Wednesday, January 4, 2023
  Awards and Recognitions

By News and Internal Communications

By Santana Peralez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Dr. Karen Lozano, UTRGV professor of Mechanical Engineering and a Julia Beecherl Endowed Professor, and her team brought home a Lone Star Emmy for the Spanish adaption of “Energy & U,” a collaborative film that includes chemical demonstrations and natural connections between energy and STEM education.

The Spanish adaption, “Energía Y TÚ,” won in the Informational/Instructional – Short Form or Long Form Content category.

The Lone Star Emmys, which took place in Dallas on Nov. 12, 2022, are the Texas Chapter of the Emmys overseen by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), which also oversees the Prime Time and Day Time Emmys, serves all 19 television markets in Texas, and includes members from TV-related fields including news and non-news broadcasting; production; post-production; education; advertising and public relations.

Lozano, who was a producer, executive producer, and actor in the production, said winning am Emmy was “a bit surreal.”

“We are a bunch of engineers, and the stereotype is that we are not good communicators,” she said. “So, this award breaks myths and proves that when you have people at the center of your goals – in this case, our goal was to reach young students and help them learn science during difficult COVID times – you can succeed.”

She said she and her team might have gotten the award, but it really is for all Vaqueros.

“Our students can see that all is possible when you care for others,” she said.

Jorge Vidal, a UTRGV alumnus and Berkley School of Music alumnus who now works as an Engineering Research Associate II at UTRGV, was a member of Lozano’s team and worked as director and screenplay adaptor on “Energía Y TÚ.”

He describes the win as “a dream come true.”

“Our category was the second one to be announced,” he said. “They announced the nominees for the second one, and then they're like, ‘And the winner is, ‘Energía Y TÚ – UTRGV’. And were like, ‘Oh, my God!’

“So, we went up to the stage and they gave us the Emmy. I mean, we're very new to this, so we don't know whether to pose for a photo or walk off stage,” he said with a laugh.

Vidal and Lozano were the only members of the team who attended the awards show, which he describes as incredibly emotional and amazing, not just for his own career but also for UTRGV and the Rio Grande Valley as a whole.

“I remember I talked to the president of the Lonestar chapter afterward and he asked, ‘So, where are you from again?’ And we said, ‘The Rio Grande Valley.’

“He said, ‘We've seen some incredible work these past few years from the Rio Grande Valley. Some people think that if you're not from Houston or Dallas, you can't win an Emmy, but that's not true. You are proving that and doing great work.”

Lozano and the “Energía Y TÚ” team aren’t letting this win slow them down. Lozano said they’re all excited to get back to their original goal – presenting live shows at the UTRGV Performing Arts Center, Jan 9-14.

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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.