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Environmental Science Graduate Values Educational Experiences at UTB

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 25, 2013 – Isidro Montemayor has put his artistic skills to good use developing field guides for high school students taking trips with South Texas Engineering, Mathematics and Science program students at The University of Texas at Brownsville.

Montemayor, 24, has drawn cacti, leaves and birds to teach students about what they can find exploring forests, desserts and mountainous areas.

“Some of the students do a good job,” he said. “I’m impressed with how well they do.”


​Montemayor’s outdoors education will continue after he receives a bachelor’s degree in environmental science at UTB’s 19th Winter Commencement at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 on the Student Union Lawn. Montemayor will be the first in his immediate family to graduate with a college degree.

“My parents always told me you could do good things,” said Montemayor. “They have been supportive of me my whole academic life.”

He said he wants to be a good example to his seven nieces and nephews to pursue higher education.

“I like teaching them what I have learned,” said Montemayor. “I invite them to S.T.E.M.S. activities and they come to what they are able to.”

The hands-on work Montemayor did up to graduation have given him confidence for his future career at either a state or national park or a wildlife preserve.

Montemayor learned how to do water quality monitoring on the Rio Grande and at the Bahia Grande. He also worked the last two years for 10 hours a week in the lab of Dr. David Hicks, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences.

Montemayor did an internship earlier this year at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Cameron County. He was a kayak guide and instructor, created a birding field journal and worked in the visitors’ center.

“I am lucky to have experienced these life changing opportunities so close to home,” said Montemayor.

As part of S.T.E.M.S., Montemayor hiked from rim to rim in the Grand Canyon in Arizona, saw Old Faithful and Mystic Falls at Y​ellowstone National Park encompassing parts of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and soaked in the beauty of Rancho del Cielo in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

“I would have not had those opportunities,” said Montemayor. “S.T.E.M.S. is the reason I’m here. I hope to help and contribute to the club after I graduate.”

Montemayor grew up in the house his grandparents resided in just outside San Benito in La Paloma.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “I would go biking around town with my friends. There is not a lot of light pollution so I can see the stars.”

He has been a member of S.T.E.M.S. since he was a sophomore at San Benito High School where he graduated from in 2007.

“He is one of those students that may have not gone to college right out of high school,” said Javier Garcia, Program Coordinator of S.T.E.M.S. “He mentioned that he was going to hold off on college at first. Surprisingly, he showed up at our door right out of high school but was adamant that he would be an art major. Once he became one of our mentors for a year or so and he experienced several programs associated with NASA and our environmental science program, Isidro realized that he could be a science major. He appreciates the opportunities that he has been offered and is an excellent role model for students he mentors. We know he will be a great example for others as a professional.”



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