UTEP strives to give students an ‘Edge’ before and after graduation


Arlene poses with her cap that says she will soon have a job. Photo credit: Claudia Garcia

The University of Texas at El Paso offers a vast array of services to students that will not only help them while in school but to prepare them for lifelong success as well.

Besides course work, UTEP further prepares students by providing research experiences, creative activities, study abroad, student employment, and student internships, among others. This fall semester, UTEP gathered all of these activities under a new initiative called UTEP Edge, which helps students get involved in school and in their career planning by focusing on research projects and extracurricular activities while they are enrolled.

“The Edge is really centered around three core statements which are talented students, enriching experiences, and lifelong success,” Marc Cox, director of the Center for Faculty Leadership and Development, said.

According to Cox, the fact that the majority of UTEP students are bilingual is an asset. Bilingual graduates, he said, have an edge when they apply for jobs. In addition, providing students with opportunities to engage in research and extracurricular activities while pursuing a college degree produces life long career-enhancing benefits.

“Studies show that students that graduate having had at least two of these Edge experiences go on to have much greater success in the future,” he said.

UTEP graduate Karla Ramirez, now manager at the Center for Faculty Leadership and Development, said that having worked as an undergraduate at the library gave her the push she needed to be where she is now. But she now wishes she had taken advantage of other opportunities outside the classroom to learn and grow as young professional.

“When I was an undergraduate, I didn’t know… you could get a certain internship or do a study abroad class until it was too late,” Ramirez said. “And right now, with the UTEP Edge, that’s our main focus, to get people involved.”

She says that every incoming student should focus on taking any education enhancing opportunity that comes their way.

Betsy Castro-Duarte, director of the University Career Center, said that getting involved in activities like study abroad, research projects, internships, on campus employment and other opportunities the minute students arrive at UTEP is key for a brighter future.

“The Career Center starts really early on. We know that if we’re talking to students by the time they’re juniors or seniors that’s too late. So we actually try to go to every new student orientation,” Castro said.

The Career Center helps student find campus employment, hosts “Work at UTEP” job fairs and Graduate School fairs.

“We partner with a lot of the instruction that’s happening around campus. We typically average over 100 class presentations in the fall,” Castro said.

Aldo Delgadillo, who graduated from UTEP with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology in the fall of 2016, now works as a residential advisor at Job Corps where he is responsible for keeping 43 students on track by monitoring their progress toward their technical education program and checking up on their physical and psychological well being.

The 26-year-old said he considers this job to be related to his major, but admits he never really used the career services offered by UTEP.

“I would see the flyers for career services but I guess it fell upon me that I never approached them and I guess it would’ve been a good pointer to, maybe, look for something else,” he said.

Arlene Chavez, 23, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in the Spring of 2017. While in school, she worked as a front desk staff for the Sociology department. She was then hired as a nurse at Providence Hospital a month after graduation.

She says she made use of the Career Center services. “They helped me fix my resume and they were always accessible in my classroom. Therefore, it was very easy for me to find a job right away.” Chavez said.

For currently enrolled students it’s important to know that UTEP graduates receive a free year of career services counseling while they are part of the alumni association. For more information about UTEP Edge you can reach them at edge@utep.edu.

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