Photo courtesy UTEP

UTEP Announces 2021 Top Ten Seniors

The University of Texas at El Paso Alumni Association has selected the 2021 Top Ten Seniors – students whose academic achievements, involvement, leadership and service exemplify the most promising Miner alumni.

“It goes without saying that our Top Ten Seniors have earned this designation as a result of their hard work, academic excellence and the leadership skills they have exemplified during their time as a student,” said Maribel Villalva, assistant vice president for alumni and donor engagement.

“They will go on to be among our best and brightest ambassadors as doctors of ophthalmology, legislators, policymakers, lawyers, marketing and communication professionals, cancer researchers, and nonprofit leaders. We could not be prouder.”

Seniors who are spring 2021 graduation candidates and winter 2020 graduates were evaluated in all areas of their academic careers at UTEP. Recipients of the Top Ten Seniors award display strong adherence to community engagement, steadfast perseverance, and a commitment to the advancement of not only themselves, but their peers. This award recognizes students who turn challenges into opportunities, embodying the spirit of a UTEP Miner.

A common theme connects the 2021 Top Ten Seniors: they all want to use their hard-earned education and experience to help underserved and vulnerable communities. Perhaps it’s because of their own struggles they’ve overcome to achieve their much-deserved success at UTEP. Many of them are first-generation students; others came to UTEP from across the border in Mexico, or across the world from Iran. They overcame language barriers, financial barriers, sometimes working two jobs while still earning top grades.

The 2021 UTEP Top Ten Seniors Are

Sabrina Bustillos  |  Major: Communication Studies, Liberal Arts

Future Plans: Work in politics as a field strategist, communication director, or campaign manager for progressive candidates and eventually direct a statewide nonprofit that emphasizes civic education, advocacy, and community organizing in low-income communities.

Sara Zareei Chaleshtori   |  Major: Biomedical Science

Future Plans: Practice ophthalmology. Run her own clinic and reduce health disparities among minority populations.

 Luis Gustavo Hinojos  |  Major: Political Science

Future Plans: Work on Capitol Hill. Gain experience in policymaking in the areas of immigration and economic development while working in Congress.

Jessica Marie Martinez  |  Major: Political Science

Future Plans: Practice law, reshape policies, work on legislation in the health and public interest sectors, advocate for children’s rights and health care improvements for low-income families with children who are ill, and one day run for public office.

Andrea Danielle Mata  |  Major: Sociology

Future Plans: Earn a doctoral degree in special education at Michigan State University. Build a nonprofit learning center focused on improving the needs of El Paso students who demonstrate learning disabilities.

Diana Laura Moreno  |  Major: Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry

Future Plans: Attend medical school and serve as an advocate for chronic disease prevention.

Danielle S. Narimissaei  |  Major: Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry

Future Plans: Become a successful physician practicing reconstructive medicine. Continue conducting cancer research.

Alejandra Isabel Nevarez  |  Major: Media Advertising

Future Plans: Career in marketing with world-renowned media companies. Attend business school in three years.

Carla M. Rodriguez  |  Major: Organizational and Corporate Communication

Future Plans: Attend law school after graduate studies in international law and legal studies, and later work on Capitol Hill as a communications director and policy advisor for a legislator or for political nonprofits.

Flor Alejandra Urbina Araiza  |  Major: Mechanical Engineering

Future Plans: Become a recruiter at a company and provide current students with internships and full-time jobs. Establish a merit-based scholarship in partnership with UTEP to finance brilliant international students’ education, especially women engineers.