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Leadership Award recipient is devoted to UTEP community, leadership


Thriving student Kaelin Walker was selected for the UTEP’s Leadership Award for her devotion and commitment to the student community. Walker is a junior, double-majoring in women’s and gender studies and dance, with a minor in legal reasoning.

To qualify for UTEP’s Leadership Award a student needs a GPA of 3.5 or higher, two letters of recommendation, must be a junior, senior or graduate student, must hold a leadership role for at least one year, and demonstrate an outstanding level of engagement in UTEP Edge. The recipient must also have participated in a minimum of two registered student organizations.

Walker has been a member of the University Honors Council and Desert Dance since her freshman year.

Walker competed in the homecoming pageant and won third place homecoming duchess which she considered her first involvement in Student Government Association (SGA).

“I feel like that was the first time I really felt school spirit and that’s when I knew I was proud to be a Miner because I was representing school in that way,” Walker said.

Walker was also recognized for her large participation in SGA.

During her homecoming reign, she proposed recognition for 100 years of women at UTEP with the idea of taking a photo in the form of a pickaxe (inspired by the photo taken at orientation) of just UTEP women, with Dr. Natalicio present.

“This was a turning point for me as a student because I realized if I had an idea and I wanted to do something at UTEP, that no matter how big it was, it was definitely possible because the people at UTEP wanted students with good ideas,” Walker said.

She was then invited to work on a book, “100 Years of Women at UTEP,” published in 2017.

That same year, she ran for senator at large for SGA and was not elected, but in 2018 Walker eagerly ran again, this time victoriously. Walker recently ran for vice president of external affairs in April but came up short by 21 votes.

Walker, a student of color, an immigrant and a member of the LGBTQ community, is quite public about being part of SGA. She became the student representative for the UTEP Deserves Better Movement.

When Walker was first approached to apply for the Leadership Award by her academic advisor, she was not quite sure if she would qualify for the award.

“It was a big application and at first I thought ‘no, I don’t qualify for that,’ but after reading over the criteria I said, ‘wait a minute, I think I do qualify for it,’” Walker said.

Walker plans to graduate from UTEP with honors with a bachelor’s degree in women and gender studies and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance performance. After, Walker wishes to earn her master’s degree in women’s studies followed by law school.

“After law school, I want to do legislative writing, so bill writing for our government. It’s a really lofty dream of mine to become a member of congress,” Walker said.

At 22 years old, Walker is a future congress leader and activist amongst the UTEP community that has elicited the change she once hoped for, while accomplishing feats worth the recognition of UTEP’s Leadership Award.

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Leadership Award recipient is devoted to UTEP community, leadership