UTEP grad stems into the field


Annabella Mireles

Chavez plans on going to Paul L. Foster School of Medicine to achieve her goals of becoming a physician and a neurologist.

Annabella Mireles, Photo Editor

According to the scholarly article “Running out of STEM,” there has been a high rate at which students in the science, technology, engineering and math departments drop out. 

However, students like biochemistry major Stephanie Chavez are going against those odds and graduating this Fall. 

Chavez says that UTEP has helped her toward her goals of becoming a physician and neurologist. 

Chavez says that UTEP’s Freshman Year Research Intensive Sequence (FYRIS) helped her achieve a lot in only her first year as a college student.  

“I got to be in a lab and work under Professor Narayan for a whole year,” Chavez said. “I was able to get published in a paper, and I don’t think any other freshman can probably say they’ve been published like that, and that’s one of the things that I’m very grateful for at UTEP.”  

Chavez was published in the National Library of Medicine for a collaborative piece titled “Nanocarriers as Potential Drug Delivery Candidates for Overcoming the Blood-Brain Barrier: Challenges and Possibilities.” 

While taking part in research with several professors and being a biochemistry student, Chavez stresses the importance of joining organizations, and how those fulfilled her college experience. 

“I feel like we’re like a hidden gemstone, but there’s so much going on in this university,” Chavez said. “We’re a commuter school, and people come to class and then they just go home, but if you get involved and you join clubs or organizations, you’re going to have a blast and get so much out of it.” 

Chavez was a part of organizations such as the Miner Ambassador’s program, the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and the Minority Association for Pre-Medical Students (MAPS). 

Chavez says she plans on going to Paul L. Foster School of Medicine or another medical school to help her achieve her career goals. 

Chavez says she was inspired to become a neurologist due to her medical history.  

“I had brain surgery during the Spring of 2020,” Chavez said. “It was just a cyst, nothing crazy, but I was just so fascinated on how they were able to go into my brain through my nose. I just think it’s awesome how this tiny little thing that’s only a few centimeters big can have this huge impact on your entire body. I was undecided on what I wanted to do in the medical field before this, but this made me realize what I wanted to do with my degree.”  

Chavez says that El Paso and other communities are medically underserved. She wants to continue her education in order to be able to educate people on what is happening with their bodies and help them get the treatment they need. 

Since she is graduating, Chavez wanted to share some advice, specifically for other STEM majors, who are going through a tough time finishing up their degrees. 

“You’re not alone,” Chavez said. “The Pre-Med field is so competitive, and you want to try to be this perfect person on paper, but there’s no such thing. If that’s what you want to do, keep working towards it and keep pushing through because at the end of the day, it’s going to work out, and then you’ll look back and think about how easy that class was and ask yourself why you were crying about it. You have to remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”  

Annabella Mireles is the photo editor and may be reached at [email protected] or @photographybyannabella on Instagram.