The University of Texas at El Paso Alumni Association annually bestows the Top Ten Senior honor to graduating seniors who exemplify the highest ideal of academic, service, and leadership throughout their time at UTEP. The Top Ten Senior Award recognizes seniors who excel through academic achievement, campus and community activities, athletic or extra-curricular honors or awards, scholarships, and work ethic as undergraduate students. In addition, Top Ten Seniors traditionally embody the spirit, values, and traditions of a UTEP MINER! These students have served as ambassadors in various capacities and promoted UTEP at the local, regional, state, national, and international levels.

The UTEP Alumni Association Top Ten Senior Selection Committee yearly competed to select the honorees after reviewing all completed portfolios. Yearly, the committee strives to select those students who have met all award requirements and demonstrated high ideals both in and outside the classroom as well as in the local community. The Top Ten Seniors Award recognizes students who have excelled in scholarship, leadership, and service to campus and community and have brought distinction to UTEP. The ten students represent the best of the seven undergraduate academic colleges.

During its annual awards ceremony, the Alumni Association welcomes family, UTEP staff, mentors, and friends to honor the Top Ten Seniors students.


The 2024 Top Ten Seniors Award Application is Now Open

click here to apply

Deadline to Apply is Friday, January 12, 2024.

To be eligible for consideration, students must meet the following criteria:

  1. Have a minimum cumulative 3.50 grade point average.
  2. Be an undergraduate receiving your first UTEP degree in December 2023, May 2024, or August 2024.
  3. Provide three single-page letters of recommendation from a combination of university faculty or staff, student or civic organization advisors, supervisors, or employers.
  4. Provide a complete verification of academic standing by your academic advisor. Consult your department or college if you do not have an assigned academic advisor.
  5. Never have been subject to disciplinary action for academic or non-academic reasons. (A list of applicants will be given to the Office of the Dean of Students for verification.)

 To apply for the Top Ten Seniors Award:

  1. Visit the following website:, click on the “Sign In with Your School Account” button, and sign in with your single sign-on.
  2. Press the “Complete” button on the General Application tab, and then press “Submit Application” on the next page.
  3. Press the “Apply” button on the “2024 Top Ten Seniors” tab.
  4. Fill out the application in its entirety to be able to submit the application. You can save and return at your own pace until the application submission deadline on Friday, January 12, 2024.
    1. The application comprises a mix of essays, short answers, and video responses.
    2. An application will not be able to be submitted until your academic advisor has completed your verification of academic standing. (You will not be able to complete this yourself.)
    3. An application will not be able to be submitted until your three letters of recommendation have been uploaded by your references. (You will not be able to upload them yourself.)
  5. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline. If you have any questions, please send them to Your email will be answered in the order in which it was received.



2023 Top Ten Seniors Award Recipients

Christian Campos

Major: Biological Sciences

Future Plans: Attend Baylor College of Medicine and become a physician assistant.

Christian Campos made it his mission to parallel UTEP’s commitment to improving the health, culture and education of the El Paso community – and he did just that during his tenure as a UTEP student. Holding numerous leadership roles with the Collegiate Double T Honor Society, he has supported his fellow students and the community by assisting with grant writing and volunteer efforts with nonprofit organizations including RotaCare El Paso Free Clinic and HOLA Amigos Homeless Clinic. He also actively took the lead in connecting UTEP with civic organizations, including the American Red Cross, Prevent Blindness Texas and the Lee & Beulah Moor Children’s Home, strengthening UTEP’s relationship with the community and providing further opportunities for Miners to make a difference.

“Overall, UTEP has provided elevated and impactful experiences that have sculpted my ambition to become a leader and servant for my community,” he said.

Carlos Castanon

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Future Plans: Work in the industry for a few years before obtaining a graduate-level education at an Ivy League university. Establish an endowment at UTEP to financially support engineering students.

As a first-generation engineering student, Carlos Castanon took advantage of the multitude of opportunities available to him at UTEP. From completing internships with Bayer and Amazon to serving as the president for UTEP’s Latinos in Science and Engineering/Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (MAES/SHPE) chapter, Castanon stepped up time and time again to learn, grow and support his university. He also had the opportunity to attend the SHPE National Conference and to represent UTEP at the highly selective Summer Venture in Management Program at Harvard Business School. Post-graduation, he hopes to return the favor and invest back into UTEP’s College of Engineering, supporting future generations of engineering students.

“My essential goal is to initiate a culture of philanthropy, so future generations follow, and educational resources sprout because once a Miner, always a Miner,” he said.

Jasmine Crain

Major: Philosophy/Creative Writing

Future Plans: Attend Cornell Law School, pursue a career as a lawyer and mentor prospective law students through UTEP and the Law School Preparation Institute.

While attending UTEP as a first-generation student, an endeavor she found daunting, Jasmine Crain paved a path of success for herself through her work with the Student Support Services Program, the Law School Preparation Institute and her experience studying abroad in Rome, Italy. As she learned and grew through these experiences, Crain ensured she gave back what she was given. Through her work as a writing tutor, a Terry Foundation scholar and her extensive volunteer experience with programs and organizations like the Upward Bound College Prep Program and the Child Crisis Center, she actively worked to provide the same support she received to her fellow first-generation students. Next, she plans to combine her dedication to giving back and her passion for legal reasoning to become a lawyer.

“I can confidently say my experience has set me up for not only a successful career but a life full of breaking boundaries and blazing new trails, starting with being the first in my family to earn a college degree and attend law school,” she said.

Ashley Delgado

Major: Electrical Engineering

Future Plans: Pursuing the Fast-Track Dual-Credit BS/MS in Computer Engineering and continuing with a master’s degree in the Professional MBA Program in Fall 2023, Ashley Delgado hopes to create a student organization focused on mentoring low-income, first-generation Hispanic students and work in the technology industry.

Breaking the glass ceiling as a Latina engineering leader, Ashley Delgado believes in UTEP’s binational vision. As a first-generation student, she is grateful for the opportunities she was awarded as a UTEP student including the prestigious Terry Foundation award and hopes to return the favor for minorities and girls interested in engineering. Her extensive list of accomplishments as a Miner include providing mentorship through the Upward Bound College Prep Program, volunteering with numerous UTEP initiatives and completing competitive internships and projects including NASA, Raytheon, Google, and Lockheed Martin all while graduating with honors. Her future plans include working in the technology industry and continuing her work of creating more opportunities for minorities and women in the STEM field.

“From student employment to studying abroad to internships, research and community service, UTEP has provided me with all the support and tools required to develop my professional experiences,” she said.

Laiza Hernandez-Legaspi

Major: Biological Sciences

Future Plans: Teach at a school in El Paso, further her education by obtaining a master’s and doctoral degree in STEAM and inspire future generations of students to explore educational opportunities at UTEP.

By taking advantage of programs in and out of UTEP, Laiza Hernandez-Legaspi has prepared for a career as a science teacher. As a student at UTEP, she became involved with Future Educators of Math and Science (FEMAS), worked with several departments, and later served as a tutor and mentor with community organizations, including Bowie High School and Insights El Paso. She went on to be accepted to the ADP Math and Science Teachers Academy, the Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program and UTEP’s Tech-E, further developing her skills in preparation to teach future generations in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). As she continues her own educational journey, she hopes to use her experience to inspire future students to attend UTEP and take advantage of the opportunities available to them.

“UTEP from day one helped me consider different experiences that I could be a part of to be a competitive and prepared person when I graduated,” she said.

Sarah Mickelson

Major: Political Science

Future Plans: Attend law school in her home state of Alaska but remain connected with UTEP through the Law School Preparation Institute, where she will help connect students interested in law school with low-cost programs, scholarships and loan forgiveness information.

Born and raised in Soldotna, Alaska, Sarah Mickelson is an aspiring public defender who plans to attend law school with Stanford as her target school.  She will use her degree to passionately assure every person in the legal system has strong legal defense, regardless of their economic status. She plans on giving back to her community by becoming a public defender in her home community in Alaska. During her time at UTEP, she found a great community and has made loving and supportive friends. She found her passion for law and advocacy through the UTEP Law School Preparation Institute, which led to her success as a member of the Student Government Association and as a 2023 Truman Scholar. As an SGA member, she was able to explore this passion further by holding positions including Supreme Court Associate Justice, Supreme Court Chief Justice and Attorney General and helping to decide cases for the student community. Sarah hopes her success as a student will inspire her peers and the future generation to rise above their circumstances and achieve their dreams.

“UTEP not only gave me a reason to overcome barriers, but also granted me a second chance that allowed me to get my life back on track, find my place within the University and discover my passion for public service.”

Alejandra Prieto Moreno

Major: Accounting

Future Plans: Work for Hunt Companies while pursuing her master’s in accountancy and volunteering with GECU’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program before working for Deloitte. Later, return to El Paso and open an accounting firm with her siblings.

It was difficult for Alejandra Prieto Moreno to leave her family and home in Chihuahua, Mexico to study at UTEP, but she knew it would be worth it in the end. From day one, Prieto Moreno has made her time at UTEP worthwhile, serving as president of Miners Against Hunger, volunteering her time with GECU’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and interning with Deloitte. Being an accountant has become a family affair for Prieto Moreno. After a career working for different corporations, she hopes to return to El Paso to open an accounting firm with her siblings, all of whom have studied accounting at UTEP as well, and continue her support of the UTEP and El Paso communities.

“UTEP welcomed me with open arms,” she said. “My experience here has been enriching, and I have continuously been pushed to evolve.”

Sofia Ronquillo-Silva

Major: Biochemistry

Future Plans: Become a university professor and dedicate her life to research, teaching and mentoring.

Sofia Ronquillo-Silva has had a well-rounded experience at UTEP. Through the UTEP Edge initiative, she was able to work on campus, participate in student leadership, research and capstone experiences and engage with the community. Combining her passion for science and entrepreneurship, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant through the Campus Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives MERITUS and SURPASS programs and participated in the College of Science CARES Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, Blackstone LaunchPad’s Fellowship and Blackstone LaunchPad’s Innovation in Life Sciences Camp through UTEP’s Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce. In the future, she hopes to become a university professor, stay connected to UTEP through the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, and launch a virtual platform designed to provide resources and community for female and non-binary scientists.

“As a Latina in science, completing my degree at UTEP provided me with the right resources and support to discover and reinforce my passions,” she said.

Brianna “Iberty” Trevino

Major: Political Science

Future Plans: Gain experience in policymaking and continue to work in public service to advocate and improve the community.

Brianna “Iberty” Trevino has had the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge to be the leader, advocate, and civic-minded individual she hoped to be. Starting her academic career during the pandemic, Trevino joined Student Government (SGA) in her second semester where she executed special projects, such as a Students with Disabilities Awareness Panel and the Global Amigo Miner Program (GAMP) in collaboration with the Office of International Program to create a buddy program for international students. In addition to her special projects, she served as the Chair of the Outreach committee where she relaunched “SGA Listens” to increase the accountability of student government to the student body. Due to her dedication to the student body, she was awarded the Senator of the Year for 2021 to 2022 SGA administration. After her time in Student Government, she was selected to be one of the nine UTEP students to serve as an Archer Fellow in Washington, D.C. As an Archer Fellow, she was the first UTEP student to work with the Library of Congress in four years as a research assistant. She assisted with conducting research on backchannel policymaking between members of Congress and federal agencies. Upon her return to Texas, she interned at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board helping to shape higher education policy in Texas. Throughout her time at UTEP, Trevino has worked hard in multiple areas of public services and will continue her dedication to public service after graduation.

“As a student at The University of Texas at El Paso, I have been fortunate to have a number of unique and enriching experiences that have prepared me for a successful career and lifelong success,” she said. “My time at UTEP has provided me with a wealth of opportunities that have allowed me to develop my leadership skills, expand my knowledge and gain practical experience in my field.”

Ian Valdez

Major: Political Science

Future Plans: Explore opportunities in government and politics before attending law school to pursue a career in the judiciary. 

After completing a year at UT Dallas, playing soccer in Argentina, and joining the military, Ian Valdez found himself back in his hometown attending UTEP. He brought the lessons he learned from his previous experiences and used them to dive head first into the different opportunities available to him. A student with a strong interest in linguistics, Valdez attended the Law School Preparation Institute, which furthered his skills in policy, public speaking, and legal reasoning. He had the opportunity to serve as an Archer Fellow in Washington, D.C. and lead the Green Fund Committee for two years, furthering his expertise in the field. As he figures out his immediate short-term goals, he is grateful for all the mentorship and support he received at UTEP and hopes to return the favor by continuing to support the University. “The gatekeeping and individualistic mindsets are not representative of El Paso or UTEP,” he said. “We are a community of resilient students who bring each other up, not tear each other down.” 

“The gatekeeping and individualistic mindsets are not representative of El Paso or UTEP,” he said. “We are a community of resilient students who bring each other up, not tear each other down.”

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