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Fall 2017 Master’s Graduate: Right out of the gate–a significant promotion

UTPB+Senior+Lecturer+Dr.+Lindsey+Balderez+%28left%29+stands+with+Fall+2017+Master%27s+Graduate+Rocio+Molinar+Davila.+
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Fall 2017 Master’s Graduate: Right out of the gate–a significant promotion

UTPB Senior Lecturer Dr. Lindsey Balderez (left) stands with Fall 2017 Master's Graduate Rocio Molinar Davila.

UTPB Senior Lecturer Dr. Lindsey Balderez (left) stands with Fall 2017 Master's Graduate Rocio Molinar Davila.

UTPB Senior Lecturer Dr. Lindsey Balderez (left) stands with Fall 2017 Master's Graduate Rocio Molinar Davila.

UTPB Senior Lecturer Dr. Lindsey Balderez (left) stands with Fall 2017 Master's Graduate Rocio Molinar Davila.

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UPDATE: Student Rocio Molinar Davila has just been hired as Educational Diagnostician in Spring 2018 for Ector County Independent School District–a significant promotion straight out of graduate school from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Follow your dreams.

A simple mistake in the Fall 2017 University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) commencement program that named an incorrect hometown for a Master’s Degree candidate led to a wealth of information and an eye-opening story of a family’s support of the graduate. In addition, it revealed the University’s support of the graduate when UTPB Senior Lecturer Lindsey Balderaz invited graduates to breakfast prior to their walking the stage Dec. 16, 2007, for the Fall Commencement ceremony.

Rocio Molinar Davila contacted the Mesa Journal in order to announce her correct hometown of Odessa which was then posted by the student online news source. Davila was listed in a group of graduation candidates earning a Master of Arts in Special Education, not just a name or line on the page of a program because every student has a story. Davila’s story is one of a teacher who was supported by her entire family to return to the University after fifteen years to go beyond the Bachelor’s degree that she had earned from UTPB in 2000. After graduating in 2000, she said that she was hired straight-away from UTPB into a position with Adult Protective Services as a facility investigator with cases at State Hospital.

Not only that, she is a first-generation graduate as her parents did not attend college. Yet they supported her and encouraged her to earn two degrees.

“I worked at MARC (Midland Association for Retarded Citizens) and ran two group homes.  I went back to get my teacher certification and got a job with Bynum School in 2006.  I started with Ector County Independent School District (in Odessa) in 2007 and have enjoyed my years there as a resource teacher, life skills unit teacher and now an inclusion teacher.”

Currently, Davila is a special education teacher at Burnet Elementary School in Odessa. “I co-teach with grades 2-5 but may teach  K-5 if we get more students since I am the only special education teacher,” she said, noting, “As parents, it is hard for us to avoid protecting our kids and always doing as much as we can for them because we love them, but in reality, we aren’t always going to be able to do that.  So we must push them to be as independent as possible. When a child has reached this point (whether academic or social), it is a win-win for all involved.  I decided to obtain my Master’s degree because I want to continue in this field and become a diagnostician.  I have been blessed in working with many great diagnosticians in my career.  I wanted to expand my knowledge in this field and felt I could make a greater impact by helping other special education teachers and parents in working together to increase educational success for a student with disabilities.”

Davila has a daughter who is studying theater at Ford

I also knew that without my masters, I didn’t have a chance for advancement in the field of education.”

— Rocio Davila

ham University and plans to graduate in May 2019.  “I would encourage anyone who wants to obtain their Master’s to go for it.  I went back to school after 15 years of getting my bachelor’s.  I have a daughter who is in competitive gymnastics and another in club soccer. So in between running them to practices and games and having a full-time job, I did it. My husband has been extremely helpful and supportive during this whole experience and my parents kept encouraging me when things got tough and I felt that I couldn’t go on.  If it wasn’t for them, it would have been very difficult to continue the program.”

Dr. Lindsey Balderez, a senior lecturer of special education, said “Rocio is an exceptional student and has been a pleasure to work with during her career here as a Master’s student in the Special Education Program. She is the type of student that stands out because she goes the extra mile to demonstrate her understanding and apply her learning. She has been able to juggle a full-time career as a special education teacher, Mom, and full-time grad student seamlessly and even managed to maintain high enough GPA to be a member of Kappa Delta Pi, our education honor society.

Balderez noted: This was my first semester to host a breakfast for my students who were graduating but I plan to make it a tradition. My program is completely online so (in most cases) I do not get to meet my students face to face. I wanted an opportunity to sit down with them before they graduated.”
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