Monday, April 2, 2018
  Alumni, Announcements, Student Life, Community, Awards and Recognitions

By News and Internal Communications

Dallas, Texas The UTRGV Student Media Department took home more than 50 recognitions from the annual Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) state conference, held recently in Dallas.

This is the first year UTRGV competes in Division I, which includes schools like The University of North Texas and UT Austin. Divisions are based on student enrollment numbers.

Complete Division 1 results are available on the TIPA website:

UTRGV’s literary magazine, Gallery, won first place in Overall Excellence in literary magazines.

Darrian Kirksey, editor-in-chief of Gallery, said the recognition should extend to all the contributors — not just the staff.


“Everyone who contributes a piece is a part of what makes Gallery so successful,” she said. “All of the Gallery staff really put their all to create something extraordinary. It fills us with pride to be a part of what Gallery has achieved.”

At the conference, students compete and are able to participate in dozens of workshops. Kirksey said she hopes to use much of what she learned in Dallas in next year’s magazine.

“At the conference, my fellow editors and I learned a lot about presenting other formats,” she said. “We have been talking about adding more online elements and different, exciting new ideas to Gallery that haven’t been done before.”

The Rider, the official UTRGV student newspaper, won four awards in the live competitions category and an honorable mention in the Newspaper Overall Excellence category.

Jesus Sanchez, editor-in-chief of The Rider, has been participating in TIPA since spring 2015, his freshman year.

Throughout his tenure, he has earned 15 awards at several TIPA conferences. That, the workshops he’s taken part in, and working alongside student journalists have been imperative to his career development, he said.

“A lot of what I know about journalism, photography, designing and advertising comes from attending TIPA conventions,” Sanchez said. “Being able to bring awards back to UTRGV feels great. We have an amazing team at The Rider.”

Sanchez who is the first editor-in-chief of The Riderwill graduate in May 2018. Though leaving the job he has known for the past three years is bittersweet, he said, he trusts that Student Media is in good hands.

“I've been here from the start,” Sanchez said. “I've seen colleagues come and go. I've seen how much potential all our students have. In its first year as part of UTRGV, Student Media won 27 state awards. Now, in its third year, it brought back 51.

“The future is bright for UTRGV Student Media, and I know the department and its students will bring back even more awards in the coming years,” he said.

UTRGV Student Media director Azenett Cornejo said the UTRGV students this year were competing amongst much larger institutions with broader programs, so the fact that they continue to excel shows the caliber of the program at UTRGV, she said.

“I believe the recognition UTRGV received at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association reflects the talent of our students and the quality of the training and guidance our faculty advisers provide,” she said.

For more information about the specific awards, visit


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.