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Student Profile: Jaleen Avila

Last Updated on November 25, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Originally published November 25, 2019

By UC Staff

UTEP Communications

When it came time for Jaleen Avila to choose where to pursue her higher education aspirations, she jumped at the chance to be near her family at The University of Texas at El Paso. She has made the most of her decision, earning her bachelor's degree with honors and now working towards completing a master's in public health. Once her academic journey is complete, Jaleen hopes to promote all aspects of women's health.

Name: Jaleen Avila

Classification: Graduate student

Major: Public Health

What drew you to UTEP? I was born and raised in El Paso, and UTEP presented an opportunity to receive a higher education without putting a financial burden on my family, or myself and I got to stay close to home.

What have you enjoyed most about studying at UTEP? I have enjoyed how much I get to learn about my community and my culture. We are very fortunate to have students from a wide range of backgrounds, and that allows us to learn about different aspects of our community and discover different ways to help it.

What is your favorite place to relax or study on campus? I love to go to the Library to study because of its comfortable atmosphere. The second floor of the Health Sciences and Nursing Building also has a little space for students to go and study, which is nice.

What has been your favorite class so far, and why? My favorite graduate class so far has been a social and behavioral sciences class that focused on how health is influenced by social aspects of our lives and our behavior.

Tell us about a hands-on learning experience you have had at UTEP? Because of UTEP and the Department of Public Health, I was able to attend the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) conference in March 2019 in Salt Lake City. We got to network with health professionals from across the country. We also saw what aspects of health could be improved in our city, and it was interesting to see firsthand where a public health degree can take us.

Tell us about the graduate research opportunities you have taken advantage of at UTEP? As a graduate student, I was the research assistant for a program that focused on substance abuse prevention, education, co-occurring health disorders and treatment. Part of that research included identifying clients who needed services and we measured the impact and influence of the services we provided.

What are your career aspirations? I am focusing my career in the promotion of all aspects of women’s health – violence prevention, sexual health education, reproductive health, and most importantly, advocacy for vulnerable populations within my community.

What advice would you give to an incoming UTEP students? I would suggest they take full advantage of every opportunity they are given. Even if you are not entirely sure of something, just say “yes.” Try everything — that is one of the reasons you go to college.

What is your best UTEP memory so far? My favorite UTEP memory was probably when I was preparing to graduate with my bachelor’s degree. The College of Health Sciences recognized me with honors at a nice ceremony. That was very rewarding.