UTEP Alumni Association Announces New President, Board Members
Last Updated on September 14, 2018 at 12:00 AM
Originally published September 14, 2018
By UC Staff
The University of Texas at El Paso Alumni Association named a new president and board members for the 2018-19 term at the association’s Annual Passing of the Gavel event Aug. 30. Bonny Schulenburg, social media relations specialist with the Ysleta Independent School District, began her term as president of the UTEP Alumni Association on Sept. 1, replacing outgoing president Robert “Bobby” Gonzales.
Schulenburg is a UTEP graduate. She received her degree in media advertising communications in 2001. She first became involved with the UTEP Alumni Association while living in Austin, where she joined the Austin Alumni Chapter. She was named to the UTEP Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2011.
In her role as president, Schulenburg will serve on the UTEP Presidential Search Advisory Committee, which will offer recommendations on possible successors to UTEP President Diana Natalicio, who announced her retirement as soon as a successor is named and takes office.
Schulenberg took a few minutes to talk about her plans as president of the board.
Q: You’ve had a few years to prepare to take the helm. What are some things you want to do as president of the Alumni Association?
A: The UTEP Alumni Association board has made alumni engagement its No. 1 priority for a few years. We recognize the importance to have engaged alumni worldwide in order to connect alumni with current students and recent graduates. As president, my commitment is to continue to engage alumni through Miner Link, as well as increase awareness of the organization and our benefits. I believe communication with alumni is key to the success of the association.
Q: What defines an engaged alum and how can UTEP benefit from having more alumni become involved after they graduate?
A: Alumni who are engaged with the University can be a catalyst for our students. When alumni are engaged, they build relationships and grow loyalty to the University. Our students are thirsty for the professional knowledge that our alumni possess. Because the job market changes every day, alumni can give our students the confidence to become successful professionals in their chosen field, as well as open doors to new occupations.
Q: You have been asked to serve on the UTEP Presidential Search Advisory Committee to help find a new president for UTEP, replacing Dr. Natalicio. What will you be looking for in the candidates?
A: UTEP is entering a time of change. I am very grateful to be asked to serve on the Presidential Search Advisory Committee. Dr. Natalicio’s vision has transformed the University to a level we never imagined. UTEP and our students are unique. I believe our next president should have a great understanding of the El Paso community and the border region. He or she should be able to rally, inspire and engage those who can further the mission of the University while exuding passion and confidence. And most importantly, our next leader should forge relationships with our students, alumni and community leaders.
Q: Tell us about this year’s Board of Directors for the Alumni Association.
A: The 2018-19 Alumni Association Board of Directors are already working hard to plan for the upcoming year. We have a passionate, diverse board that have made a commitment to the University and the association. They have collaborated to develop goals and become ambassadors to foster connections between alumni and the University. We have engineers, educators, communication professionals, business people, and other professions represented on the board. I see this board making a difference in the association.
Q: What is one of your favorite UTEP memories as a student?
A: As a communication major, my favorite UTEP memory was participating on the advertising team in the American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition. The team’s first attempt to compete regionally was unsuccessful, while our second attempt ranked us in third place. My final time on the team resulted in winning the regional ad campaign for Burger King against other universities such as NMSU, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, and the University of Utah. Ultimately, it gave us the opportunity to represent UTEP nationally. The experience and collaboration with advertising professionals gave the team the chance to acquire training from real-world professionals. This experience solidified my career as a public relations professional.
Q: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
A: People would be surprised to know that I was not a traditional student. As a young mother, I recognized that a college education was imperative in order to provide for my children. Just like many of our students today, I strived for a higher education despite working full-time in a family business. It took an enormous amount of determination and perseverance to complete my education. I implore students to not give up, to become involved, and to support the University. The rewards of a college degree are well worth it.
The 2018-19 UTEP Alumni Association Executive Committee is comprised of the following individuals:
- President-Elect – Laura Biggs, Department of Defense (Retired)
- Treasurer – Martha Aguayo, Keller Williams Realty and El Paso Apartments Magazine
- Vice President of Ways and Means – Bernardino Olague, LOI Engineering
- Vice President of Student and Public Relations – Manuel Castruita, El Paso Independent School District
- Vice President of Alumni Engagement – Florida Simon Dotson, Pathway Consulting Services (Pearland, TX)
- Vice President of Membership – Fred Lopez, City of El Paso
- Secretary – Arturo Barrio, UTEP
- Immediate Past-President – Bobby Gonzales, Quantum Engineering Consultants Inc.
At-large board members for the 2018-19 year are: David Bird, DuPage Airport Authority (Chicago); Toni Camacho, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (New York City); A. Robert Fischer, Jackson Lewis PC (Austin); Rudy Gutierrez Jr., El Paso Times; James Jones, CHEP USA (San Antonio); Oscar Lara, Lara Law Firm PLLC; Glenn Whitmam Leverett, Stoneridge Electronics; Paulina Lopez, U.S. Census Bureau; Anthony Martinez, Chick-fil-A; Sandra Martinez-Perez, Wells Fargo; Tameka Milligan, UTEP; Valeria Padilla, International Business College; Rebecca Ramos Birch, IBM, (retired; Bothell, Wash.); Gustavo Reveles, El Paso Independent School District; Phillip Strickler, Strickler & Prieto, LLP; and Monica Thomas, Top Golf.