I Graduated — I Finally Did It!

EL PASO — The fall commencement at the University of Texas at El Paso in December was the first one I ever attend and it was my very own. I am a first generation college graduate, as well as a returning student.  Twenty years ago when I first attended college at the age of 18, I had no idea how high the odds were stacked up against me.  As it turns out, according to the Pell Institute only 11% of low-income, first generation students ever make it to graduation day. Being the first in my family to attend college means there was no one who had gone before me that could guide me through the tumultuous road.  It was a foreign culture I did not navigate well.  I didn’t even know what questions I to ask.   I didn’t even know that I could drop classes if I were doing poorly.  That mistake haunts me today since it still affects my G.P.A.

Only one adult in my life seriously spoke to me about going to college. It was my high school counselor who I still remember affectionately.  He is the one who had college brochures and applications sent to my house.  My grandmother, however, did not greet those brochures fondly.  She saw them as a threat to the cohesiveness of her family. Mr. Joe Jacquez from Thomas Jefferson High School, has passed away since then, but I would like him to know, even though it took a while, his efforts eventually paid off because, I finally did it!

Border Stories: Photography as an Instrument for Education

EL PASO — The brisk pace of life carved into the faces in Bruce Berman’s photographs carries stories of the humor, sadness and diversity that exist along the U.S.-Mexico border. The gallery at the University of Texas at El Paso’s Centennial Museum rang with excitement as the crowd that gathered for the event drew from Berman’s energy as he entered the room. “What am I thinking? I’m too old for this,” said Berman.  But his eyes told otherwise as he sat in the middle of the room, surrounded by the framed moments he had captured through the lens of his camera.  Each photograph seemed to tell a different story from the same book. “These photos are not at all about me,” Berman said, “They are absolutely about the people in the stories.” His exhibition was a collection of pictures taken along the El Paso-Juarez border.

Get an internship!

EL PASO — I know I must sound like an overbearing parent every time I provide this career advice to students. Then I repeat the internship mantra and launch into my usual spiel: Don’t just get one —complete two or three before you graduate, ideally one where you live and another outside the area. Successful internships place you at the top of the prospect list when a job recruiter reviews your resume.  You learn to work in a professional setting in your career field.  You gain experience solving issues and conflicts that may arise in the workplace. You produce quality work, from writing a press release, to helping produce a news package or promoting a big event.

Students Employed on Campus Have Better Chances of Success

EL PASO – Students working as staff at the University of Texas at El Paso are teaching their counterparts in Melbourne, Australia, a thing or two about working where they study. Daniella Nevarez stands in front of 30 of her fellow students and begins to show them how to use a webpage-design program, as well as video and audio editing software. But this is not a class presentation. It’s her job. According to the UTEP Budget office, Nevarez is one of 2,209 students employed at UTEP.

Teacher Reassignment Raises Concerns Among Parents and Teachers

EL PASO — Teachers in the Ysleta Independent School District who have traditionally specialized in a particular subject may be forced to teach classes on topics they have never taught and, according to some teachers and parents, the change may be detrimental to both teaching and learning. These changes went into effect at the start of the 2009-2010 school year. Several teachers, particularly in Riverside High School, were switched from their original teaching position into different subjects designated by the school. Mike Martinez who has been the principal at Riverside High School for three and a half years says reassigning teachers is a positive note and not a mistake. “Reassigning teachers in a school is based on the scores of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test that is given each year to students.

Sam Donaldson to Young Journalists: The future is Multimedia

UTEP launches new Multimedia Journalism Degree

EL PASO—At the start of cybertime, back when 56K Internet speed was the norm, Sam Donaldson was at the forefront of multimedia journalism. Now, 10 years later, when high speed Internet is transforming journalism, Donaldson is encouraging prospective journalists to join the revolution. The legendary ABC newsman visited the University of Texas at El Paso Nov. 2, to announce the addition of the Multimedia Journalism Degree, which will enable students to gain multifaceted experience in the field. “This degree will enable you, and this university, to be in the forefront of looking at all these different platforms. At this university you will look at radio television, the Internet, print and look at all the ways you can communicate,” Donaldson said.

Negative Aspects of Text Messaging

EL PASO — Frances Thrush sends 100 text messages a day and a total of about 4,000 a month. “When my phone service is cut off, I feel completely lost and anxious because I am not able to text,” Thrush said. She is a 16-year-old junior in high school admitting to being addicted to text messaging and could not picture her social life without it. “It’s a very quick and simple way to keep in touch with all my friends at once, I love it,” Thrush said. The consumer research company Nielsen Mobile, which kept track of 50,000 individual customer accounts in the second quarter of this year, found that Americans each sent or received 357 text messages a month, compared with just 204 phone calls.

Teachers explore their identities to improve pedagogical techniques

“I wanted to get across to the teachers here that knowing themselves and recognizing their own identity, their restraints and their abilities, to be able to recognize traditions, benefits and beliefs within their own culture,” said Lucille Dominguez, a Lecturer in the College of Education at UTEP speaking at the 5th Annual ABC Conference here.

Borderzine.com, forging ahead

During a challenging year for traditional news media, Borderzine has good news and important milestones to share with readers and supporters. Several new academic and business partnerships will mean publication of more journalism content and personal voces on the topic of borders, be they geographic, personal, political or cultural. With the new partners coming on board, we also anticipate more traffic for the site and increased national visibility for this multimedia bilingual website housed at the University of Texas at El Paso. These accomplishments should also increase credibility for our mission to showcase the best of student journalism about borders while helping to prepare the next generation of multimedia news professionals, and getting recruiters to take notice of student talent with an eye to offering them internships and jobs. Two years after its launch, Borderzine is moving forward on various fronts.

California’s Hispanic border women overcome obstacles to success

“Because their families are not wanting them to take that step of independence,” Shavers said. She explained that women of the border face special issues that people elsewhere wouldn’t such as health issues and mainly trying to find their identity as Mexican-Americans. “While their traditions are Mexican and they have a lot of language and culture, ethnic foods, and music and things, they are really more American than they are Mexican because their expectations, their rights as women are based heavily on what they live in the United States,” she said. Shavers said young women of Hispanic descent aren’t driven to succeed. They don’t get as much encouragement from their families to go off to college and become successful.

UTEP features alumnus Alfredo Corchado

EL PASO — Alfredo Corchado’s fellow alumni, family and friends, gathered at University of Texas at El Paso recently to listen the award-winning Mexico Bureau Chief of the Dallas Morning News and this year’s Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Since his graduation from UTEP in 1987, Corchado has focused his writing on border issues and he continues to mentor and inspire young journalists who show a similar passion for investigative reporting. His family has supported his hard work and dedication and benefited from his example, said Linda Corchado, Alfredo’s youngest sibling, a Swarthmore graduate. “I’m very proud of my brother. He really opened up the world to me and made it accessible.

The New Classroom

The high-tech gear at Herman Seufert’s fifth grade class classroom is not just for show. Students use the computers to post blogs, create their own photo slideshows, and even talk to classes in East Texas. The blogs range from a private journal of thoughts to homework assignments. Everything the students do is eventually posted on a wiki page so that the world can see it.

Knights Set the Bar for High School Journalism

Hanksmedia.com is the first fully-operational online high school newspaper in the El Paso area. It is the digital version of the student magazine Scriptoria and like all online publications it is updated daily.