Borderzine multimedia experience leads to journalism career opportunities

It’s been five years since my wife Danya and I first walked into the Cotton Memorial building for our introduction to journalism class at the University of Texas at El Paso. This is where we met our mentors David Smith Soto, Zita Arocha, and Lourdes Cueva Chacon. And where we learned the countless lessons we referenced every day at our internships and now at our jobs working for a daily newspaper. I was a creative writer at heart and felt comfortable with my storytelling abilities. Danya was an artistic photographer and felt comfortable telling visual stories.

Lisa Elliott, assistant professor at EPCC, and Bobby Gutierrez, senior lecturer at UTEP, present student work at the third annual Student Film Festival. (Alejandro Alba/Borderzine.com)

Film festival gives students a greater audience for their work

EL PASO – Film students from the University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College yanked their movies out of their computers and projected them for everyone to view at the third annual Student Film Festival. “The biggest tragedy in filmmaking is for a film to stay in a hard drive. This is what you want, a venue where people can see your work,” said Robert Gutierrez, digital media production professor at UTEP. Gutierrez said the collaboration between the two schools worked as a pipeline so that EPCC students can see what to expect when they transfer to UTEP. “I think the students, before, used to produce for just their friends, but now they know that other people are watching, so that raises their quality of their work,” Gutierrez said.

Working full time and going to college full time is hard, but it’s the only way

EL PASO – Attending college is difficult enough, but imagine going to school full-time and working full-time. Many of us at the University of Texas at El Paso are living proof that this is very possible, but it is one tough trek. Affordable tuition makes it accessible to students who cannot afford more expensive universities and its location as a border city gives more people the chance to attend UTEP. The university is diverse in culture and in the ages of its students, since many of them take more time to graduate than expected because they are working full time. Going on my fifth year of college, I have felt a little ashamed at times that I wasn’t able to finish it in four years.

Jason Garcia, fifth semester student, practices simulating how to do an IV. (Jorge Castanon/Borderzine.com)

The number of male nursing students at UTEP is twice the national average

EL PASO – When it comes to nursing, many people will automatically think of a woman doing the job, but if a man feels that his calling is in nursing he will also find a secure position in that field. “Traditionally throughout the ages nursing has been a profession dominated by females. So there’s that preconceived notion that nursing is still a profession that is mainly dominated by that female aspect,” said Jason Garcia, a fifth semester nursing student. At the University of Texas at El Paso approximately 22 percent of the students enrolled in undergraduate nursing programs and 21 percent enrolled in the graduate nursing programs are men. These numbers may seem low, but they are actually twice the average at most nursing schools in the United States.

Dr. Stacey Sowards (second from left), with UTEP students and forest rangers at Gunung Walat Forest, Indonesia in 2009. (Courtesy of Stacey Sowards)

$1 million AID grant to promote UTEP program in environmental conservation in communication

EL PASO – When Stacey Sowards’ parents moved to tropical East Kalimantan in Indonesia during her last year at Colorado College, little did she know that the new experience would guide her future academic achievements. Sowards, an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Texas at El Paso, first experienced Indonesia in 1994. It was not long before she started teaching Intercultural Communication at different locations in East Kalimantan. She wrote her doctoral dissertation about environmental organizations working to protect orangutans in Indonesia. Sowards received a Fulbright scholarship in 2000 that allowed her to live in Indonesia for about a year and she has returned numerous times since then.

The lights of Ciudad Juarez can be seen from the UTEP campus. (Danya Hernandez/Borderzine.com)

Study examines how student writing reflects Mexican drug-war violence

EL PASO – As the drug war continues in Ciudad Juárez, one of the world’s deadliest cities just cross the border from the University of Texas at El Paso, the work of international students here has shown the effect drug-related violence has had on their everyday lives. “In the past few years, violence and conflict have become a constant threat to the lives of many students on the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Alfredo Urzua, assistant professor of languages and linguistics at UTEP. “These students that are directly or indirectly exposed to violent events must find a way to balance their educational goals while living in an unstable and unsafe environment.”

Many of the students at the university come from or have close ties to Juarez. The impact the drug violence has had on the university can be seen since the start of the war. UTEP students have protested against the violence and helped families that have been affected.

Members of the Diaz family listen UTEP officials honor the memory of Eder Diaz. (Danya Hernandez/Borderzine.com)

Los nombres de víctimas olvidadas se convierten en números en Juárez

EL PASO —  Miles han muerto y mas siguen muriendo en Cd. Juárez  – 4703 personas en 2010 y en lo que va de 2011 – personas que se convierten en números dentro de los escritorios de funcionarios y los nombres se desvanecen en vaga memoria. El primer aniversario de las muertes de Eder Díaz y Manuel Acosta, dos estudiantes de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso asesinados en Cd. Juárez,  se cumple Noviembre 2. La mayoría de los casos de víctimas en la cuidad de Juárez, terminan como casos desaparecidos.

(Raymundo Aguirre/Borderzine.com)

UTEP and El Paso provide the perfect crucible for a new kind of journalism in Borderzine

EL PASO – As the traditional delivery of news by newspapers and television stations weakened during the past decade, swept aside by the Internet and the Great Recession, a new medium driven by the college journalism classroom has gained strength in local news coverage. Our Internet magazine, Borderzine.com, published by the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) as the keystone of its journalism curriculum is a good example of this new media concept that marries journalism training, local coverage, and funding from nonprofit organizations. The transfer of some traditional revenue sources to Internet media has forced some “old” media to cut staffs and curtail coverage. Some were forced into bankruptcy. While my alma mater, The Miami Herald is still in business, its publisher has announced that the majestic Herald building on Biscayne Bay was sold to a Malaysian resort developer and the newspaper will have to move out.

UTEP loves Cesar Chavez

March 31 declared a ‘no classes’ day
EL PASO, Texas — After several letters of protest, a rally and march to the President’s Office and a Gold Nugget recipient returning his award, Cesar Chavez Day is back as a “no classes” day only for this year. At their monthly meeting Feb. 8, the Faculty Senate voted in favor of reinstating Cesar Chavez Day and Spring Study Day as holidays for students. Last November, the same entity removed both dates from the school’s calendar to meet a requirement by the state legislature that mandated them to choose 12 staff holidays per academic year. The reinstatement of the holiday was announced through an e-mail sent by the President’s Office, which included a statement from UTEP President Diana Natalicio.