Meet the recipients of the Hawkins scholarship


Juniors Laura Sofia Ronquillo and Maximilian Rothblatt have been awarded with the University’s highest award for scholarship and leadership, the Hawkins Scholarship. This is a $10,000 award that will help them towards graduate school. Photo courtesy of J. R. Hernandez.

Kristen Scheaffer, Staff Reporter

Students Laura Sofia Ronquillo and Maximilian Rothblatt were awarded the Hawkins scholarship, an award providing two UTEP students with 10,000 dollars each to go toward their school career.  

The Hawkins Scholarship is considered the highest award a UTEP student can receive. It is a junior-oriented award that can be applied towards tuition, fees, books, and even research or study abroad. The scholarship was influenced by other competitive scholarships like the Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, and Gates Cambridge scholarships, according to a press release from UTEP’s University Communications.   

Eleven finalists were chosen based on their intellect, character, leadership traits, how they serve others, and the potential of addressing challenges to society, according to the press release.  

Ronquillo is a biochemistry major, hailing from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. She is currently a member of the University Honors Program and a member of the College of Science Honors Program. She is also the social media officer for the UTEP chapter of Advancement of Chicano/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.  

“With the Hawkins scholarship, I’m hoping to go study abroad in Canada, a university called Brock University. I think, as scientists, we really have to be more, we really have to be open to all these new experiences,” said Ronquillo.  

For Ronquillo, studying abroad is important. Her goal is to pursue a Ph.D. abroad with her sights set toward Hamburg, Germany. Her dream is to become a university professor and a researcher. 

“I really want to be a teacher, but not just like a normal teacher, you know, I want to be a mentor,” said Ronquillo.  

Rothblatt is a mechanical engineering major and a resident of El Paso. He is currently vice president for UTEP’s chapter of the American Institute of Aerospace and Aeronautics, a fellow for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and participating in undergraduate research on geospatial analysis with the Department of Earth, Environment and Resource Sciences.  

Rothblatt seeks to obtain his Ph.D. and work within research and development, whether through the Air Force as an officer or through a private sector before returning to teach.  

“My father, he was a mechanical engineer as well and so he had a little bit of influence on my life when I was younger and, little by little, it became a passion of my own,” said Rothblatt. “So, it kind of transferred, I was in all of the Lego robotics teams, the regular robotics teams, engineering courses in high school, advanced math and science courses.”  

The scholarship was named after 1st Lt. William Deane Hawkins. Although he was born in Kansas, he spent most of his life in El Paso when his family relocated when he was five, according to Marine Corps University. He went on to study engineering at Texas College of Mines, what is now known as UTEP. He lost his life in World War 2 after joining the Marine Corps after the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

“It’s never too late to apply to anything, just get involved as early as you can, even if you’re a senior and you feel like it’s too late. There’s always opportunities all around,” Rothblatt shared for other students.   

Any further inquiries about scholarships can be found at 


Kristen Scheaffer is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected]