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UT for Me – Powered by Dell Scholars: Meet Damiana De La Paz

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Major: Journalism

Ahead of her graduation, 2020 UT for Me cohort student Damiana De La Paz, a Dallas native whose lifelong dream was to attend UT, reflects on what it means to her to achieve that goal and how UT for Me helped her along the way.

What made you decide to come to The University of Texas at Austin?

My family and I would always drive by the UT campus while traveling around Texas. I remember always being excited to pass by and loved the energy that surrounded it. When my senior year of high school came around, I knew the journalism school was one of the best of the country and had a large alumni following, which made me want to attend UT even more.

How did UT for Me shape your college experience?

As a freshman who came in during COVID and online learning, UT for Me helped with the difficult transition when I felt so lost. Alex Patlan was the first program coordinator I was assigned to, and I appreciated just being able to talk to him about life at UT. Alex also helped me enjoy learning more about UT for Me and UT in general by helping me get on the first social media cohort for the organization. I appreciate Willow Lucas, a UT for Me financial aid counselor, always being there for me when I had issues with my financial aid, which felt like every year. I was always worried about financial aid and the never-ending issues I had, but I am so appreciative that Willow was there to help me out every year.

What surprised you the most about your experience with UT for Me?

I didn’t expect UT for Me to be so helpful with any issue I had. Whenever I ran into any issue and felt lost on what to do, I knew I could always turn to UT for Me, and they would walk me through what to do step-by-step.

What accomplishment from your time at UT are you most proud of?

I am most proud of getting my first internship my junior year, where I was able to get experience in my field. At that internship, I was also able to get my writing published professionally, which I am super proud of.

What is your favorite memory on campus?

I loved getting boba near campus and sitting down by the fountain while looking at the sunset. For some reason, while I was sitting there, it finally sank in that I was really at UT and achieved what younger me always dreamed of.

What are you going to miss the most about UT?

I have enjoyed just being able to explore the buildings and will miss studying at the Life Science Library. The library is so beautiful and relaxing that it makes the perfect place for me to just unwind after stressful days.

What are your plans after you graduate?

I really want to get in a job in marketing/communications where I can use my writing and social media skills every day. Once I graduate, I will move back to Dallas to start that job search.

What are you looking forward to most after you graduate?

I am extremely excited to be back with my family and spend more time with my cat, who I left at home in Dallas while I was at UT.

UT for Me – Powered by Dell Scholars ensures all Longhorns have access to the tools and resources needed for a successful college career. UT for Me provides Pell-eligible Longhorns personalized, multi-faceted support throughout their time at The University of Texas at Austin, helping them stay on track toward their degrees and graduate ready to change the world.