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​Convocation is a Welcoming ‘Abrazo’ for Freshmen and Transfer Students at UTB

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – AUGUST 25, 2014 – Magdalena Ramirez has always known she wanted to become a medical doctor; with that goal in mind, she will begin her studies at The University of Texas at Brownsville when fall semester classes begin on Monday, August 25.

At the end of the first week of classes, Ramirez will join other incoming students at Freshman Convocation at 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29 in El Gran Salon of the Student Union. The university is hostingits fifth annual convocation to welcome new students to the university.

Magdalena Ramirez hopes to become a family doctor and practice in the Rio Grande Valley.

Eighteen-year-old Ramirez is no stranger to taking college-level classes. A May graduate of PSJA Thomas Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School in Pharr, Ramirez enters UT Brownsville as a junior with 65 college credit hours that will be applied toward her major, biomedical studies.

Ramirez credits her mother and father for guiding her and her siblings on successful educational paths.

“Our parents have struggled through the years, working hard at their tire repair business,” Ramirez said. “Neither received much education and are not proficient in English, and they have encouraged us to do our best in school to improve our situations through education.”

Her first years in school were conducted in Spanish, and then Ramirez experienced a shock when she was totally immersed in English upon entering third grade.

“My mother started taking all of us to the library,” she said. “At first she was intimidated by the other, more educated moms; but she wore her work clothes with pride because her desire for us to succeed overpowered her fear of having people look down on her.”

Those frequent trips to the library made a tremendous difference in the Ramirez children’s academic progress.

“After I began reading, everything fell into place,”​ Ramirez said. “I started to understand all of my subjects in school much better. My mother and father knew reading was the key to everything.”

Ramirez’ older brother and sister have received degrees from The University of Texas at San Antonio and Texas A&M University in College Station, respectively, and her younger brother and sister are being given the same encouragement the older ones have received.

Finances will not be a worry for Ramirez and her parents while she is at UTB – her hard work has paid off in three tremendous scholarships: she is a Greater Texas Foundation Scholar , a University Scholar , a Dell Scholar and a STARS [South Texas Academic Rising Scholars] scholarship recipient.

“I was offered a full ride to Texas A&M, and UT Austin also made me an attractive offer, but I just didn’t feel a strong connection with either one of those universities,” she said. “Then one day I was in the Go Center at my school, and Michael Aldape was there representing UTB; he asked if I would like to hear about some of the opportunities at UT Brownsville. I said yes, and honestly, I wasn’t too interested but I wanted to be polite.”

After hearing Aldape, the Program Coordinator for Greater Texas Foundation Scholars, explain in his “soft manner” about the Greater Texas Foundation Scholars and University Scholars programs, Ramirez quickly developed a new perspective about UT Brownsville.

“I remembered from a field trip it was a pretty campus, and when Michael and I started talking and he told me about BMED, the Biomedical Studies degree, I thought, ‘Wow, this sounds like the place for me.’ I knew I wanted a place where I would feel comfortable – that it would reflect in my studies.”

Being a student at PSJA Thomas Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School, Ramirez took a number of classes at South Texas College.

“I had to be independent,” she said. “At South Texas College, most of the students were older than me; it wasn’t like being in high school where you had a friend to remind you of homework assignments. You had to know what the professor wanted – I got a planner and off I went to my classes.”

Ramirez knows the road to becoming a medical doctor is a long one, and she said she is up to the task. Her focus now is to excel in her biomedical studies at UTB, then go on to medical school, and one day to become a family practitioner in the Rio Grande Valley.

“Magdalena possesses the qualities and attributes of an exceptional student,” said Aldape. “She is hardworking, ambitious and dedicated to succeeding both in college and beyond. We are pleased that Magdalena has chosen to enter the BMED program at UTB.”

At Freshman Convocation, student leaders will present flags from each college, and attendees will hear from recent alumni who have earned degrees at UTB. A representative of the Student Government Association will speak and Ozzie the Ocelot will ring the university’s bell.

A post-Freshmen Convocation reception will be held from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29 in the Courtyard at Main. The reception will feature music, bell shaped cookies and lemonade and the chance for students to meet faculty members

Freshman Convocation is part of the university’s Ocelot Weeks of Welcome from Wednesday, Aug. 20 to Friday, Sept. 12. Events include a Find Your Classes Tour of Campus, Orange Crush, the Involvement Fair, the Career Exploration and Networking Fair, the New Student Day of Service, the International Student Meet and Great and Ocelot Splash Day.

For more information on Freshman Convocation and Ocelot Weeks of Welcome, contact the Division of Student Affairs at 956-882-5134.

For more information on the Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and the College of Biomedical Sciences and Health Professions, contact Yadira Fernandez at 956-882-5778 or​​


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