Campus Life

USU Uintah Basin Alumna Earns Doctorate and Becomes a UVU Professor

Rachel Arocho, a 2013 Utah State University Uintah Basin bachelor’s graduate, recently completed her doctorate and took a position at Utah Valley University as an assistant professor of family science. Along with teaching courses, Arocho will continue her research, giving students hands-on experience through her projects.

“I realized I wanted to be a professor early in my time at USU Uintah Basin because of the opportunities to work with David Law on his research,” said Arocho. “I was able to interact comfortably with the faculty and staff all over the campus and get to know them well.” 

When Arocho started college, USU Uintah Basin was only a 15-minute walk away. Looking back at her time at USU Uintah Basin, Arocho said, “Being at a small, intimate campus was something I took for granted before I went to the larger campuses of The Ohio State University (OSU) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). The larger schools have their strengths, but the atmosphere at USU Uintah Basin was something special.”

During her time at USU Uintah Basin, Arocho was able to glean research and teaching experienced that proved vital to starting her path into her master’s and doctorate programs. She first met Law through a concurrent enrollment class at Uintah High School. He asked if she’d be interested in doing research with him and she accepted.

Not only did Arocho gain hands-on research and teaching experience through USU Uintah Basin, she also took part in other internship programs and extracurricular activities that prepared her for her future academic career. She hosted the “Marriage and the Family” local radio program, worked with Law running projects with Ute Family Services, and worked with a team facilitating and evaluating the annual Marriage Enrichment Workshop in Vernal. 

Using her time at USU Uintah Basin as a strong foundation, Arocho received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation for $140,000. She completed her master’s program at OSU in 2015 and then her doctorate in 2018. Before taking her new position at UVU, she was a postdoctoral scholar at UNC-CH.

“I am grateful for those who have helped me get this far,” Arocho said. “My husband and family have encouraged and supported me when I need it the most. And my professors and colleagues at USU Uintah Basin, OSU, UNC-CH and others have given me their time, attention, and support.”

Arocho will start working at UVU this fall as assistant professor of family science, tenure track, in the Department of Behavioral Science.

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