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The Prospector sits down with Cynthia Aguilar

Joel Molina
Cynthia Aguilar, born and raised in El Paso, Texas, received her master’s at UTEP and was named the new dean of students, beginning her duties Jan. 2.

As the calendar turned to a new year, Cynthia Aguilar took on the role of dean of students and associate vice president of Student Affairs bringing a wave of change to the UTEP academic community. 

After Dr. Catie McCorry-Andalis was promoted to vice president of Student Affairs in July 2023, the quest began to identify a fitting successor. Numerous individuals submitted their applications for the role, yet Aguilar distinguished herself from the pool of candidates.  

Her undeniable dedication to higher education and her extensive résumé is what set her apart. Aguilar began her teaching career as a bilingual educator. She went up the ranks with her career starting with K-12 and moving up to the higher ed setting. To begin her collegiate career, she was hired at El Paso Community College to be the college readiness director.  

Aguilar then went on to work at many institutions around Texas, which included Mountain View College in the Dallas County Community College District, Dallas College and she also served as the assistant vice president at Tarleton State University before coming to UTEP.  

“I realized that I needed to do this job for women like us,” said Aguilar when asked what motivated her to pursue this line of work. “You know, the brown women and the brown males, they need to see people like us and like them in these positions.” 

Aguilar was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and moved to Albuquerque, N.M. where she received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and teaching at the University of New Mexico in 1997. In 2006, she earned her masters of education in educational leadership and administration at UTEP. Now, Aguilar is currently pursuing her doctorate in education at Abilene Christian University.  

She began her new position Jan. 2, and says she aims to draw upon her 15 years of experience in higher education to enhance connections with UTEP students and build a solid support network for their benefit. 

“The Dean of Students office historically has been the principal’s office,” Aguilar said. “So, I’ve worked really hard to break that stereotype. I consider the Dean of Student’s office to be a GPS for students, our job is to advocate, empower and support the students.” 

Aguilar’s central aim is to enhance UTEP students’ access to supportive resources and eliminate obstacles impeding their advancement. Her immediate priorities involve expanding student leadership opportunities and promoting increased student success. 

“My vision is by the time that all students leave here, they will have had a leadership experience,” Aguilar said. “So, at the end of the day a student has had opportunities through our office to have an internship, an E-portfolio and a capstone experience. So, then the student knows what they are going to pursue after graduation.” 

As Aguilar assumes the role of dean of students and associate vice president, her El Paso roots and steadfast dedication to breaking higher education stereotypes infuse her leadership with transformative potential. 

Alyson Rodriguez is a contributor may be reached at [email protected]; @alyson_rod1127 on X.

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About the Contributors
Alyson Rodriguez, Contributor/Writer

Alyson Rodriguez is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso, currently majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in leadership studies. She is a contributor at The Prospector. She joined The Prospector in the Fall of 2020 as a contributor for the Arts and Culture section and has now written articles for the sports and news section and has done podcast segments as well. After discovering her passion for journalism through The Prospector, Alyson has gone to intern at El Paso Matters, NPR Next Generation Texas Newsroom and the Texas Standard. 

Joel Molina, Photo Editor
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the photo editor who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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