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Home | Tag Archives: utep

Tag Archives: utep

UTEP Athletics “Picks Up Podcast” premieres

The brand-new “Picks Up Podcast” made its debut Thursday on UTEP Athletics’ official website.

The “Picks Up Podcast” takes an inside look at UTEP Athletics, offering perspectives and analysis not available anywhere else.  Hosted by long-time “Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher, “Picks Up Podcast” kicks off with a visit from Jim Senter who, like his fellow collegiate Athletic Directors, is navigating unique and challenging times due to the onset of COVID-19.

“I look forward to sharing additional Miner content in a new form with those who enjoy UTEP Athletics,” Teicher said.

The “Picks Up Podcast” will air weekly online, with special guests including Miner coaches, staff, student-athletes and alumni.

To go directly to the podcast landing page, click here.

NIH Group appoints UTEP Psychology Professor to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism advisory council

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recently appointed The University of Texas at El Paso’s Laura O’Dell, Ph.D., to a four-year post on its advisory council.

The NIAAA, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), selected O’Dell, an award-winning researcher and professor of psychology, because of her outstanding scientific contribution in the study of neural mechanisms that control addiction to certain drugs of abuse such as nicotine.

O’Dell attended her first National Advisory Council meeting for NIAAA in February 2020. She described the group as interdisciplinary, which reflects the problem of addiction that crosses various scientific disciplines such as neuroscience, biology, psychology and sociology as well as analysis at different levels.

The UTEP professor, whose research focuses on the addictive properties of nicotine, said the NIAAA expects its council members to use their expertise to inform the institute about the issues and initiatives that it should address related to alcohol and public health.

“Alcoholism is a debilitating, pervasive problem that cuts across all health agencies,” O’Dell said. “The problem of alcoholism is pervasive particularly in our border region. I am excited to work with the group to better address this problem that disproportionately affects Hispanics.”

As a council member, she will advise, assist and make recommendations to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and NIAAA directors on matters related to the activities carried out by and through the institute, as well as policies that affect those activities. She plans to focus on the underlying reasons for health disparities and their causes such as language barriers and lack of access to medical help.

“I will use my voice to try to understand how drug addiction might contribute to health disparities in Hispanics,” she said.

O’Dell said this appointment is an opportunity to learn from “top-notch” researchers in their own health-related fields. She added that it also was a chance to represent UTEP and to create a network that would benefit UTEP students and other faculty members.

“This is a prominent group and it is wonderful to be included in circles like this,” O’Dell said. “Where there is a prestigious post, there is an element of respect from people in your field. It’s nice that people in my field recognize that I’m someone who can influence what we should be studying.”

Abraham Bautista, Ph.D., director of the NIAAA’s Office of Extramural Activities, said O’Dell was the first UTEP representative on an NIAAA council. She has been a member of the NIAAA’s Advisory Council Working Group on Diversity and Health Disparity for about a year. He said that the institute’s leaders were impressed with the UTEP professor’s research, awards and efforts to support future researchers.

Bautista mentioned O’Dell’s work funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse into sex differences and predictive biomarkers, as well as when she earned the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2008 from the President of the United States. He added that institute leaders also noted her grant-funded efforts to train post-doctoral fellows and undergraduate investigators. This background will help the NIAAA know the best ways to enhance diversity in the biomedical workforce for abuse researchers.

O’Dell, an El Paso native who graduated from Loretto Academy in 1987, attended UTEP for two years before she transferred to Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology and biology in 1992. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in behavioral neuroscience from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, in 1994 and 1997, respectively. UTEP hired her in 2005.

Denis O’Hearn, Ph.D., dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said the college was proud of O’Dell and of her appointment to this prominent group.

“It is a mark of success,” O’Hearn said. “It is a reflection of the caliber of scholars we have in our college and at UTEP.”

O’Dell’s department chair, Edward Castañeda, Ph.D., professor of psychology, echoed the dean’s comments.

“This is a highly prestigious appointment in the upper echelons of the NIH,” Castañeda said. “It speaks loudly to the resource that Laura is to the science of addiction at the national and international levels. With great distinction, she also represents opportunity to Latinx students – females and males – because she is a native El Pasoan who has paved a path into scientific inquiry for nontraditional people.”

Author: Daniel Perez – UTEP Communications

UTEP names John Wiebe Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

UTEP President Heather Wilson announced Tuesday that University administrator and longtime faculty member John Wiebe, Ph.D., will be promoted to the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

Wiebe has held the position in an interim capacity since January 2019.

“John has 21 years of experience at UTEP and helped to build the institution into a top tier research university that is arguably the best Hispanic-serving university in the country,” President Wilson said. “He is deeply committed to the students we serve and the scholarship we advance.”

Wiebe earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology from the University of Iowa, having completed his undergraduate education at Ohio Wesleyan University.

He joined the UTEP faculty in 1998 and began a program of community-engaged research on mental health and medical adherence in severe chronic illness, mentoring undergraduate and graduate students. He has secured millions of dollars in external funding for research and student success initiatives. Wiebe served as the President of the Faculty Senate for two terms and became Associate Provost in 2012 and Vice Provost in 2018.

“Especially at a time of stress and uncertainty for so many, it has been inspiring to work with students, staff, faculty, chairs and deans who are joined together by a clearly defined and deeply meaningful institutional mission,” Wiebe said.

“People who work at UTEP make a real difference in the world, whether on the lives of individual students and their families or through leading innovative initiatives on campus, in the community, or around the globe. As we face the current challenge and move forward to new opportunities, I am excited to work alongside my colleagues to build upon the excellent foundation that exists here and serve the region even better in the future.”

“John’s experience, commitment and work ethic have been invaluable to UTEP,” President Wilson said. “He is well regarded by faculty and students for his expertise and calm problem-solving ability. We are fortunate to have him.”

GECU Presents Miner Madness: Fans can vote for the 2nd-Best Team in UTEP Basketball History

What if Texas Western didn’t win the 1966 national championship? Which team would be the best team in UTEP basketball history?

Assuming you took the remaining UTEP NCAA Tournament teams, and pitted them against one another in a 16-team bracket, who would come out on top?

Would All-American Jim Barnes lead the 1964 Miners to the title?  Would the upset-minded 1992 Sweet 16 squad reign apparent?  Would one of the great UTEP teams from the 1980’s capture the crown?

Imagine if Nate Archibald, Tim Hardaway, Eddie Rivera, Filiberto Rivera and Randy Culpepper all had something to say about it, along with the 1967 defending champions.

There’s no March Madness this year.  But there is Miner Madness!

We’ve seeded the teams.  We’ve set the bracket.  Starting on Thursday (March 26), we’re letting the fans determine the winner.  Study the matchups on  Then cast your votes on the UTEP Men’s Basketball Twitter beginning on Thursday.

View in-depth analysis for every matchup on

First Round

Thursday, March 26                         Game A: (1) 1963-64 Miners (25-3) vs. (16) 1987-88 Miners (23-10)

                                                            Game B: (3) 1983-84 Miners (27-4) vs. (14) 1974-75 Miners (20-6)

                                                            Game C: (5) 1986-87 Miners (25-7) vs. (12) 1962-63 Miners (19-7)

                                                            Game D: (7) 1985-86 Miners (27-6) vs. (10) 2003-04 Miners (24-8)

Friday, March 27                              Game E: (2) 1991-92 Miners (27-7) vs. (15) 1989-90 Miners (21-11)

                                                            Game F: (4) 2009-10 Miners (26-7) vs. (13) 1984-85 Miners (22-10)

                                                            Game G: (6) 1988-89 Miners (26-7) vs. (11) 1969-70 Miners (17-8)

                                                            Game H: (8) 2004-05 Miners (27-8) vs. (9) 1966-67 Miners (22-6)


Saturday, March 28                         Game I: Winner Game A vs. winner game H

                                                            Game J: Winner Game C vs. winner Game F

Sunday, March 29                            Game K: Winner Game B vs. winner Game G

                                                            Game L: Winner Game D vs. winner Game E

Final Four

Saturday, April 4                               Game M: Winner Game I vs. winner Game J

                                                            Game N: Winner Game K vs. winner Game L

Championship                                  Monday, April 6

UTEP’s Williams earns All-District First Team honors by NABC

KANSAS CITY  – The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) announced UTEP’s Bryson Williams to the 2019-20 NABC Division I All-District team, as selected and voted on by member coaches of the NABC in NCAA Division I Monday morning.

Williams earned a spot on the District 11 first team squad after averaging a team-high 17.8 points per game.

In his first season with the Miners, Williams started in all 32 contests. The transfer from Fresno State finished third in Conference USA in scoring and fifth in rebounding (7.2). Williams ranked 11th in field goal percentage (49.9), 13th in free-throw percentage (81.1), and ninth in blocked shots per game (0.9).

The Fresno, Calif., product registered three games of 30-plus points, the most by a Miner since the 2010-11 campaign. Williams scored a career-high 34 points during a comeback victory over UTSA on Jan. 15. Williams’s double-double (34 points, 10 rebounds) rallied the Miners from 24 points down to defeat the Roadrunners, 80-77, in overtime.

Williams recorded five double-doubles during the season. He posted 33 and 10 against East Central, 21 and 10 against North Carolina A&T, 13 and 10 at Florida Atlantic, and 26 and 10 against Middle Tennessee.

The redshirt junior’s efforts helped lead the Miners to a 17-win season and trip back to the C-USA Tournament. UTEP won nine more games than a year ago, while more than doubling its C-USA wins from three to eight this season.

Williams is the first Miner since the 2009-10 season to earn a spot on the All-District team. Williams also named to the All-C-USA first team, as he was the first UTEP basketball player since 2015 to be named first team. He was also named C-USA Player of the Week three times, the most by a Miner since the 2014-15 campaign.

Williams joins North Texas’ Javion Hamlet, UTSA’s Jhivvan Jackson, LA Tech’s DaQuan Bracey and WKU’s Taveion Hollingsworth on the first team.

UTEP partners with City Accelerator to provide insights on El Paso Minority Business Ecosystem

The Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship (CFHE) housed in the College of Business Administration (COBA) at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has partnered with the City of El Paso City Accelerator to help expand minority businesses by removing common barriers to markets, contracts, capital, education and consulting.

In 2018, the City of El Paso received a $100,000 Living Cities grant funded by the Citi Foundation to build a support system for small businesses with the help of local business organizations including the Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship.

“Accelerate El Paso provided us with a great opportunity to gather insights about our local minority businesses and to look at our current entrepreneurship infrastructure,” said Denisse Olivas, director of the Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship at UTEP. “We hope that our findings can help organizations better serve our local entrepreneurs.”

Other partners include the Small Business Development Center (El Paso Community College), Workforce Solutions Borderplex, El Paso Chamber, El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hub of Human Innovation and the El Paso County Economic Development Office.

The local partners developed the design of the accelerator to begin to map an ecosystem that supported minorities in all phases of their business, including starting, continuing and scaling up. The program was developed to offer training, events and guidance through one-on-one consulting through the specialization of each of the local partners. The program’s end goal encouraged the formation of a central location for small businesses to find guidance on topics such as how to start a business, how to fund a venture, best accounting practices, networking opportunities, access to government contracting, marketing, communication, leadership and employee training.

The program, called Accelerate El Paso or Accelerate EP, recruited 70 small- to medium-sized minority businesses to participate as a cohort through a one-year program.

The CFHE contributed by providing a research template and guidance, disseminating the survey, analyzing the data and writing the final paper submitted to Living Cities, which is now available as a download.

“This was a very exciting project for us because, through the development of a cross-functional team consisting of multiple City of El Paso departments, we were able to put together a plan to consolidate efforts and ensure business access to high quality resources,” said Aimee Olivas, socioeconomic compliance officer for the City of El Paso.

Key findings include:

  • 78% of businesses in El Paso are minority owned.
  • Major industries include services, retail, financial and real estate.
  • Top training needs include accounting and marketing.
  • Acquiring capital to start or grow a business is a major challenge.
  • There is a lack of awareness of local resources.
  • There is a need for networking and mentorship.

For more information on the Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship at UTEP and to download the full report, click here.

Author: Darlene Barajas – UTEP Communications

UTEP Football Season Ticket Transactions Moving to phone, online service

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the UTEP Football Season Ticket Office is closed to in-person visits and football renewals/new sales will be conducted solely over the phone and online.

Regular business hours of Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. will continue to be in effect.  Fans can call (915) 747-6150 or email to renew or request new season tickets, or they can do so online.

In addition, the 2020 UTEP Football Season Ticket Timeline has been updated.  The season ticket renewal deadline has been pushed back from April 10 to May 1.

The full timeline is available via the UTEP Miners ticket page.

Sun Bowl premium seating (indoor club boxes/loge boxes/outdoor club seats) information is available by calling (915) 747-8759.

The Miners will open the 2020 season at home versus Texas Tech on Sept. 5.

UTEP Volleyball inks Ava Palm to Signing Class

Head coach Ben Wallis and UTEP volleyball have announced the addition of Ava Palm, an outside hitter from Bakersfield High School in California, to the 2020 signing class.

“My staff and I are thrilled to receive the commitment from Ava,” Wallis said of the latest addition to the signing class. “She is a very skilled and talented outside hitter that has been playing some high-level volleyball for Jamba VBC in central California. She has played for some really good club coaches and already has a skill set that will allow for her to help us on either pin right away in 2020.”

Palm prepped at Bakersfield High School where she totaled more than 1,000 kills, 192 blocks and 161 service aces over four years. She also tallied 756 digs and nearly a 40 percent hitting percentage during her prep days.

As a senior at Bakersfield, Palm ranked first in hitting percentage in the South West Yosemite League, third in the California Central Section and seventh overall in California’s Division I.

“She is the prototypical outside hitter recruit that has lots of tools,” Wallis said. “She is long, fast, high, can ball handle already and is a solid blocker with range and arm speed as an attacker. The thing that sold me on her, however, was that she is very competitive and wants the ball all the time. Front row and back row, she is ready to attack and has the skill to do it already. She is going to have a small adjustment to the collegiate game physically, but she is going to grow a lot in the weight room once she gets here on campus.”

Palm served as a four-year starter and two-time captain in high school, while she was twice named MVP and a three-time SWYL First Team All-League recipient. She earned First Team All-Area Central Section honors twice at Bakersfield and was a KHSD “Achieve” Inaugural First Team selection.

“Ava was in the running for selection in the prep volleyball ‘Soph 79’ as a 10th grader, but has flown under the radar in recruiting since then, so we are ecstatic to get a commitment from a skilled athlete like this that is normally not available this late in the process,” Wallis continued. “Folks in El Paso are going to love watching her play as she has a great personality and spirit to go along with her talent.”

Palm played her club volleyball for Club Jamba in Bakersfield.

For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP’s Baechle leaving kicking game on solid footing

The UTEP football team is facing a number of questions this spring.  Who is the starting quarterback?  How will a host of junior college transfers be integrated into the defense?  Will the defense be significantly better this fall?  One question that isn’t being asked, however, is if the Miners have a reliable field goal and extra point kicker.

The answer is a resounding ‘yes.’

Gavin Baechle has been nothing short of sensational in his first two years in the Orange and Blue.  As a freshman in 2018, he handled kickoffs and rated second in Conference USA with a 63.9 average.  Then, a year ago, he added field goals and PATs to his list of responsibilities and fared well.  He converted 13-of-16 field goal tries and was automatic (8-for-8) from inside 40 yards, as well as a perfect 22-for-22 on point after attempts.

“I was really happy with what I did on field goals,” he said.  “We went from the bottom of Conference USA [in 2018] to fifth or sixth, which was definitely a big improvement.  Last year I was a little affected doing both [kickoffs and field goals] because after the fifth or sixth game, I did something to my groin and my kickoffs weren’t as good as they were the year before.  I just had to work through that.  By the end of the season, I was basically back to where I was.”

Baechle finished the 2019 season with 42 kickoffs averaging 57.5 yards, and 22 touchbacks.

If there was a hole in Baechle’s game, he was 0-for-3 on field goals of 47+ yards (he was 13-for-13 from 46 yards or less).  He missed from 47 yards versus Texas Tech and NM State, and 50 yards against Rice.  He’s working on hitting consistently from distance this spring.

“The focus for me has definitely been longer field goals,” he said.  “We didn’t really do too many of those last fall.  Whenever we had a meeting, we talked about what I could work on.  And long field goals was one of the main points.  For kickoffs, it was basically about being more consistent and what I could do to stay healthy, which I wasn’t last year.”

One thing Baechle and his position coach, Joe Robinson, didn’t have to spend much time talking about was the punting game.  Mitchell Crawford was entrenched as the Miners’ punter the last two years, but he has left the program to use his final year of eligibility as a grad transfer at Michigan State.

You would imagine that Baechle taking over the punting duties this fall would not be an ideal situation.  But he’s ready for anything.

“I’m all for taking that role,” He said.  “You know what they say, if a man goes down, the next man has to step up and do it.  If it comes down to it, and even if [coach Dana Dimel] brings in a punter, I’m going to do my best to try to beat him out and take all three spots.”

Baechle is accustomed to doing it all – he handled every area of the kicking game as a prep at McKinney (Texas) High School.

“That’s pretty standard,” he said.  “So coming from there, I wanted to do all three [in college].  But, of course, we had a punter already.

“In high school, I punted every single year.  My freshman year, I was on the freshman team.  My sophomore year, I was on varsity.  I did all three and all three well.  For my junior and senior year, I got first team All-District for punting.  And then here [at UTEP], every year I’ve been Mitch’s backup.  So I’ve always had to be ready just in case anything was to happen.  I would still punt during practice, but not the games.  So I feel like if the time comes and I need to do it, I will be fine.”

Baechle punted 69 times in high school for 2,372 yards (34.4 avg.).  He averaged 36.5 yards on 31 punts as a senior in 2017.

Who knows if punting is in Baechle’s future.  But he’ll continue working hard this spring in order to be well prepared for the fall.

“I’m working on a lot of accuracy drills to make sure I still hit a straight ball and it goes through the uprights, whether it’s a long or short field goal,” He said.  “With kickoffs, I’m just trying to stay consistent, and be able to hit touchbacks like it’s nothing.  And if I have to punt this year, I just want to be able to put the ball wherever we need to, and help out the cover team as much as possible.”

Fans can renew their UTEP Football Season Tickets, or request new season tickets for the 2020 season now.  Renewals will be accepted online until April 10 here, by calling (915) 747-6150, or by visiting the UTEP Athletics Season Ticket Office, located in Room 109 of the Brumbelow Building next to the Don Haskins Center, Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, click here.

UTEP Secondary gets boost from return of injured starters

 The UTEP football team’s defensive struggles last season can be traced as much to who wasn’t on the field as to who was playing.

The safety position in particular was hard hit by injuries, as two projected starters entering fall camp, Broderick Harrell and Justin Prince, combined to appear in just four games.

Harrell hasn’t played in a game for the Miners since earning a start in the 2018 season finale against Southern Miss.  He suffered a torn Retinaculum in his ankle two weeks prior to the start of 2019 fall camp and missed the entire campaign.  Prince was on his way to a banner year (27 tackles in the first four games) last season before breaking his foot when it got caught in the turf on a goal line play at Southern Miss.

Following an intense rehab, Harrell and Prince are back this spring and have impressed the Miners’ new secondary and safeties coach, Josh Brown.

“Both of them are extremely hard workers,” Brown said.  “Both of them want to be great.  And when you want to be great and you have a work ethic, usually it turns out pretty good.”

Last year Harrell underwent surgery and was in a cast for eight weeks.  The ankle didn’t heal quite fast enough for him to return late in the season.

“It was hard on me because mentally I wanted to play,” he said.  “I had never missed a season like that.  I wanted to play with my brothers and I felt like I could help them out a lot.”

Prince had a wicked premonition that playing on the M.M. Roberts Stadium turf would bring disaster.

“I prefer grass but the crazy thing is, at the Friday walkthrough the day before the game, I said the field was pretty bad,” he said.  “So I wished a little bad luck on it and I paid the price.”

Prince managed to avoid surgery, but the recovery process was no less grueling and he’s still not quite at 100 percent (though he’s close).

“I spent a lot of time in the training room,” he said.  “That was basically my second home.

“I’ve played through injuries before, but this one really set me back.  I just knew I had to trust the process.”

Fortunately, Harrell and Prince could lean on one another during their year without football as both teammates and roommates.

“We’re similar; we like a lot of the same things,” Prince said.  “We look the same, we have the same stature [Harrell is 5-11, 210 pounds; Prince is 5-10, 200 pounds].  He got hurt first last year.  And then I got hurt.  It’s weird.  It was probably meant to be that we’re both on the field at the same time.”

“We both had a good spring last year and we both got hurt, so that brought us a little bit closer,” Harrell said.  “He’s my brother off the field.  I love him.”

Now, Harrell and Prince find themselves in the odd position of returning to the field and being thrust into the role of elder statesmen in the UTEP secondary.

“We’re basically the older guys with J. Rog [Justin Rogers] and Champ [Michael Lewis] out of the program now,” Prince said.  “So we have to bring the young guys up and set the example every day in the meeting room and on the practice field.”

Last year Harrell and Prince were understudies to Rogers, who became the first Miner to post an interception in four separate seasons since Quintin Demps (2004-07).

“He taught us how to be 100 percent accountable every day, and how to lead,” Harrell said.  “He studied the game like it was homework, like it was a book.”

“He’s really football smart and he was always teaching me the game,” Prince said.  “Just sitting next to him in film, asking questions all of the time and seeing what he saw on the field was huge.”

While they’re taking on more of a leadership role this year, Harrell and Prince are also continuing to learn from their new position coach Brown, who was formerly an accomplished defensive coordinator at Cal Poly.

“He’s a great guy,” Prince said.  “He’s trying to make things simpler for us.  He’s done a really good job with teaching us techniques that will make it easier in our coverages.”

“He’s taught me a lot in three weeks,” Harrell said.  “New techniques, but he also taught me to trust in myself more and believe that I’m a better athlete than the guy lined up across from me.”

Brown watched a lot of film on the 2019 Miners after accepting the job in early February.  It sounds like he’s got a good handle on his personnel after only five spring practices.

“As a secondary, the defensive backs in general, we need to improve on our man technique,” he said.  “I think they’re pretty good zone players, and we’ve gotten pretty good reactions and breaks off of the quarterback.  But our man technique has got to continue to get better, and we’ve got to continue learning how to play all the different combinations of man.”

Last year, UTEP’s pass break ups dropped from 41 to 33, and the Miners collected only five interceptions as a team for a second straight year.  Getting both of those numbers up will be paramount to an improved defensive effort in 2020.  Brown is fully aware of that, and he’s working on it.

“What we do every day before practice is we get out here and we do our wiffle ball drills,” he said.  “And all we’re working on is punchouts for 10 minutes with wiffle balls.  We’re up to 15 or 20 punchouts and five or six interceptions from just the safeties in five practices.  We’re keeping track of them and we’re making an emphasis of getting the ball out.  Pass breakups and interceptions are key to our success as a defense.”

The Miners are counting on vast defensive improvement this fall.  And if that happens, Harrell and Prince are sure to play a big part in it.

“No limits,” Harrell said.  “There aren’t any expectations and there are no limits.  We’re trying to blow it out of the water next year.”

Fans can renew their UTEP Football Season Tickets, or request new season tickets for the 2020 season now;  renewals will be accepted online until April 10, by calling (915) 747-6150, or by visiting the UTEP Athletics Season Ticket Office, located in Room 109 of the Brumbelow Building next to the Don Haskins Center, Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, click here.

Patricia Nava appointed Interim Dean of the College of Engineering

Patricia Nava, Ph.D., has been named interim dean of The University of Texas at El Paso College of Engineering, effective March 4, 2020.

“Dr. Nava’s distinguished record of scholarship and service to UTEP and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has prepared her well to guide the college during this time of transition,” said John Wiebe, Ph.D., interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“She is recognized by her peers as an effective leader who is committed to creating opportunities for students and faculty. I am pleased that she will take on this vital role to help us move forward at a time of opportunity for UTEP Engineering.”

Nava arrived at UTEP in 1996 as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. She was named professor in 2008. She served as program director for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2004, then subsequently served as chair of the department until 2011.

She was appointed associate dean for academic affairs and undergraduate studies from 2011 to 2017.

Nava will succeed Theresa A. Maldonado, Ph.D., who has accepted a position as vice president for research and innovation at the University of California System.

“We’re grateful for the effort that Dr. Maldonado has put into leading the college at a time of institutional transition, culminating in a successful accreditation review by ABET,” Wiebe said.

Before her work at UTEP, Nava taught at Northern Arizona University and California State University, Los Angeles, and worked as an electronics engineer at White Sands Missile Range and as a design engineer at IBM.

Nava was awarded her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University.

In addition to her scholarly work in engineering, she has a strong record of service to students. Nava is a 2019 inductee of the UTEP Academy of Distinguished Teachers and a recipient of The University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award (2009), the Chancellor’s Council Outstanding Teaching Award (2004), and the Lockheed Martin Award for Teaching Excellence (2003).

In 2016, Nava was instrumental in leading the Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator initiative at UTEP, an opportunity to expand the institution’s efforts to prepare students for a dynamic and diverse workforce in STEM fields. She has worked with dozens of graduate students in research and mentored them toward their master’s and doctoral degrees.

UTEP falls to Marshall in opening round of C-USA Tourney 86-78

FRISCO, Texas – Bryson Williams scored 25 points and Jordan Lathon recorded a double-double on season-highs in points (22) and rebounds (11) while tying his career best with six assists, but Marshall pulled away from UTEP late to claim an 86-78 victory on Wednesday night in the first round at the Conference USA Basketball Championships.

The Miners (17-15, 8-10 C-USA) got within three points on a pair of occasions down the stretch, however the Thundering Herd (17-15, 10-8 C-USA) hit clutch baskets and made their free throws down the stretch to pull away.

“I’d like to give Marshall a lot of credit, those guys came out and worked the game for 40 minutes and I have a lot of respect for their program,” second-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “I thought we were in good shape for the better part of the game, but we lost some separation toward the end of the first half, and that was the big difference in the game in terms of giving those guys some transition baskets.”

UTEP took a 15-10 lead on a Williams’s three-point bucket at the 14:07 mark. Marshall answered with an 8-2 run to take an 18-17 edge with 9:17 left in the first half and never relinquished the lead. The Herd built the lead to 13 points after a pair of free throws by Jannson Williams but Kaden Archie followed with a dunk on the other end to make it an 11-point game (43-32) going into the locker room.

Marshall was up by as many as 14 points (48-34) following a three by Jarrod West early in the second half, but the Miners battled to cut the lead the single digits. Souley Boum hit three three-pointers with under six minutes left in the contest. His third got the Miners within seven points, 77-70.

Williams followed with a hook shot in the paint, while an Edwards’s driving layup on a fast break at the 2:03 mark got his squad within three points, 77-74. But Mikel Beyers drew a pair of fouls and went 4-for-4 from the foul line to make the count 81-74 with 1:45 left in the game.

“I give my guys a lot of credit, they fought, they battled, and could’ve easily laid down and didn’t,” Terry said. “They put themselves in the position late in the ball game to have a chance to win the ball game.”

Williams, who scored 21 points in the second half, scored four points on consecutive possessions to make it an 81-78 contest with 53 seconds remaining. Kinsey was fouled on the following possession and made 1-of-2 from the line to up the lead to four points (82-78).

Williams missed a three on the other end and the Herd finished the game 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

UTEP outrebounded Marshall 43-42, as Williams grabbed nine boards and Boum recorded eight. Boum scored 11 of his 13 points during the second half, but shot 4-for-20 overall in the contest. Tydus Verhoeven recorded a season-high four blocks, while adding four points, five rebounds and a steal.

Jordan Lathon | Photo courtesy Conference USA

Edwards tallied five points on 2-of-6 shooting and dished out four assists, while Deon Stroud played over 16 minutes off the bench, tallying five points, and Archie played over 20 minutes with four points and a pair of assists.

UTEP shot 40.0 percent from downtown, led by Lathon’s 5-for-8 effort. Lathon shot 6-for-10 overall and went 5-of-7 at the foul line. Williams went 11-of-23 from the field, including a pair of threes.

Marshall held UTEP to 37.1 percent from the field, while shooting 46.0 percent itself.

The Thundering Herd outscored the Miners, 46-26, in the paint and 16-8 on fast-break points. Marshall’s bench also outdid UTEP’s, 24-9, led by Beyers’s 14 points in over 21 minutes of action. Taevion Kinsey played all 40 minutes, scoring 26 points, though he was held to five points in the second half.

The Miners finished with their first winning season since the 2015-16 campaign (19-14), while advancing to the C-USA Tournament for the first time in over a year. UTEP improved to 17 wins from eight last season, while improving from three league wins to eight during the 2019-20 campaign.

“There’s no disappointment this season and we’re building,” Terry said. “We still have a way to go in terms of what we’re doing. I’m excited with what we were able to do this year. We kept playing and battling all year long.”

Miners shoot past FAU 95-67; Will play ODU in C-USA Championships Quarterfinals

FRISCO, Texas – Six different players hit double figures in scoring as UTEP soared past Florida Atlantic, 95-67, in a record-setting win on Wednesday in the first round of the 2020 Conference USA Women’s Basketball Championships.

“When we get off to a good start, we usually play really well,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “It was crucial the way these young ladies came out of the locker room today, and just played a great game from beginning to end. I couldn’t be more proud of them against a very good FAU team that is extremely well coached. It’s a great tournament win for our team.”

The Miners advance to face second-seeded Old Dominion at 12:30 p.m. MT/1:30 p.m. CT on Thursday. The contest will be streamed by Stadium, and broadcast locally in El Paso on 600 ESPN El Paso.

The Miners (16-14) broke school conference tournament records for margin of victory (28), points (95 and 3-pointers made (11), while tying the mark for field goals made (33), 3-point percentage (50.0 percent) and overall field-goal percentage (50.0 percent). The effort propels UTEP to the quarterfinals for the third straight year under head coach Kevin Baker, continuing the longest such streak to start a career at the school.

Additionally, the 95 points are the fourth-highest total by any program in C-USA tournament history.

Sabine Lipe (career-high 16 points), Katarina Zec (16 points), DeJaNae Roebuck (13 points), Avery Crouse (12 points) and Arina Khlopkova (10 points) all hit double figures in scoring for UTEP.

The Miners connected on 50.0 percent (33-60) from the floor, including 82.4 percent (14-17) during a dominant first quarter that resulted in them leading by 21 (36-15) through 10 minutes of action. The 36 points scored in the opening framed tied as the most in a quarter in program history. The Miners won the boards (38-31) and forced 22 turnovers that result in 22 points during the wire-to-wire win.

It marked the third time this year that the Orange and Blue have surpassed 90 points without having any individual player tally more than 16 points in a contest.

Crouse, Lipe and Zec all connected on shots to send UTEP out to a 7-0 lead 90+ seconds into the contest, forcing FAU to burn an early timeout. The Owls answered with a 5-0 push, but Zec ended that with her second triple of the tilt. It was a four-point differential (15-11) at the halfway point before UTEP kicked it into high gear.

The Miners ripped off 12 straight points to ignite a 21-4 surge to close the quarter.

The margin swelled to as many as 27 (44-17) with 5:38 to play in the half before the Owls managed to whittle the Miners’ advantage to 20 (48-28) heading into halftime. UTEP continued to control after the break, with FAU unable to get closer than 16 the rest of the way.

Katia Gallegos flirted with a double-double (eight points, eight assists), while Gill pulled down a squad-best seven rebounds. FAU was paced by Crystal Primm’s team-high 24 points.

Gallegos’s eight helpers tied as the second most in a conference tournament game by a Miner.

For complete coverage of UTEP women’s basketball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPWBB (Twitter)@utepwbb (Instagram) and visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP Women’s Golf wraps up action in Hawaii

KANE’OHE, O’AHU – The UTEP Women’s Golf team closed out play at the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational on Wednesday afternoon with the Miners finishing in 12th place at the Kane’ohe Klipper Golf Course in Kane’ohe, O’ahu.

As a team, the Miners posted a total score of 915 (305-301-309), while individually, UTEP was once again led by Valeria Mendizabal, who finished tied for 13th place with a three-round total of 219 (72-73-74).

In the opening round on Tuesday, the Miners shot 305 (+17) as a team to end the first 18 holes tied for 12th place. Mendizabal led the charge for UTEP in the first round, shooting even par (72) to tie for eighth entering the afternoon.

UTEP shaved a few shots off their score total in the second round on Tuesday afternoon after the team posted a score of 301 (+13) to improve one spot on the leaderboard. The Miners were paced by freshman Sophie Delfosse, who shot 1-under 71 in the round to close out the day in the top 20 individually.

The third and final round saw UTEP post a team total of 309 (+21) to wrap up the event in 13th place after three rounds of play. Mendizabal was steady for the Miners after leading the way with a third-round score of 74 to end the weekend at 3-over par and tied for 13th place.

Arizona State took home the team and individual titles at this year’s Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational after shooting 12-under par as a unit with Linn Grant leading the way for the Wildcats with a score of 209 (-7) to finish in first place.

In addition to Mendizabal’s performance on the island this week, Delfosse was UTEP’s second-highest finisher with a three-round total of 224 (76-71-77) to finish tied for 29th place.

UTEP’s Audrey Haddad closed out the tournament with a total score of 237 (+21) after posting rounds of 80, 81 and 76 over three rounds. Taylor Stone finished the event with a three-round total of 242 (+26) after shooting 81, 79 and 82 on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Abbie Anghelescu competed for the Miners on Tuesday, shooting 77 and 78 in the opening two rounds, but the UTEP senior was forced to sit out the final day of action due to illness.

Next up, UTEP returns to the links March 30-31 when the Miners travel to compete in the Fresno State Classic at Copper River Country Club in Fresno, California.

For complete coverage of UTEP Women’s Golf, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPwgolf (Twitter) and @UTEPwomensgolf (Instagram) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP receives National Honor for Commitment to First-Generation Student Success

The University of Texas at El Paso has been named to the 2020-21 cohort of First-gen Forward Institutions by the Center for First-generation Student Success.

Vice President for Student Affairs Gary Edens, Ed.D., attributed UTEP’s placement in the cohort to the effectiveness of its programs and its mission of access, excellence and impact.

“UTEP is a national leader in creating a supportive environment in which our first-generation students can thrive,” Edens said. “Our inclusion in this cohort demonstrates the commitment of our faculty and staff in serving all students and our success in creating innovative and impactful programs that truly make a difference in the lives of our students. We are excited to join these peer institutions as we continue to innovate.”

The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students.

Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the center’s research and resources. The cohort of 77 institutions includes Auburn University, Cornell University and Texas A&M University.

The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, drives higher education innovation and advocacy for first-generation student success.

At UTEP, 51% of graduating seniors in 2018-19 reported that they were first-generation college graduates.

The University has implemented programming meant to enhance the first-generation student experience, including the ¡Bienvenidos! campaign, which is designed to nurture positive, professional relationships between students and faculty; a formal ceremony in which first-generation students are given a commencement cord in recognition of their success; and recognition during the University President’s commencement speech.

The University has also participated in the annual National First-Generation College Celebration. UTEP has invited students, faculty and staff to attend a special event and exhibit celebrating first-generation student success.

Other key programs include the Entering Student Program, which focuses on helping first-year and transfer students successfully transition to UTEP; TRIO Student Support Services Program Center, which provides academic and professional assistance for first-generation students; the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence, which is a citywide collaboration of leaders that has worked to transform the educational pipeline to ensure academic success.

“The Center is so pleased to welcome UTEP into the 2020-21 cohort of First-gen Forward institutions,” said Sarah E. Whitley, Ph.D., senior director of the Center for First-generation Student Success.

“Through the application process, it was evident that UTEP is not only taking steps to serve first-generation students, but is prepared to make a long-term commitment and employ strategies for significant scaling and important advances in the future.”

As a First-gen Forward Institution, UTEP faculty and staff will have opportunities to engage with peer institutions that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students. after a two-year program, institutions are eligible to apply for the Advisory leadership designation.

To learn more about first-generation efforts at UTEP, visit the resources webpage and Student Support Services page. To learn more about the Center for First-generation Student Success, visit

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