Hard work is rewarded at UTRGV International Women’s Day celebration

BY Jennifer L. Berghom

Yuaqing Li and her fellow female international students at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley learned Tuesday that hard work really does pay off.

Li, a UTRGV doctoral student in business administration at UTRGV’s Edinburg Campus, received one of two Outstanding International Female Student awards and a $1,000 scholarship at the university’s International Women’s Day Celebration. A second award and $1,000 scholarship will be given to an international student at the Brownsville Campus on Thursday, March 10.

Li, a native of China who began her studies at UT Pan American in fall 2012, said there have been times when juggling studies and raising her now 10-month-old son were challenging, but this award has made the sacrifices worthwhile.

“Several times I thought that I should give up, but being awarded this has made me feel really encouraged for my hard work,” she said. “I want to thank everybody who arranged for this achievement, because it’s not only for me. It’s an encouragement for all female students, especially international students, to support them and give them encouragement for their hard work.”

The event, co-sponsored by UTRGV’s Women’s Faculty Network, Office of Global Engagement, College of Fine Arts, and International Admissions and Student Services, recognizes the hard work and accomplishments of a top female international student and faculty members.

The Office for International Admissions and Student Services received 78 applications for the scholarship, said Samantha Lopez, director of International Admissions and Student Services.

“Our goal is to provide resources and a venue for our international students to be recognized for all their achievements,” she said.

Of the 935 total international students at UTRGV, 408 are women, Lopez said.

The offices of International Admissions and Student Services and Global Engagement also honored Dr. Karen Lozano, the Julia Beecherl Endowed Professor of mechanical engineering and founder and director of the Nanotechnology Center of Excellence at UTRGV, with a plaque for her accomplishments. Along with fellow faculty member Dr. Kamal Sarkar, Lozano’s research in nanotechnology led to the creation of the ForceSpinning™ technique of creating nanofibers, and the establishment of UTPA’s first multi-million-dollar start-up company, FibeRio Technology Corp.

Lozano, who delivered the event’s keynote address, talked about her journey to becoming one of the top scientists in the country, including being named Engineer of the Year by Great Minds in STEM.

Her overall message was of the value of a good education and hard work.

“I think what you’re doing right now, pursuing education, is the best thing that you can do. That’s something that nobody will ever take away,” she said.

The Brownsville Campus will host its celebration from 3-4 p.m. Thursday, March 10, at Salón Cassia, where a female international student from that campus will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Also, the offices of International Admissions and Student Services and Global Engagement will honor Dr. Soma Mukherjee, professor and chair of the UTRGV Department of Physics. Her research includes the search for gravitational waves, which recently were found in collaboration with more than 1,000 scientists around the world.