BY Vicky Brito
Dr. Teresa Feria-Arroyo, associate professor of biology, said she is delighted to have been honored as the Outstanding International Women Faculty Member on Friday, during the UTRGV International Women’s Day celebration held on the Brownsville campus.
The award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to UTRGV’s global efforts through the commitment of working with international students and leading education abroad.
“It is an honor to receive this recognition in representation of all the outstanding international females that we have at UTRGV,” Feria-Arroyo said.
Feria-Arroyo, originally from Mexico, said notification of the award was an emotional moment for her, and she congratulated all the international women in the room because she, too, was once an international student.
“I know what it is to be far away from home, from your culture, your holidays and your food. I know what it’s like to try to cook without the right ingredients,” she quipped. “It is a challenge.”
She dedicated her award to all of the women in her life, including her mother and her mentors.
“I especially want to thank my granny, who at 100 years old just passed away last month,” she said. “Every time she saw me, she was always so proud, and that made me feel very happy.”
UTRGV’s International Admissions and Student Services (IASS) hosts the annual International Women’s Day event, which has become a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, past, present and future.
THIS YEAR’s OUTSTANDING INTERNATIONAL FEMALE STUDENTS
Three $1,000 scholarship were awarded to the outstanding international female students – one undergraduate, one graduate and one doctoral student. To qualify for the scholarship, the student must be an international student enrolled full time, and must have a minimum 2.75 undergrad / 3.0 master’s / 3.25 Ph.D. GPA. The women also must be involved in student organizations.
“The special ceremony recognizes the remarkable academic work, community and school involvement of exceptional female international students during their studies at UTRGV,” said Samantha Lopez, director of IASS said.
A civil engineering major from Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, undergraduate winner Linda Navarro is a junior with a 3.69 GPA. She is involved in research and with a variety of organizations including the civil engineering department and the Learning Center. She also has mentors students in AutoCAD, a drafting software application.
“I want to recognize all my professors who have supported me in my academic career and have encouraged me to do better,” she said. “I thank my parents for always teaching me to be a better version of myself. I think those are essential keys that everybody has in their lives to be successful.”
MARIA FERNANDA RINCÓN RECIO
The Matamoros native was awarded the master’s level outstanding international female scholarship. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a special education minor in 2016, and immediately began working on a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education. She is on track for graduation this May. She currently works as a graduate assistant with UTRGV Continuing Education.
“I feel truly honored to be awarded this recognition,” Rincón Recio said. “To my own mentor, Ms. Jayshree Bhat (director of Continuing Education), I want to thank you for all the commitment and dedication you showed to us, your students. I am truly honored to have the opportunity and responsibilities that have come with working with Continuing Education.”
She said her work with in Continuing Education has pushed her out of her comfort zone and helped her grow as an educator.
“I want to share this outstanding female award with the women in my life, my mom, my aunts, and especially my grandmother. She is a beautiful, strong woman and I truly hope I can make her proud. I carry her with me all the time,” she said.
Scholarship recipient Xi Yang was unable to attend the event because she was out of town at a conference. She is a research assistant in the Ph.D. Business Administration program in the Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship. She currently is a doctoral candidate in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. She also serves as president of the Chinese Student and Scholars Association and teaches undergraduate courses at UTRGV.