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UCSC Educational Awards Recipients 2021

2021 Educational Awards Program Announcement

Images of the UCSC Educational Awards recipients

Written by: Dennie Clemons


2021 Educational Awards Program Announcement


Each year, members of the University Classified Staff Council (UCSC) show support of full-time classified staff by raising funds for Educational Awards presented to dependents who are seniors in high school and pursuing a higher education. This competitive award ranks students based on schoolwork, difficulty of courses taken, and having a well-rounded high school career. Students are scored on their grade point average and ACT or SAT score. Community service and extracurricular activities, making them good citizens, leaders and team players is also considered. Lastly, they are scored on letters of recommendation provided by teachers or school administration. Since 2006 the program has granted awards to 173 students and issued over $189,500!


On June 30 the UCSC Educational Awards Committee hosted the annual ceremony via WebEx honoring the 2021 recipients and their parents. Colin Dunham, UCSC Chair, welcomed and congratulated the winners and all who have supported the awards through contributions and participating in events. Guest speaker, Dr. Pedro Mancias, Professor in Pediatrics Neurology, Assistant Dean, and alumnus of the McGovern Medical School, kicked off the ceremony by inspiring these future leaders to enter the next chapter of life with an open mind. There was a wonderful presentation featuring each recipient where they shared future plans, goals, and majors. Closing congratulatory remarks from Dennie Clemons, 2021 Educational Awards Committee Chair, included a poem by Edgar Guest, “It Couldn’t Be Done” for inspiration to “buckle in with a bit of a grin…and you’ll do it.” This fiscal year, 35 qualified applicants were selected. Through donations from generous individuals like you, pop-up bake sales, and online silent auctions, the UCSC was able to provide $33,720 in awards!


The UCSC Educational Awards Program provides various amounts of awards each year based on scoring from a select group of UTHealth employees. The Program receives remarkable applications every year and this year was no exception! Recipients will enter a college or university in the coming fall. The UCSC is delighted to contribute financially in support of a higher education for these deserving scholars. They are the leaders of tomorrow who will carry forward our pursuit of excellence and impact the positive change in our communities.


On behalf of the Educational Awards Committee, the Selection Committee and the UCSC, congratulations to all of the winners.


Fiscal Year 2021 UCSC Education Awards winners:

Shaunna Allett - child of Annette Allett, Program Manager - Occupational & Environmental Health

Samantha Blackwood - child of Laura Deming, Nurse Practitioner - Pediatrics

Joshua Briones - child of Luis Villagomez, Counselor I - Brownsville Regional Campus

Xinyang Chen - child of Luyao Chen, Scientific Programmer II - Biomedical Informatics

Shreekar Dikonda - child of Rajesh Dikonda, EHR Application Specialist IV - Epic Operating

Donovan Dixon - child of Stephanie Dixon, Project Manager, HTI Business Analytics - DSRIP

Valarie Grigar - child of Julie Grigar, Senior Insurance Verification Specialist - Revenue Cycle

Noelle Hartman - child of Kristy Frost Christiansen, Nurse Midwife - Obstetrics Gynecology, & Reproductive Sciences - LBJ

Hailey Herrera - child of Michael F. Herrera, Surgical Assistant – Orthopedics Kingwood

Lindsey Hou - child of William Hou, Assistant Director of IT User Experience & Support

JaKayla Johnson - child of Shannon Tollerson, Licensed Vocational Nurse I - RBJ, Sugar Land

Aleena Joseph - child of Joseph Mathai, Psychiatric Technician – Acuity Management

Joshua Joseph - child of James Maliyakal, Clinical Care Coordinator - Acuity Management

Adam Keller - child of Maryjane Keller, Nurse Practitioner - Internal Medicine -Critical Care

Sarah Lalani - child of Karima Lalani, Senior Program Manager - SBMI

Mitchell Litvinov - child of Julia Litvinov, Research Engineer - Pediatric Surgery -Regenerative Medicine

Trinity March - child of Catherine March, Program Manager - Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

James Munsinger - child of Jamie Munsinger, Senior Administrative Coordinator - Student Affairs

Mahati Mathu Nagarajan - child of Vairamathi Nagarajan, Coder - Obstetrics Gynecology, & Reproductive Sciences

Carson Newell - child of Qiana Allen, Nurse Practitioner - Internal Medicine -  Infectious Diseases

Joshua Oladejo - child of Helen Oladejo, Staff Nurse III - NAIP Sickle Cell Clinic

Mazlyn Philmon - child of Amanda Philmon, Licensed Vocational Nurse III - Pediatrics Surgery

Harris Pruitt - child of Margaret Pruitt, Senior Social Worker - Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Ronak Randeep - child of Malini Randeep, Physician Assistant - Emergency Medicine - LBJ

Jaden A. Rendon - child of Adriana Martinez, Medical Assistant III - Memorial City Obstetrics Gynecology, & Reproductive Sciences

Ellen Sartwell - child of Claire Sartwell, Staff Nurse III – Pediatrics - Medical Genetics

Lilley Sartwell - child of Claire Sartwell, Staff Nurse III - Pediatrics - Medical Genetics

Colton Southern - child of Sandy Southern, Senior Administrative Coordinator - Pediatric Cardiology

Yllza Sylejmani - child of Besnik Sylejmani, Manager, Systems & Applications -Information Services

Amulya Tamma - child of Naga Aruna Tamma, Histology Technician II - Neurology

Evelina Torres - child of Kelley Rojas, Technology Project Manager - Human Resources

Rayne Veal - child of Latisha Veal, Senior Administrative Coordinator - MMS Management

Zaria Webb - child of Veronica Webb, Medical Assistant - Bayshore Family Medicine

Kirsten Zacek - child of Griselda Zacek, Community Practice Manager - NAIP Rosenberg

Eman Zaheer - child of Aamena Zaheer, Medical Assistant II - UTP Sienna Health Center Clinic


The winners will be attending the following colleges and universities:

Blinn College - Bryan Campus, Dallas Baptist University, Hallmark University, Henderson State University, Houston Baptist University, Lonestar College - Kingwood, Louisiana State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Prairie View A&M, Syracuse University, Texas A&M University, Trinity Valley Community College, University of Arkansas, University of California, University of Houston, University of Houston - Bauer College of Business, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at San Antonio.


This year’s UCSC Educational Awards committee members were: W. Dennie Clemons, Ashley Galvan, Kevin Banks, Telisha Green, Catherine March, Yuliana Nunez, Daphne Sigaran, Jacquelyn Sterling-Logan, Kristelle Grant Deterville, William “Bill” Severson, Alainna Talton, and Ebony Wolford.


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