Meet Richard Sapien
BBA in Economics '10
When students engage in discourse about professional development or our regional issues, they are taking the first step necessary to become some kind of agent of progress.”
Richard, you’re a junior studying economics at UTEP, but besides all the typical student things you do you are also involved with a student organization as President. Tell us a little bit about your organization and what you have gained from that experience as playing the leader in that group.
Our organization, the Regional Economic Development Association, is dedicated to improving the economic and political outlook of the Paso del Norte region. We pride ourselves for developing proactive, meaningful projects. One project REDA takes on is the Regional Identity (Ri) online magazine. The Ri is a student magazine developed entirely by students that covers regional academic, business, and government issues. REDA’s hard work led us to the distinction of 2009 UTEP Organization of the Year.
My leadership position with REDA has developed me professionally, academically, and socially. I have forced myself to engage myself with my academic career and community. The network of business partners and friends I have built since becoming involved with REDA is irreplaceable.
Who designed the websites? (Regional Identity and REDA)
I designed and developed the REDA website (www.redautep.org) and the Regional Identity (www.regionalidentity.com) website and platform. A couple of hobbies I have had for the past few years are web design and web development. I toy with all mediums of media production, really.
Whoa! You’re an economics major and a savvy web designer—a unique combination. Are you working on any other web pages relating to UTEP?
Yes, I work at the CoBA Professional Development Center as the developer of the new BCC website ProfessionalDevelopment101.com (PD101). My job is to garner interest in professional development and encourage student participation in the different workshops, lectures, and student organizations in the College of Business.
I work to make sure PD101 has a nice mix of strong content, multimedia, and social media. As a huge advocate of social media in business and education, I ensure that PD101 takes advantage of the latest social media technologies. You can find CoBA professional development on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Our PD101 Facebook fan page has over 130 fans and keeps students up-to-date with events, CoBA announcements, and website updates.
It would be an understatement to say that you’re interested in social media as a means of communication among students. What’s your take on how the social media components of pd101.com and regionalidentity.com play into a larger part in creating a more active student body?
Today, students are connected to each other and the rest of the world in an unprecedented fashion. Social media components on PD101 and the Ri are great vehicles to deliver value to our students. When students engage in discourse about professional development or our regional issues, they are taking the first step necessary to become some kind of agent of progress. We hope the discourse spread by our websites (PD101/Ri) and social media influences students to want to improve their professional skills or border region.
What are you’re plans after graduating from UTEP with a BBA in Economics?
I plan to attend law school.
Ok, so you’re shooting for a law degree. Are there any programs within UTEP that have played an important part in helping you prepare for the LSAT?
Yes, the Law School Preparation Institute (LSPI) has thus far been a huge help in prepping for my LSAT and law school application process. The LSPI has a great staff that has proven to be very successful at preparing UTEP students for law school. I am going to complete my second phase of the LSPI next summer.
I recommend the LSPI to any prospective law school students. I plan to help the LSPI program with marketing efforts later this semester, so I am eager to talk to anyone about what the program has to offer.
You’re a student seeking his degree in Economics and you’re the President of the Regional Economic Development Association—makes sense, but you also have a keen ambition for law. In what ways would you say your major and involvement (with REDA) will prepare you for a career in law?
Economics is one of the top majors for prospective law school students because the discipline forces students to think and express thoughts very critically and analytically. My position as REDA President should ultimately provide me with valuable leadership and management experience that is transferrable to any career path I choose to take.