Ariana Flores smiling at camera wearing her regalia
Ariana Flores said she would tell any student to consider UT Permian Basin because of the quality of education and the support you'll receive

UT Permian Basin student Ariana Flores is passionate about helping people, and that’s why she said earning a degree in athletic training was the best fit for her.

Ariana came to UTPB from Western Texas College in Snyder. She said she was nervous to transfer but as soon as she stepped foot on campus, it felt like home.

“It’s a small University and you get that family feeling here," said Ariana."They really care about you here, everyone wants you to excel, they push you to get out there and get as much experience as you can.”

Some of the experience included hands-on learning in the state-of-the-art athletic training labs and facilities.

“It’s been great, I know a lot of universities don’t have this kind of space for their students. I mean even the athletic training room here on campus is incredible. It’s been a really good opportunity to get to learn how to use all of those machines and even in the lab spaces we get to practice in, they're amazing!”

Ariana said she would tell any student to consider UT Permian Basin because of the quality of education and the support you'll receive.

“I would encourage it for the facilities alone but then you get that experience with the professors they really make you feel like you’re supposed to be here. They really encourage us to push ourselves to be better every day, and it’s an experience that I have really enjoyed so far. It’s amazing to be here.”

She added that one of her favorite professors to learn from has been Dr. Brian Bobier.

“I always end up staying and talking to Dr. Bobier for like 20-30 minutes, even after we have had class already. I go back to his office and we talk for like 30 minutes, so the professors are super approachable. They’re always just ready to talk with you.”

“She is just a fantastic student, said Dr. Bobier, Clinical Education Coordinator. "She’s outgoing, engaging, wants to learn, and wants to hone in on her clinical skills. She enjoys going to her clinical sites.”

Dr. Bobier said he’s enjoyed watching Ariana grow and learn over the past two years. For him, ensuring his students are learning beyond the textbooks is what’s most important.

"I think that clinical experience is important for students to see because it’s real life for them, it’s not out of a textbook. It’s real life scenarios. I like to tell them stories of what I have encountered over 20 years as an athletic trainer because I think it makes it real. What you learn in a textbook is fantastic, it’s important. It gives us a foundation. But what you see in the clinical setting is going to be completely different than the textbook. So hearing those stories and those experiences hopefully will relate to students in the future and hopefully they can apply that to their future endeavors.”

UT Permian Basin President Dr. Sandra Woodley believes all students should have the opportunity to gain real-world experience whether that’s in clinical settings, labs on campus, or through internships with the hundreds of companies the University has teamed up with. 

"At UTPB we have really focused on the opportunity for our students to get those hands-on experiences way before they graduate," explained Woodley. "Those internships are important for a lot of reasons. Students are able to really connect with their career before they graduate and our community gets to see how great our students are. Our graduates are in very high demand and those internships provide them an opportunity to smooth their pathway from their classes to actual work in our community."

As a first generation college student, it was important to Ariana to find a campus community that helped guide her along the way and pushed her to succeed. And thanks to the affordability at UTPB, Ariana will walk the stage debt-free.

“It’s a relief. I was really hoping to not have to take out a loan because it was just something else to worry about after college," said Ariana.

"As a first-generation student myself I know how important finances are to our students ability to succeed. We are very proud of the fact that we have such great scholarships and support for our students like Arianna who are able to graduate debt-free and go into her career with the ability to be successful and not have to worry about that bill," added Woodley.

So what’s next for Ariana?

“I didn’t plan on staying here but I enjoy this community a lot and I plan on staying here.”

She’s excited to walk the stage and even more thankful for who’s in the audience.

“Whenever I feel like I can’t do it I just remember my parents came here so we could have a better life.”