Professor Norma Olvera won a 2021 Hispanic Health Professionals Leadership Network Award from the National Hispanic Medical Association for her work to improve health in traditionally underserved communities. The award was presented at the association conference in March.
At least 14 alumni have won Teacher of the Year awards from their schools for 2020-21, a particularly challenging year amid the pandemic.
- Seven won Beginning Teacher of the Year awards in Houston ISD:
- Guadalupe Banda, first grade teacher, Pugh Elementary
- Tierra Harris, kindergarten teacher, Woodson Leadership Academy
- Rosa Ontiveros, fourth grade teacher, Grissom Elementary
- Maria Reveles , third grade teacher, Pilgrim Academy
- Jordan Shaw, eighth grade teacher, West Briar Middle School
- Ebonee Thomas, fourth grade teacher, Blackshear Elementary
- Vanessa Trejo, kindergarten teacher, Rucker Elementary
- Banda, Harris, Shaw, Thomas and Trejo were part of Teach Forward Houston, a special program at UH that prepares HISD graduates to return to the district as teachers.
- Jessica VanCleave, who teaches second grade, won Rookie Teacher of the Year from Alvin ISD’s Pomona Elementary.
- Hussein Pacha, who earned a bachelor’s in teaching in 2018 and a master’s in administration and supervision in 2020, won Teacher of the Year at Houston ISD’s Arabic Immersion Magnet School.
- Amanda Posterick, who earned a bachelor’s in teaching in 2004 and a master’s in curriculum and instruction in 2009, won Teacher of the Year at Klein ISD’s Metzler Elementary.
- Mia Martinez, who earned a bachelor’s in teaching in 2019, won First Year Teacher of the Year at Pomeroy Elementary in Pasadena ISD.
- Jessica Morales, who earned a bachelor’s in teaching in 2020, won First Year Teacher of the Year at Pasadena ISD’s Gardens Elementary.
- Constanza Pardo, who earned a bachelor’s in teaching in 2017, won Rookie Teacher of the Year from Katy ISD’s Wolfe Elementary.
- Ashley Flores, who earned a bachelor’s in teaching in 2020, won the 2020-21 Rising Star Award from Alice Johnson Junior High School in Channelview ISD.
Four faculty members earned UH Teaching Excellence Awards for 2020-21: Clinical Assistant Professor Justin Burris (recognized in the clinical category), Clinical Associate Professor Susie Gronseth (recognized for innovation in instructional technology), Assistant Professor Ruth M. López and Associate Professor Rosenda Murillo (honored as an Undergraduate Research Mentor Award winner).
Associate Dean Ezemenari Obasi, who directs the UH HEALTH Research Institute, won a UH Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award for 2020-21. The award recognizes faculty who have a “substantial continuing record of outstanding research” and related activities.
Alex Jones, who earned a B.S. in teaching in 2006 and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction in 2007, received the Wilhelmina C. Robertson Excellence in Science or Mathematics Teaching Award from the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Jones teaches science at Horn Elementary in Houston ISD.
Stephanie Giuseppetti, who earned a B.S. in teaching in 2015, has been named Teacher of the Year at Katy ISD’s McElwain Elementary, where she teaches second grade. Giuseppetti completed her student teaching at Mayde Creek Elementary in Katy ISD.
Danielle Llaneza, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, has been awarded a Research Pilot Award from the Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program for her work with adult cancer patients and survivors of color during COVID-19. The program is funded by the National Cancer Institute. Llaneza is a graduate fellow in UHAND, a partnership between the University of Houston and MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Mark McMahon, a doctoral student in the professional leadership – K-12 program, has been awarded the Governance Research Encouraging Achievement in Texas scholarship from the Texas Association of School Boards. McMahon’s research focuses on school board governance in high-poverty districts. He is currently assistant principal at Hood-Case Elementary in Alvin ISD.
Ashley Taylor, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, was selected as a 2021 MD Anderson Outstanding Research Trainee in Cancer Prevention from MD Anderson Cancer Center. Taylor’s research includes reducing cancer-related health disparities within African American and Hispanic populations. She is a graduate of the UHAND program, a partnership between UH and MD Anderson.