UTEP top ten senior heads to work for the U.S. Senate

+Photo+Courtesy+of+Luis+Hinojos

Photo Courtesy of Luis Hinojos

Victoria Rivas , Contributor

For Luis Hinojos, 21, determination is something that has never lacked in his life. The drive to succeed was there when he entered UTEP in 2018 as a political science and economics major and continues to be there as he prepares to graduate this Spring and start his newest adventure as a staffer of the U.S. Senate. 

Hinojos was born in El Paso, but lived six years in Juárez, Chihuahua, before moving with his family for three years to Miami, FL, because of a job opportunity for his father. 

“Some of the challenges I faced was, particularly when coming into the United States was going from an education in Mexico to an education in the United States,” Hinojos said. I didn’t know the language, and I was six years old, and there was also a cultural shock.”  

That six-year-old did not let a cultural shock get in the way of pursuing a higher education in the U.S. Hinojosis among 18 recipients of UTEP’s 2018 Terry Foundation Scholarship, which is awarded to Texas high school seniors who show promise in leadership.   

“I owe a great deal of debt to the scholarship because, without them, I wouldn’t be able to do many of the things that I have been able to do,” Hinojos said. “They allowed me to focus on my education rather than being concerned about or being preoccupied, or worried on how I was going to pay for college.” 

Although the Terry Scholarship helped ease y financial worries, before coming to UTEP, Hinojos said he constantly struggled with over-demanding himself and dealing with self-induced stress.  It wasn’t until he arrived at UTEP that he took advantage of the resources and the support provided by the university, that he stopped overwhelming himself with the opportunities presented to him. 

“Don’t be a victim of your opportunities,” Hinojos said. “I am very fortunate for the opportunities that were offered to me. When I think about the challenges I’ve faced, I think about the opportunities that I had to be able to overcome them. Think about the opportunities more than the challenges.” 

And so Hinojos has done just that, focused on the opportunities presented to him. Aformer officer of UTEP’s Student Government Association (SGA), he is currently in Washington D.C. as a member of the 2021 Archer Fellowship Program. As an Archer Fellow, Hinojos interns with the U.S. Senate, where he is involved with federal policymaking. 

“I know that without the fellowship, I would not be where I am.,” Hinojos said. Even if it was one semester, now I am staying in D.C. for the foreseeable future. I do want to return to El Paso, but I want to immerse myself into federal policymaking, to be able to bring outside experiences and outside knowledge. 

During his time in SGA, Hinojos served as co-chair of the document review committee where he worked on reforming the student government’s bylaws and Constitution. He also founded committees to increase accessibility to the underserved population on campus. He started the Pop-Up Stage, a special project that included live music at the union from UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts students to highlight the strong artistic community on campus. 

“What I wanted to do was to advance and heighten up the perception of UTEP’s strengths,” Hinojos said. 

Hinojos hopes to take the lessons he learned as a UTEP student and apply them into his new role as staffer for the U.S. Senate. Here, just like with the rest of his endeavorshe is determined to continue devoting his career to public service  

“Sometimes our goals, dream jobs, or our dream professions can seem so distant. We sometimes undervalue ourselves and have a perception of us smaller than we are, but miners are strong,” Hinojos said. “We have a world-class education, and we can go anywhere.” 

Victoria Rivas may be reached at [email protected]; @VicRivas_18 on Twitter.