Access, talent, research and external funding 4 keys to UT El Paso’s continued success, retiring president Natalicio says

EL PASO, Texas — After spending three decades reshaping the University of Texas at El Paso, Diana Natalicio isn’t sure she’s ready for the next stage of her life. “Well, I mean, in some ways I am and in some ways I’m not, having done the same thing for 30 years,” said Natalicio, who announced her retirement in May as UTEP’s president. “I don’t have much practice on the retirement side of this. So I think it’s a good time for me to do this. But I’ll have to see how successful I am at being a retiree.”

Natalicio, a 79-year-old native of St.

Mom couldn’t find inclusive preschool for her child with special needs, so she opened one in El Paso

EL PASO – After her daughter was born five years ago with Down syndrome, local educator Kerry McKee began an extensive search for special education opportunities for children with the genetic condition. She searched with no luck for schools in the El Paso area that catered to children like her daughter and discovered that Down syndrome children often were placed in separate classrooms.

She even considered moving to another city in Texas with special facilities and learning opportunities for children with special needs. “I said, that’s not the education my child is going to have,” said Mckee, who has worked for 20 years in the field of education. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, approximately one in every 700 babies in the U.S. is born with Down syndrome – or about 6,000 each year. Finally, after visiting the KinderFrogs School in Fort Worth, an inclusive program designed for children with disabilities, she decided El Paso needed a program like it.

Internships critical for college students to gain edge in job market

The U.S. unemployment rate at 4.4 percent is at its lowest level in 10 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are more than 6.2 million job openings. But just because there are jobs doesn’t mean that graduating college students are guaranteed work. One thing that can hurt graduating students’ chances of getting a job is the lack of an internship on their resume. Internships can demonstrate that students gained on-site and hands-on experience in their field of study.

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

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.

School children find peace, balance in Kundalini Yoga practice

A yoga practice referred to as “the yoga of awareness” is helping students be more present, confident and peaceful, said the director of an El Paso Montessori school. “Kundalini Yoga for us has been a tremendous opportunity for students to connect even deeper within, to really understand that they are inside and really make a connection with their body and mind,” said Natalia Bennett, director of Mountain West Montessori School. She said some of the benefits students have experienced from Kundalini Yoga practice at Mountain West Montessori include thinking more clearly, being more aware of their surroundings and being at peace within themselves and the people around them. Kundalini Yoga is one of the older yogas and is very comprehensive including meditation, breath work, and mudras with hand positions, mantras, chanting, and singing. “Yoga means to unite, to merge body, mind and spirit, and Kundalini Yoga does that, it connects us to our inner wisdom, our consciousness our inner strength,” said Paramdayal Kaur, a certified Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher in El Paso.

How the popularity of UTEP’s majors have shifted for women

Think you can guess what UTEP’s most popular undergraduate majors were last in 2015? If you guessed nursing for women and engineering for men, you’d be right. But if you had to guess what the most popular undergraduate majors were 10 years ago, would your answers still be the same? According to UTEP’s Center for Institutional Evaluation, Research and Planning, Business was the most popular major for male students in 2005, but among women, education was the most popular major, comprising 10 percent of female undergrads. Business was the most popular major overall at the university.

Borderzine now accepting applications for Journalism in July 2017, a summer multimedia workshop for high school students

Borderzine is accepting applications from El Paso area high school juniors and seniors for full scholarships to attend the 15th annual Journalism in July (JIJ) workshop at the University of Texas at El Paso. The dates are July 9 – 16. Fill out the application form here. Over the last 14 years, the workshop has provided journalism training to more than 200 students from high schools in the El Paso–Ciudad Juárez–Las Cruces area.  A goal of the workshop is to encourage high school students of diverse backgrounds who are already interested in journalism to pursue future studies and careers in news media and communication. “Journalism in July encouraged me to pursue a career in journalism,” said Gloria Heredia, 2012 alumna of the program and current multimedia journalism student at the University of Texas at El Paso.

NewTech teaching tools prepare Bowie students for college and beyond

As students file into a freshman algebra class at Bowie High School they begin to notice that something is different. The round tables in the center of the room have folded tent cards with job titles such as “Resource manager”and “Task manager.” The outer tables in the room each have a tower of wood blocks. “Miss, we’re playing Jenga?” asks Amber Macias, a student in teacher Celeste Cano’s algebra class.

Air pollution leads to lower grades for some El Paso schoolchildren, study finds

El Paso’s poor air quality is driving down school performance for children in neighborhoods with high rates of airborne metabolic disrupting chemicals, researchers say. In a study published in the September issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers at the University of Texas at El Paso and Northeastern University looked at school performance among fourth and fifth-grade public school children in El Paso. They found that children exposed to higher levels of airborne toxins had lower grade point averages,

Related: Air quality one of biggest threats on U.S., Mexico border

Study author Stephanie Clark-Reyna, a second-year doctoral student at Northeastern University who attended UTEP as an undergraduate, said she hopes the research will have an impact on how El Paso addresses its unique air quality issues. “Air quality in El Paso is concerning because of the trucking industry. Last time I looked it up, something like 800,000 trucks passed through a single port of entry in one year,” Clark-Reyna said.