More than 250 NSM Candidates Participate in Fall Convocation

Convocation Celebrated Summer and Fall 2015 Graduates

More than 250 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree candidates crossed the stage during the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) Fall Convocation on December 17. The ceremony, held at University of Houston’s Hofheinz Pavilion, included students completing degrees in Summer and Fall 2015.

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) Fall ConvocationNearly 550 NSM students completed degree requirements, but not all were able to attend the ceremony. Close to 70 doctoral candidates earned degrees in atmospheric sciences, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, geophysics, mathematics, or physics. Approximately 75 NSM students were candidates for master’s degrees, and more than 400 students were candidates for bachelor’s degrees.

There were 7 summa cum laude graduates, the highest academic honor for bachelor’s degree recipients. An additional 49 undergraduate students graduated either cum laude or magna cum laude.

Student Speaker – Kimberly Nguyen

Kimberly Nguyen, a summa cum laude biology major minoring in chemistry, spoke at the ceremony on behalf of all the students. She was selected through a speech-writing competition open to all NSM’s summa cum laude graduates. She also carried the University banner in the opening processional.

Kimberly Nguyen
Kimberly Nguyen, a summa cum laude biology major, gave the student address. She will begin medical school in the fall.
During her speech, Nguyen reviewed the life lessons learned by all the graduates while at UH, encouraging graduates to “refuse to let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.”

A native of Austin, Texas, Nguyen came to UH with an Academic Excellence Scholarship, an Honors College Scholarship and two scholarships earned while attending Westwood High School. “A UH recruiter came to my high school, and I fell in love with UH and all it had to offer,” she said.

Nguyen took part in numerous undergraduate research opportunities while at UH. During her freshman year, she worked with mentor Brigitte Dauwalder, associate professor of biology and biochemistry, on research examining the blood/brain barrier of fruit flies in the context of courtship.

She participated in clinical research through the Academic Associates Program in partnership with Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine and did summer research at Yale University in a laboratory studying pancreatic cancer.

Helping other students was also a large part of her NSM experience. Nguyen served as a tutor in the UH American Chemical Society Tutoring Room and three semesters as an undergraduate teaching assistant in introductory biology as part of UH’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant to improve teaching and mentoring strategies used in introductory science and math courses .

Nguyen, who has been accepted to several medical schools for the fall, will finalize her medical school decision in early 2016.

Convocation Banner Bearers

Convocation Banner Bearers
Outstanding students from each of NSM’s six departments were selected to carry the UH, NSM and departmental banners.
The College’s Convocation ceremony processional includes outstanding students from NSM’s six departments carrying the University, College and Departmental Banners. This tradition was started in May 2015. The banner bearers have the additional honor of sitting on stage as part of the Convocation platform party.

University Banner
Kimberly Nguyen, biology major

College Banner
Ronnie Lastra, computer science major

Department of Biology and Biochemistry
Benjamin Cohn

Department of Chemistry
Garret Couture

Department of Computer Science
Daniel Nguyen

Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Benjamin Rosser

Department of Mathematics
Nikhil Jaiswal

Department of Physics
Benmaan Jawdat

- Kathy Major, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics