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¿Que Pasa? August 2008

Miners Rock Out

Aug. 29, 2008

Radio La Chusma

photo by J.R. Hernandez

Groovy tunes filled the Union Plaza this week to welcome UTEP students back to school with a fun beat and tune to whistle.

Students swayed to El Paso favorite Radio La Chusma’s Latin jams during the first of many Wednesday Music Café events.

The free, live music series will feature local musicians at noon every Wednesday.

The Royalty, an indie-pop band, will perform on campus next week. The quintet is known for its raw and upbeat melodies.

“We want to welcome UTEP students back to school with a bang and this is an opportunity for student programming to show them what’s in store for the rest of the school year,” Marina Monsisvais, program coordinator, said.

The series host is the Office of Special Events and its sponsor is Cricket Communications.

Information: 915-747-5481

– Laura Cruz Acosta

Passing the Gavel

Aug. 29, 2008

Photos by J.R. Hernandez

New president Henry Quintana receives the gavel from
outgoing president Clara Duncan-Adams.
A new slate of officers took the reins of the alumni association this week during a special installation event the Tomás Rivera Conference Center.

“This is a great time to be associated with UTEP,” new president Henry Quintana said during the Aug. 27 ceremony. “Enrollment is growing. Our campus is expanding and now, more than ever, our alumni are making their mark around the world. It’s also a great time to be involved with the UTEP Alumni Association.”

The new board has Texas-sized plans to grow the association and to support alumni chapters in other communities. The board welcomed its first national representatives this year to emphasize its commitment to that goal. The new representatives will give the board feedback on ways it can best reach out to chapters and alumni around the country.

Quintana began work on the board’s goals the day after his installation. He has encouraged new members to get involved with the University.

“I personally invite all alumni to become members and help the association support the university’s vision, mission and traditions and be a part of these exciting times,” he said. “We should show our pride for being UTEP Miners and being a part of this exciting era for The University of Texas at El Paso and the Alumni Association.”

Information: http://ia.utep.edu/alumni or call 915-747-8600

–Kimberly Miller

Union Gets a WoW

Aug. 29, 2008

World of Wings Café & Wingery is spicing up the Union and the taste buds of UTEP faculty, staff and students with the mouth-watering taste of the WoW Café’s 17 sauces.

Photos by J.R. Hernandez

The new eatery is located at The Mine Shaft in the Union East building and is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

WoW Café offers a large, varied menu that includes buffalo wings, quesadillas, wraps and burgers on Texas toast. It celebrated its grand opening during the recent Union Open House.

“It is something different that will bring more variety of food to El Paso,” Ana Pacheco, Food Services by Sodexho marketing manager, said. “It will meet a lot of demands for students by bringing them a large menu during late hours.”

Pacheco said one of the many advantages WoW brings to UTEP is the vegetarian options at affordable prices. The menu includes salads, veggie wraps and quesadillas, and even veggie fajitas for under $5.

The eatery also sells tailgate pick-up packages during the football season. The special menu includes platters of wings, wraps and chicken strips that can feed several dozen hungry Miner fans and friends. Tailgate packages must be reserved at least 48 hours.

“There’s a lot of food, and I’m relieved to see that prices are affordable for students,” Student Government Association President Julio Diaz said. “I think WoW will definitely attract more students to the Union.”

Information: 915-747-7459

– Adriana Gómez Licón

Nursing Rolls Out the Red Carpet

Aug. 29, 2008

Photo by César Ayala

The UTEP School of Nursing recently welcomed 90 nursing students and their families to Red Carpet Orientation.

“We call it Red Carpet because they are extremely important and we want to welcome them the best way possible,” Pearl Pope, assistant dean for student affairs, said. “We invite family members so they can realize how important it is that they support their family member during their journey at the School of Nursing.”

The red-carpet event was part of a three-day orientation presented to fourth-semester nursing students and their families. School officials hope such events help the students to learn about their upcoming challenges and how to face them.

“Stress management is something that you will need to learn,” Abby Cooperman, UTEP clinical counselor, told the students as she handed out information brochures.

Students also were able to learn about different clubs and organizations such as the Texas Nursing Students’ Association, which gave away prizes including a basket filled with school supplies, a nursing patch and a pharmacology review book.

The new students received school tours from fifth-semester nursing students who answered questions and gave advice on how to stay on top of school work.

“I am really learning from this orientation. My parents had a few questions and they were answered by Ms. Pope,” Andres Sanchez said. “I have always wanted to become a nurse and I will, thanks to UTEP.”

– César Ayala

Program Helps Freshman Excel

Aug. 29, 2008

Carla Torres was a new Miner with a mission when she arrived on campus four years ago. She wanted to get involved in the campus beyond the classroom.

She joined the Student Government Association’s Excel program, which introduces freshmen to the group’s methods and raises their leadership skills.

One of her assignments was to learn about a campus organization. She chose the Mock Trial Association.

“I’m still involved with them,” Torres said.

Today she is a UTEP senior and one of the association’s senators-at-large. One of her responsibilities is to help select 25 new members into Excel.

The program is an opportunity for freshmen, who are not eligible to run for association office, to learn about what the group does and how it does it without the responsibility of being in charge.

Julian Casillas, an association senator from the College of Education and Excel program chair, said today’s freshman will learn about association projects from their inception and that background will help them as they finish the work a few years from now.

The association looks at an applicant’s high school involvement, communication skills, and leadership qualities.

Those who are selected into the year-long program will shadow a senator and learn about the different campus programs such as the Leadership Institute. They also will attend meetings and help coordinate the West Texas Student Leadership Conference in May.

“It is completely different and way better than what I went through when I was a freshman,” Torres said. “The program that’s laid out for this year is amazing.”

The association will accept Excel applications through today, Friday, Aug. 29. The program is expected to start in two weeks and end in May 2009.

Applications are available at the association office, Room 304 in Union Building East, or through the web site, www.studentaffairs.utep.edu/sga. Click on “SGA Documents,” “How to Apply,” and “Applications.”

Forms must be submitted to the association office.

Celebrating UTEP Staffers

Aug. 26, 2008

Photos by J.R. Hernandez

The UTEP Staff Council recently hosted its eleventh annual Info Fair and Staff Celebration at the El Paso Natural
Staff Council member Martin Munoz observes as UTEP
President Diana Natalicio selects the winner of an
inner-campus parking permit.
Gas Conference Center.

Staffers won door prizes and learned about campus events and organizations such as the Alumni Association and Recreational Sports.

UTEP staff and faculty participated in a drawing to win an inner-campus parking permit, a pair of football season tickets and a weekend stay at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The celebration also featured a special presentation honoring recipients of this year’s Staff Council Textbook Scholarship and the President's Staff Scholarship.

This year’s winners of the Staff Council Textbook Scholarships were Cynthia Gerardo and Carolina Santillanes

President's Staff Scholarship recipients were Celia DeSantiago, Norma Saavedra, Albert De La Riva, Jonathan Macias, Leticia Castillo, Carmen Reyes, Katherine Escandon, Landa Maribel and Janet Paull. Each received a small book stipend from the UTEP Staff Council to help them pay for a portion of their books.

– Laura Cruz Acosta

UTEP Welcomes Students Back

Aug. 25, 2008

Photos by J.R. Hernandez

UTEP sophomore Christina Harding talks with members of Sigma Psi Eta about joining
the sorority.

The fall semester kicked off at UTEP Monday as new and returning students packed the Union Plaza signing up with different campus organizations and clubs, hoping to get the most out of their Miner experience.

UTEP’s Student Development Center is coordinating free Welcome Back Involvement Fairs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today through Wednesday.
Different campus social and community service organizations and university departments will be on hand passing out information and recruiting new members.

Christina Harding, a sophomore psychology major, is thinking about broadening her UTEP experience by joining Sigma Psi Eta.

“It would improve my spirit,” she said. “If you’re not in clubs in school then you’re not really in the school. You just go to class and then leave.”

Wendy A. Kane, Student Development Center assistant director, said the fairs are a great way to get students excited about returning to UTEP and getting them involved in extracurricular activities.

Kane said each day has a theme. Monday is sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. Tuesday is Minerpalooza 2008 day. Wednesday is Greek Life day, when the 13 Greek organizations will be hosting a free barbeque and a canned food drive.

Each day will feature a performer or DJ and students can enjoy popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones. Students can also make novelties such as magnets, key chains and buttons.

Participating organizations include the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, the Chicano Pre-Law Society, the Campus Christian Movement, the Regional Economic Development Association, the Filipino Students Association, the Latter-day Saint Student Association, the Student Development Center, the Campus Activities Board, the University Career Center, the Women's Studies Program and various sororities and fraternities.

Rounding out the week’s welcome back activities are the Union Open House on Thursday and the Welcome Back Social hosted by the Office of International Programs on Friday.

Information: 915-747-5670

– Laura L. Acosta

Alumnus Helps College Develop New Plan

Aug. 25, 2008

Gilberto Moreno led a recent workshop that will help the College of Engineering develop
its strategic plan.

A UTEP College of Engineering graduate has facilitated the effort to develop a strategic plan that involves short-term goals and objectives, but also revisits the college’s mission, vision and core values.

Gilberto Moreno, Senior Consulting Engineer for Prestige Consulting Services, conducted workshops, reviewed surveys and met with various stakeholder groups to arrive at a preliminary consensus.

Moreno, who earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering with an option in industrial engineering in 1974, said the college is now working to put the strategic plan into action.

Specific details about the college’s new plan will be announced this fall, officials said.

“The strategic plan will be the roadmap for our efforts over the next three to five years to position the college as the place to go if you are interested in a diverse workforce,” Dr. Richard Schoephoerster, Dean of the College of Engineering, said. “It also will serve as a model for the integration of engineering education, research, practice and entrepreneurship.”

College leaders asked the UTEP alum, who went on to earn a master’s degree in Operations Research from the University of Notre Dame, to facilitate development of its strategic plan.

Moreno said the planning process was comprehensive.  It included feedback from staff, students, faculty, the Engineering Leadership Council, and the Dean’s Advisory Council, which consists of alumni and members from industry and the community.

The survey results showed what stakeholders saw as the college’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and things to avoid in establishing the strategic plan.

“People that didn’t have a significant opportunity to be part of this initial strategic thinking and planning process can still get engaged in the continuous refinement and implementation of the plan,” Moreno said.

Moreno’s and his wife, Teresa, established Prestige Consulting Services in 1993 to develop strategic plans for companies, public agencies and non-governmental organizations. Prestige has offices in El Paso and Austin and expects to open another soon in Palo Alto, Calif.

The business has clients throughout the U.S. and Mexico, including UTEP. It has successfully completed projects for the colleges of Engineering, Health Sciences, and Business Administration as well as Information Systems and the Provost Office.  

– Jennifer L. Rasberry

Aug. 22, 2008

Ten current and former Miner athletes are performing – and excelling – on the world’s biggest sports stage this month: The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

“We are very excited that these young people represent UTEP and their respective countries at the highest level of athletics,” UTEP track and field head coach Bob Kitchens said.

Blessing Okagbare

Miner athlete Blessing Okagbare
(above) is bringing home a
bronze medal in the women’s
long jump.

Among the Miner Olympians is Blessing Okagbare, who won a bronze in the women’s long jump with a personal best leap of 6.91 meters. The Nigerian athlete originally had not qualified for the event final, but was allowed to compete when another jumper was disqualified after a failed doping test.

Okagbare’s medal marks only the second time a current athlete has won a medal while competing at UTEP. The other was high-jumper Greg Joy in 1976.

Okagbare recently completed a spectacular first year at UTEP by earning three All-American honors at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The sophomore who’s majoring in general studies was second in the triple jump, third in the long jump and ran the final leg on the Miners' sixth-place 4x100 meter relay. Okagbare was a five-time All-American this season, with two additional indoor accolades.

Two former Miners athletes, Osayomi Oludamola and Halimat Ismaila, will also take home bronze medals for Nigeria. The pair ran the second half of the women’s 4 x 100 meter to post a season best time of 43.04 seconds.

Oludamola attended UTEP in 2006 and 2007. Ismaila started at UTEP in 2006 and will continue her studies in Health Promotion this fall.

Another UTEP athlete, Churandy Martina, won a silver medal in the men’s 200-meter final this week, but later lost it on a technicality. Martina, who represented the Netherlands-Antilles, ran a 19.82. That would have beaten his national record of 20.11, which he set in the second heat to get to the final. A Jury of Appeal, however, ruled that he had a “lane infringement” violation.

A senior majoring in multidisciplinary studies at UTEP, Martina is the university's 100-meter record holder. This is the second Olympics for the sprinter from Willemstad, Curacao.

Other UTEP athletes competing in Beijing include:

  • Ronalds Arajs of Latvia, men’s 200m

  • Caimin Douglas of Netherlands, men’s 4x100m relay

Read the letter from UTEP President Diana Natalicio to the Miner Olympians...

Campus Construction Continues

Aug. 21, 2008

Artist rendering of the Chemistry and Computer Science building.

UTEP’s skyline is set to change, yet again.

Design and budget approvals from The University of Texas System Board of Regents have paved the way for
Artist rendering of the College of Health Sciences and School of Nursing
construction to begin on buildings that will house the College of Health Sciences and School of Nursing and the chemistry and computer science departments.

Construction of the two high-tech facilities is expected to begin this fall.

The 135,000-square-foot health sciences and nursing building will feature classroom and research space as well as a state-of-the-art simulation labs. It will move fundamental components of the two units to campus from the off-campus space they’ve long inhabited.

“This new building will have more equipment that will help students gain better experience in our field,” said Claudia Arredondo, College of Health Sciences representative for the UTEP Student Government Association. “It will really help to have us all together on campus, too.” 

The 150,000-square-foot Chemistry and Computer Science Building will also add much-needed classroom and lab space to campus and will give faculty more opportunities for collaboration across various fields of study.

– Kimberly Miller

Cornyn Visits UTEP

Aug. 21, 2008

Photo by JR Hernandez

The National Center for Border Security and Immigration was the focal topic during U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s recent visit to UTEP.

UTEP President Diana Natalicio and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives retired Brig. Gen. José Riojas briefed the senator on their plans for the center, which officially opened at UTEP last week.

During a press conference following the briefing, Cornyn congratulated the university on earning the designation as a national center and voiced his confidence in UTEP’s ability to play a role in informing policy makers.

“The National Center for Border Security and Immigration can perform a vital role in providing scholarship and research to decision makers,” he said. “As an elected official, I want to be sure I get good, solid information; the kind this center can provide.”

While on campus, Cornyn also heard reports from various local law enforcement agencies about the violence in Ciudad Juárez and other border-related issues.

– Kimberly Miller

Martina wins, loses silver in Olympic 200 meters

Aug. 20, 2008

Photo courtesy of UTEP Athletics

UTEP Olympian Churandy Martina won a silver medal this morning in the men’s 200-meter final in Beijing, but lost it on a technicality. 

Jamaican Usain Bolt won the event with a world-record time of 19.30.

Olympians with Ties to UTEP




Ronalds Arajs Men’s 200m Latvia 
Caimin Douglas Men’s 4x100m relay Netherlands
Erma-Gene Evans Women’s Javelin Saint Lucia
Mickael Hanany Men’s High Jump France
Halimat Ismaila Women’s 100m / 4x100m relay Nigeria
Churandy Martina Men’s 100m / 200m Netherlands-Antilles
Blessing Okagbare Women’s Long Jump / 4x100m relay Nigeria
Oludamola Osayomi Women’s 100m / 200m / 4x100m relay Nigeria
Alexandros Papadimitriou Men’s Hammer Greece
Nonila Wharemate Women's Basketball New Zealand
Fatimoh Muhammed, who runs and throws the javelin for Liberia, and Henderson Dottin, who competes in the high jump for Barbados, were part of their national teams, but did not compete in the games.
Martina, who runs for the Netherlands-Antilles, ran a 19.82, which would have beaten his national record of 20.11 that he set in the second heat to get to the final. A Jury of Appeal decided that he had a “lane infringement” violation.

The appeal was requested by the U.S. team. It discovered Martina’s fault as it tried unsuccessfully to help Wallace Spearmon who had finished third, but also was disqualified for a lane violation.

As a result, American’s Shawn Crawford and Walter Dix finished second and third. Crawford’s time was 19.96 just ahead of Dix who ran a 19.98.

This was not the first disappointment for Martina at the games. He just missed a bronze medal in the 100-meters by two-hundredths of a second last Friday. A UTEP senior majoring in multidisciplinary studies, Martina is the university's 100-meter record holder. This is the second Olympics for the sprinter from Willemstad, Curacao.

Bolt joins USA’s Carl Lewis (1984), the Soviet Union’s Valery Borzov (1972) and USA’s Jesse Owens (1936) as the only sprinters to have swept both the 100m and 200m races at the same Olympics.

Four other Olympians with UTEP ties will compete this week in the games. 

Halimat Ismaila, Oludamola Osayomi and Blessing Okagbare will run for Nigeria’s 4x100m relay team. The team’s first heat is scheduled for 6:55 a.m. (Mountain Time) Thursday. The second heat will follow about 20 minutes later. The finals will be at 7:15 a.m. Friday.

Caimin Douglas will run a leg of the men’s 4x100m relay for the Netherlands. His team’s first heat is at 6:20 a.m. Thursday. The finals will be at 8:10 a.m. Friday.

“We are very excited that these young people will represent UTEP and their respective countries at the highest stage of athletics,” UTEP track and field head coach Bob Kitchens said before the competition started. “The UTEP family is very proud and excited for them.”

Daniel E. Perez

Cattle Call for Longhorn Game Tickets

Aug. 19, 2008

Long-time UTEP football season-ticket holders came early and often Monday to the University Ticket Center to score tickets to the Miners Sept. 6 game against the Texas Longhorns at the Sun Bowl.

At one point the line stretched from the ticket center at the north end of the Sun Bowl to Memorial Gym, officials said.

Among those who waited to buy up to four tickets for the popular game was Sara O’Conner, a ’95 UTEP graduate.

“She got in line at 8 (a.m.) and waited 3-1/2 hours. God bless her,” said her husband, Dennis O’Conner, a ’71 Miner alumnus, who had to work that day. “She said everyone was very nice.  I feel badly though because she has a bum knee.”

First-year season ticket holders can try to buy tickets starting Thursday. Remaining tickets, if any, will go on sale to the general public on Monday. A sell out is expected.

University officials said that 4,800 tickets were sold Monday, Aug. 18, and another 1,800 tickets were sold today. There were about 4,900 tickets left Tuesday afternoon.

“Sales were brisk,” Athletics department spokesman Jeff Darby said. “We have great fans.”

Head Coach Mike Price and several players passed through the line after Monday’s practice to greet the fans and to thank them for their support, Darby said.

There were no problems other than a report of one ticket scalper, which was handled quickly, UTEP Police Chief Cliff Walsh said.

Information: Season tickets, 915-747-6150; individual tickets, 915-747-5234

– Daniel E. Perez

UTEP Alumnus, Retired Judge Receives Permanent Honor

Aug. 19, 2008

Retired District Court Judge and UTEP alumnus Enrique H. Peña will be remembered forever thanks to the generosity of his friends, colleagues and family who recently established the Judge Enrique H. Peña Endowed Scholarship.

A mediator for the Texas Arbitration Mediation Services, Peña said he was humbled by the recognition which commemorates his extensive legal career and immense contributions to El Paso.

“I hope the scholarship helps some worthy student complete their studies at UTEP and continue on to get a law degree,” Peña said.

The permanent endowment will support annual scholarships for undergraduate students enrolled in the UTEP Law School Preparation Institute who plan to attend law school. Students who apply must be enrolled full time and have a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Peña’s friend and lawyer Ruben S. Robles said collecting support for the endowment took only two months. Establishing a permanent endowment at UTEP requires a pledge of $25,000. Peña’s family and friends raised more than $36,000.

“Raising the money for this scholarship was one of the easiest things we’ve had to do. No one said no,” Robles said. “It’s a tribute to him, for what he’s done for the legal community.”

About LSPI

Established in 1998, the Law School Preparation Institute is substantially increasing the number of UTEP students who qualify for admission to and succeed in the nation’s top law schools.

The program consists of two intensive, month-long summer sessions that include examining philosophical and literary texts focusing on law, justice and logic. Students who participate in the institute experience an improvement in analytical thinking and logical reasoning skills, and become familiar with legal analysis expected in law school.

The program also includes a rigorous research and writing component in addition to preparing participants to take the Law School Admissions Test and apply to law schools.

El Paso lawyer and UTEP alumnus Carl Green said the fact that the funds would go to UTEP students also helped the group raise the money.

“Many of us who organized the scholarship have ties to UTEP,” he said. “We hope it can assist a student with law school, because even state law schools are getting more expensive.”

Green said he hopes the scholarship fund grows and inspires others in the community to establish UTEP scholarships honoring other great El Paso community leaders.

Peña graduated from Texas Western College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1958 and earned his law degree from the University of Houston.

He was appointed Assistant County Attorney of El Paso in 1963, was elected El Paso County Attorney in 1968 and was appointed judge of the Court of Domestic Relations of El Paso County in 1971.

In 1977, the court designation was changed to the 327th Family Court of El Paso County and served as the El Paso County Juvenile Court. Peña retired from the bench in 1991 and today continues working as vice president for Texas Arbitration Mediation Services, Inc.

Information: http://ia.utep.edu/givingtoutep

– Laura Cruz Acosta

Nursing Graduates Largest Summer Class

Aug. 15, 2008

Photos by César Ayala

UTEP School of Nursing graduates lit candles during a pinning ceremony in honor of
Florence Nightingale, founder of the modern nursing profession, who was known as
"The Lady with the Lamp."

The largest summer group of nursing candidates from UTEP was honored during a recent School of Nursing pinning ceremony at Magoffin Auditorium.

The summer’s graduating class totaled 68 nurses, the largest summer class in school history. The school graduates nurses three times a year to help reduce local and national nursing shortages. The pinning ceremony marks the transition from students to nurses.
Tumiininu Layinka fastens the UTEP School of
Nursing pin on his cousin Ade Awe during the
recent School of Nursing pinning ceremony.

“I would like to congratulate my fellow classmates for achieving their dreams of becoming nurses,” class president Alexandro Escontrias said. “For many of you it has been more than a challenge. I would also like to thank our family and friends for their unconditional support.”

School of Nursing Dean Robert Anders and Assistant Dean Pat Fowler stood on stage and congratulated each student before the school’s pin was attached to their lab coats.

Each student selected a special person in their life to join them on stage to fasten the pin.

After being pinned by his cousin Tumiininu Layinka, Nigerian native Ade Awe said he was grateful for his time at UTEP.

“Coming to UTEP was an opportunity of a lifetime, and not only I am graduating as a nurse but I truly had a fun time,” Awe said.

The 25-year-old has been hired by Sierra Providence and will start his new job this September. For more information about the School of Nursing, visit http://nursing.utep.edu.

– César Ayala

Aug. 12, 2008

Photo by J.R. Hernandez
Border Security Conference participants learned about the latest security technology
from various exhibitors at the UTEP Undergraduate Learning Center.

Keeping our international borders safe must be balanced against maintaining healthy commerce, good neighbors and strong families, some of the nation’s top law enforcement officials and border security experts said during the 5th annual Border Security Conference at UTEP this week.

“Border Security: A Binational Strategy for Border Protection and Effective Commerce” featured panel discussions about effective trade, security strategies and technologies and the education of future national security professionals.

UTEP plays a key role in all these areas, said U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso.

“This is where we will educate the future professionals but also conduct research for new technologies needed in this area,” he said. “The pool of experts and expertise is here.”

Jay M. Cohen, Under Secretary for Science and Technology with the Department of Homeland Security, announced the opening of the National Center for Border Security and Immigration at UTEP during Tuesday’s remarks.

Designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the center will receive $6 million over six years to conduct research and develop technologies, tools and advanced methods to balance immigration and commerce with effective border security. UTEP’s center will partner with the University of Arizona at Tucson.

Lauded as the ideal base for the center, UTEP currently has a number of academic and research programs that focus on border security, immigration and international relations. About 30 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate studies in new national security-related programs.


Robert S. Mueller, III, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, also recognized UTEP for its role in keeping border security and international relations at the forefront of national discussions.

He also talked about the agency’s history—it’s celebrating its 100th anniversary this year— and the challenges it faces in today’s technological world: “Our enemies may be based anywhere in the world, or anywhere in the world wide web,” he said.

He also talked about the serious challenges facing Juarez, El Paso and the southwest border, including drugs, human smuggling and gang activity, saying it was “not a particularly cheerful assessment.”

Taking a quote from John F. Kennedy, Mueller reinforced the agency’s commitment to solving those issues through partnerships.

“We must maintain our commitment to being neighbors, friends, partners and allies,” he said.
Miner “Superstar” Marches to Wall Street

Aug. 8, 2008

Accounting major Oscar Delgado speaks to students about the Hispanic
Business Student Association.

Many business students may daydream about sealing the big deal on Wall Street, America’s financial capital. UTEP senior Oscar Delgado got a taste of what that might be like.

Delgado, an accounting major, had a summer internship with Merrill Lynch.

The internship was through Sponsors for Educational Opportunity(SEO), a national organization that works to give minorities an opportunity to get financial and corporate law jobs with big companies.

The student’s “work hard - play hard” attitude helped him through numerous summer networking opportunities.

His work ethic and positive attitude probably will land him a job, and will keep SEO representatives coming back to UTEP for more interns, a SEO official said.


– Daniel E. Perez

Carnival of Success

August 6, 2008

Photos by Laura Trejo

Donning orange feather boas, plastic bowler hats and other crazy accessories, UTEP support staff took a break from their daily routine to attend a special carnival in their honor.

The annual staff appreciation event, dubbed Carnival of Success, included games, prizes and traditional treats like popcorn and cotton candy.

Winners of games such as ball toss and darts were rewarded with fake money featuring the faces of UTEP leaders – including special President Diana Natalicio $100 bills – which were used to purchase a variety of fun prizes.

After lunch, the crowd settled in for a short program. Student Government Association President Julio Diaz, W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation researcher Marjorie Adele Ingle and Cotton Productions student director Rudy Romo shared their UTEP success stories and told of the many ways university staff support them.

“My achievements aren’t just mine,” Ingle said after describing the important biomedical research she does. “They are your achievements, too, because you support us.”

Natalicio also thanked the group for their steady commitment to the university.

“Some of us may be responsible for short spurts of momentum, but it is your work that keeps UTEP moving forward every day,” she said.

View the photo gallery...

– Kimberly Miller

Miner’s Wild Blue Ride

August 4, 2008

Photos courtesy of Mike Acosta

Mike Acosta of University Relations is strapped in the F/A-18 Hornet before his July 9 VIP
flight with the Blue Angels in Pensacola, Fla.

When Mike Acosta was strapped into the F/A -18 Hornet, he knew he would be in for the ride of his life.

“I want to enjoy this ride,” he told himself as he rocketed down the Pensacola, Fla., runway inside one of the Navy’s Blue Angels jets.  “Don’t get sick and don’t black out.”

Well, when you find yourself shooting straight up followed by a steep nose dive or two, barrel rolls, and figure-eights while going several times faster than the speed of sound, one out of two ain’t bad.

Acosta, a staffer in UTEP’s University Relations, earned his July 9 ride over the Gulf of Mexico because of his work as national president of the Society of Mexican-American Engineers and Scientists.

The Navy has had a long relationship with the group because of its efforts to increase its number of minority engineers and those who may want to join its officer ranks.

Mike Acosta, national president of the Society of Mexican-
American Engineers and Scientists, gets a commemorative photo
of his ride with the Blue Angels. He is with Navy Lt. Cmdr. Craig
Olson, his Blue Angels pilot.
Acosta was offered the ride during the MAES symposium last October in Albuquerque.  The 60-year-old electrical engineer prepared physically and mentally for this experience.  He tried to learn things to do while he experienced the force of gravity and things not to do, like touch any buttons in the cockpit. 

“My dad had taken me to see the Blue Angels at Biggs airfield, but never in my wildest dreams …” he said as his voice trailed off.  “This was the ultimate experience of advanced technology.”

He said the hardest part of his pre-flight instruction was the thought that he had to remember all the information, which included the possibility of being ejected from the jet and landing in the gulf.

The flight was led by Lt. Cmdr. Craig Olson, who spent some of the trip describing the jet’s technology – while upside down.

He plans to share that first-person information with the different engineering groups that he meets with including those at UTEP, which has a great reputation as a top producer of Hispanic engineers.

While the flight lasted around 40-minutes, the experience will live on in a video that a Navy media team produced.  It will debut during the MAES Symposium and Career Fair this October in Las Vegas.

– Daniel E. Perez


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