University’s victim services specialist has long history of community engagement

  Wednesday, July 24, 2019
  Community, Awards and Recognitions

By Priscilla Ramirez

RIO GRANDE VALLY, TEXAS – Amanda Quintanilla, a victim services specialist at UTRGV, was selected recently by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (RGVHCC) as a Woman of Distinction.

Amanda Quintanilla, a victim services specialist at UTRGV
Amanda Quintanilla, a victim services specialist at UTRGV, was selected recently by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as a Woman of Distinction. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

Quintanilla, who has worked with the UTRGV Police Department since October 2017, collaborates closely with area law enforcement to provide emotional support to UTRGV students, staff and faculty in the case of a crime. She also offers information about services available, including housing accommodations and counseling services.

Adelita Figueroa-Muñoz, secretary of the RGV Hispanic Chamber’s board of directors – which works to increase economic development, improve the capacities of small businesses and their assets, and promote educational opportunities – said Quintanilla’s dedication to serving the UTRGV community led the RGVHCC to name her a “Rising Star.”

“The Rising Star is especially important because the committee strives to choose a young professional who has demonstrated commitment and passion, who goes the extra mile and excels in whatever circumstances their profession finds them in,” Figueroa-Muñoz said.

Quintanilla said her community interactions at the university are different from her previous work experience in social services, where she worked with at-risk youth. 

“People are trying to survive crimes of harassment and sexual assault, and I try to do my part to help them,” Quintanilla said. “I am fortunate to work with caring people that I can trust.”

It was her 13 years of social work that first drew the attention of the Women of Distinction committee.

“When I got the call, it was a big shock, but gladly received,” Quintanilla said.

Quintanilla accepted the honor in June at a dinner reception at the Double Tree Hilton in McAllen, along with seven other Valley women named Women of Distinction. Each was treated to a cocktail reception and presented with a plaque as proof of her accomplishments.

“I am humbled, I am grateful and I am proud,” Quintanilla said in the speech she gave that night. “I did not walk this way alone, and I am appreciative of all those who walked with me along the way.”


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.