Karina Castillo

Masters in Chemistry
GPA 4.00
Graduate Student Marshal of Students for the College of Science - Spring 2007

Karina was born in El Paso, Texas and raised in Ciudad Juarez. She moved to El Paso when she enrolled in El Paso Community College in 2000. She transferred to UTEP in 2003 and graduated in 2005 with BS in Chemistry and GPA of 3.8. She started her masters in 2006 focusing her studies on catalysts. Her advisor is Dr. Russell Chianelli. As an undergraduate student Karina received three different scholarship and was inducted into two different honor societies. She was a MARC student as an honors undergraduate

She recently submitted a paper for publication to the Journal of Materials Research. She plans to pursue a doctorate in Chemistry and will be one of the first students to enroll in the New Ph.D. program in Chemistry. Dr. Chianelli will continue as her advisor. When Karina completes her studies, she wants to teach and conduct research at the university level. Karina married in January 2007 and has the support and encourage of her husband and her family. UTEP is a family affair because her little sister is an undergraduate here. We are proud of Karina and know that she will succeed in anything she tries.


Gabriel Mansouraty

BS with a Major in Microbiology
GPA 4.00
University Banner Bearer - Spring 2007

Gabriel was born and raised in El Paso, Texas where he graduated from Coronado High School. As a high school senior, he was accepted into the early medical school acceptance program with UTEP/UTMB.

He has been accepted by several medical schools and has chosen to attend UTMB-Galveston because of his summer involvement in their programs. He plans to practice medicine in El Paso when he has completed his studies.

Gabriel's interest in science started when he was in grade school and became focused on medicine as a result of his grandmother becoming ill and because of his desire to help others. UTEP is a family affair because his younger brother is now a freshman and his mother is UTEP alum. While at UTEP, Gabriel was the recipient of the Presidential Excellence Scholarship, the Middle Eastern Descendants Scholarship, the Southwestern Association of Hispanic American Physicians Scholarship, the El Paso Teachers Federal Credit Union Scholarship, and has made the Dean's list every semester.


Nada Al-Hanna

BS with a Major in Mathematics and a Minor in Chemistry
GPA 4.00
Student Marshal for the College of Science - Spring 2007

Nada was born in a village in Syria, three hours away from the capital city of Damascus, Syria. She married an El Pasoan and moved to El Paso in 1999. Her husband, Salah Al-Hanna, an El Paso attorney and UTEP graduate, encouraged her to enroll at UTEP. She enrolled at UTEP as a mathematics major in 2001 while pregnant and is graduating with a 4.0 GPA, Summa Cum Laude, in the May 2007 Commencement.

She is planning to pursue a masters and doctorate in mathematics so that she can teach and conduct research at the university level. She hopes that she will be an inspiration to her daughter, Angela, as her mother, Leila Dergham, was to her. In fact, her mother is traveling from Syria to attend her graduation. While at UTEP, Nada was inducted into the Alpha Chi, Phi Kappa Phi, and Golden Key honorary societies. She has been on the College of Science and National Dean's lists every semester. We are proud of Nada and know that she will succeed in anything she tries.


Roberto Velarde

Working on a Ph.D. in geophysics - Fall 2006
Supervisors: Dr. Thomas E. Gill.
Area of Study: Radionuclide contamination

Roberto is the recipient of the AGI (American Geological Institute) scholarship. He is working on a Ph.D. in geophysics and is currently conducting research entailing suspension of surface soil particulates by aeolian processes at three independent sites. Specifically, he is researching wind transported radionuclide bearing dust from a uranium repository in Peña Blanca (50km north of Chihuahua City), Chihuahua, Mexico, the effects of military maneuvers on dust suspension at White Sands Missile Range, and airborne particulate concentrations on the Nipomo Mesa in the San Luis Obispo County in California.

Roberto is the recipient of a $1,000 award form the Sigma XI Grant-in Aid of Research program. This grant process is highly competitive. Congratulations Roberto.


SI Leaders Added to Modular Calculus Program

Calculus is typically thought as being one of the most challenging courses that students have to encounter during their education, but if on top of that you consider the fact that Calculus is also one of the most important courses that students majoring in Engineering, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, and Chemistry have to take (since their majors are going to be very related to this subject) and that the beginning of their curriculum is based on the accomplishment of this course, then it becomes a critical point for their further academic advance.

Facing the challenge of increasing the passing rate for this class, UTEP's mathematics department is introducing a new method with the introduction of the SI leader program. This new program is being implemented with all modular Calculus I courses, where the students attend three hours of typical class lecture and an additional hour of lab.


Enrique I. Ramos

Enrique Ramos is a senior student obtaining his Bachelors in Science with a major in Microbiology and a minor in Chemistry at the University of Texas at El Paso. Enrique started his research experience on May 2005 in the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program at UTEP. Currently he is in the Minority Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U*STAR) program working under the supervision of Dr. Rosa A. Maldonado in the Biology department. Enrique is assessing in vivo and in vitro effectiveness of novel chemotherapeutic agents against Trypanosoma cruzi which is the pathological agent for Chagas' disease. The disease is endemic in Latin America and affects 16-18 million individuals. Currently, it is emerging as a public health problem in the United States.

During this summer the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), headquartered in Washington, D.C. selected Enrique as a 2006 award recipient of the highly competitive ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship. This year from all applications received only forty-three applicants were awarded nationwide. This fellowship is aimed to students with high academic potential who wish to pursue graduate careers (Ph.D. or MD/PhD) in microbiology. Furthermore, Enrique had the opportunity to conduct full time summer research at this institution with his mentor and present his research project "In vivo studies of 2,3-diphenyl-1,4-naphthoquinone in the murine T. cruzi infection model" at the 2007 annual ASM general meeting in Toronto, Canada. Currently Enrique is finishing his article "In vitro studies of 2,3-diphenyl-1,4-naphthoquinone against Trypanosoma cruzi" for publication as the principal author.


SACNAS Student Research Presentations

Student Research Presentations: Showcasing the work of undergraduate and graduate students in all science disciplines, the SACNAS student poster presentations and oral presentations represent some of the finest predoctoral research being conducted today. Feedback from professional reviewers and the opportunity to present before an audience of peers, faculty, researchers and exhibitors make this event a cornerstone in the professional development of young investigators.

Exemplary presentations are recognized at the Awards Ceremony.

  • Milka Montes- graduate poster in Environmental Science
  • Damaris Rosado - undergraduate poster in Biology (REU and RISE student)
  • Miguel Mata – undergraduate poster in Biology (MARC student)
  • Margaret Costanzo – graduate oral presentation in Biology (RISE student)
  • Priscila Castillo – undergraduate poster in Biology (REU Student)
  • Jack Arias – graduate oral presentation in Environmental Science