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UTEP Announces 2024 Top Ten Seniors

Top students interned at Applied Physics Laboratory and Capitol Hill, will go on to law school and more

EL PASO, Texas (April 11, 2024) – The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso Alumni Association has officially announced the winners of the 2024 Top Ten Seniors award. Presented annually, this award highlights future UTEP alumni who have gone above and beyond in their academic achievements.

The Top Ten Seniors Awards are presented annually by The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso Alumni Association to a group of outstanding future alumni. Top row from left: Kennedy Trevino, Frida Garcia-Ledezma and Brian Rodiles Delgado. Middle row from left: Zachary Althoff, Benjamin Shipkey, Maximilian Rothblatt and Amira Williams. Bottom row from left: Michael Gutierrez, Abeni Merriweather and Zoe Andritsos.
The Top Ten Seniors Awards are presented annually by The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso Alumni Association to a group of outstanding future alumni. Top row from left: Kennedy Trevino, Frida Garcia-Ledezma and Brian Rodiles Delgado. Middle row from left: Zachary Althoff, Benjamin Shipkey, Maximilian Rothblatt and Amira Williams. Bottom row from left: Michael Gutierrez, Abeni Merriweather and Zoe Andritsos.

"The Top Ten Seniors award celebrates exceptional academic achievement and leadership, showcasing the dedication and impact of our students both on and off campus,” Jake Logan, UTEP vice president of Institutional Advancement, said. “These outstanding individuals are not just shaping their own futures but are also poised to leave an enduring legacy, inspiring generations of Miners to come."

The following individuals have exemplified what it means to be a Miner through their hard work and dedication to the UTEP community.

Meet the 2024 Top Ten Seniors:



Zachary Althoff

Major: Accounting
Future Plans: Work for Hunt Companies while pursuing a master’s in accountancy.

While at UTEP, Zachary Althoff had the opportunity to serve his community in various capacities, including as a tax preparer with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and as president of Beta Alpha Psi. In his next chapter at Hunt Companies, Althoff plans to continue his engagement with UTEP through involvement in the Hunt Companies’ recruitment team, where he will advocate for fellow Miners.

“In my experience, among my peers as a student leader, traveling and meeting other students from across the globe and advocating for our own with employers like PwC and Hunt Companies, I can confidently say that UTEP students are among the hardest working out there,” he said.




Zoe Andritsos

Major: Economics
Future Plans: Attend law school and become an international human rights attorney.

During her time at UTEP, Andritsos served as a Miner Ambassador and Chief Supreme Court Justice of the Student Government Association, and represented UTEP nationally in Washington, D.C. as an Archer Fellow. Through her participation in the Law School Preparation Institute, as well as her own impressive dedication, Andritsos gained admission to her dream law school – The 山ּ of California, Los Angeles – and is on her path to becoming an international human rights attorney.

“After almost four years at The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso, I can confidently say this institution has changed my life,” Andritsos said. “I never imagined it would be the joyful, challenging and extremely enriching experience that it became. I have learned that with hard work anything is possible. I just need to believe in myself.”



Frida Garcia-Ledezma

Major: Geological Sciences
Future Plans: ‪Matriculate into the Stanford Earth System Science Ph.D. program and study research soil contamination.

For Frida Garcia-Ledezma, the cornerstone of her time at UTEP was the UTEP Cares program, which afforded her the opportunity to intern at   La Mujer Obrera, a local non-profit organization dedicated to creating communities defined by women. Most impactful for Garcia-Ledezma was seeing firsthand how her efforts could create change. In the future, she plans to become a scientist whose work focuses on connecting environmental research with community organizations.  

“UTEP has shaped my academic, professional and personal trajectory,” Garcia-Ledezma said. “The inclusive, diverse and community-engaged environment at UTEP and its world-class faculty have provided me with a well-rounded education, fostering a broader perspective and a deeper understanding of the world.”



Michael Gutierrez

Major: Political Science
Future Plans: Pursue a master’s degree in intelligence and national security at UTEP as well as a Ph.D. in Global Security.

For Michael Gutierrez, the journey at UTEP has been a transformative and enriching experience that has left an indelible mark on both their personal and academic growth. One significant aspect of their UTEP experience was the founding of the Queer Texas Student Association, an organization that strives to create a supportive and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ students on campus. As an alum, Gutierrez plans to stay engaged with UTEP through the Alumni Association.

“UTEP provided me with the space and resources to champion diversity and advocate for the rights of marginalized communities on campus,” Gutierrez said. “My journey at UTEP was not just about earning a degree but about transforming into a resilient, empathetic and compassionate individual.”



Abeni Merriweather

Major: Commercial Music
Future Plans: Currently pursuing a Master of Music in composition at UTEP.

Abeni Merriweather came to UTEP as a shy and timid singer. She graduates as a confident musician who has had an arrangement published through a major music publishing company and another arrangement premiered at Carnegie Hall. Merriweather is an active member of the UTEP Concert Chorale, UTEP Chamber Singers and the UTEP Commercial Music Ensemble as well as the former vice president and historian for the Border Voices American Choral Directors Association.  

“There is no simple way to say just how much UTEP impacted me,” Merriweather said. “I credit most of my success and accomplishments to being a student at this university. Being at UTEP allowed me the space to grow and shine my own light throughout the music department and the community.”



Brian Rodilesn Delgado

Major: Computer Science
Future Plans: Pursue a master’s in computer science through UTEP’s fast-track program.

For Brian Giovanni Rodiles Delgado, UTEP’s community made him feel welcomed and empowered as a first-generation Hispanic student in STEM. During his time at UTEP, Rodiles Delgado dove headfirst into research, working as an undergraduate research assistant. As a result of his efforts in the classroom, lab and community, Rodiles Delgado was named a recipient of the Barry Goldwater National Research Award, one of only two UTEP recipients to ever receive the award.  

“The UTEP community has had an unforgettable impact on who I am today and the person I will be in the years to come,” he said.




Maximilian Rothblatt

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Future Plans: Become a second lieutenant and developmental engineer in the U.S. Space Force while simultaneously earning a Ph.D.

As an engineering student, Maximilian Rothblatt conducted research as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fellow and interned at the Johns Hopkins 山ּ Applied Physics Laboratory. Rothblatt’s range of activities, along with his academic accomplishments, earned him the Hawkins Scholarship, UTEP’s highest academic award. As he embarks on the next chapter of his life, Rothblatt will remain engaged with UTEP by participating in mentorship programs and activities that advance the 山ּ’s mission.

“UTEP has played a major role in my academic, professional and personal life,” Rothblatt said. “The time dedicated to completing my degree in mechanical engineering was full of opportunities taken, experiences gained and lifelong friends made.”




Major: Political Science
Future Plans: Continue working for the Office of U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales and then serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Benjamin Shipkey developed a strong interest in public policy from a young age, influenced by his upbringing on Fort Bliss. He  realized that UTEP provided the perfect environment to deepen his understanding of foreign affairs  and leveraged his education to actively engage in public service. While at UTEP, he interned for  Rep. Gonzales, and later earned a full-time position within the Congressman’s office.  

"My education at UTEP provided me with a profound understanding of real-world problems and the need for solution-oriented leaders,” Shipkey said. “In an era filled with significant challenges, my commitment lies in pursuing tangible solutions — drawing from lessons learned in my childhood at Fort Bliss to my professional journey on Capitol Hill.”.




Major: Public Health
Future Plans: Attend the Texas Tech Physician Assistant Program and earn a Master of Health Administration. Then return to El Paso to serve as a health care leader to bridge the gap in health disparities.

During her time at UTEP, Trevino was involved in various student organizations, key among those the Medical Professions Organization and Project MOVE, the 山ּ’s annual day of service. The experience of working hands-on with vulnerable populations instilled within her a profound sense of empathy and reinforced the importance of community service. Trevino sees her time at UTEP as an odyssey that molded her into a more resilient, adaptable and determined individual.  

“UTEP has instilled in me a profound sense of gratitude and responsibility toward my community, motivating me to contribute positively to its future by guiding and supporting aspiring health care professionals,” she said.



Amira Williams

Major: Engineering Innovation and Leadership with a minor of Biomedical Engineering and Entrepreneurship
Future Plans: Work as a design engineer at a Fortune 500 company before eventually pursuing a joint MBA/JD degree and establishing an endowment to support Black engineering students at UTEP.

Amira Williams created the E-Lead Inclusive podcast and restarted the UTEP chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Off campus, Williams has been a design engineering intern at Boeing and interned at Pioneers 21, a nonprofit and business incubator dedicated to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in El Paso. As an alumna, Williams will continue to embody the values instilled by her family; she plans to establish an endowment for black women pursuing undergraduate engineering degrees at UTEP.

UTEP has empowered me to pursue passion projects, amplify marginalized voices and forge a unique path that aligns with my values, aspirations and commitment to social impact,” she said.


About The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso

The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving university. Located at the westernmost tip of Texas,where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 84% of our 24,000 students are Hispanic, and more than half are the first in their families to go to college. UTEP offers 172 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs at the only open-access, top-tier research university in America.

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 at 12:00 AM | Originally published April 11, 2024

By MC Staff UTEP Marketing and Communications