UTEP Announces 2012 Top Ten Seniors

The University of Texas at El Paso is proud to announce the recipients of the Top Ten Senior awards, presented by the UTEP Alumni Association. 

The Top Ten Seniors will be recognized during a banquet hosted by the Student Government Association. The event will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. Friday, April 13, at the Camino Real Hotel, 101 S. El Paso St., followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m. 

Members of the media are invited to attend. 

“Every year, as we near commencement, we announce a select group of graduating seniors who have achieved tremendous success at UTEP,” said Richard Daniel, Ph.D., associate vice president for university advancement and specials projects, and executive director for alumni relations at UTEP. “We expect that these future alumni will continue to elevate the visibility of their careers and the reputation of the University.”

Each of the Top Ten seniors has a unique story of their journey to excel in and out of the classroom. These outstanding students — selected for their academic success and University and community involvement — represent the quality education that UTEP provides its more than 22,000 students.  

Jacob Barde
Philosophy and Communication Studies
College of Liberal Arts
 

Jacob Barde was captain of the UTEP Forensics Team and a member of the Law School Preparation Institute, the UTEP Philosophy Club, the National Communication Association and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He participated in a summer study abroad program in Indonesia, where he studied environmental campaigns in rural areas. He was selected to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate, for which he spent many hours mentoring and advocating for children in the foster care system. He also volunteered his time judging high school speech and debate tournaments, academic decathlons and moot court competitions. In 2010, he earned the Individual Events Overall Sweepstakes Award for Top Speaker at Arizona State University. 

 

Narges Kalantarian
Biological Sciences
College of Science
 

Narges Kalantarian is an honor student who has been involved with the Medical Professions Organization, the McNair/SMART Student Association and the newly forming Muslim Student Association. She is a peer leader in the Department of Chemistry who has maintained a 4.0 G.P.A. while also contributing to the community through her volunteer work as a Spanish translator and pharmacy helper at the El Paso Baptist Clinic, as a mentor for young women in the Latinitas group, and an organizer of the Little Sisters group at the Al-Mahdi Islamic Center of El Paso. She received a third place award for her poster presentation at the University of North Texas Health and Science Center Fort Worth and is the recipient of several scholarships.  

 

Ana Martinez
Political Science and English and American Literature
College of Liberal Arts
 

Ana Martinez is an honor student who has been involved with UTEP’s Student Government Association, the Student Alumni Association, the ChicanoPre-Law Society and the University Democrats of El Paso. She served as a UTEP Miner Ambassador and a scholar with the national Opportunity Nation campaign. She was named an Archer Fellow by The University of Texas System, which provided her the opportunity to serve as an intern for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She was a legislative assistant to an El Paso City Council representative, a member of the H1N1 Flu prevention committee and organizer of the Texas Western Leadership Conference for Texas high school and middle school students. 

 

Pablo Padilla
Microbiology
College of Science
 

In addition to serving as Student Government Association President, Pablo Padilla has been a member of the Medical Professions Organization andwill graduate as an honor student. He has been a troop leader and mentor for the Girl Scouts, a Shriners Hospital volunteer, a Project MOVE volunteer, and atranslator and medical assistant for the El Paso Baptist Clinic. He received the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and was the director and organizer of theVIVA Haiti fundraiser.  

 

Diego Rico
Finance and Accounting
College of Business Administration
 

Diego Rico served as the vice president of the Regional Economic Development Association student organization; president of CEO, the Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization; and a member of the College of Business Administration’s Special Projects Team. He was the first UTEP student from the college to compete nationally in the National CEO Elevator Pitch Competition in Chicago and placed in the top 12 among 60 student presenters. During the last two summers he interned at Goldman, Sachs and Co. on Wall Street in New York. On campus he co-founded Wall Street Talk, where he worked with students to help them prepare for interviews on Wall Street and other Fortune 500 companies. He maintained a 4.0 G.P.A. 

 

Kimberlin Schnittker
Metallurgical & Materials Engineering and Environmental Science
College of Engineering/College of Science
 

As president of the UTEP Rotaract Club and member of the Minerals, Metals and Material Society (TMS), the American Foundry Society, the Geological Society of America, the UTEP Geology Club and a volunteer with UTEP’s Project MOVE, Kimberlin Schnittker has been actively involved in UTEP organizations. She has also served the community by tutoring fifth grade students, participating in a Secret Santa program for the La Posada Home, raising money to build hospitals in India and cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for an orphanage. She has been involved with research throughout her college career, including with the NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Undergraduate Research Program at theUniversity of Minnesota. 

 

Adam Sebastian
Psychology
College of Liberal Arts
 

While enrolled as a student, Adam Sebastian has volunteered more than 40 hours a week at Emmanuel Children’s Home in Juárez, where he has counseled children, trained caregivers, educated leaders on psychological principals and conducted research on behavior management strategies. He has also worked with several other organizations in the region mentoring teens, promoting justice and safety, fundraising and providing awareness about neglected children and abused women. He has made presentations in his classes about his work in Juárez, connecting theoretical concepts in sociology to the day-to-day realities he has experienced working with disadvantaged children. In spite of this full schedule of community activities, Adam has maintained a 4.0 G.P.A. 

 

Patrick Shindo
Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
College of Engineering
 

Patrick Shindo has completed technical internships at the U.S. Army Research Lab and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and is a co-author on five published papers in technical journals. He has been president of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and the American Foundry Society, and a member of the Alpha Sigma Mu Metallurgical Honor Society and the Engineering Student Leadership Council while maintaining a 4.0 G.P.A. In the community, he has volunteered as a technician and teacher at Cross of Grace Church and earned certification from the International Society of Community Engagement Professionals. 

 

Samantha Ungos
Health Promotion
College of Health Sciences
 

Dedicated to improving the health of the El Paso community, Samantha Ungos has volunteered as a student health educator with Project Vida Health Fair; she helped organize the UTEP Eta Sigma Gamma team for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event; she has served as a health resource representative for the Stay TeenEvent, a pregnancy prevention program; and she has served as president of the Parent Committee for the John E. Uxer II Head Start. She has also volunteered with the Pan American Health Organization, the El Paso Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA College Bound Program. The University has also afforded her several opportunities to work as a research assistant with the Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center, and she has done it all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 G.P.A. 

 

Mercy Uwakwe
Biological Sciences
College of Science
 

Mercy Uwakwe grew up in Nigeria and struggled with poverty, health obstacles and the loss of her mother at a young age. But she has excelled at UTEP, earning a perfect 4.0 G.P.A. She has been a Miner Ambassador, a member of the Student Government Association and a biomedical and bioinformatics researcher through the Research initiative for Scientific Enhancement Program (RISE) and the Bioinformatics Research Training Program. She has also been a member of the Student Leadership Institute and several honor societies. She was a summer intern at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through the Amgen Scholar program and has given back to the El Paso community as a tutor at Polk Elementary School and in the YWCA residential housing tutoring program.