Valirie Serawop Named UBTech Student of the Year

By, Stephanie Carter

Uintah Basin Technical College is pleased to announce their 2020-2021 Student of the Year. Twelve excellent UBTech Students vied for this honor. After a challenging selection process, Valirie Serawop was selected for this distinguished title.

Laci Day, Student of the Year 2019-2020, provided insight and advice to Serawop. “Take advantage of every opportunity; say yes often, you never know what doors will open.”

Day says the previous Student of the Year passed that valuable advice on to her, so she wanted to do the same to help guide her successor.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the interview process took place virtually.

“We had to be creative to continue this amazing opportunity,” says UBTech Associate Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, Stephanie Carter. “We had a successful Student of the Year process. We were able to continue this tradition and enjoy learning more about our UBTech students.”

Valirie Serawop, UBTech Office Technician student, was named the 2020-2021 Student of the Year. UBTech President Aaron K. Weight (left) awards Valirie Serawop (right).

“I couldn’t believe that I won,” says Serawop, who is an Office Technician student in UBTech’s business department. “I’m excited to be part of this institution.”

Student of the Year responsibilities include representing UBTech students in events, promoting technical education throughout the community and participating in speaking opportunities.

UBTech recently announced the search for ambassadors, where students will participate in events and gain leadership experience. Serawop will have the opportunity to be an active leader among the ambassador group.

“Leadership opportunities need to be available for students. It’s through education that students acquire the ability to lead,” she says. “I look forward to recruiting students to join the ambassador team.”

Serawop started her post-secondary education journey in 1992 where she attended United Tribes Technical College, in North Dakota. She later earned an Associates of Arts in English from Laredo College in Texas. Then she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she earned her Bachelors of Arts, in Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

She returned to Ft. Duchesne in 2017 and gained employment at Ute Plaza and later with Ute Indian Tribe Head Start. When COVID-19 affected her employment, she “couldn’t sit at home” and decided to enroll at UBTech in July.

Serawop is a life-long learner and an advocate of continuing education. She came to UBTech to gain the needed hands-on skills to be successful in administration.

“Valirie is a powerful example of what it means to be resilient,” says UBTech President, Aaron K. Weight. “She recognizes the value of all educational pathways, providing her with the needed skills and credentials to be successful in her future goals.”

“Since her first day in my classroom, Valirie has demonstrated the professional skills we seek to cultivate in our students – self motivation, independent learning, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration.” Says Dr. Lindsay Brown, UBTech Business Instructor, “No matter what comes next for Valirie, I am certain she will be a great success.”

“When people look at me, I want to be viewed as an inspiration of hope,” Serawop says.

“UBTech has opened doors for me. I’m able to gain the skills I need to get to where I want to go on my journey in life. I exemplify UBTech through my experiences to other members of the tribe, my family, and friends,” she adds.

Serawop shares her advice with others that she has given her posterity and family. “Nobody can take away your education. Go for it! It will be alright! It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Be a role model for your family.”