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¿Que Pasa? April 2008

Mariachi Debut

April 30, 2008

Photo by Chad Puerling

UTEP’s music department has long had a marching band, a pep band, a symphony orchestra, a jazz ensemble and even a steel drum group. But until last night, the traditional sounds of mariachi music had not been a staple on campus.

The department’s new mariachi group celebrated its debut performance during the Annual Music Gala at Magoffin Auditorium. Performing in front of the audience of more than 500 was a dream come true for the 16-student group.

“The students come from all kinds of disciplines,” said John Siqueiros, program director and UTEP music faculty member. “These are students who don’t necessarily want to major in music but want to continue in music. They are so excited because they are learning a lot about this art form and getting a chance to play when they wouldn’t normally be able to play.”

This is the fourth time in the university’s history that a mariachi group has been launched. Siqueiros is hopeful that the group will flourish.

“It’s important for UTEP to recognize this subculture,” he said. “Having this group is a tremendous opportunity for high school students who want to continue performing and can be a great recruiting tool for the university.”

– Kimberly Miller

Celebrating the Rio Bosque

April 28, 2008

Photo by Maria Trunk

The Roseate Skimmer dragonfly is one of hundreds of types
of insects that live in the Rio Bosque. 

Hundreds of years ago, a vibrant wetlands full of wildlife bordered the Rio Grande in the Paso del Norte area. When the river was channelized, the animals began leaving and the plants slowly died off.

Over time, plans to restore a portion of the wetlands had been discussed, debated and set aside.

In 1998, The University of Texas at El Paso Center for Environmental Resource Management assumed management of the 372-acre Rio Bosque Park.

Today, the park is again buzzing with plant-life and hundreds of types of birds, bugs and other animals.

A special commemorative exhibit at UTEP’s Centennial Museum celebrates the many successes the university has had during its decade in the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park.

"We are happy to be able to celebrate the great work UTEP and John Sproul have done in these ten years," said Marshall Carter-Tripp, director of the museum. "The Rio Bosque is a hidden treasure and we hope that our exhibit will help more El Pasoans learn about it."

For those who can’t pay a visit to the park itself, or who are interested in learning more about the history of the park, the exhibit is a perfect afternoon activity.

Floor-to-ceiling images of the park’s flora and fauna coupled with a soundtrack of sounds from the park greet visitors as they enter the museum. Images of more than 200 types of birds, specimens of hundreds of bugs and cases with live snakes, scorpions hint at the bounty of wildlife that is found in the park today.

Educational and interactive mini-exhibits offer something fun for even the youngest museum-goers. A pictorial history of the Rio Grande illustrates how it has changed over time, while a series of articles from the local newspaper tell the story of the university’s role in restoring the special park.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and admission is free. For more information about the museum, visit www.museum.utep.edu. For more information or to plan your visit to the Rio Bosque, call 915/747-8663 or visit the Rio Bosque Web site.

Click here to view the photo gallery...

– Kimberly Miller

Gardeners, get ready!

April 25, 2008

File photo

UTEP’s FloraFest and Native Plant Sale begins today.

Hosted annually by the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, FloraFest 2008 will feature the popular native plant sale and an educational lecture for gardening enthusiasts.

Jill Nokes, an Austin-based author and landscape designer, will share pictures and stories from her explorations of the sometimes wild world of yard art during a lecture at 7 p.m. today, Friday, April 25, at the Undergraduate Learning Center, Room 116.

The native plant sale will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26, and Sunday, April 27, in the patio area between the Centennial Museum and the Undergraduate Learning Center on Wiggins Road.

Hundreds of desert plants from the El Paso and South Central New Mexico regions will be available. Staff will also be on hand to provide advice on planning, planting and caring for native plants.  

Gardening enthusiasts can plan their shopping by viewing online the full list of plants for sale at www.museum.utep.edu.

– Kimberly Miller

Stamp of Achievement

April 24, 2008

Photo by J.R. Hernandez

L to R: UTEP President Diana Natalicio, community activist and educator Rosa Guerrero, U.S. Postal Service employee Joe Serna, Jr., UTEP Department of Communication Chair Pat Witherspoon and former Salazar classmate and co-worker Nancy Hamilton.

More than 50 students, faculty, staff and friends of the university gathered this week to celebrate the release of a U.S. Postal Service stamp bearing the image of UTEP alumnus Ruben Salazar.


Credited with giving a voice to Hispanic Americans during the 1960s, the trailblazing journalist is most recognized for his award-winning articles on the lives of the Los Angeles Hispanic community.

Click here to learn more...

– Kimberly Miller

Mountain Star Honors Miners

April 23, 2008

Photo by Laura Trejo

The star on the mountain will shine in honor of the UTEP women’s basketball team this week in recognition of its record-breaking season.

During a city hall ceremony, the mayor presented members of the team and coaches with a star on the mountain certificate and trophies.
The team’s amazing season included winning the Conference USA championship title and being the first undefeated team in C-USA league play with the nation's best 23-game winning streak. The Miners received their first NCAA tournament bid in the 34-year history of the program where they beat Western Kentucky University before losing to No. 2 Stanford in the second round.

The team also earned numerous individual awards. Coach Keitha Adams was named C-USA Coach of the Year and the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association (WBCA) Region 4 Coach of the Year. Sophomore point guard Jareica Hughes was named C-USA Player of the Year and senior guard Natasha Lacy snared the C-USA Newcomer of the Year award. Lacy was also selected as an Honorable-Mention Associated Press All-American.

– Kimberly Miller

Celebrating Success

April 21, 2008

Photo by Chad Puerling

More than a thousand students, faculty, staff and friends of the university packed Magoffin Auditorium at UTEP's Honors Convocation on Sunday.

"We are here today to honor academic and professional achievement in the UTEP community," said university President Diana Natalicio. "How proud we are of all of you."

Held each spring, the annual event celebrates the achievements of students, faculty and staff in areas of service, leadership and academics. The 2008 ceremony recognized more than 300 students, faculty and staff.

-Kimberly Miller

State Leaders Visit UTEP

April 18, 2008

Photo by Chad Puerling

Bhutanese Ambassador Daw Penjo and Texas Lyceum alumnus Armin

The Texas Lyceum, the state’s premier leadership group, visited UTEP last week to learn about the growing university.

The group of nearly 100 leaders from public service, private industry and education were in El Paso for a three-day visit to learn about issues surrounding national security policy. During the visit, the group enjoyed dinner and remarks by UTEP President Diana Natalicio at the Durham Center.

“We were pleased to host the Lyceum on campus,” said Estrella Escobar, assistant to the UTEP president and El Paso Lyceum Director. “Their visit to El Paso was extremely successful.  In addition to everything the group learned about Fort Bliss and our region, they were able to experience the beauty of our Bhutanese architecture personally, and to learn more about the increasing role that UTEP is playing in national security efforts.” 

The Texas Lyceum, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, acts as a catalyst to bring together diverse opinions and expertise to focus on national and state issues. The group’s 96 members, all of whom have demonstrated leadership in their community, serve six-year terms.

-Kim Miller

The Common Thread

April 15, 2008

"Minute-Man?" by Mark Newport; Unknitting: Challenging Textile Traditions

Weaving and knitting take the spotlight at UTEP’s Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts with the opening of three new exhibits featuring innovative works from around the world, including Chile, Bhutan and El Paso.

The three exhibits, which will run through Saturday, Aug. 2, are:

• “In the Weave: Bhutanese Textiles and National Identity” explores the role of Bhutanese textile art as one of the primary contributors to the country’s strong national identity.
• “Unknitting: Challenging Textile Traditions” focuses on performative knitting practices and features artists who are on the cutting edge of textile traditions.
• “The Third Lie: chromatic deflections” combines text, drawing and handcrafted embroideries by Chilean artist Mónica Bengoa.

The Rubin Center is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.utep.edu/artsculture/ and click on Rubin Center.

Click here to view the photo gallery...

– Laura Cruz Acosta

Music’s Magical Night

April 14, 2008

Photos by Chad Puerling

Playing the role of Blondel's John during the UTEP Dinner
Theatre's anniversary performance, Gregory Taylor performs "No
Rhyme for Richard" with Nikki Renee Daniels as Fiona and Hugh
Panaro as Blondel.

What started as a student project 25 years ago reached a crescendo Saturday night as the UTEP Dinner Theatre celebrated its anniversary and honored longtime friend of the theatre: Sir Tim Rice.

UTEP Dinner Theatre Director and Associate Professor Gregory Taylor introduced the Academy Award and Tony Award winning lyricist Tim Rice to the audience of more than 8,000. Rice took the stage repeatedly throughout the night recounting humorous or touching stories about the creation of each song.


The concert featured musical numbers from Rice’s biggest shows, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Chess, Evita and The Lion King. The songs were performed by Broadway stars including Annie Golden, Andrea McArdle, Nikki Renee Daniels and Deborah Gibson.

Singer Hugh Panaro kicked off the show with “Close Every Door” from Dreamcoat – the first musical performed on the UTEP campus. Ron Bohmer, who starred in the UTEP Dinner Theatre’s 20th Anniversary production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” closed out the show with “Superstar” to big applause.

However, the UTEP Choir’s moving rendition of The Lion King featuring Tanish Lewis, Ashley Maddox, Anthony Stokes, Troy Taylor and Cheryl Tomczuk drew the largest applause from the crowd.

Gregory Taylor said the choir, along with the UTEP Dinner Theatre band and the UTEP Symphony Orchestra, is made up of current and former Miners.

“The dinner theatre was just a student project,” Taylor said. “And as you can see, it still is about students.”

For more information about the program and upcoming shows, visit www.academics.utep.edu/udt.

Click here to view the photo gallery...

– Laura Cruz Acosta

UTEP Welcomes Class of 2012

April 14, 2008

Photo by Laura Trejo

Members of UTEP’s Parents’ Association greeted incoming students
and their parents to the UTEP Library during the annual Welcome
Scholars event.

UTEP President Diana Natalicio and the university’s college deans recently welcomed more than 100 high school students and their parents to campus during the fifth annual Welcome Scholars event.

The students, all recipients of UTEP scholarships, toured the campus and learned about the university's programs. This year 269 students have been awarded more than $4 million in scholarships. Scholarships range from $6,000 academic scholarships to the $24,000 President's Leadership Scholarships.

The university hosts the annual Welcome Scholars event as a special way to salute these exceptional students who are now part of the UTEP Scholars Excellence Program. For more information about scholarship opportunities, visit www.utep.edu/scholarships.

– Laura Cruz Acosta

UTEP Kicks Off Spring Football Drills

April 10, 2008

Photo by J.R. Hernandez

The 2008-2009 UTEP football team began its spring drills this week at Glory Field.

The Miners will have 14 practices leading up to the annual Spring Game at 7 p.m., Friday, May 2, at the Sun Bowl. The practices, which are open to the public, are at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

This year, the team will welcome back 47 letter winners from last season's squad which finished 4-8 overall and 2-6 in Conference USA play. Returning quarterback Trevor Vittatoe will be joined by receiver Jeff Moturi and offensive linemen Mike Aguaya, Robby Felix and Cameron Raschke.

The Miners also welcome five new assistant coaches. Osia Lewis will serve as UTEP’s new defensive coordinator.  Bob Connelly will function as the associate head coach, co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. DeChon Burns will serve as the defensive line coach. Guy Holliday will be the wide receivers coach and Allen Johnson will take the role of cornerbacks coach.

For more information, visit www.utepathletics.com.

Click here to view the photo gallery...

– Laura Cruz Acosta

Miners Rev Their Engines

April 10, 2008

File photo courtesy of Shell

Headlines worldwide report growing concerns over soaring gas prices and global warming, but seven UTEP students are hoping to make a difference by creating an eco-friendly vehicle.

The students will travel to Fontana, Calif., this week for the annual Shell Eco-Marathon to showcase their vehicle’s fuel-efficiency on the California Speedway.

The Miners will compete against 50 other student teams from throughout the United States. The team with the most fuel-efficient design will win the $10,000 grand prize.

Comprised of both mechanical and civil engineering students, the UTEP team has been preparing for the event since September 2007. This is the first year UTEP participates in the marathon.

The students hope their innovative design will break the 1,902.7 miles per gallon record set by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2007. For more information about the marathon, visit www.shell.com/eco-marathon.

– Cerrissa M. Cuellar

Celebrating Season of Success

April 4, 2008

Photo by Laura Trejo

Team members signed Miner fans' posters during a celebration honoring
the team's historic C-USA and NCAA run.

Students, faculty and staff congratulated Head Coach Keitha Adams and the 2007-08 women’s basketball team for a spectacular season at a rally in the UTEP Union Building Plaza this week.

“It’s been wonderful for us to share this great season with our fans,” Adams said. “It’s been a magical year and I’m glad everyone could be a part of it.”

The exceptional season included winning the Conference USA championship title and being the first undefeated team in C-USA league play with the nation's best 23-game winning streak. The Miners received the first NCAA tournament bid in the 34-year history of the program. The team beat Western Kentucky University in the first round before losing to No. 2 Stanford in the second round.

Adams and the team have earned numerous awards for their individual roles. Adams was named C-USA Coach of the Year and the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association (WBCA) Region 4 Coach of the Year. Sophomore point guard Jareica Hughes was named C-USA Player of the Year and senior guard Natasha Lacy snared the C-USA Newcomer of the Year award. Lacy was also selected as an Honorable-Mention Associated Press All-American.

“We really appreciate everyone who came out and supported us,” Lacy said during the rally. “I expect you all to come out and watch next year’s team because we’ve got some really great young players.”

For more information, visit UTEP athletics at www.utepathletics.com.

Click here to view the photo gallery...

– Laura Cruz Acosta

Millennium Lecture: Security Focus of Election

April 4, 2008  

Debates between the candidates in the upcoming presidential election have been wide-ranging, but James Steinberg, dean of the LBJ School at UT Austin, believes questions about national security will define the 2008 contest.

photo by Chad Puerling


Concerns over security – an unwieldy issue that in today’s global society stretches beyond problems solved by military force to include the economy, trade and the environment – run deep in the U.S. today and Steinberg says that the impact of the nation’s decision in November will be long lasting.

“U.S. presidential elections where issues of national security play a central role are rare,” he said during remarks at the University of Texas at El Paso’s final Millennium Lecture of the academic year on Wednesday. “The outcome will have broad ramifications for years to come.”

Since its inception in 2000, the Millennium Lecture Series has welcomed more than 30 prominent speakers to campus to present on topics that have a broad impact on society and culture.

The series theme, “Defining Security in the 21st Century,” has explored the many facets of security that have become central themes in political debates and popular media coverage in a rapidly changing global context.

– Kimberly Miller

Register Now for Summer, Fall

April 1, 2008

Headlines across Texas this week may scream “tuition increase.” But the real story is that the changes to tuition and fees were necessary to keep up with a growing enrollment and balance dwindling state funds.

Despite the increase, UTEP is among the most affordable universities in the state. And the revenues generated by the tuition increase will go right back into improving the quality of education, including hiring new faculty and acquiring new technology and library resources.

Tuition increases, however, also mean more financial assistance programs to help students pay for college – an investment worth making.

Now is the time to take advantage of those financial assistance plans—including a free tuition program for low-income students— and register for summer and fall courses:


  • Maymester–now through May 12; classes begin May 12
  • Summer and Summer I–now through June 9; classes begin June 9
  • Summer II – now through July 8; classes begin July 8


  • By classification now through April 29
  • Open registration through Aug. 29
  • Classes begin Aug. 25

To register by phone, dial 915/545-1145; to register online, visit http://myutep.edu, login in, and go to “Goldmine.” For financial assistance, visit www.utep.edu/payingforcollege.



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