Dr. Diana Natalicio
Diana Natalicio was named president of The University of Texas at El Paso in 1988. During her long and distinguished career with the University, she has served as vice president for academic affairs, dean of liberal arts, and chair of the modern languages department. During her tenure as president, UTEP’s enrollment has grown from 15,000 to over 25,000 students, its annual budget has increased from $65 million to more than $500 million. UTEP is designated as a Carnegie R1 university, recognized nationally for both the excellence and breadth of its academic and research programs. UTEP’s annual research expenditures have grown from $6 to nearly $95 million, and doctoral programs from one to twenty-two.
Read more about our keynote speaker.
Margie Estrada, RN BSN
Margarita began her educational journey by pursuing a business management degree, however, as a single parent she was forced to leave school to work and support her family. She worked full-time as a receptionist at a clinic and shortly moved up within the organization despite having not a degree. Margarita found herself learning quickly about customer service, insurance, medications and patient diagnosis. Observing her skills, her employer urged Margarita to return to school and pursue a nursing degree.
Daunted by fear but propelled by a promise to her employer, Margarita slowly started taking the courses needed to rank into the nursing program at El Paso Community College. During one of her last courses, a classmate mentioned the Project ARRIBA program. She called and applied to Project ARRIBA. Once accepted into the program, she found the support, both academically and financially, she needed to get through school. Equally important, she now had the assistance needed to ensure her kids were taken care of while she attended school.
Working and going to school proved to be very stressful and at times, Margarita felt she could not continue. However, her case manager would not let her quit and offered continuous support and options to fuel those low points. In addition, Project ARRIBA’s Vision, Initiative & Perseverance (VIP) group sessions also provided important and useful information that ranged from financial literacy to resume building to meeting prospective employers.
Margarita attended a hiring event at University Medical Center (UMC) at El Paso where she had the opportunity to meet with department managers and learn about individual nursing units at the hospital. This also provided her the opportunity to network with other healthcare professionals and she even gained a nursing mentor. Margarita applied and interviewed to two units she was interested in and she quickly received job offers!
As a Project ARRIBA graduate, Margarita gained valuable experience in the surgical unit at UMC. She transferred this experience and knowledge to home health care where she always envisioned a nursing career. Three years later she went to work for the San Elizario Independent School District as the Lead Nurse and used this time to pursue graduate school.
Today, Margarita holds a master’s degree of Nursing in Clinical Systems Leadership and now works as a Clinical Supervisor at the place where she started as a receptionist, Tender Care Home Health and Hospice. Once she made minimum wage as the clinic’s receptionist and now, she makes over $65,000 a year.
As the mother of four children, Margarita has great aspirations for her children by the example she has led. She envisions careers for children as veterinarians, a physical therapist and maybe even a doctor. Margarita credits Project ARRIBA and its many funders for her career accomplishments.