Reflections on a Life-Changing Moment

January 2024

By Alexandra Sanchez ’17


I sat in the room with over 500 people in attendance, with my palms feeling sweaty. This was the moment that would determine my college success. The moderator says, “The winner of the Top Small Chapter is….”


This was my senior year at the American Marketing Association International Collegiate Conference (AMAICC) held in New Orleans and the most exhilarating yet nerve-wracking moment of my college career. This event was what I had worked on and waited for the entire year. The AMAICC was something I was always looking forward to, but this time was different. It was not my first time there, but my third and last, serving as the president of the American Marketing Association (AMA) at UTEP. Becoming president was one of my proudest moments thus far. However, the AMAICC was my chance to not only prove that my and my team's work had paid off, but it would also prove that I could achieve what I never thought I would ever accomplish. 


Growing up, I was very timid and felt uncomfortable speaking to people. Although I loved school, I struggled to perform to the best of my ability because I didn’t ask for help when I needed it and never asked questions in class when I didn’t understand a topic.


This began to change in my second year at UTEP, when I first became involved in the American Marketing Association. Pursuing a marketing major and being involved in the American Marketing Association taught me to be open-minded, flexible, and outspoken. Through AMA and the support of the University, I, along with 18 other students, attended the AMAICC in New Orleans (a city that I had never visited), in which the UTEP chapter won the Top 25 Collegiate Chapter. Before this experience, I had never felt a sense of belonging the way that I did during that conference. 


After my first AMA conference, I felt confident in myself and in what I wanted to get out of my college experience: stepping outside of my comfort zone. My goal after this conference was to become president of the UTEP chapter and to continue our success of being internationally recognized through AMA. 


…While I was sitting in the conference room, anticipating for the moderator to read out the winners, I thought to myself, “An award will not determine my success in college because I am already winning by sitting here in this room, attending a conference with new people I recently met and being president during my senior year.” That was something to be proud of. The moderator continues, “...The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater”. 


My team and I looked at each other in disappointment. Then, he continued to read more awards and announced, “The University of Texas at El Paso is awarded the Exemplary Collegiate Chapter in Membership and Communications!” 


Although this wasn’t considered the “highest” award at the conference, I was proud. I was proud that my university chapter, categorized as a “small chapter,” was awarded. Not only that, this was the moment in which I realized that I was no longer a timid girl who was scared of speaking up—I was someone who didn’t need to overthink everything or be scared to show who I was. I am thankful to UTEP for allowing me to live through moments like these. I will always cherish my experience with UTEP. Go Miners! 


Alexandra Sanchez ’17, an El Paso native, currently works as a Digital Media Specialist at a local non-profit, Project Vida. She is a proud graduate of The University of Texas at El Paso with a bachelor’s in marketing. She further pursued her master’s degree in digital audience strategy from Arizona State University.