Five UTEP students earn scholarships through advocacy for equality

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Five UTEP students earn scholarships through advocacy for equality

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Jake Deven, Staff Reporter

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The focus of this year’s Tacotote Tacolture Scholarship.

The annual scholarship, which helps students in the El Paso-Juárez region grow academically and professionally, was awarded to five UTEP students who personify Tacotote’s principles of giving back to the community, leadership, success and creativity.

“I’m grateful that a local business, such as Tacotote, takes the social responsibility of helping their community, which is something that all businesses should follow as an example,” said Sandra Navarrete, a sophomore accounting and finance major and one of five students to receive the scholarship.

Navarrete lives in Cd. Juárez and crosses the border every day to come to school. Like many UTEP students in the same position, this takes a toll on finances, especially when they are constantly converting from the Mexican peso to the U.S. dollar.

“As an international student, I am very dependent on the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Mexican peso, so any help I can get is very useful,” Navarrete said.

Navarrete applied for the scholarship after learning that the central theme of the award was based on equality, a subject in which she hopes to educate her community about. The Texas poverty rate is at a 10 year low, with 15.6 percent of Texans in poverty, compared to 12.7 percent nationwide.

She wants to educate the population and help others gain the knowledge and financial literacy to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty. Her plans include educating those that are most vulnerable in society, which she says are women and minorities.

The nearly 2,000-word essay that Navarrete wrote focused on giving back to her community through financial literacy.

“The only way to close (financial) disparities and to provide equal opportunities for everyone is through financial literacy,” Navarrete said.

Upon graduation, she hopes to become a certified public accountant (CPA) and an actuary, which is a field that is heavily dominated by men. Navarette says she is inspired heavily by Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, and even wrote about her in her essay. Sandberg’s book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” concentrates on empowering women in the workforce and her journey climbing the corporate ladder in a male-dominated industry.

“It really inspired me to see how she’s able to succeed in her field, and her ideology on how women can empower each other really stuck with me,” Navarrete said.

She’s now joining as many organizations as she can and gives talks to educate others about financial literacy. One thing she wants her community to recognize is, “financial literacy is not complicated or intimidating, and it’s one of the only ways we, as a society, can be equal.”

For now, Navarrete says she’s joining as many organizations as she can and gives talks to educate others about financial literacy. One thing she wants her community to recognize is, “financial literacy is not complicated or intimidating, and it’s one of the only ways we, as a society, can be equal.”

Other winners include Hugo Retana, Joy Alejandra Contreras, Paloma Vianey Martinez and Dessia Schier.

Follow Jake Deven on Twitter @jakedeven

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