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Falcon Ambassadors aim to make positive impact on UTPB, community - Odessa American: UTPB

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Falcon Ambassadors aim to make positive impact on UTPB, community

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Posted: Monday, December 9, 2019 4:00 am

Cassidy Reddell and Leslie Parra are part of the University of Texas Permian Basin Falcon Ambassadors, a select group of students who meet certain requirements and represent the university on campus and in the community.

Both seniors, Reddell will graduate with a degree in biology and pursue a teaching certification while Parra will graduate with a degree in accounting. Students chosen as Falcon Ambassadors have to apply, undergo interviews, be sophomores at least and have a certain GPA.

There are eight in this year’s group.

“What made me try for it is I wanted to do something different my senior year,” Parra said.

When she read about Falcon Ambassadors, Parra said she decided that was something she wanted to do. She added that their beliefs are similar in that they want to represent the university in a positive way, make it a fun environment and potentially recruiting new students and transfer students to let them know UTPB is a great place to be part of.

The chance to get to know UTPB President Sandra Woodley and a recommendation letter from her are other benefits. She noted that there aren’t a lot of people who can say they know their college president.

“… Dr. Woodley actually makes herself approachable and available, so I can honestly say I know the president of UTPB, which is rare,” Parra said.

She said she also will acquire professional leadership skills, get an appreciation dinner and a Falcon Ambassador stole when she graduates in December.

“So we get a meal out of it; a cool stole; get an awesome letter of recommendation from Dr. Woodley and the leadership skills that I have to say that are … elite leadership skills that we acquire from the Falcon Ambassador (program),” Parra said.

Reddell said the ambassadors work through the president’s office, so they help out with any event she’s hosting, commencement and Falcon Days when prospective students visit the campus, and anywhere else they are requested.

“We attend the football games. Cassidy is part of the Flock (a spirit organization). When we had the grand opening for the engineering building, some of our Falcon Ambassadors represented that as well. And when they also did the Marriott grand opening, Cassidy was actually part of that. She represented the university and the ambassadors as far as making our presence known. It was a community (event), but it was being able to put UTPB out there as well is always a positive …,” Parra said.

Reddell said the ambassadors are a good recruiting tool to get more students on campus and more students to apply.

“I’ve done orientation for the past two summers and we get more and more people every summer going through orientation and coming to the university,” Reddell said.

Parra said she feels Falcon Day sets the tone for UTPB because the people conducting the tours and showing potential students the grounds are students themselves majoring in subjects that the new students may want to study.

“We try to get them excited for that and excited to want to be here,” Parra said.

Along with getting to know the president and the other perks, Reddell said the connections you make through Falcon Ambassadors are valuable.

Parra agreed. She was able to attend the John Ben Shepperd Leadership Forum this year in Austin and being in the same room with people like the CEO of Blue Cross/Blue Shield and hearing about how they became successful made an impression.

The networking should also help her find potential job opportunities, she said.

“… Being able to be part of that leadership forum and helping out and representing the Falcon Ambassadors was pretty awesome. It was a great experience for sure,” Parra said.

Reddell said she always tells students about the ambassador program because it’s so much fun and “getting to work with these people is just really, really great. Plus, a free meal, c’mon.”

Parra feels the same way.

“I feel like the Falcon Ambassadors is a great outlet to get know your peers, get to know people who are in the same path as you, trying to survive the pressures that come with being in college in general and so I would definitely recommend it,” she said.

And people she’s met through Falcon Ambassadors have become friends.

Advisors for the Falcon Ambassadors are Delma Lay and Danielle Davila.

Davila noted that a lot of universities have programs like the Falcon Ambassadors. 

“I think for me it’s a great opportunity because being the university and external relations manager not only do we do a lot of events on campus, but a lot of them are off campus like Celebrating Champions of Education is one which I will definitely have them there to represent the university. … We have a lot of donor dinners. This is an opportunity for them to meet the donors and whether it’s at a very casual setting, or a very elite setting where they just have to be more proper and they have uniforms that we provide to them,” Lay said.

Davila said they want the ambassadors to become part of the Falcon family and acquire skills.

“We want them to have more interaction with the Student Senate, for example. That’s why they have their uniforms so they can stand out. People often ask if they can have the Falcon Ambassadors at their event,” Davila said.

She added that they are also AVID leadership coaches with Ector County ISD. AVID is a college preparation program.

“That is something we added to their requirements this year. It has been rewarding for all of us because we do it, too,” Lay said.

 

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