Q&A: Longtime COBA Advisor Rosemary Cereceres Reflects on Career
Rosemary Cereceres has served as an advisor at the UTEP College of Business Administration for more than 40 years, guiding thousands of students throughout their academic careers.
When Rosie first joined the University, she updated all degree plans and grade sheets by hand – this was before a newly created tool named “Goldmine” rolled out across UTEP two decades ago.
Rosie took a moment from her busy schedule to speak with COBA News about her role at the college, sharing memorable moments and interactions with students throughout the years. As Rosie prepares to leave her work family and enjoy retirement, she says she has nothing but good memories of UTEP.
What is your role at the College?
There are many different roles an advisor serves. First, we teach students how to understand and run their degree plan. We advise them on what classes to take each semester and which sequence of classes are important to begin with. On a deeper level, we listen to students and earn their trust. My students open up to me and share their personal struggles. I’m always happy to listen to them and provide them with advice if they ask for it. I try to give them as much moral support and guidance as I can.
My goal is to ensure our students have the information and guidance necessary to not only succeed during their time at UTEP, but in their careers and personal lives. I am a big believer in education and believe that we are always learning and have the capacity to be taught. In that spirit, I always encourage our students to pursue a graduate degree.
On a more practical, immediate level, I urge students to attend our group advising sessions early. There are only so many hours in a day for all four advisors to assist students and give them the time and attention they deserve. We try our best to address each need before registration begins, so we ask our students to come to the group advising sessions.
What are some of your most meaningful interactions with students?
Over the years, I’ve had a lot of memorable exchanges with our students, but I’ve noticed the most reflective and deeply personal moments happen around the time I begin clearing students for graduation. At this point, [the students are] nearly there and only have a few more steps to go before they hit a major life milestone. Our students often thank me for my support over the years – a few have even said that if it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t have finished school. When students share emotions like that – that I had an impact on their journey – it just means the world.
In terms of community outreach, I always enjoy recruiting new students during the EPCC Transfer Fair. During this event, which allows students at EPCC to learn about UTEP’s transfer process, I have the opportunity to encourage these talented students to continue their education at UTEP – and to choose a business degree as their next step in achieving their dreams.
How has the College changed during your time at UTEP?
As the College has grown, so, too, has its staff. Fifteen years ago, the College only had two advisors. There were many hours of overtime and working during holidays to update degree plans and keep up with student demand. I’m pleased to see our department – my working family – grow. It’s also been helpful to shift from walk-ins to one-on-one appointments to group advising. I believe it’s helped streamline the process for both students and staff while still allowing us to develop a personal connection with our students.
I’ve been honored to work with so many great colleagues over the years, and many of the College’s deans as well. Past college deans include: Dr. Neil, Dr. Hasty, Dr. Hoy, Dr. Crespy, Dr. Mann, Dr. Roth, Dr. Nachtmann, Dr. Crites and now, finally, Dr. Payne. It has been a privilege working for all of them. I have been blessed.
What advice do you have for a student who is struggling with career or academic decisions?
We cannot decide what major a student should choose – that is a choice only they can make. But I tell them that this is their future and they need to think critically and research what they would like to do. I also tell them not to overwhelm themselves during that process. It’s a decision that doesn’t have to be made in a day, but serious time and reflection will help a student find their path.
Another component I’ve noticed some students struggle with is time. I urge them to use time wisely between work and school. Some students try to do full-time work and full-time studying, and I have seen so many students land in probation or suspension because they don’t use their time wisely.
There are many campus resources that can help students find direction in their academic careers. I have suggested for our students to visit the Counseling Center. The center utilizes a test to help students see what they’re good at and what careers those skills may tie into. Sometimes that helps.
If a student has an idea of what they want to do but aren’t fully committed to it, I recommend students to do an internship related to that field. It allows them to test-drive their career and gain valuable work experience in the process.