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Each year the Alumni Association recognizes UTEP's Top Ten Seniors. The recipients of this award are evaluated not only on their academic performance, but for their participation in UTEP activities and community service. Top Ten Seniors

2010 Top Ten Seniors


Amber Bridges-Arzaga
Major: Health Promotion

Amber Bridges-Arzaga received her bachelor’s degree in health promotion from the College of Health Sciences in December 2009. She has previously been recognized as a banner bearer for the College of Health Sciences during the Winter Commencement, a scholarship recipient, a researcher and a published author. Besides her interest in research, she has been a volunteer for the Red Cross and for the Socorro and San Elizario ISD Health Fairs, and vice president of the Eta Sigma Gamma honor society, all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. She modestly credits her professors for her success, for her love of research, and the pathway she has set to complete her Ph.D. Her professors describe her as “simply the most talented undergraduate that I have ever known,” and note her skills in research. She is also known as a “leader among her peers.”

Amber R. Calvin
Major: Interdisciplinary studies

Amber Regina Calvin received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the College of Education in December. After the loss of a family member, she dropped out of high school and later received her GED. As a student at UTEP, she has been a scholarship recipient, was awarded the Yellow Rose of Texas by Gov. Rick Perry for her work with the military and earned the Commander’s Award for Public Service for the U.S. Army. She has been an outstanding officer for the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society and for the Bilingual Education Student Organization, as well as a banner bearer for the colleges of Education and Business Administration, all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. She has been a leader and active member of more than 20 organizations on and off campus. Her professors describe her as a “phenomenal student” who has “exceptional skills as a future educator and student leader.

Rebecca Ryan Hernandez
Major: Nursing

Rebecca R. Hernandez will be graduating in May with a nursing degree from the School of Nursing, and has already accepted a position with University Medical Center in El Paso. She is the recipient of numerous scholarships and has an impressive list of leadership roles on and off campus. She has been the president of her nursing class student council, a peer leader, public relations officer of the Texas Nursing Student Association, vice president for internal affairs for UTEP’s Student Alumni Association, a Miner Ambassador and the first Student Government Association Collegiate Senator from the School of Nursing. Provost Richard Jarvis, Ph.D., said, “she showed why student leadership is so critical to the future of our University.” Dean of Students Gary Edens, Ed.D., described her as an “outstanding student with a strong commitment to UTEP activities and student organizations.” She is also viewed as an “outstanding example of excellence in student leadership.

Anthony Michael Jimenez
Major: Sociology and Communication Studies

Anthony Michael Jimenez will graduate in May with a double major in sociology and communication studies from the College of Liberal Arts. He is an El Paso native and has worked as a research assistant to help support his mother and siblings. His interest in research and academics has already paid off—he has presented his research at a national forum, been a scholarship recipient and remained very active on campus while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He is the president of the Lambda Pi Eta honor society and a member of five other honor societies. He has been president of the employee association for a former employer, a court watcher, a museum aide, an actor and a food server at the St. Pius X Community Rescue Mission. He has shared that his interest in public service comes from the “excellence that surrounds and flows through UTEP—to be part of this community has been an honor and a challenge and, more than anything, a privilege.” His professors describe him as “one of the best, smartest and hardest working students,” “one of those rare quietly deserving students (who) will make UTEP proud,” and someone with “character above reproach; dedicated, honest and hardworking.”

Davi Kallman
Major: Print Media

Davi Kallman will graduate in May as a political science major from the College of Liberal Arts. This will continue a family legacy, as she will be a third generation UTEP graduate. Her list of campus activities is extensive. She is affiliated with the Law School Preparation Institute; a member of the Alpha Chi, Phi Kappa Phi and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies; a former Sun Bowl Princess; and recipient of the Praxis Certificate of Excellence for work in the Child Development Laboratory. Her leadership positions include senator at large and vice president for internal affairs for the Student Government Association, and founder of the Disabled Student Services Task Force. Her off-campus activities are no less significant—she was a precinct manager during the 2008 presidential primary and a delegate to the 2008 Democratic Convention, secretary of Susan G. Komen Teens for the Cure and a docent at the El Paso Holocaust Museum. Her professors describe her as being in the “top 1 percent of students at UTEP” and “without a doubt one of the best students.” Another said, “The depth and complexity of her insights are outstanding.” These achievements are especially impressive, as she has shared her struggle to overcome a significant learning disability while achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Sylvia L. Natividad
Major: Metallurgical and Materials Engineering

Sylvia Natividad will graduate in May with a major in metallurgical and materials engineering from the College of Engineering and will be the first female member of her family to receive a college degree. Among her activities has been her work as a research assistant, partially to help support her family. An Albert S. Holbert Endowed Scholar, she has received engineering awards from the American Society of Civil Engineering, the Texas Society for Professional Engineers and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. Her campus activities include serving as a board member of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), treasurer of the UTEP Rotary, fundraising co-chair for the Materials Advantage Society and president of the Alpha Sigma Mu materials engineering honor society. In the community, she has organized holiday events for La Posada, a domestic violence shelter; was a science fair judge at Cooley Elementary School; and was a fundraiser for the Humane Society of El Paso. Her professors said they “never knew a student more motivated to excel,” adding that she has a “real thirst for learning and challenging herself” and an “outstanding level of academic achievement. She personifies the tireless spirit of academic excellence.”

Carlos Natividad Licón
Major: Finance and International Business

Carlos Natividad Licón will be graduating in May with majors in finance and international business from the College of Business Administration and a perfect 4.0 GPA. He has been a teaching assistant and a peer leader on campus, and his activities have straddled both sides of the border region, including providing financial literacy workshops for homeless women in El Paso shelters. He has received numerous awards, including the Chartered Financial Analyst Scholarship, a scholarship from the American Society of Women Accountants and the Orientation Leader of the Year Award from the National Orientation Directors Association. He has demonstrated his leadership skills both on and off campus. Some of the organizations he has participated in include the UTEP Accounting Society, the Financial Management Association and the Monster career development Web site’s Diversity Leadership Program. His professors describe him as being “a natural leader with an overwhelming love for education” who “demonstrates the finest characteristics of a Top Ten Senior” and “a perfect blend of academic excellence with community involvement and commitment.”

Danielle Leigh Riddick
Major: Early Childhood Education

Danielle Riddick will be graduating in May with a major in early childhood education (EC-4) from the College of Education. She is an El Paso native and proud of her roles as writing tutor, peer mentor and substitute teacher. She is a University President Inaugural Scholar, an Honors Cord recipient and a leader in numerous campus organizations. She is currently president of the Student Alumni Association, historian for the Education College Council, a Miner Ambassador, secretary of the UTEP branch of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, a member of several honor societies and the Black Student Union, and an active member of the Westside Christian Fellowship, all while achieving a nearly perfect grade point average (3.98). See has stated that “leaders define themselves and are not defined by others.” Her professors say “she will fulfill her life goals and will be an asset to the community,” that “she demonstrated exceptional creativity and excelled in her leadership role,” and that “she is the ideal person to receive the Top Ten Senior Award” because she demonstrates “excellence in every sense of the word.” She is also the 600th graduating senior to receive the Top Ten Senior Award from the UTEP Alumni Association.

Javier S. Rios
Major: Microbiology

Javier Solomon Rios, a B. Marshall and Barbara H. Willis Memorial Endowed Scholar, will be graduating in May as a microbiology major from the College of Science. He has been a tutor and a product development technician, and helped his family by working as he became skilled in both teaching and research. His awards are numerous—he has earned more than 12, plus membership in several honor societies and the UTEP Symphony Orchestra. He also found time to be a big brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. His achievements include earning the President’s Leadership Scholarship Award, the UTEP Music Department Service Award and the State of Texas Honor Graduate Certificate. He is also a skilled athlete. He has been recognized as an intramural champion in volleyball, basketball, sand volleyball and soccer. His professors describe him as “an outstanding student” who “will be an outstanding UTEP graduate, a fine doctor and a great community worker.” Another professor said he “possesses the ability to solve complex problems, a terrific work ethic, a giving spirit and a magnetic energy to create and cultivate relationships with other people.” His academic and leadership roles and involvement with the Medical Professions Institute has given him the opportunity to accept early admittance to the Boston University School of Medicine. He will start there in the fall.

Lela M. Ruck
Major: Microbiology

Lela Ruck will be graduating in May with a microbiology degree from the College of Science. She has made the Dean’s List, is a member of several honor societies, and is the recipient of the Al and Willamary Viste Scholarship for Scholastic Achievement and the Army Aviation Association of America Scholarship for Scholastic Achievement. She has held several leadership positions on campus, including serving as the current president of the Medical Professions Organization. In addition, in recognition of her role as a peer leader, she helped to establish peer leader training programs in chemistry at two universities in New York City. The Richard E. Van Reet, M.D., Memorial Scholar has been active with the Alzheimer’s Association, helped to build homes in Mexico for those in need through the Casas Por Cristo program, and presented at the American Chemical Society’s Southwest regional meeting while maintaining a nearly perfect GPA (3.96). She is also an accomplished dancer. Her professors said she has “a stern will to succeed” and “sets a standard and superior example for her students and peers.” She also “exemplifies the Miner spirit of self-sacrifice for community service.”

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