The student leaves her mark in the field of Ecology – Le Prospecteur


Connor martinez

Laura Valdez, UTEP student in ecology and evolutionary biology, graduated this semester.

Like many in the El Paso area, Laura Valdez is a family oriented person with big ambitions for the future. Valdez appreciates plants and enjoys sharing this feeling with his grandmother. Whether it was sharing plants or watching YouTube videos with his grandmother, Valdez loved bringing his two worlds together.

Laura Valdez will be graduating in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology this fall, but more than that, she has been a learning steward on the UTEP campus.

Valdez began studying biology at UTEP with the intention of entering medicine. However, that changed when she discovered the full potential of studying ecology and evolutionary biology.

“In this program, I decided or decided that medicine was no longer something I wanted to pursue. I was more passionate about ecological studies, ”said Valdez.

Valdez was introduced to this field by studying bees native to the El Paso area, which captivated her. She was tasked with cataloging bees native to border regions and learning more about them.

Since joining UTEP, she has been both a mentor and a mentor. Once in the field of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Valdez was offered an internship position in 2019 and later a mentor position in 2020.

The opportunity to be a mentor is usually only available to graduate students, but it was offered to Valdez as an undergraduate student.

Valdez still considers herself a mentor and admits that she always visits her mentor in the lab for advice and to keep learning.

In addition to being a mentor, Valdez spoke about his research at the LSAMP and Chihuahua Desert conferences.

“The conferences actually had a lot of impact on my passion for doing what I do and continuing to do it in the future,” said Valdez.

Speaking at conferences allows Valdez to share her work and passion with others and is something she plans to continue to do. Valdez takes every opportunity to talk about his work.

She usually meets two types of people when speaking at a conference: those who have a general idea of ​​her study and those who have never heard of it. In both cases, the discourse that accompanies the meeting with these people is fulfilling.

“When I present to people who often don’t even understand what ecology is and even less what I study, they are very often bewildered by the extent of this information or by the importance of the information. that I present to them. “said Valdez.

In the future, Valdez would like to take her mentorship further by becoming a teacher and sharing her appreciation for ecology with future biologists.

After graduating, Valdez plans to attend graduate school to continue following his passion for research and his long-term goals. She hopes to one day be a professor at a university.

Levi Carlos is a staff reporter and can be contacted at [email protected]


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