researchers from UTEP develop modules and present them to students,” said Kimberly Salayandia, PREM program coordinator. “These are hands-on activities where our researchers take their knowledge gained in their courses, and in their research lab, and try to demonstrate that to the students.”

For Rivera-Nazario, the skills and interdisciplinary experience gained made a difference.

“In my current position, I work alongside chemists, biochemists, biologists and statisticians,” said the PREM alumna. “Thanks to the multidisciplinary exposure in the PREM program, I’ve successfully collaborated with them in completing projects or tackling research challenges.”

Echegoyen is hoping for another five-year grant for the program as he has big plans for the future. The team will submit its application in January.

For more on the program, visit the PREM page online.

PREM Faculty at UTEP:

Luis Echegoyen, Ph.D., director and professor, chemistry

Ramana Chintalapalle, Ph.D., associate director and associate professor, mechanical engineering

Tunna Baruah, Ph.D., associate professor, physics

Skye Fortier, Ph.D., assistant professor, chemistry

Chunqiang Li, Ph.D., assistant professor, physics

Yirong Lin, Ph.D., assistant professor, mechanical engineering

Juan Noverón, Ph.D., associate professor, chemistry

PREM Faculty at UCSB:

Ram Seshadri, Ph.D., director, Materials Research Laboratory, and professor, materials and chemistry

Craig Hawker, Ph.D., co-PI and director, CNSI; co-director, MRL; professor, materials and chemistry

Dorothy Pak, Ph.D., education director, Materials Research Laboratory

Michael Chabinyc, Ph.D., professor and associate chair, materials

Kris Delaney, Ph.D., project scientist, Materials Research Laboratory

Javier Read de Alaniz, Ph.D., associate professor, chemistry

Fred Wudl, Ph.D., research professor, chemistry

Skye Fortier, Ph.D., assistant professor in UTEP’s Department of Chemistry, is a UCSB alumnus who finds the opportunity to maintain connections with his alma mater enjoyable and enriching. Photo: J.R. Hernandez/UTEP Communications

Yirong Lin, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, works in the lab with a PREM intern from UCSB. Photo: J.R. Hernandez/UTEP Communications

Yirong Lin, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is one of seven faculty in the PREM program. Photo: J.R. Hernandez/UTEP Communications

Luis Echegoyen, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, leads the PREM program at UTEP. He says diversity of thought, intellect, upbringing and education is crucial. Photo: Ivan Pierre Aguirre/UTEP Communications

Danisha M. Rivera-Nazario, Ph.D., was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She knew she wanted to pursue a career in science since she can remember. She applied to college and was accepted in the Human Biology Program at the University of Puerto Rico – Bayamon (UPR-B). During her freshman year, she fell in love with chemistry and immediately changed majors. She completed by B.S. in Chemistry from the UPR – Río Piedras in 2009. She was the first of her family members to pursue and obtain a graduate degree. She started her graduate studies in Puerto Rico but after a year she decided to join Dr. Echegoyen’s group at UTEP in 2010.

Danisha Rivera-Nazario, Ph.D., stands outside the Emergency Response Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The UTEP/PREM alumna completed a postdoctoral appointment over the summer. Photo: Danisha Rivera-Nazario, Ph.D.

UTEP’s partner in the endeavor is the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Students at the California school spent some time doing research at UTEP this summer. Photo: Ivan Pierre Aguirre/UTEP Communications

Allison, a PREM REU summer intern, is working with the arcing reactor and generating new uranium metallofullerenes by the use of carbon rods filled with uranium oxide and graphite. Her postdoctoral mentor is Wenting Cai, Ph.D. Photo: Ivan Pierre Aguirre/UTEP Communications

Author: Lauren Macias-Cervantes – UTEP Communications

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