Nahari Yared Leija

Nahari Yared Leija

Name: Nahari Yared Leija
Age: 21
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in Bilingual Education
College: College of Education & P-16 Integration
Hometown: Brownsville, TX
High School: Veterans Memorial High School 

UTRGV has provided me with the opportunity to stay close to my family, as well as helping me give back to my community while enriching myself with my Mexican American heritage. UTRGV offers a unique experience in which one is able to learn from the diverse and vibrant student population. As a student, I appreciate that UTRGV is not only incredibly affordable but has a staff that truly cares about me as a student.

What made you decide on your current major?
Growing up in a family of educators made me quickly realize the importance of education. However, what made me decide on my current major was constantly observing the injustices emergent bilingual students face on a daily basis. This made me want to become a teacher. It is essential for every student to have an equitable education in order to have an opportunity to succeed. As a future teacher, I want to be able to cultivate a positive learning environment to support all students, especially those who are constantly marginalized.

What do you hope to achieve beyond completion of your major?
After I graduate, I will begin my career as a teacher. Soon after, I will pursue a Master of Science in Learning Technologies and become an instructional designer. I want to look for gaps in knowledge and come up with ways to close them through gaming and other types of technology while making learning an enjoyable experience. 

What do you like most about UTRGV?
UTRGV professors are very knowledgeable and always push their students to pursue a higher education to become leaders in their respective field. UTRGV has amazing instructors and professors such as Dr. Hinton, Ms. Lancaster and Dr. Rahman that have guided me throughout my college career. UTRGV professors are extraordinary mentors who want to see their students succeed.

What does being a Vaquero mean to you?
Being a Vaquero means exceeding expectations. As Vaqueros, we make a difference in our community by motivating other first-generation students to obtain a higher education. Additionally, being part of the Vaquero family means always striving for success and trying to create a better future for our community while defying stereotypes.

What opportunities has UTRGV helped you find throughout your community?
Through UTRGV, I have been involved with the community through internships such as HISD One-Week Placement and Step-Up. These internships have allowed me to be part of the classroom and learn from my mentors on how to be an equitable and knowledgeable teacher. Additionally, I have had the privilege to be the co-president for the Bilingual Education Student Organization in Brownsville and a member of UTCARES. These organizations have helped me become involved through volunteer activities which promote a love for learning in the community.

What are a few of your favorite books?
One of my favorite books is “Fahrenheit 451” because it demonstrates that a successful society allows its people to have self-expression and curiosity. If people live in a society where information is suppressed, they will lack the ability to have independent thought. Without knowledge, people are filled with superficial happiness; however, a prosperous society progresses by wrestling with ideas. Another book I enjoy is “The Alchemist” because it emphasizes the importance of determination. If a person truly desires to achieve a goal and works hard, the universe will conspire to help them achieve it.

What’s in your playlist right now?
Since middle school, K-pop has dominated my playlist. Currently, the K-pop groups, SUPERM and NCT 127 are my favorites. Additionally, I also enjoy listening to J-rock bands such as Frederic and The Oral Cigarettes.