Originally published May 6, 2016
By Esmeralda Treviño
As Spring Commencement approaches and another semester draws to a close, The University of Texas at El Paso Alumni Association presents the Top 10 Seniors award. The award is given annually to UTEP’s most promising future alumni as they prepare to go out and pursue their careers. The award reflects the true spirit of what it means to be an outstanding Miner.
“The UTEP Alumni Association is proud to announce this year’s Top 10 Seniors who, once again, demonstrate their tremendous accomplishments at UTEP,” said Richard Daniel, Ph.D. associate vice president for university advancement and executive director for alumni relations. “These Top 10 Seniors enter the next phase of their lives prepared to create success, and we expect that they will do greater things as alumni of UTEP.”
The Top 10 Seniors for 2016 were selected based on a combination of academic achievement, involvement, leadership and service both in the community and on campus, as well as the impression they made on others during their time at UTEP. Nominees must have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or greater and be receiving their first undergraduate degree within the current academic year.
Future plans: Master’s degree in economics at UTEP
From the office to the soccer field, Keighton Allen has worked in a wide variety of fields. As a goalkeeper for the UTEP women’s soccer team, Allen knows all about teamwork and leadership. She applied these skills as an intern at Top Notch Personnel Staffing. Allen believes in “always leaving a place better than you find it,” and has a mission to do this for the place she now calls home – El Paso.
Future plans: Analyst at Goldman Sachs
“All in all, UTEP has given me access to excellence,” said Oscar Casanova on how UTEP has opened the doors to a successful career. Casanova has completed several internships with prestigious finance companies, such as J.P. Morgan. Working for UTEP at the University Career Center and Residence Life also has expanded his skill set. Casanova has many honors and hours of volunteer experience that have carved the path for his biggest professional accomplishment: landing a full-time analyst role at the banking firm, Goldman Sachs, beginning in July 2016.
Major: Electrical Engineering
Future plans: Medical school at Boston University
Roya Edalatpour partook in internships with companies including Exxon Mobil and General Electric Aviation throughout the summers of her undergraduate career. Applying the knowledge she learned in the classroom to the professional setting took her to the White House Tech Inclusion Summit, where she discussed underrepresented youth in the technology sector. She is taking classes at Boston University for a year in residence to prepare herself for a graduate career in the medical field.
Paulina Almada Felix
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Future plans: Career as a mechanical engineer
An active member of several engineering organizations, Paulina Felix has been a dedicated leader throughout her undergraduate career. Volunteering for Project MOVE and the Baja SAE Competition through UTEP, Felix has accumulated several hours of volunteer work and community service. The aspiring mechanical engineer plans to “use her knowledge to contribute to the creation of new, more efficient products that will positively impact today’s society.”
Future plans: Work with a mental health advocacy organization while considering medical or law school
“I have been so fortunate to be involved in extracurricular activities at UTEP,” Rodrigo Lugo said. “They have impacted me in such a way that changed not only who I am, but they have shaped the person I will become.” Lugo has been involved with activities at UTEP and in the surrounding community, including the Student Government Association, Project MOVE and pre-veterinary programs. Lugo will take the skills learned at UTEP with him as he pursues his future career.
Future plans: Army Reserves and medical school at Texas Tech’s Paul L. Foster School of Medicine
Serving in the UTEP ROTC gave David Morris the opportunity to develop his character and become a leader. “After nearly four years of physical training, leadership classes, field training exercises and tactical labs, I am proud to say that I will be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army,” Morris said, crediting UTEP with his success. Morris also worked as a Chemistry Peer Leader for the University, guiding students through their chemistry courses.
Major: Multidisciplinary Studies
Future plans: Career in family law
Volunteering throughout the community and being active on campus, Monique Navarro is no stranger to hard work. Recognizing the vast opportunities that UTEP provided to her, Navarro has involved herself in various workshops and meetings with some of the most influential people in the community. “I have found that with the support of UTEP, my education has reflected those values which I hold so dear, while my major in multidisciplinary studies has allowed me an expansion in thought I never imagined possible,” Navarro said.
Future plans: Earning an M.D./Ph.D.
Working as an undergraduate research assistant as well as shadowing doctors throughout her undergraduate career have allowed Alexis Ramos, a biology major with a biomedical concentration, to come closer to reaching her goal of becoming a medical doctor. Ramos has an endless list of volunteer work that spans activities on campus, such as the University Honors Program, to civic activities such as coaching for the El Paso Little Blazers football team. “I will strive to be the best I can be in academics, the community and with others,” she said.
Majors: English and American Literature, and Philosophy
Future plans: Graduate school
“UTEP has uniquely made me aware of how important it is to seize each and every single day, hour, minute and word,” said Troy Rowden, former president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He spent his undergraduate years participating in countless hours of volunteer work along with teaching children philosophy as an instructor for the Philosophy for Children Program. This, along with working at the University Writing Center, has prepared Rowden for excellence.
Major: Industrial Engineering
Future plans: Master’s degree in systems engineering
“The many doors that UTEP has opened for me throughout my years as an undergraduate have allowed me to expand my knowledge in various subjects,” Ileana Rubio said. After her first year at UTEP, Rubio decided to become more involved in the University and take advantage of the opportunities that were available to her. Interning at Lockheed Martin and leading the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society as president only scratch the surface of the activities and organizations in which she has participated.