Select Page
Priscilla Garza of Edinburg, a junior and School of Nursing major at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, appointed the new student representative to the ApplyTexas Advisory Committee - ApplyTexas - Titans of the Texas Legislature

FEATURED: Priscilla Garza of Edinburg, a junior and School of Nursing major at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, was recently appointed the new ApplyTexas Advisory Committee student representative. She is the first UTRGV student selected for the position.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY


Priscilla Garza of Edinburg, a junior and School of Nursing major at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, appointed the new student representative to the ApplyTexas Advisory Committee


Priscilla Garza, a University of Texas Rio Grande Valley junior and School of Nursing major, was recently appointed the new ApplyTexas Advisory Committee student representative.

She is the first UTRGV student selected for the position.

The ApplyTexas Advisory Committee, under the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, discusses and votes on proposed changes to the ApplyTexas application for upcoming cycles.

The committee also works to strengthen student participation and access into higher education.

Garza, an Edinburg resident, learned about the student representative opportunity from an email she received from Dr. Eloísa Tamez, RN, FAAN, UTRGV School of Nursing professor.

The opportunity piqued her interest, but she wasn’t sure how it would fit into her major.

“I emailed Dr. Tamez and asked her, ‘Do you think I should do this?’ I do have some experience helping high school students. She inspired me to go for it and take a risk,” Garza said.

It paid off for Garza, who received the news that she would be the UTRGV nominee for the ApplyTexas student representative position.


One thing Garza was certain she had a passion for was helping people.

During high school, she would volunteer at a local hospital, and remembers watching the nurses at work.

“I would see how involved nurses were in the patient care and it truly inspired me,” she said. “Getting to help people, taking care of patients, making a difference in someone’s life – it paved the way for me to choose nursing.”

Garza, a first-generation college student, is familiar with navigating college and the challenges of the unknown. She conscientiously works to set a positive example for her own siblings, and helps them through their own educational journeys.

She also worked as a tutor at her high school, answering questions students had about college.

“I started working as a tutor some time before the pandemic, so we all had to suddenly shift and learn how to go virtual. It was crazy, but fun,” she said. “I got to help high school seniors with their college experience, and taught students how to apply for college and how to write their essays.”

Garza’s passion remains in the medical field, but she also has an interest in education.

And although her appointment to the ApplyTexas Advisory Committee is a non-voting position, she still hopes she can make an impact for Texas students by helping create an easy transition into higher education.

Texas Education Code requires the THECB to appoint non-voting student representatives for select advisory committees, including ApplyTexas.

“The committee votes and proposes changes to the ApplyTexas application, and I will be able to voice my concerns and potential ideas,” she said. “It’s important to make it easy for students to navigate and not feel intimidated by the process. ApplyTexas is the first thing students see when applying to college, so the easier they make it, the better for students.”

Students seeking nomination to an advisory committee may serve for a two-year term beginning June 1 and ending May 31, so Garza will have a lot on her plate, including nursing school and participating in school organizations.

But this brand-new opportunity is a bonus, not a chore, she said.

“I know what I’m doing right now is what I should be doing,” Garza said.

For more information about ApplyTexas, visit and ApplyTexas Advisory Committee.


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.

Sen. Zaffirini emphasizes meaningful change for children, communities in her role on the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans

The Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans, of which Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, is a member, heard 19 hours of testimony in late June 2022 from experts, leaders and advocates who shared their perspectives about making Texas schools and communities safer.

Zaffirini’s Senate District 21 includes all of Starr County.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday, June 1, 2022,appointed the 11-member committee, which includes Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, that met in the Senate chamber on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 and Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

Patrick required them to focus on school safety, mental health, social media, police training and firearm safety.

After the massacre of 19 children and two teachers by a shooter at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Gov. Greg Abbott requested legislative committees be named to make recommendations.

“We have to take action,” Zaffirini told the committee. “Thoughts and prayers are wonderful, but they’re not enough. Actions speak louder than words.”

The committee’s next steps include analyzing oral and written testimony gathered during these hearings and making recommendations for the Legislature’s consideration.

Its next regular session convenes on Tuesday, January 10, 2023.

“There is nothing more important than keeping our children, teachers and communities safe,” she said. “These hearings are critical to ensure transparency, accountability and adequate funding to strengthen school security and expand mental health services.”

She joins 12 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus in urging Gov. Abbott to convene the Legislature for a special session to implement solutions before the 2022-23 school year begins in August 2022.

The caucus is calling for red flag laws, a mandatory 24-hour “cooling-off” period, universal background checks, raising the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon from 18 to 21 and regulating high-capacity magazines for citizens.

“These measures would improve public safety without compromising the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” Zaffirini said. “Bipartisan collaboration and compromise would keep all Texans safe.”

U.S. Supreme Court is more conservative than public, according to study by UT researcher

The gap in ideology between the U.S. Supreme Court and the public has grown since 2020, with the court moving to a position that is more conservative than an estimated 75 percent of the American public.

That is the finding, released on Monday, June 6, 2022, from a decade-long study co-authored by a researcher at The University of Texas at Austin.

“We show that after conservatives achieved a 6-3 majority in late 2020, the court is ideologically closer to the conservative Republican voter,” said co-author Stephen Jessee, Associate Professor of Government. “That is to the ideological right of roughly three-quarters of all Americans.”

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings show that although the U.S. Supreme Court is now more conservative than the average American, the public still views it as somewhat moderate, something that was still true as recently as 2020 but is no longer the case today.

As a result, the researchers said support for proposed changes to the court’s structure (for example, an increase in the number of justices) is weaker than it might be if people knew how conservative the court has become.

According to the surveys, Democrats are particularly likely to view the court as more liberal than it actually is.

The results are derived from three surveys conducted during the past 10 years that ask respondents their opinions on the policy questions before the court.

The researchers compared respondents’ own views on important issues, their expectations about how the court will rule, and the court’s eventual rulings.

In the first two surveys, conducted in 2010 and 2020, the court’s position on key policy issues was relatively moderate, falling close to the preferences of the average American.

But in 2021, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and her replacement on the court by Amy Coney Barrett, the court’s rulings moved to the right.

The analysis also found that the public’s perception of the court’s politics can fall in and out of synch with the reality over time.

In 2010, for instance, both Democrats and Republicans expected the court to be more liberal than it actually was.

In 2020, by contrast, Republicans expected the court to be much more conservative than it was, while Democrats perceived the court more accurately.

In 2021, after conservatives achieved a 6-3 supermajority, the third survey showed that Democrats did not update their perceptions of the court to account for the impact of that shift, perceiving the court as less conservative than it proved to be.

Republicans, however, also underestimated the court’s shift.

“This may change for both Democrats and Republicans depending on how certain cases are decided in the future,” said Maya Sen, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and co-author of the study.

“People are more supportive of changes to the court’s structure when they perceive it as being more ideologically distant from them.”

Respondents to the 2021 survey were asked about two potential changes to the court’s structure: term limits for justices and expansion of the number of justices.

On both measures there was a partisan divide: 67% of Democrats and 43% of Republicans supported term limits; 51% of Democrats supported expanding the court, while only 16% of Republicans did.

These partisan divides may increase further, the researchers said, if the public grows more accurate in its assessment of the court’s ideology.

Neil Malhotra of Stanford Graduate School of Business is also a co-author of the study.

Full research article available at:

Pen-and-ink drawings showcase borderland history during exhibit at MOSTHistory in Edinburg on Tuesday, July 5, 2022

A new temporary exhibit titled “Borderlands – An Illustrated History by José Cisneros” will open in the Cell Block Gallery in the 1910 Jail at the Museum of South Texas History on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

This exhibit features a series of works that follow the historical timeline of the Rio Grande Valley.

Some of these drawings will be featured alongside other artifacts and short summaries about each drawing.

Selections of his art can also be found throughout the museum’s permanent exhibits, depicting moments in history and giving life to objects on display.

MOSTHistory commissioned Cisneros to create a series of pen-and-ink, hand-colored drawings to be featured in “Borderlands: The Heritage of the Lower Rio Grande through the Art of José Cisneros,” which was published in 1998.

Copies of this book are available for purchase at the Museum Store.

“Borderlands – An Illustrated History by José Cisneros” will be featured in the Cell Block Gallery from July 5, 2022, to April 30, 2023. The Cell Block Gallery is a designated space for temporary exhibits.

This new temporary exhibit will replace the gallery’s inaugural exhibit, “Faces de la Frontera.”

For more information about this exhibit, please visit or call the museum at 956-383-6911.


The Museum of South Texas History is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

It is located downtown Edinburg at 200 North Closner Boulevard on the Hidalgo County Courthouse square.

Founded in 1967 as the Hidalgo County Historical Museum in the 1910 Hidalgo County Jail, the museum has grown over the decades through a series of expansions to occupy a full city block.

In 2003, following the completion of a 22,500 square foot expansion, the museum was renamed the Museum of South Texas History to better reflect its regional scope.

Today, the museum preserves and presents the borderland heritage of South Texas and northeastern Mexico through its permanent collection and the Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives and exhibits spanning prehistory through the 20th century.

For more information about MOSTHistory, including becoming a FRIEND, visit, like us on Facebook and Instagram, follow on Twitter, find on YouTube or call 956/383-6911.


Laura Félix, Lauren Macknight and Pamela Morales contributed to this article. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (

Titans of the Texas Legislature

Share This

Share this post with your friends!