Education

Recibe UTEP a posibles futuros universitarios migrantes

Haz click aquí para leer mi artículo publicado en El Diario de El Paso “Recibe UTEP a posibles futuros universitarios migrantes“.

“Cuarenta estudiantes de secundaria del programa de Educación Migrante del Distrito Escolar Independiente de Canutillo visitaron la Universidad de Texas en El Paso (UTEP) ayer  para aprender más de cómo la educación avanzada puede mejorar sus vidas.

“I Can be Here Too” (Yo También Puedo Estar Aquí) fue el tema del evento, que está en su segundo año de realización.

Establecido por Reynaldo Reyes, profesor del Colegio de Educación de UTEP, con la colaboración del programa Educación Migrante, el proyecto busca motivar a los estudiantes, hijos de padres migrantes, a continuar su educación e ir a la universidad…”

Rompe récord al obtener 10 becas Gates Millennium

Haz click aquí para leer mi artículo publicado en El Diario de El Paso “Rompe récord al obtener 10 becas Gates Millennium“.

“Yo no tenía fe. Pero si tú no ves lo grandioso que eres, otra gente a lo mejor sí lo hará”

Felipe Palacios II respecto a la invitación que le hizo su consejera para que aplicara

El Distrito Escolar Independiente de Socorro (SISD) rompió un récord interno este año, 10 de sus alumnos recibieron la prestigiosa beca Gates Millennium.

La beca fue establecida mediante un fondo de 1.6 billones de dólares de la fundación Bill y Melinda Gates Foundation en 1999, y cada año se otorga el premio a mil estudiantes del país…”

First chapter for Parkland babies starts with gift of bilingual ‘Read to Me’ book

Click here to read my story collaboration published at The Dallas Morning News and Al Día Dallas First chapter for Parkland babies starts with gift of bilingual ‘Read to Me’ book.

Para leer en español haz click aquí.

“When Dylan Luis Aguilar was born Jan. 17, Parkland Memorial Hospital welcomed him to the world with a book.

Dylan’s parents, Ester Escobar and Jorge Luis Aguilar, greeted their 7-pound, 7-ounce baby determined to give him the best life possible. They believe that the free copy of the book Read to Me (Vamos a Leer) they received will put him on the path to a purposeful life.

The Books for Dallas Babies program is a partnership among the Dallas Public Library, Friends of Dallas Public Library and Parkland Health & Hospital System. The goal is to foster literacy and reading skills at an early age among Dallas children…”

 

Entregan libros didácticos a todas las madres con recién nacidos en Parkland

Haz click aquí para leer mi artículo publicado en Al Día Dallas Entregan libros didácticos a todas las madres con recién nacidos en Parkland.

Read this story in English here.

“Cuando Dylan Luis Aguilar llegó al mundo, el 17 de enero, el Parkland Memorial Hospital lo recibió con un libro.

Los padres de Dylan, Ester Escobar y Jorge Luis Aguilar, recibieron a su hijo de 7 libras y 7 onzas decididos a darle la mejor vida posible, y esperan que el ejemplar del libro Read to me (Vamos a leer) sea el primer paso para el éxito.

El proyecto Books for Dallas Babies busca impulsar la alfabetización y lectura a una edad temprana entre los niños de Dallas. El programa es una colaboración entre la Biblioteca Pública de Dallas, el grupo Friends of Dallas Public Library y el Parkland Health & Hospital System, y espera repartir 10,000 libros a todas las madres que den a luz en la red del hospital en el 2016…”

Rinden homenaje a Trinidad “Trini” Garza por años de activismo en Dallas

Haz click aquí para leer mi artículo publicado en Al Día Dallas Rinden homenaje a Trinidad “Trini” Garza por años de activismo en Dallas

“Dallas – A sus 85 años, Trinidad “Trini” Garza tiene muchos planes: la semana pasada solicitó ser parte de la Asociación Puertorriqueña de DFW, quiere estudiar una maestría en gerontología y después un doctorado.

Garza quieren llegar a los 100 años y vive de acuerdo a su regla: “La educación es la clave”.

Este viernes, Garza recibirá el 2016 Hispanic Ancestry Tribute en el Centro Cultural Lation, un reconocimiento por su trabajo como líder de la comunidad, defensor de la educación y activista a favor de los latinos de Dallas…”

Estudiantes con discapacidades de Garland y empleados de Baylor trabajan juntos

Haz click aquí para leer mi artículo publicado en Al Día Dallas Estudiantes con discapacidades de Garland y empleados de Baylor trabajan juntos

“Garland — Cuando el Baylor Medical de Garland recibió a 10 estudiantes de preparatoria con problemas de aprendizaje, los empleados del hospital esperaban enseñarles habilidades que los ayudarían a encontrar un empleo al graduarse. Pero no esperaban que ellos mismos aprenderían a simplificar su trabajo.

Por su parte, los estudiantes han ganado experiencia laboral, a ser más sociables, aumentado su autoestima e independencia. Los jóvenes trabajan en los departamentos de materiales médicos, servicios ambientales y radiología, entre otros…”

Cal State LA celebrates the life of the martyred border journalist Rubén Salazar

BY  FOR BORDERZINE ON MARCH 2, 2015

Click here to read full story Cal State LA celebrates the life of the martyred border journalist Rubén Salazar

“California State University, Los Angeles, celebrated the 87th birthday of the late Mexican-American journalist Rubén Salazar with the inauguration of an exhibit entitled “Legacy of Rubén Salazar: A Man of His Words, a Man of His Time” that will be on display at the University’s John F. Kennedy Memorial Library until March 26.

Salazar was a Mexican-American journalist who was struck and killed by a tear gas canister fired by a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputy during the National Chicano Moratorium March on August 29, 1970. He was 42.”

Foto: Rubén Salazar documentary poster./BORDERZINE

‘Chicano’: Unos programas educativos conservan el término, otros lo abandonan

Artículo para el periódico La Opinión de Los Ángeles

Haz click aquí para leer la nota completa, ‘Chicano’: Unos programas educativos conservan el término, otros lo abandonan

Por Vianey Alderete Contreras, 11 AGOSTO 2014

“Hay un debate en la academia por el uso de este término en el nombre oficial de programas en instituciones de educación superior.

Aunque la tendencia no es nueva, en los últimos 20 años principalmente se ha dado una discusión en varios programas de Estudios Chicanos del país sobre cambiar o mantener el término “Chicano” en su nombre oficial…

Entre los motivos principales de esta reforma, de acuerdo a los académicos entrevistados por La Opinión, resaltan el deseo de evitar la extinción de programas con más de cuatro décadas de existencia, el establecimiento de una identidad latina más diversa, las dificultades financieras en programas considerados de intereses minoritarios y la adaptación al entorno sociopolítico”.

Overcoming obstacles is a constant part of life for international students

By Vianey Alderete for Borderzine on November 7, 2013

EL PASO – Ebenezer Anom’s passion for nursing developed when he was a child in Ghana from a visit to a hospital where he was impressed by the activity of the nurses. Despite his parents’ disapproval because nursing is seen as woman’s work in his native country, he is now finalizing his senior year in pre-nursing at the University of Texas at El Paso.

He came to UTEP after acquiring a bachelor’s degree in computer science and communication at the University of Duisburg, in Germany. “After my first degree I worked for about three years and then I realized my passion in nursing was stolen from me. So this was the point where I asked myself if I wanted to continue what I was doing or go into what I am passionate about,” said Anom.

Anon’s motivation to pursue nursing comes from his wife and his two small children, waiting for him back home in Ghana. At the same time, he says he constantly feels the pressure of balancing his academic responsibilities, paying for tuition and his living expenses here and also sending a little money back home to his family. He currently lives with a brother, who serves in the U.S. Army.

In addition to his 12-hour class load, Ebenezer also works as a student employee at the Office for International Programs. He says he faces special challenges as a non-Hispanic international student in a bilingual, bicultural border community. There are about 100 international students ay UTEP from African countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, from a total of 3452 international students, a majority from Mexico.

“International students in El Paso [who are Mexicans]are fortunate. International students who are not Mexican, like me, pay out-of-state tuition, which is so expensive,” Anom said.

Abiodun Ambali, a nursing major from Nigeria. (Vianey Alderete/Borderzine.com)

UTEP’s international student demographic is different from the rest of the country. According to the Institute of International Education census, China is the highest-ranking country of origin for international students in the United States. Fifty percent of UTEP’s 3452 international students are Mexican nationals (1 714), followed by 1206 students from India, or 35 percent of the total.

Serving its demographic need, UTEP offers the Programa de Asistencia Estudiantil (PASE), which offers in-state tuition for qualifying Mexican national students.

Financial aid programs directed specifically at non-Mexican international students are not offered at UTEP, and international students are not eligible for federal financial aid.

“When international students come to me with a financial crisis I don’t have a lot of options,” said Kristin Oberheide, director of International Programs at UTEP.

The majority of scholarships offered are for U.S. citizens only, and this limits the chances that international students can obtain a scholarship, and increases the level of competition. Last year, four UTEP international students were awarded the Good Neighbor Scholarship, a state scholarship that provides a one-year tuition to international students from the Western Hemisphere.

Another option for UTEP international students is the Morrow Award, a financial endowment that grants $500 to three international students every year.

At the graduate level, international students have an opportunity to earn funds as teaching and research assistants. At the undergraduate level, most scholarships are private or from the students’ home countries. International students can be eligible for part-time or full-time campus employment depending on their hours of enrollment.

According to Oberheide, the first problem for any international student is filling out the I-20 form. After being accepted in the university of their choice, international students must confirm their financial resources with their I-20 certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.

Reem Issa, a Palestinian refugee to Syria who emigrated from the United Arab Emirates. (Vianey Alderete/Borderzine.com)

As a federal guideline, the I-20 form estimates the minimum cost of tuition, books, insurance, fees, and living expenses for individual universities during a 12-month period. This money must be presented as a fund, which could be retrieved at any time.

“This is a big hurtle. Here at UTEP we have a relatively low cost of living of about $33,000 per year per person. This is a crazy amount of money you have to show,” said Oberheide.

Most financial aid is not available for international students and scholarships are very rare, according to Oberheide. Finding a sponsor or a job are the options most international students have to pay for their stay in the U.S.

“We have our own way that we need help economically; it could be small grants or scholarships. We are not begging… we also want people that live in El Paso to think about us,” said Anom.

If the student manages to fill out their I-20 form, their student visa is not yet guaranteed.

The decision of whether or not they receive a visa rests heavily with the U.S. consular officer in their home country who conducts the visa interview.

“I might be a bit fortunate, but most of my friends who are also equally qualified and have admissions to schools don’t make it to the schools, because when they went to the embassy or consulate they are denied their visa,” said Anom.

Some students, according to Oberheide, do not follow the international student process correctly and enroll at the university without a student visa.

“When I was going for my visa [interview]there was a lot of panic. It doesn’t matter that I have all my paper work. It goes down to those two or three minutes with the interviewer at the consulate,” said Abiodun Ambali, a nursing major from Nigeria.

Ambali said the interview consists of questions about why a student wants to study in the U.S. and about their future plans.

“Sometimes if you answer these questions too perfectly, or you are scared, you don’t get the visa,” said Ambali. Presenting too much evidence or paperwork at the consulate interview can also result in not obtaining a visa. Ambali she did a lot of prior research by interviewing friends and family who had already secured student visas.

Individual factors may have an impact on the consular officer’s decision.

UTEP student Reem Issa, a Palestinian refugee to Syria who emigrated from the United Arab Emirates was only granted a student visa for three months.

Her current situation is legal in the U.S., but when her I-20 is expires in five years she must travel back to United Arab Emirates and renew her visa and I-20.

“I don’t want to go back because it’s so risky to not get a visa again. Also if I leave for more than six months they take away my (U.S.) residency,” said Issa, who studies pre-engineering.

During her consulate interview, Issa says, “the interviewer was so kind to me because he saw I was scared. I was 18, and I wanted to go to school. He even told me I have to go visit Disneyland,” said Issa.

To comply with the rules of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the UTEP Office for International Programs reports the international students’ status through the use of Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which tracks and monitors the school’s exchange visitor program. International students must have proof they are taking classes, keep their forms up to date and applications active, and even report their working status.

With about 500 Mexican national commuter students attending UTEP, the crossing of the international bridge has come to define the region’s culture. “When you are commuter student you start to recognize people who commutes with you, so you create a community among those who cross and those who sell stuff at the bridge,” said UTEP graphic design and advertisement student, Alejandra Urquide.

Urquide is able to afford her tuition with her own money and says this has not been an issue to her, but commuting on a daily basis became the biggest issue for her.

“Crossing requires a lot of commitment. It requires waking up four hours earlier and spent a long time at the bridge. During the summer it is hot as hell and on winter is super cold. It limits your activities, you can’t go home or back to Mexico because it requires a lot of effort to cross and you change your regular patterns of behavior and activities,” said Urquide.

Even though Urquide describes the culture clash she faced at UTEP primarily on the way classes were taught, language was not a major issue for her. Eighty percent of El Paso’s population is considered Hispanic or Latino, and 72 percent speak other languages than English at home. For international students, the prevalence of Spanish speakers in El Paso has a major culture impact on them.

“People speak to me in Spanish all the time; everybody speaks Spanish here and I have to say I don’t speak Spanish. I need to learn Spanish if I plan on staying here,” said Issa.