Isaiah Jaramillo

Isaiah Jaramillo

Name: Isaiah Jaramillo
Age: 23
Major: Master of Science (MS) in Agricultural, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences (AESS)
Hometown: Harlingen, Texas
High School: Harlingen High School South 

I chose UTRGV due to the impressive growth (i.e. programs, buildings, student body) the school experienced after merging the Valley’s two universities. Also, like many RGV students, I attend this university to stay close to home as home is where the heart is. To me, one of the most unique things about UTRGV is that it strives to integrate with the local community’s culture and works to alleviate some of its most prevalent problems. I highly doubt you will find something similar with universities in large metropolitan areas.

What made you decide on your current major?
I decided to enroll in the AESS program to increase my knowledge in agricultural science. There is so much to learn and do within the field of agriculture that I wanted to narrow my focus and continue gaining valuable knowledge and experience. The world is in dire need of passionate individuals interested in devising innovative ways to feed our ever growing population and solving the revolving door of problems facing the agricultural sector, and I want to play a part in that. 

How are you maneuvering being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Taking courses almost exclusively virtual for the past year and a half, to me, has had its pros and cons. I deeply miss the classroom interaction, but if it means keeping my community safe, I will continue to do so indefinitely. My heart goes out to all the students who have experienced mental anguish during these times.

What are your greatest strengths and what are some challenges?
I believe a few of my greatest strengths are my tireless work ethic, restless attitude, communication skills, and desire to be successful. However, to be honest, some of my drive has decreased since the complete switch to online, but with things looking up, I hope to return to 100% once near-normal activities resume. 

What do you hope to achieve beyond completion of your major?
I would love to eventually become a District Soil Conservationist with the USDA-NRCS. Having this position would allow me to assist agricultural producers over a wide range of area conserve and get the most out of their lands through education and implementing conservation practices. This would not only allow me to carry out the NRCS’s mission of “helping people help the land,” but it will also show the USDA the UTRGV AESS program can produce leaders in the ag workforce. 

What do you like most about UTRGV?
I have really enjoyed the knowledge and caring nature of most of my professors, especially my research mentors Dr. Engil Pereira and Dr. Teresa Feria, they have helped me tremendously in my growth as a student and a professional.

What does being a Vaquero mean to you?
To me, being a Vaquero means wanting to show Texas and the world what the youth of the RGV are capable of, that not all talent ventures off after high school.

What opportunities has UTRGV helped you find throughout your community?
UTRGV has provided me with tremendous opportunity during my time here, from scholarships, scientific research programs TRESS (Training, Research, and Education in Soil Science) and EFAS (Empowering Future Agricultural Scientists), internships, to even career opportunities, I have received a bit of everything.

What advice do you have for fellow students pursuing degrees during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I understand the academic situation at present is less than ideal, but you cannot let this stop you from the ultimate goal each of you set at the beginning of your collegiate studies; to obtain that degree. Although if you need a break, there is no shame in doing so, we are all aiming for the same finish line.