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 in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, 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 and eyes for diversity and inclusion of every kind. 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.