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 selects the honorees after reviewing all completed portfolios. Yearly, the committee strives to select 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 ten students represent the best of the seven undergraduate academic colleges. During its annual awards reception, the Alumni Association welcomes family, mentors, and friends to honor the Top Ten Seniors students.

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



2024 Top Ten Seniors Award Recipients

Zachary Althoff

Major: Accounting
Future plans: Work for Hunt Companies while pursuing a master’s in accountancy 

While at UTEP, Zachary Althoff had the opportunity to serve his community in various capacities, including as a tax preparer with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and as president of Beta Alpha Psi. As part of VITA, Althoff provided free tax services for low-income individuals as well as domestic and international students. The VITA program reinforced to Althoff that accounting is, in its most essential form, a profession of relationship and trust. As head of UTEP’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor society for students in accounting, finance and information systems, Althoff played a key role in bringing companies on campus to recruit UTEP students. In his next chapter at Hunt Companies, Althoff plans to continue his engagement with UTEP through involvement in the Hunt Companies’ recruitment team, where he will advocate for his fellow Miners. 

“In my experience, among my peers as a student leader, traveling and meeting other students from across the globe and advocating for our own with employers like PwC and Hunt Companies, I can confidently say that UTEP students are among the hardest working out there,” he said.

Zoe Andritsos

Major: Economics
Future plans: Attend law school and become an international human rights attorney

As a young girl, Zoe Andritsos always knew she would be a UTEP Miner. When it finally came time to decide on a university, Andritsos knew that UTEP was her home, and that it would provide her the best opportunity to attend a top law school at an affordable cost. During her time at UTEP, Andritsos served as a Miner Ambassador, as Chief Supreme Court Justice of the Student Government Association, and represented UTEP nationally in Washington, D.C., as an Archer Fellow. One of the most impactful UTEP experiences for Andritsos was the Law School Preparation Institute, a program centered on preparing undergraduate students for gaining admission to, and success in, law school. Through the program, as well as her own impressive dedication, Andritsos gained admission to her dream law school – The University of California, Los Angeles – and is on her path to becoming an international human rights attorney.


“After almost four years at The University of Texas at El Paso, I can confidently say this institution has changed my life,” Andritsos said. “I never imagined it would be the joyful, challenging and extremely enriching experience that it became. I have learned that with hard work anything is possible. I just need to believe in myself.”

Frida Garcia-Ledezma

Major: Geological Sciences

Future plans: Matriculate into the Stanford Earth System Science Ph.D. program and study research soil contamination

For Frida Garcia-Ledezma, the cornerstone of her time at UTEP was the UTEP Cares program, which afforded her the opportunity to intern at La Mujer Obrera, a local independent organization dedicated to creating communities defined by women. The internship gave her the opportunity to connect with the residents of Barrio Chamizal and learn about the health problems they face due to air and soil contamination. Most impactful for Garcia-Ledezma was seeing firsthand how her efforts could create change. The work she conducted on behalf of La Mujer Obrera was instrumental in helping the organization secure a half million-dollar grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to mitigate soil and air contamination in the area. For Garcia-Ledezma, this experience defined her purpose as a scientist and has inspired her to advocate for environmental justice. In the future, Garcia-Ledezma plans to become a scientist whose work focuses on connecting environmental research with community organizations.

“UTEP has shaped my academic, professional and personal trajectory,” Garcia-Ledezma said. “The inclusive, diverse and community-engaged environment at UTEP and its world-class faculty have provided me with a well-rounded education, fostering a broader perspective and a deeper understanding of the world.”

Michael Gutierrez
Major: Political Science

Future plans: Pursue a master’s degree in intelligence and national security at UTEP as well as a Ph.D. in Global Security

For Michael Gutierrez, the journey at UTEP has been a transformative and enriching experience that has left an indelible mark on both their personal and academic growth. One significant aspect of their UTEP experience was the founding of the Queer Texas Student Association, an organization that strives to create a supportive and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ students on campus. In addition to founding multiple student groups on campus, Gutierrez served in the Student Government Association and was named Mr. Texas Western by the student body. As an alum, Gutierrez plans to stay engaged with UTEP through the Alumni Association and leveraging their current role at the Texas Freedom Network to provide UTEP students with internships, mentorship and collaborative policy projects. 

“UTEP provided me with the space and resources to champion diversity and advocate for the rights of marginalized communities on campus,” Gutierrez said. “My journey at UTEP was not just about earning a degree but about transforming into a resilient, empathetic and compassionate individual.”

Abeni Merriweather

Major: Commercial Music

Future plans: Currently pursuing a Master of Music in composition at UTEP

Abeni Merriweather came to UTEP as a shy and timid singer. She graduates as a confident musician who has had an arrangement published through a major music publishing company and another arrangement premiered at Carnegie Hall. One of Merriweather’s most memorable experiences was participating in a 10-day performance residency with the UTEP Chamber Singers at the Leeds Cathedral in England. During this trip, the Chamber Singers performed her arrangement of the spiritual “Hold On Just a Little While Longer” during a children’s outreach activity, which opened her eyes to how far across the globe her music could travel and inspired her to explore the expansive world of music. Known for being gracious with her time, Merriweather is an active member of the UTEP Concert Chorale, UTEP Chamber Singers and the UTEP Commercial Music Ensemble as well as the former vice president and historian for the Border Voices American Choral Directors Association.

“There is no simple way to say just how much UTEP impacted me,” Merriweather said. “I credit most of my success and accomplishments to being a student at this university. Being at UTEP allowed me the space to grow and shine my own light throughout the music department and the community.”

Brian Rodiles Delgado

Major: Computer Science

Future Plans: Pursue a master’s in computer science through UTEP’s fast-track program 

For Brian Giovanni Rodiles Delgado, UTEP’s community made him feel welcomed and empowered as a first-generation Hispanic student in STEM. During his time at UTEP, Rodiles Delgado dove headfirst into research, working as an undergraduate research assistant at the TRUstworthy CYBER system (TRUCYBER) laboratory. In addition to pursuing his own learning, Rodiles Delgado dedicated time to teach and lead others. He served as president of the Miners Cybersecurity Club and participated in UTEP’s Research Experience for Teachers (RET), where he taught cybersecurity and data science to middle and high school teachers. As a result of his efforts in the classroom, lab and community, Rodiles Delgado was named a recipient of the Barry Goldwater National Research Award, one of only two UTEP recipients to ever receive the award. 

“The UTEP community has had an unforgettable impact on who I am today and the person I will be in the years to come,” he said.

Maximilian Rothblatt

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Future Plans: Become a second lieutenant and developmental engineer in the U.S. Space Force while simultaneously earning a Ph.D.

For Maximilian Rothblatt, the journey at UTEP has been a transformative one and an experience that has seen him embark on adventures that range from playing the role of St. Patrick for TCM Day 2023 to representing UTEP and the Bhutanese delegation at the United Nations. As an engineering student, Rothblatt conducted research as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fellow and interned at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Rothblatt’s range of activities, along with his academic accomplishments, earned him the Hawkins Scholarship, UTEP’s highest academic award. He also served a term as president of UTEP’s American Society of Mechanical Engineers and was a 2024 Rhodes Scholar Finalist. As he embarks on the next chapter of his life, Rothblatt will remain engaged with UTEP by participating in mentorship programs and activities that further UTEP’s mission.

“UTEP has played a major role in my academic, professional and personal life,” Rothblatt said. “The time dedicated to completing my degree in mechanical engineering was full of opportunities taken, experiences gained and lifelong friends made.”

Benjamin Shipkey

Major: Political Science

Future Plans: Continue working for the Office of U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales and then serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.Benjamin Shipkey developed a strong interest in public policy from a young age, influenced by his upbringing on Fort Bliss, where dedication to causes greater than oneself was the norm. Inspired by the committed leaders around him, Shipkey felt a sense of duty to follow in their footsteps. Shipkey realized that UTEP provided the perfect environment to deepen his understanding of foreign affairs and leveraged his education to actively engage in public service. While at UTEP, he interned for Rep. Gonzales, and later earned a full-time position within the Congressman’s office.

“My education at UTEP provided me with a profound understanding of real-world problems and the need for solution-oriented leaders,” Shipkey said. “In an era filled with significant challenges, my commitment lies in pursuing tangible solutions— drawing from lessons learned in my childhood at Fort Bliss to my professional journey on Capitol Hill.”

Kennadi Trevino

Major: Public Health
Future Plans:
Attend the Texas Tech Physician Assistant Program as well as a Master of Health Administration, then return to El Paso to serve as a health care leader to bridge the gap in health disparities

Kennadi Trevino arrived at UTEP as a transfer student and now graduates well on her way to becoming a physician’s assistant. During her time at UTEP, Trevino was involved in various student organizations, key among those the Medical Professions Organization and Project MOVE. Through Project MOVE, Trevino volunteered at a homeless shelter for domestic violence victims. The experience of working hands-on with vulnerable populations instilled within her a profound sense of empathy and reinforced the importance of community service in healthcare. Now on the precipice of accomplishing her goal, Trevino sees her time at UTEP as an odyssey that molded her into a more resilient, adaptable and determined individual. 

“UTEP has instilled in me a profound sense of gratitude and responsibility toward my community, motivating me to contribute positively to its future by guiding and supporting aspiring health care professionals,” she said.

Amira Williams

Major: Engineering Innovation and Leadership with a minor of Biomedical Engineering and Entrepreneurship

Future Plans:  Work as a Design Engineer at a Fortune 500 company before eventually pursuing a joint MBA/JD degree and establishing an endowment to support Black engineering students at UTEP.

Amira Williams’ time at UTEP is characterized by her steadfast commitment to coupling engineering with social impact. On campus, Williams created the E-Lead Inclusive podcast and restarted the UTEP chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Off campus, Williams has been a design engineering intern at Boeing and interned at Pioneers 21, a nonprofit and business incubator dedicated to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in El Paso. Williams’ desire to help others, which she labels as her “serve first” mentality, is a mindset she credits to her family, particularly her parents, both of whom are veterans. As an alum, Williams will continue to embody the values instilled by her family as she plans to establish an endowment for black women pursuing undergraduate engineering degrees at UTEP. 

“UTEP has empowered me to pursue passion projects, amplify marginalized voices and forge a unique path that aligns with my values, aspirations and commitment to social impact,” she said.

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