Meet Lauren: Piecing her future together one stitch at a time

Last Updated on October 08, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Originally published December 08, 2016

By Daniel Perez

UTEP Communications

Meet Lauren E. Pena, an English major aspiring to be a high school teacher who rekindles the fire of reading, critical thinking and an appreciation of good literature in today’s youth.

Lauren E. Pena
Lauren E. Pena


Lauren E. Pena




English, with a minor in Secondary Education

High school:

Eastwood High School, class of 2014

What drew you to UTEP?

I feel a deep connection to UTEP because it’s been the place where members of my family have come for their college education for generations, and it was my desire to be part of that tradition. I was also awarded the Josephine Clardy Fox Scholarship when I graduated from Eastwood High School.

What have you enjoyed most about studying here?

To someone from El Paso, it’s the best of both worlds: I get the college atmosphere and experiences without having to sacrifice my family or my hometown, which I love.

What has been your favorite class so far, and why?

For me it’s a tie between American Literature (1865 - Present) with Dr. Marion Rohrleitner and British Novel with Dr. Maryse Jayasuriya. Both women are so intellectual and passionate about their work and the insights they bring to each class session are inspiring — their courses reminded me why I love literature and the power of language. I am in awe of both professors and truly admire them and their craft.

Tell us about undergraduate research opportunities you’ve taken advantage of at UTEP.

In summer 2015, I went on a study abroad trip with the English Department to Paris and London. In short, the trip changed my life. I learned so much about myself, about my craft, and I’ve made many, many lifelong friends. I definitely encourage every student at UTEP to take advantage of the study abroad opportunities. It’s worth it.

What’s your favorite UTEP event, and why?

I love it when the basketball season starts up — I love the game and the program’s rich history with the 1966 NCAA Championship team. It’s a wonderful legacy and I’m a proud Miner. It’s great to see thousands of students and the El Paso community at large participate during the UTEP basketball games.

What advice would you give to an incoming UTEP student?

Take advantage of every opportunity you come across. If something's free, take it! Cherish your professors, their experience, your classmates and the time you have here. As a UTEP Miner, you are part of a rich history and you’re forever connected to a culture that has deep roots in the region.

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