UTEP grad says school prepared her well for work
ERICA MOLINA JOHNSON | May 18, 2009
More than 5,000 students received degrees from the area's colleges and universities this month. At the University of Texas at El Paso, Jessica Luna received her bachelor's degree in civil engineering. The 2005 Americas High School graduate was a member of four university honor societies: Chi Epsilon, Mortar Board Honor Society, Sigma Alpha Lambda and Tau Beta Pi.
Luna, 22, was one of more than 2,000 students who graduated from UTEP on Saturday. El Paso Community College graduated about another 1,400 and New Mexico State University saw more than 2,000 students receive degrees.
She reflected on her time at UTEP and what lies ahead for herself and others in the class of 2009.
Q How do you feel about graduating given the current economic climate?
A I feel very secure because last summer I did an internship and secured a position with Exxon-Mobil.(in Houston). I'm going to be a drilling engineer.
Q How well has UTEP prepared you for working in your field in this job market?
A I feel very ready. With the education I received and with the internship experiences I had, I feel extremely prepared. Because the professors have also worked in the profession, we get more of a direct, real-world scenario. They didn't just go based off what the book had to teach. They also included the real-world applications of the courses.
Q What is the feeling among your peers about graduating while the economy remains troubled?
A It's very hard for a lot of them. A lot of people are having a hard time finding employment. A lot of them have had job offers that have been pulled back after the company found out they couldn't pay them. I'm really lucky.
Q You were involved with several honor societies. How did they benefit your college career?
A They didn't help with preparing me academically, but one thing I really like to do is give back to the community. The honor societies helped with that through the volunteer service we did and the donations we made for various charities in the community.
Q What advice do you have for students just entering college?
A I would tell them to stick with it and make sure they pick whatever makes them happy. Don't go with something just because it's the highest paid.
Erica Molina Johnson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6132.