UTEP Prepares Migrant Students with ‘College Envisioning’

What: About 40 middle school students from Canutillo Independent School District’s Migrant Education Program will learn how higher education can enhance their lives.

When: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23, 2016

Where: Education Building, Room 302 (10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.) and the Student Recreation Center (2:30-4:30 p.m.), UTEP Campus

Faculty and students from The University of Texas at El Paso will promote the value and accessibility of higher education to middle school students who come from challenging family backgrounds during the 2nd annual Migrant Student Symposium at UTEP.

These students will learn in a fun and relaxed atmosphere how to use their skills, knowledge and experience to succeed in life during the event that also will include a keynote presentation by Bill “Dr. Skateboard” Robertson, Ph.D., director of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Division of the Department of Teacher Education.

The event, themed “I Can Be Here Too,” will feature a panel presentation by UTEP’s Upward Bound student leaders, who will discuss overcoming challenges. Upward Bound is a federally funded program that assists low-income, first-generation high school students to dream big and succeed in higher education.

The young students will have lunch at UTEP’s Pick ‘N’ Shovel eatery, tour campus and finish with a chance to use the swimming pool in the Student Recreation Center.

Reynaldo “Rey” Reyes, Ph.D., associate professor of teacher education and founding organizer of the event, said students from migrant or agricultural backgrounds often are the most vulnerable in our schools and communities. They can experience extreme poverty and challenges such as learning English, and the citizenship status of family members. All this can lead to a sense of hopelessness.

“We want the students to envision themselves in college,” Reyes said. “Our event is designed to open the doors to possibilities for these students.”

The event sponsors are the Office of Cyndi Giorgis, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education, the Department of Athletics, the Office of Employer and Community Relations, Academic Technologies, the University Bookstore and donations by Angelita Guerrero, Deborah Diaz and Trisha Ainsa, Ph.D., and family.