UTPB international student sets sights on producing


Myra Salcedo

Multi-Media Managing Editor of the Mesa Journal News, Ana Ruth Lugo Mejia, stands by (left) as fellow UTPB student Cristina Caldera speaks to "Telemundo" radio host Patsy Casas in the NewsWest 9 studios. The students were interning as part of the UTPB "Writing for the Media" course, a Communications course at UTPB.

ODESSA—University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) student Cristina Caldera spoke on Telemundo Radio station at NewsWest 9 (the local West Texas NBC affiliate) as part of an internship in a communications course directed by UTPB Senior Lecturer Myra Salcedo. Caldera served to many University students as a writing mentor through her role in the University’s Success Center—and now she is (hopefully) bound for a career as a bilingual radio station reporter upon her graduation May 5 with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Communications. However, being an international student has had its challenges and brings up questions of Caldera’s future.

“My family and I moved from Venezuela in 2006 to South Texas where I graduated from McAllen High School in 2011,” Caldera said. “That year we had to move to Canada because of work visa requirements that my dad had to follow. Then we moved back to Venezuela in 2012 and the situation in Venezuela was already in horrible conditions so my dad searched for a job back in Texas and we moved to Midland, Texas in 2013 where I started college and graduated from Midland College in 2016 (with an Associate’s degree).”

Caldera’s family then moved to Argentina because of a work Visa policy. “However, I and my brother stayed in Midland together,” Caldera said, noting: “My whole time at UTPB I worked at the Success Center and enjoyed it so much” while serving as a student mentor and receptionist.

Aside from her academic endeavors she also earned a black belt in Taekwondo in November 2017 and taught Taekwondo for almost two years.

“My dad and I both paid for my tuition and I am so thankful for that,” Caldera noted. “My family is the most worthy thing I have and hopefully we can find the medium to stay in this country and become citizens as I see many job opportunities here. Now that I am close to graduating, I am enjoying the time I have left as much as I can. My dad will be coming to Midland for my graduation. My future plans are to get a better paying job in order to be able to save money to start a teacher certificate or maybe get a Master’s degree in teaching. Hopefully I can get a job at Telemundo where I completed by communications course: “Writing for the Media” internship but I am not too sure yet. Being an international student it’s very hard, starting from the cost of the tuition and paperwork to having to learn things from scratch (second language, new cultures, etc.). However, I feel like this experience helped me grow so much as an individual and I got the opportunity to teach other students about my culture. It is totally worth it. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I loved my years as a university (plus international) student at UTPB.”