Wednesday, September 13, 2023
  Community, Student Life

By Victoria Brito Morales

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – SEPT. 13, 2023 –The UTRGV Department of Physician Assistant Studies has admitted the five newest members of the Physician Assistant Career Track.

The UTRGV Department of Physician Studies welcomed the newest cohort to its annual white coat ceremony. This is the fourth cohort of the program.

PACT allows high school students to enter the Early Assurance Program, which provides a seamless transition into the master’s program upon completion of a undergraduate degree. UTRGV’s PACT selects a limited number of high-achieving area students who begin their undergraduate career at UTRGV.

To qualify for PACT, students must:

  • Be in the top 5 percent of their high school graduating class. 
  • Have at least a 3.7 GPA.  

The 28-month program accepts up to 10 students per academic year. With the exception of last year’s record-breaking eight-student cohort, the highly competitive program historically has only admitted five students per academic year. 

The students in the 2023-2024 cohort are:

  • Angela Gonzalez, La Joya High School, La Joya.
  • Alan Loredo, Robert Vela High School, Edinburg.
  • Alan Ochoa, UTRGV Math and Science Academy, Edinburg.
  • Araely Ruiz, Jimmy Carter Early College High School, La Joya.
  • Isabella Bucardo, Sharyland Advanced Academic Academy, Mission.

"Every year, we are more and more impressed with the students who apply to the PACT program,” said Angelica Urbina, clinical assistant professor in the UTRGV Department of Physician Assistant. “This year was no exception. The students who have been selected for the 4rth PACT cohort are truly outstanding."

For more information on the PACT program, 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.