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UTEP’s 2017 top 10 seniors

Gaby Velasquez
(From left to right) Raudel Avila, Caitlin Harmon, Eden Klein, Lizette Gutierrez, Ryan Saenz, Ilana Gomez, Kimberly Gonzalez, Samuel Alvidrez, Mayra Rodarte and Andrea Norte.

Mayra Rodarte- theater

Rodarte was an officer in the liberal arts honors program and is among one of the first liberal arts ambassadors that UTEP has had. She interned with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, where she was able to help low-income immigrant receive legal aid.

“I’m leaving theater and I will be going into public administration to help the community and El Paso, which is something I learned while being an undergrad,” Rodarte said. “Through my internship and my professors, I realized it’s our job to make the world a better place and I want to contribute the best I can.”

Lizette Gutierrez – biological sciences

Gutierrez was part of the Medical Professions Organization and the A-Prime Time organization at UTEP. She was also part of a church program where she helped high school students.

“I did a project with La Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey and essentially I was a mentor and tutor to at-risk children, and our goal was to get those students to graduate from high school,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez is still waiting for a response from a medical school, but despite the wait, Gutierrez said she knows what she would like to do in the future.

“My plan in the future is to become a traveling physician, I want to help people in developing countries,” Gutierrez said.

Eden Klein – economics

Although her time at UTEP was significantly shorter than most, Klein made the most out of her UTEP experience. Now at only 19 years old, Klein entered college with over 60 credits from her early college high school. She was a part of various organizations such as the Law School Preparatory Institute, where she actively pursued her dream of getting into law school.

In the fall Klein will attend the University of Texas at Austin’s law school and plans to one day be a public defender.

“I’m very excited to receive this award,” Klein said. “I’ve only been at UTEP for two years, and UTEP offered a lot of opportunities for me and I’m very grateful for it. I’m only 19 and I believe that all the experiences here have helped me a lot.”

Caitlin Harmon – biological sciences

Harmon did almost everything a pre-med student could do during her three-year tenure at UTEP. She was selected to participate in the A Prime Time program, which prepares medical school hopefuls, and she participated in lab research at UTEP. During the summer of 2016, Harmon interned at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she shadowed doctors and spent the summer learning new cancer research.

She plans on studying for the MCAT during the next year and then hopes to attend a top medical school.

“I am humbly honored and blessed to be chosen as a Top 10 Senior. We are painted as the image of UTEP’s finest students, where it’s unequivocal that we continuously represent in its highest honor. I couldn’t have done it without my friends and family,” Harmon said.

Ryan Saenz- biological sciences

Saenz was a member of UTEP’s Medical Professions Organization, where he participated in various projects and community service events. He also received two scholarships from the Hospitals of Providence and a scholarship from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Saenz was a part of the cross country team during his first semester, but he decided to quit the sport to become a better doctoral applicant.

Saenz said that as he enrolled at UTEP, one of his goals was to make his parents proud.

“I wouldn’t be here without my family, we’ve gone through a lot in the last few years, financially. This is a reflection of all the hard work we’ve done as a family,” Saenz said. 

Samuel Alvidrez – finance

Alvidrez was on the Dean’s List during most of his time at UTEP, and was named to Who’s Who, Men and Women of Mines as well as two internships in Texas and New York. Although he had a successful academic career, Alvidrez plans to pursue  his lifelong dream of becoming a professional soccer player after he graduates. If that doesn’t work out, however, he plans to become a business analyst for a major company.

“It means a lot to receive this award; it’s one of the greatest honors UTEP offers,” Alvidrez said. “My advice for someone would be to find a true passion and work towards it every day.”

Andrea Norte – English & American literature

Throughout her years as a Miner, Norte had a goal of becoming more involved through extra curricular activities while maintaining a strong GPA. She actively participated in organizations such as Alpha Sigma Alpha, Chicano Law Study, Liberal Arts Honors Program and was a SGA collegiate senator for Liberal Arts.

“This feels surreal,” Norte said. “I actually attended (the Top 10 Seniors banquet) as a sophomore in Miner Ambassadors. I remembered all the speeches and I wanted to work towards being one of them someday.”

Norte said she first chose to go to college in Dallas before attending UTEP.

“When I first came to UTEP, I didn’t want to come. I left to Dallas for school and then I came back and gave UTEP a shot. I started doing well in school, joined leadership clubs and organizations—it went on from there,” Notre said. “I had a humbling experience that I was wrong about UTEP.”

Raudel Avila- mechanical engineering

Avila said that being a Top 10 Senior is not just about grades, he applied because he dedicated a majority of his time to doing research at UTEP. Avila has published several conference papers and is currently writing a journal article. Some of his work has been presented in Japan and India.

“I’m very thankful with UTEP, this school gave me so many things,” Avila said. “I received honorable mention by the National Science Foundation, I also got a Walter P. Murphy Fellowship for Northwestern University for incoming doctoral students and a national scholarship from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.”

Ilana Gomez – philosophy 

Carrying with her a storied academic career of prospering in various fields, Gomez is now at the end of her collegiate career and has high hopes for the future. She was actively involved with SGA and participated in internships with the UT Archer Fellowship, state Senator Jose Rodriguez and Congressman Beto O’Rourke.

Gomez plans to  study for the LSAT through the next year and hopes to attend law school in the fall of 2018. When asked about her school of preference, Gomez said she is striving for Harvard Law.

“Words can’t explain how humbled I am to receive this award,” Gomez said. “I couldn’t have done it without UTEP—all my professors, friends and family who supported me through this.”

Kimberly Gonzalez — forensic biology

Gonzalez has been on UTEP’s Dean’s List throughout her time at UTEP, and she received a national scholarship from the International Association for Identification, the largest and oldest Forensics organization in the world. Besides being a member of a student organization, Gonzalez took the initiative to become the treasurer of the National Society of Collegiate Students chapter at UTEP, while being a peer leader in UTEP’s entering student program. Just a few days before graduation, Gonzalez said she found her future educational path.

“I just got word that I got accepted to my master’s program at UNC Health Science Center and I will be attending UNC for the next two years,” Gonzalez said.

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About the Contributors
Rene Delgadillo, Multimedia Editor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
Gaby Velasquez, Photo editor
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UTEP’s 2017 top 10 seniors