Priscilla Espinoza

Priscilla Espinoza sitting in front of UTRGV Performing arts building

Name: Priscilla J. Espinoza
Age: 21
Major: Bachelor of Music
College: College of Fine Arts
Hometown: Edinburg, Texas
High School: Edinburg North High School, Edinburg, TX 

I chose to stay in my hometown and attend UTRGV because I take pride of my roots and where I am from. UTRGV at times tends to be overlooked and a lot of talent leaves the RGV. I think UTRGV has proven itself enough as a public university to beat this outlook with their numerous accomplishments and achievements. I’m grateful to UTRGV for helping their students during this adverse pandemic because they unquestionably demonstrated that their students always come first by offering us a helping hand in the most difficult times.

What made you decide on your current major?
As a little girl, I would have never imagined that music would be my future career. I started playing the violin when I was 11 years old and since then my devotion and passion for music began. Throughout my music career, my family, friends, and teachers have encouraged and helped me become the musician I am. I want to especially thank my teachers Moises Llanes, and Abel and Mirelle Acuña who taught me and have played a huge role in my musical success today. I chose to pursue a bachelor’s in music to educate and inspire the generations to come just how I was. I learned that music goes far beyond just notes on a music sheet, nonetheless, it is another language and a creative form of expressing one’s feelings through art.

How are you maneuvering being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging situation that was unexpectedly placed upon the world. In the music field, one of our main purposes is to perform and entertain the audience. However, when the pandemic struck, this was the first thing that was restricted and it affected a lot of music students, including myself. As a student, I make it a goal to maintain a balanced day to ensure my own positive mental health. On rough days, I tell myself to take breaks, regather, and remind myself why I’m pursuing this degree.

What are your greatest strengths and what are some challenges?
As a strength, I never settle for less. I demand a lot in myself, and I constantly push myself to be the best person I can be. However, this sometimes is a challenge due to the unusual setting that we’re in, my personal life, and lots of built-up stress. Whenever I feel like giving up or settling for the bare minimum, this strength in me is capable enough to set these thoughts aside and continue to strive towards my academic goals during this world-wide pandemic. 

What do you hope to achieve beyond completion of your major?
There are so many goals I want to achieve in my near future. However, I am certain that one of them is to become that person that believes in someone else and inspires others around them. As a future music teacher and performer, I want to help expand the music education program and share the numerous benefits music has to offer. 

What do you like most about UTRGV?
I like that UTRGV is continuously graciously giving back to their students. Whether it is with financial support, university events or student counseling, UTRGV is always ready to assist you. Another thing is the Hispanic environment within the university and community that makes it feel like a second home.

What does being a Vaquero mean to you?
To me being a Vaquero is honoring my Hispanic culture and taking pride in where I come from. There is no better feeling than representing my hometown and the Rio Grande Valley; the place where I was born and raised. 

What opportunities has UTRGV helped you find throughout your community?
In my three years at UTRGV, being a part of the School of Music has branched out my opportunities and enhanced my musical knowledge. I am a part of UTRGV’s symphony orchestra and have gotten the chance to be concert mistress and assistant concert mistress of the ensemble. In the summer of 2021, I became a part of UTRGV’s nationally award-winning Mariachi Aztlán. This mariachi ensemble has allowed me to perform around the country while expanding my networks not just in our community but elsewhere. I also take pride in being a part of Mariachi Mariposas, which is a group composed of talented empowered women that love to give back to the RGV community through their music. None of these opportunities would have been possible if I didn’t continue my studies at UTRGV.

What advice do you have for fellow students pursuing degrees during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Don’t lose track of your goal and remind yourself everyday why you are pursuing your degree. Remember that there are people behind you that believe in you. It’s easy to make excuses and complain but it’s up to you to be proactive and successful!