UTPA President

Ambassadors Program


Founded in 2011 by President Robert S. Nelsen and his wife, Jody Nelsen, the Presidentís Ambassadors Program promotes the positive image of The University of Texas-Pan American by engaging a diverse and dedicated group of student leaders to represent the Office of the President at selected events on campus and in the community.

Each year, a small group of outstanding students who have excelled academically and in leadership roles on campus are selected as Presidentís Ambassadors to represent the University and to share their own unique UT Pan American experiences with University constituents, including legislators, the UT System, donors, alumni, friends, faculty, staff and other students. Presidentís Ambassadors benefit from a one-of-a-kind leadership development opportunity while helping to promote UTPA as ďBronc Country Ė The Engaged University.Ē


For more information about the Presidentís Ambassadors, please contact:

Mary Lou Cano Executive Events Coordinator
Office of the President
Phone: 956/665-7171
Cell: 956/607-8067

Program Requirements

Each spring, the Office of the President sends a request for nominations for the Presidentís Ambassadors Program to the University vice presidents, department chairs and student organizations advisors. Applications are then reviewed in the Office of the President, where final selection is made. Appointment is for one year.

To qualify for membership, students must:

  • Have Junior or Senior status by fall of the application year
  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Be enrolled fulltime

Students selected as Presidentís Ambassadors must commit to:

    • Attending an introductory dinner each fall at the Presidentís Home
    • Participate in ďPAVE the Way,Ē the Presidentís Ambassadors Volunteer Experience. Each Ambassador will identify and arrange a volunteer experience for the group. It is anticipated that there will be one such activity each month, with the organizing Ambassador coordinating scheduling with his/her fellow members and with the Presidentís Office. Each Ambassador must commit to attending at least four of the volunteer experiences.
    • Networking Ė the Presidentís Office will match each Ambassador with a community leader, donor or alumnus who is in the studentís career field and arrange for a networking meeting, lunch or dinner.
    • Events Ė Presidentís Ambassadors will assist at events at the Presidentís Home and functions that the President attends on campus and in the community, including events in Austin at The University of Texas System. Through these opportunities, the Presidentís Associates will gain valuable leadership experience while simultaneously serving the University.

Member Bios

David Elizondo

David Elizondo
David is a senior completing his undergraduate degree in Business Administration with a focus in Computer Information Systems. Originally from Houston, Texas, David joined the Air Force and deployed to Iraq in 2009. He is currently the president of the Student Veterans of America organization and public relations director for the Association of Information Technology Professionals. David’s honors include being selected for the 2013 Dean’s Outstanding Student award and for membership in the Golden Key International Honour Society and Beta Gamma Sigma, an academic honor society for business students and scholars.

Andrea Flores

Andrea Flores
Andrea was born in Cd. Acuna, Coahuila, Mexico, and came to Rio Grande Valley when she was 10 years old. As a Mexican citizen in the United States, she knows that great things are not given, but earned, and she places great value on higher education. She plans to use her degree in Biology to perform research and synthesize new drugs to help cure many of the diseases that affect the lives of millions of people on a global scale. She hopes one day to empower Valley women and be an example to young girls seeking to improve their lives through education. When Andrea is not working or studying, she likes to spend time with her friends and family, as well as her five dogs.

Claudia Galan

Claudia Galan
Claudia is a native of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and has lived in the Rio Grande Valley since 2007. She will be graduating with a bachelor's degree in Political Science, and with minors in Legal Studies, Business Administration, and Spanish in December 2013. Claudia plans to attend law school and specialize in immigration law. She is currently the public relations director and board member of the RGV Community Dreamers and the historian of the Pre-Law Society at UT Pan American. She is also involved in her community church as the leader of the theater/drama team. After law school, Claudia plans to return to the Valley and give back to the community through her profession as a lawyer.

Claudia Galan

Staphany Oretga
The biography for Staphany Oretga will appear shortly.

Ricardo Rendon

Ricardo Rendon
Ricardo, a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Services, plans to graduate in the summer of 2014 and apply his degree at any of the many great organizations in the Rio Grande Valley that advocate and assist people with disabilities. He also plans to continue his education toward a master’s degree in either Rehabilitation Counseling or Marriage and Family Therapy and to someday be a professor. Aside from being a President’s Ambassador, Ricardo is actively involved with the Rotaract Club and Catholic Campus Ministry, and with his work study position in the Office of the President.

Silvia Solano

Silvia Solano
Silvia, a graduate of McAllen Memorial High School, is a senior in the College of Business Administration, majoring in Management. She has been an active member of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization at UTPA since December 2011, having served as treasurer for an academic year and currently serving as president. Involved in several mentorship programs during her time at the University, she has not only been a mentor through the Sophomore Academic Mentoring Program and the My Achievement Plan Program, but also a mentee through the Cimarron/UTPA Mentorship Program. She has taken part in two of UTPA’s Study Abroad Programs and is currently a student-employee at the Student Financial Services Scholarship Office.

President’s Ambassadors Honor Roll

Inaugural Class of 2012
Daniella M. Diaz
Matthew P. Garcia
Ginger Rae Garza
Stephanie Ortiz
Marissa R. Passons