GTF Scholars Spotlight

Darinka Carrasco-Cardona

  • Valle Verde Early College High School
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • Major in Computer Science and minor in Finance
  • Expected graduation: Spring 2023

Because of the pandemic, all my classes were online, and I lived at home. I am part of the Miner Ambassadors and we had monthly virtual meetings to collaborate with university activities, but the first activity we did in person was the May 2021 graduation ceremonies. That was the first time I got to go to campus!

College is so different. My high school was small and attentive. Now I am at a big university where I have to figure out more for myself. Everything is online; I was used to going to tutoring after classes. 

Of course, college is important to having a career in life, but I also want to expand my network, for my own growth and to develop life skills. And as the first generation in my family to attend college, I want to be an example to other students to inspire them to be successful in college and life. 

My advisor, Mr. Ramirez, has been really helpful and available whenever I need his help. I am a person who applies for everything! He helped me evaluate the pros and cons of things like internships and jobs and helped me with letters of recommendation. 

I’ve been accepted to the Disney College Program and I’ll be living in Orlando, Florida, through January 2022.  I’ll have a cross functional role as an outdoor vendor in the Animal Kingdom, and I’ll continue my studies online part-time. When I return to campus in January, that will be the first time I’ll be in an in-person classroom at UTEP. And I will be applying for internships during the summer.  

I would like to use my computer science degree to work in software engineering. I’d like to help people by working behind the scenes. I also plan to get a graduate degree. 

Abril Urias​

  • Presidio High School
  • University of Texas – Permian Basin
  • Major in Multi-disciplinary Education
  • Expected graduation: December 2022

I haven’t had any in-person classes yet. I’ve had to take all my classes remotely, from home. Actually, this turned out to be a silver lining of COVID. My parents had lost work, my family is in a really tough situation and I couldn’t have afforded to live on campus in my first year anyway.

Living in a border town, you don’t have many options. I want to do more with my life than just getting out of high school, like learning and traveling. I want to defy expectations and show what I can do. 

My family is not financially stable and without the GTF program I would not be in college. And my advisor, Ms. Fernandez, helped me so much with decision-making and finding a faster path to graduation. Now I’m on the President’s List with a 4.0 grade point average. 

I like learning about children. I was a terrible student when I was in elementary school so I can relate to slow learners and poor students. I think I will be a patient and empathetic teacher, with more strategies to help students like me.

I want to come back to Presidio and teach kids here. I want to open their minds to what is possible.