Wednesday, March 11, 2020
  Around Campus, Community

By Letty Fernandez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – José Naveja remembers how quickly it happened.

He was wrapping up a presentation he had given, and a few minutes later, he had a job offer.

Naveja, a UTRGV senior accounting major from Progreso, was invited to speak to members of the UT Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee in February.

The council, made up of influential donors and supporters of The UT System, convenes several times annually and engages in dialogue with the UT Chancellor, UT System executive officers, and UT presidents and faculty regarding special initiatives and issues important to higher education in Texas.

This year, they were meeting at the UTRGV Brownsville Campus and on South Padre Island.

Naveja’s panel included students representing the UTRGV School of Medicine, the two-time national champion UTRGV chess team, athletics and the Student Government Association.

He spoke about his experience in 2018, competing at the CME Group Trading Challenge, where a team of undergraduate business students from UTRGV beat out more than 500 teams from 37 countries in the four-week electronic trading competition.

And after winning that competition, the students visited the CME headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

“Throughout the presentation in Chicago, I spoke about where I was from, a small town, and I had never even been on an airplane when I went to Chicago,” Naveja said of addressing the UT Chancellor’s Council. “I told them what the trading competition meant for me. I met people from prestigious firms in the trading industry and was able to be on what is known as ‘the floor.’ It was such a wonderful experience, I will never forget it.”

So, he told his story to the Council, and what happened next is something Naveja won’t forget, either.

As he was walking down the platform from the stage, one of the committee members who had been listening to him approached.

“At first, I was confused,” Naveja said. “Everything happened so quickly. Our conversation went from introducing each other, to ‘I’d like to offer you a job in my stock trading firm.’ My reaction – well, I was very surprised and honored for such a great opportunity.”

The UT donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, was impressed with Naveja’s success in trading, with his maturity, and with his communication skills.

“He clearly works well in a team and is on a successful trajectory,” the donor said. “Who wouldn’t want someone like that on their team?”

Naveja starts his new job in May as a stock futures trader.

“My dad is in the trading business. Growing up, I would go with him to business meetings and meet traders, and it stuck with me,” Naveja said. “This new job will provide me with hands-on training and experience, and that is important to me. I am excited to start, and I know I will learn a lot.”

Born and raised in Progreso, Naveja graduated from Idea Donna College Prep High School. After graduating in 2015, he enrolled at UTRGV.

Naveja has his eyes set on a December 2020 graduation, and looks forward to the day he walks across the stage to accept his bachelor’s degree in accounting.

“Being a family person, I find it important to be around the people I love to motivate me and help me reach personal goals,” he said. “I am excited to see what UTRGV is doing and how it is becoming one of the greatest schools in our nation. As the saying says, ‘Together, we will inspire the world.’”


CME Group provides a wide range of risk management education. In addition to interactive events like the Trading Challenge, CME Group partners with other industry organizations to offer educational tools, such as Futures Fundamentals, a one-stop educational resource that explains the role of futures markets in everyday life. CME Group exchanges offer a wide range of global benchmark products across all major asset classes.


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.