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UT for Me – Powered by Dell Scholars: Meet Yanira Marquez


Major: Environmental Engineering, with a minor in Communication Studies

Student organization: Women in Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Marquez came to Austin from Irving, Texas, to join the 2020 UT for Me cohort. Now she shares where she’ll be headed after graduation and how this program set her up for success.

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

It struck a perfect balance for me. It wasn’t too far from home, allowing me to stay connected with my family and friends, but it also wasn’t too close, giving me the opportunity to explore a new environment and gain independence. I’ve always loved the energy and vibrancy of city life, and UT’s location offered exactly that. Additionally, during my junior year of high school, I had the chance to listen to a presentation from a UT representative, and I was impressed by the opportunities and resources the University had to offer. That presentation played a significant role in influencing my decision to choose UT for my higher education journey.

How did UT for Me shape your college experience?

UT for Me played a crucial role in shaping my college experience in a personalized and supportive way. Despite being a program that assisted many students, it still managed to make me feel like an individual with unique needs. During my freshman year [which took place during COVID lockdowns], UT for Me shipped a free laptop to me. This allowed me to continue my engineering classes remotely and remain an active student despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Moreover, having the opportunity to speak directly with a financial aid officer through UT for Me was incredibly reassuring. The ability to discuss my financial concerns and have the officer look up what I submitted to FAFSA really eased my nerves.

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

The level of communication and engagement that the team maintained. I was pleasantly surprised by how well-informed I felt about various events, resources and opportunities happening on campus. It seemed like there was always something going on and being in the know enhanced my overall college experience.

A huge shoutout to Alex Patlan, senior student program coordinator. His text messages were consistently uplifting and served as a reminder of the support available through UT for Me.

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

Getting University Honors on my grade report. It happened right after I got off engineering academic probation. Getting those honors showed me I can overcome tough times and succeed no matter what.

What is your favorite memory on campus?

All the all-nighters I pulled at the Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL) or Engineering Education and Research Center (EER), especially right before exams. Those late nights were filled with productivity and great company. I’ll always remember the whiteboards covered in writing and the countless empty energy drink cans.

What are you going to miss the most about UT?

Seeing the UT Tower every day and the walks to campus from my apartment, even on rainy days. There’s something special about that iconic sight and the routine of those walks that I’ll cherish and miss dearly.

What are your plans after you graduate?

I’ll be starting my career in water resources at Kimley Horn, an engineering consulting firm back home. I’m excited to apply my skills and knowledge in a professional setting and contribute to meaningful projects in my field.

What are you looking forward to most after you graduate?

Two things: being able to travel and having financial freedom. Traveling has always been something I’ve wanted to do more of, and now that I’ll have more time and flexibility, I can explore different places and experience new cultures. Plus, having financial freedom means I won’t have to stress as much about money and can afford to do things I enjoy without constantly worrying about expenses. It’s exciting to think about the adventures I’ll have and the opportunities that will come with having more control over my finances.

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.