CARES Funding Supports Internship Program to Benefit UTEP Students, Local Organizations
Last Updated on August 17, 2021 at 12:00 AM
Originally published August 17, 2021
By Darlene Barajas
Students from The University of Texas at El Paso presented posters showcasing their professional learning experiences Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, during the UTEP CARES Regional Internship Program Poster Symposium in the Glass Gallery at the Fox Fine Arts Center.
The event was the culmination of a six-month regional paid internship where select students served internships with local companies and organizations. The cost to host an intern was covered by federal CARES Act funding administered by The University of Texas at El Paso. Through the program, UTEP sought to establish new partnerships and strengthen existing relationships with small businesses, nonprofits and public sector entities to open avenues for additional student engagement opportunities.
“I am grateful for having had the opportunity to establish a program that is in line with our community engagement mission, which promotes reciprocal and mutually beneficial partnerships,” said Azuri L. Gonzalez, Ed.D., director for UTEP’s Center for Community Engagement. “Through this program, UTEP students and our community partners were able to join hand-in-hand at a time when students needed good paying jobs and supplemental income, and community organizations could use the added support. At the same time, our students learned valuable skills and contributed their talents to the organizations that mentored them and supported them.”
About 80 local organizations were invited to apply to host UTEP student interns through the program.
“I am pleased to see the CARES Regional Internship Program evolve from the idea of providing UTEP students with practical hands-on experiences and professional development that will assist them come graduation,” said Betsy Castro-Duarte, director of the University Career Center. “In addition, the employer partnerships established due to the CARES funding have been critical during these challenging times. I anticipate that the impact of UTEP’s investment in students’ education will yield long-lasting and positive results. I am delighted that the UTEP Career Center was part of this successful initiative.”
Diana Nevárez Ramirez, a human resources coordinator at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, said the organization benefited greatly from the work conducted by UTEP students who served internships.
"With the help of UTEP CARES Interns, Las Americas has been able to continue providing high quality legal services to immigrants and asylum seekers in West Texas and New Mexico,” Nevárez Ramirez said. “UTEP CARES interns are a crucial part of the Las Americas team. They provide integral contributions to our organization and assist us immensely with our daily accomplishments."
Other internships offered through the program included marketing, social work and research. Students who participated received college credit and are primed for better positioning in the job market after graduating.
One such student is Pedro Attaguile, a junior management major in the College of Business Administration who completed an internship with El Paso Children’s Hospital Foundation as a development assistant. Attaguile said his outlook on the ability he possesses to positively impact the community has shifted exponentially.
“My internship was a beautiful revolution,” Attaguile said. “I collaborated on several meaningful projects and witnessed a profound change in my work-life perspective. Now, I feel confident about using my abilities to better the community and the world we share.”
The UTEP CARES program provides support to students and organizations during the economic downturn and post-COVID-19 pandemic transition.
For more information on UTEP Cares Regional Internship Program visit: https://www.utep.edu/cares-intern/.