The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has a new student ambassador to represent the institution at the state level.

UTRGV junior Alyssa Guajardo, of Mission, was selected as Texas Civic Ambassador for the 2018-19 school year, which aims to expand civic engagement and understanding of democracy.

Ambassadors gain access to experts and researchers in the fields of leadership development, politics, community engagement, communication and civic life, according to a news release, as well as professional development and leadership training.

The students are in turn expected to share their knowledge with their peers through nonpartisan or bipartisan educational outreach activities at their campus or community, and providing up-to-date information about the state of civic life of their community.

“I’m very happy to be a Texas Civic Ambassador. Before, I was shy and lacked self-confidence,” she said. “Now, I feel I’ve been slowly coming out of my shell and have become more confident with public speaking. I’ve gained confidence in my leadership skills.”

Guajardo is seeking a degree in exercise science with a concentration in physical therapy, according to the release, and serves as a senator for The College of Health Affairs, and as chair for the Campus Life and Community Affairs Committee in UTRGV’s Student Government Association.

Part of her civic engagement outreach at UTRGV includes helping create a new nonpartisan organization called It Takes One Alliance, as well as helping launch Voto Latino chapters.