Cougar Cudos - University of Houston
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Cougar Cudos

We are excited to announce the return of Cougar Cudos!  

Cougar Cudos is a Staff Council program that allows staff to recognize other staff members for exceptional service to the University of Houston.

You can nominate a fellow staff member each month by using the form below. Winners will be awarded a certificate and listed on the Staff Council website!

Nominate a fellow Coog

  • Cougar Cudos Nomination Form

    Nominate a fellow staff member to receive a Cougar Cudos by submitting the online form below.

    Make sure you are logged into your University of Houston Microsoft Office 365 account using your cougarnet credentials.

    Cougar Cudos Nomination Form (link)


  • How does it work?

    How many staff members can I nominate?

    As many colleagues that you feel need recognition for their contributions the the University of Houston.

    How many times can a single individual be awarded a Cougar Cudos?

    Winners can be recognized multiple times a year for different contributions to the university. If multiple people nominate the same staff member for the same work, the person will only receive one Cougar Cudos recognition. 

    Can I nominate a person without letting them know?

    Yes, you can submit a nomination for a colleague and choose to keep your nomination anonymous.

    How can I access the the Cougar Cudos Nomination Form?

    You have to be loged into your University of Houston Microsoft Office 365 account using your cougarnet credentials. 

Cougar Cudos April and May 2021


  • Hector Bonilla

    Contracts Reporting Manager, Purchasing

    "It is an honor and a privilege to nominate Mr. Hector Bonilla for the Cougar Cudos.  Hector has been with UH over 7 years and with Finance/Controller’s office in the role of Contract Reporting Manager since November 2018, his contributions is commendable and has not gone unnoticed, (especially in my short span of my time here at UH).  Hector not only continues to make extraordinary contributions daily in his role as Contract Reporting Manager, but goes the extra mile in extending and volunteering to learn and assist other departments, and on various special projects such as the Tax Office department (currently with only one staff member)  by learning the new TAX software for Foreign treaty reviews and assisting foreign students; Ad-Hoc analysis related to Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Reporting; collaborate and partner with seven other team members to learn and prepare fiscal note responses by interpreting bills, identifying fiscal impact, cost estimates, etc., for the 87th Legislative Session; Human Resources with queries on vendors; Print Shop and Copy Services by developing new billing rates for the University Print Shop that would allow the department to break-even and allocate funds for equipment replacement and reserves; Accounts Payable with testing and implementation of the new Vendor Management System (PaymentWorks) used by all UH campuses; and serve our study body, faculty and staff with tax related and/or procurement/contract questions.  He lives the core mission of the university by serving his customers daily.

    Hector is self-motivated and takes the initiative to not only learn new tasks, but goes above and beyond in training and assisting the rest of the team members with a positive attitude and a genuine heart to serve.  Hector has a passion to serve and is always eager to listen, learn and look for opportunities to enhance his knowledge and skills.  With some encouragement and guidance, he is now pursuing his Master’s degree to soar to greater heights in his professional career. Although early on he was involved with university events such as the 'students move-in' events, he plans to continue being involved with the university community in serving and volunteering at university events .

    Hector has consistently impressed me and the rest of the leadership and the staff by his performance and positive attitude towards people and work. These extraordinary efforts and consistent contributions towards the success of the A&F division and the university as a whole makes him the extraordinary person who deserves a recognition. Hector exemplifies the quality of a dedicated staff with professionalism, personal integrity and a humble spirit to serve.  We all love Hector and want to let him know that ‘He is the BEST’"

  • Debbie Samuels

    Enterprise App Sec & Invs Manager, UIT Security 

    "Played the most important part in the 2 Factor Authentication project. Excellent project management and leadership skills."

  • Amy Ma

    User Services Sec Lead, Technology Services & Support

    "Diligent hard worker and willing to go out of her way to get the job done!"

    "Being an amazing supervisor, leader and mentor, especially during this difficult covid-19 period."

    "Amy is an amazing boss with a crazy work schedule. She gets things done in a timely fashion and is always there to support when needed, even on her days off! She is very deserving of a cudo!" 

  • Ivey Davis

    User Services Specialist Lead, Technology Services & Support

    "Diligent hard worker and willing to go out of her way to get the job done!"

  • Matthew Harvey

    Help Desk Coordinator, Technology Services & Support

    "Diligent hard worker and willing to go out of her way to get the job done!"

  • Rafael Arroyo

    ACA, Technology Services & Support

    "Diligent hard worker and willing to go out of her way to get the job done!"

  • Leroy Mays

    Director of IT Customer Services, Technology Services & Support

    "Excellent leadership and mentoring skills. Goes above and beyond his call of duty to get the job done!"

  • Michael Rapp

    Enterprise IT Security Analyst III, UIT Security

    "Played an important part in the 2 Factor Authentication project. His knowledge and understanding of his field of work was very much appreciated. Keep up the good work!"

  • Mark Rosanes

    Manager, Web Technologies: E-Communications

    "Appreciate his hard work and assistance with anything I need. Always willing to go out of his way to get the job done!"

  • Mark Norgan

    Apple/Mac Desktop II Specialist, Technology Services & Support

    "Appreciate his hard work and assistance with anything I need. Always willing to go out of his way to get the job done!"

  • Kevin Le

    Instructional Lab Manager, Engineering Technology

    "Kevin found one of our flatbed carts from our HVAC team and put it away until we could come and pick it up. It was very thoughtful and such a thoughtful gesture to reach out to use and communicate that he had it."

  • Tiffany Taylor-Denson

    Business Department Administrator

    "Tiffany is a BEAST! She provides stellar customer service and goes beyond with her assistance.  Whenever I call her  for help, whether big or small, she responds with the utmost promptness and accuracy. I swear I can "hear" the smile in her voice over the phone! She knows her stuff! Tiffany gives our office, honest, timely financial guidance and reasonable expectations all while making sure that we understand exactly what is conveyed so that we can make appropriate  decisions for optimal outcomes. I really appreciate her patience, especially since she has such a vast customer base, she's found a way to make us feel like we are her only client. I just love the upbeat positive spirit she brings to her service to UH. She is such a pleasure to work with and certainly very well deserving of recognition."

  • Cory Tristan

    Financial 2 Assistant, TX Ctr Superconductivity 

    "Cory has been helping our lab (PI: Prof. Paul Chu) at TcSUH with placing orders for research and office supplies. He is very responsive and gets things done in a timely manner, which is really important for keeping our research projects moving forward, especially during this COVID period."

  • Paula Lockett

    Custodian 2, Local Custodial Services

    "Environmental Health and Safety(EHS) would like to nominate Ms. Paula Locket for a  University of Houston Cougar Cudos. Ms. Locket makes a significant impact on the readiness of our office on a daily basis. Her work and attention to detail make our offices, hallways, and grounds safe, clean and inviting to all. Despite the overwhelming amount of work that everyone has to do, Paula consistently makes us feel at ease with her great personality, work ethic, and infectious smile.  Her willingness to assist others and her commitment to her job is unparalleled."

  • Jatarra Mayhue

    Vendor ID 1-Specialist, Accounts Payable

    "Jatarra took lead to assist me with vendor setup/paymentworks with one of the vendor, whom we have both being going through some hiccups, etc.  She handled it with much care, integrity and pride, took charge of the situation, making me, and the vendor very happy as the end result was all the way positive.  She is a gem!  Thank you!"'

  • Sabrina Grant

    Administration Coordinator, Integrated Enrollment Services

    "I just wanted to take a moment and say “Thank You”. The Student Affairs Business Office (SABO) is sending LOTS of PRAISES today for Sabrina Grant.  Sabrina is amazing at sharing and assisting any/all information that she provides; she is very helpful, always professional, goes out of her way to assist the SABO team; but more importantly Sabrina is doing an Amazing job for the SABO Team. Thanks again for having an  “Outstanding staff member” on the University of Houston Integrated Enrollment Services team."


  • HVAC Techs Go Above and Beyond in Critical Time

    Willy Vazquez

    Journey HVAC Mechanic, Facilities Operation and Maintenance

    John Robinson

    Journey HVAC Mechanic, Facilities Operation and Maintenance


    “I wanted to make you aware of the extraordinary support from 2 HVAC techs, John Robinson and Willy Vazquez

    As you may know, we were called out to SR1 Monday evening to respond to a power outage of the whole building. When James Roberts and myself arrived at the basement there were over 12-18 inches of water and the pumps were not running due to a failure of an ATS. John and Willy closed the steam valve while James and I got the ATS into emergency to power the sump pumps. 

    The water had risen high enough to cause a short circuit on 2 bottom 600amp breakers and the 3000 amp main also tripped. John and Willy located the source of much of the water coming from the break tank and closed the clay valve. After doing what they could on their equipment they asked what they could do to assist the electric shop.

    They helped us push water to the drains, brought us some fans to start drying out the breaker cubicles, assisted with lifting the breakers out and changing the trip units, finding some 2X4’s that we needed to get the 3000 amp main to close. 

    Their willingness to help in every way possible enabled us to get the building power back on safely and much quicker than would have been possible otherwise. 

    Willy and John should be commended for going above and beyond their normal responsibilities and truly being part of the TEAM that is UH Facilities.”

  • UIT Team Always Adapts and Renders Aid

    Ivey Davis

    User Services Specialist Lead, Technology Services & Support

    Matthew Harvey

    Help Desk Coordinator, Technology Services & Support

    Rafael Arroyo

    ACA, Technology Services & Support

    Rene Gonzalez

    ACA, Technology Services & Support

    Leroy Mays

    Director of IT Customer Services, Technology Services & Support

    Maricela Rodriguez

    IT Documentation Coordinator II, Technology Services & Support

    “Before, during, and after the pandemic, this team is always ready to assist, works flexible hours and days to accommodate all needs and projects. 

    Accessible and adapts whether it is/was on campus, at home, remotely in another location or virtually.”

  • Brilliant Attention to Detail Makes for Beautiful Workspace to Return To

    Dineta Fraizer

    Administrative Assistant, Media Relations

    Dianah Hobbs

    Assistant to VC/VP for Marketing and Communications

    “Dineta and Dianah are the backbones of our Communications and Media Relations Office in E. Cullen. When we were getting ready to come back to the office after COVID-19, they both worked tirelessly on refurbishing our workspaces.

    They truly went above and beyond to make the entire office space ready for our return.”

    “Dianah and Dineta went above and beyond while leading the renovation of the marketing and communications office and the end result is brilliant!

    The entire team is grateful for their attention to detail and the transformation of our workspace into a beautiful, functional office that everyone can be proud of. Thank you!”

  • Christine Cortez

    Financial Coordinator I, Mexican-American Studies

    “Christy is a dedicated staff member for the Center for Mexican American studies.  She consistently sets a fine example of professionalism and is always willing to help her colleagues. 

    She has been instrumental during the transition periods of COVID. Christy's willingness to always go above and beyond makes her an integral part of the Center for Mexican American Studies and deserving of special recognition.”

  • Cristian Garcia

    Recruiter, Human Resources

    “Cristian has been very helpful with excellent customer service. If I have any questions or assistance, he will assist and will also reach out to others that will be able to assist me when needed. Cristian very diligent and will call to verify everything with me before proceeding.”

  • Whitney Johnson

    Program Manager II, Student Services, C.T. Bauer College of Business

    “Where do I start! I have known Whitney for a little over 4 years now since joining Staff Council. We both joined the Staff Affairs committee the same year and then that following year we both Chair the committee currently.

    Whitney is always willing to help and go above and beyond when anything is needed. She is a great mentor, friend, leader, and coworker.”

  • Llesenia Rodriguez

    University Information Technology

    “Llesenia joined the UIT team not too long ago and she has done a great job considering she was hired right before the pandemic began.”

  • Quentin Stewart

    Assistant Business Services I, College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics

    “Quite a few of the BIO packages were delivered to the NSM Business office in SR1 building instead of the BIO Business office in SR2 building.  Ms. Bush went over to pick up the boxes.  When Quentin realized that Ms. Bush was struggling with the boxes, he immediately got up and assisted Ms. Bush. 

    He even walked over to the SR2 building with the boxes. Quentin is a remarkable young man who continues to assist his fellow staff members.  Quentin definitely deserves kudos for his initiative and willingness to volunteer and help !!!!!”

  • Diane Sylvester

    Assistant Business Administrator, Business Services, Administration & Finance

    “It's an Honor to recognize Diane for her passion to excel every single day.  She continues to reach new heights with our processes and receives praises from our customers. 

    Her spirit is 100% Cougar Pride.  I am very grateful to have her on my team and as my teammate.  Well Deserved!”


  • Jemal Moore

    Academic Records Coordinator, Undergraduate Student Success, Cullen College of Engineering

    “Mr. Jemal Moore is the rock to our office. He is a Zoom Wiz. A shepherd onto his people. A Jemal of all trades. Mr. Jemal Moore brings life to our office with his hard work, dedication, support, and wisdom.

    We are endlessly thankful for his tireless efforts holding our department down each week.”

  • David Nguyen

    IT Support Manager, Graduate College of Social Work

    “David has made working from home possible. He is always up to being the one that goes to our office every week to ensure that everyone is able to remote to their work computers.

    He has definitely shown great leadership and management skills during this new normal. He is a great colleague, friend, and boss.”

  • Mariela G. Raudales

    Financial Coordinator II, Business Services, Administration and Finance

    “Mariela is a great person and I am nominating her because she always helps with HR questions and she always goes above and beyond.

    She is a person that will stop what she is doing to best help and she has proven that she is a team leader and an example of a great worker at UH and for that I am nominating her.”

  • Jesus Santos

    Office Assistant I, University of Houston Police Department

    “During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jesus Santos not manages only his duties but also assists with the duties of two other office personnel that were working from home. 

    Although he has an increased workload, he maintains a positive demeanor and is pleasant to work with.”

  • Courtney K. Wilson

    Instructional Designer II, Graduate College of Social Work

    “I believe that Courtney deserved to be recognized because she has stepped up to help and assist in making things easier for Faculty when we transition to online learning. She is always up to test new applications and sit through trainings with me to better understand the platforms Faculty use.

    She has also gone beyond her regular work duties and works after hours to assist students with the new learning transition FY20 was. I can always count on her and I don't know why I didn't do this sooner.”


  • Innovative thinking amidst extraordinary circumstances

    Kim Clark

    Executive Director, Campus Recreation

    Shenae Champ

    Office Supervisor, UH Children's Learning Centers

    Cecilia “Cece” Hernandez

    Assistant Director, UH Children's Learning Centers

    Rachel O'Mara

    Associate Director, Operations, Campus Recreation

    Jennifer Skopal

    Director, UH Children's Learning Centers


    “The Children's Learning Center (CLC) Wheeler Campus was significantly impacted by Winter Storm Uri. In order to continue operations, the CLC collaborated with Campus Recreation to reopen in their space until repairs were complete at Wheeler. As a CLC parent, this transition was seamless. It was amazing for the kids and teachers that the CLC was able to open in the temporary Campus Recreation space until the Wheeler campus was ready, providing a sense of normalcy and comfort in an already turbulent year.

    Jennifer Skopal's communication was excellent, consistent, and clear and I always knew that my child was in good hands with Cece Hernandez and Shenae Champ at drop off and pick-up.

    Rachel O'Mara and Kim Clark from Campus Recreation should be recognized for their effort in making space available for the CLC. I know this was not easy to coordinate and required many stakeholders. CLC administration and teachers as well as Campus Recreation employees worked in harmony to make this happen. This example of resilience, leadership and innovative thinking to an extraordinary circumstance must be recognized.”


  • Harriet Yim

    Web Project Manager, Office of Communications, Cullen College of Engineering

    "Harriet is a true gem! I greatly appreciate her prompt response to every inquiry that I submit to her. She is awesome and her efficiency in turning around requests makes my job easier. It is a true joy to interact with her!"

  • Zachary Lounder

    Financial Coordinator 2, Business Services, Department of Public Safety

    “Zach is exceptional for immediately accepting additional responsibilities, volunteering to help train others, and represent the team in campus meetings. He remains calm, cool, and positive throughout the entire time. He volunteers to take care of Business Services on and off-campus. 

    He believes that no matter what it may look like we still need to learn and grow.  He has an amazing outlook on life which motivates everyone to keep it moving.”   


  • Azucena “Suzy” Banuelas

    Custodian III, Optometry Clinic

    “Suzy, as we affectionately call Azucena, was in the building daily working through the pandemic to assist Tony in installing Plexiglas in each and every of our 50 of our exam rooms, multiple other equipment, check-in counters and get our eye clinic ready for reopening. She and Tony, along with another part-time member were moving furniture in our entire building making rooms for social distancing. She was overwhelmed, exhausted but never said no when you asked her to help with another task.  Suzy is one of 2 full-time members that make up the building maintenance/ custodian team that moved wall, lifted heavy equipment and furniture, and worked the hardest at work so we can come back to work.”

  • Dr. Rikki Bettinger

    Associate Director, Mellon Research Scholars Program
    Program Manager, Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards

    “Dr. Bettinger provides extensive guidance and support to students involved with the Mellon Research Scholars Program, helps students navigate the Senior Honors Thesis Program, and advises students applying for competitive fellowships, such as the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. She has taken all obstacles presented by the pandemic in stride and quickly identifies solutions to continue serving students pursuing research in the humanities. She helps students identify faculty mentors, coordinates comprehensive programming throughout the year (including the Houston Early Research Experience), and has built relationships across campus to benefit the future of humanities scholars. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards is fortunate to have Dr. Bettinger as a vital part of the team.”

  • Willard Brewster

    Manager, Facilities Management Zone

    “Brew joined the university in November of 2013. His background and experience from the air force brought value to our facilities management for the institutional sites which include Wharton College as our tenant and UH Victoria as co-occupant at Katy. He has done a phenomenal job during the past 6 months to bring the 4 buildings to COVID compliance. He has tasked his team to finish projects and classroom preps during the summer. Both Katy and Sugar Land staff and faculty have received stellar service and response time.  He wears multiple hats, overseeing small projects, custodial contract, grounds keeping contract, works on all FIXIT calls for the two instructional sites, and procurement of all supplies. He also serves on a strategic planning committee. Overall, our success for a beautiful, clean and efficient site is absolutely credited to him.”

  • Anthony "Tony" Cantu

    Skilled Trades Tech I, College of Optometry

    “Tony was in the building daily working through the pandemic to install Plexiglas in each and every of our 50 of our exam rooms, multiple other equipment, check-in counters and get our eye clinic ready for reopening.  He and another member of his team were moving furniture in our entire building making rooms for social distancing.  His exhaustion is shown at the end of the day through that smile, still asking, what can I do to help.”

  • Joseph Carter

    Building Management Systems Lead, Facilities Operation and Maintenance

    “Joseph went above and beyond his job duties to support another shops building and air handling units. He continues to be an inspiration to all those who know him. He doesn't even need to be asked he just sees a problem and then tackles it. even when off work he continues to answer calls from other shops and technicians, a true example of our current Mission and Vision for Facility Services.”

  • Allen DeForde

    Assistant Director, Parking & Transport Services

    “Allen is the most responsive person in the Parking Department. He is pleasant and informative. I love working with him.”

  • Kara Ellis, M.S.

    Academic Advisor I, College of Technology

    “Kara Ellis is one of the hardest working undergraduate Academic Advisors in the College of Technology. In addition to being a single mother and a recently graduated Master's student (in Higher Education), Kara works relentlessly for her students in the Information and Logistics Technology Department. She is kind, thorough, and committed to providing excellent service to almost 2000 students in this Department. In addition to helping so many students meet their educational and professional goals, Kara also serves on numerous committees throughout the College and UH, including the Advising Tools Undergraduate Committee, the Edison Technology Lecture Series Committee, and the Anti-Racism Task Force.”

  • Cristian Garcia

    Recruiter, Human Resources

    “Mr. Garcia has been very helpful with TALEO and the recruitment process.  He is always available to help and he follows up to make sure that you are receiving candidates, help with interviewing, and very resourceful when onboarding a new employee.  It has been a pleasure working with the Employment team. They are by far... the STARS of Human Resources.  I have several postings and they have assisted whenever I have reached out to the team.  He is a great addition to the Employment Team.  They are all great people.  I just wanted to recognize Cristian's support for me and the Engineering college.”


    “Cristian is our HR Recruiter and he really makes the recruiting process seamless and enjoyable. He constantly provides updates and reaches out by phone to make sure that we have everything we need. He is very accessible even during COVID times. His disposition is always so cheerful and friendly and talking to him is always a pleasure. I truly enjoy working with him and I am so grateful he is a part of the HR team.”

  • Jesse Gonzalez

    Building Management Systems Technician II, Facilities Operation and Maintenance

    “Jesse went above and beyond his job duties to support another shops building and air handling units. He continues to be an inspiration to all those who know him. He doesn't even need to be asked he just sees a problem and then tackles it. even when off work he continues to answer calls from other shops and technicians, a true example of our current Mission and Vision for Facility Services.”

  • Kendra Hakanson

    Program Director, Alumni Relations

    “Kendra has truly been an amazing coworker to work with, especially during the tough times of COVID. She constantly goes above and beyond to ensure all of our events (virtually and in-person) are well thought out, planned and executed seamlessly. You can tell she puts her all into her work. Kendra also is a great team player and shows her support for others on the team and their programs managed, including myself. Her guidance and support helps me feel supported, meet my own program goals and helps me grow as a professional. She exemplifies all of the qualities of a great leader and I feel should be recognized for her outstanding work ethic, compassion, understanding and outlook of the bigger picture. Kendra is a huge asset to not only Advancement and UH but to the Alumni Association team.”

  • Vivian LoDuca

    Senior Talent Development Specialist, Human Resources

    “Vivian was able to process reports that I needed in such a timely fashion. It was amazingly helpful.”

  • Judy Mata

    Department Business Administrator, College of Natural Science and Mathematics

    “Judy Mata is an exceptional leader. She is thorough and detail-oriented and consistently goes above and beyond her regular job duties. This year during the 2020 ePerformance cycle she was determined to ensure that the college Dean's Office would reach 100% completion, even if it meant following up with hard-to-reach managers after-hours. She was creative and persistent and met the goal. Judy, you deserve a big kudos!”

  • Krista McElroy

    Compensation Analyst, Human Resources

    “We had a question about the process for performance evaluations and Krista emailed immediately. She not only answered "it is on the website" but included the general link and the specific link which answered our question directly.”

  • Jemal Moore

    Academic Records Coordinator, Engineering Undergraduate Programs

    “Cougar Cudos to Jemal Moore for going above and beyond to making sure that the staff computers were shut down correctly due to electrical outage repairs and for turning all the staff computers back on the following morning.  A big cougar roar to Mr. Jemal Moore for all his hard work in securing the staff computers.”

  • Moumita Mukherjee

    Senior Research Analyst, Institutional Research

    “Moumita moved out of our Division in January but I still needed her help so she thankfully helped with gathering a list for us.”

  • Michael Rapp

    Enterprise IT Security Analyst III, UIT Security

    “Michael helped my department email go through the security gates on Dec 23 just before the holiday. I was very grateful because it was a holiday message along with an invitation to a meeting in the new year.”

  • Genille Rodriguez

    Real Estate Specialist II, Real Estate Services

    “Genille is a dedicated UHS/UH employee and an integral staff member for the Office of Real Estate Services.  Genille is always willing to go above and beyond to provide the highest level of service to all real estate clients.  Genille takes ownership of many projects across the entire system and is well known as a significant resource for almost everything connected to real estate.  Genille deserves this special recognition as she is a well-respected peer and colleague.”

  • Joana Tan

    Assistant Business Administrator, Mechanical Engineering

    “Joana has been managing the purchase requests submitted by my group members. Our research is very time sensitive in milestones-driven projects and industry-funded projects. We purchase a lot of items for our research and delays in purchasing supplies, replacement parts and repairs have to be avoided. For many years, Joana has been consistently expediting our purchase requests. She tackles any issues with vendors or within the University and resolves them quickly. She is also very patient with my group members - when they keep following up with her on the status of our purchases. I consider Joana an integral part of our research success which in turn helps the University's 50-in-5 mission.”

  • Willy Vazquez

    Insulation Mechanic, Facilities Operation and Maintenance

    “Willy went above and beyond his job duties to support another shops building and air handling units. He continues to be an inspiration to all those who know him. He doesn't even need to be asked he just sees a problem and then tackles it. even when off work he continues to answer calls from other shops and technicians, a true example of our current Mission and Vision for Facility Services.”

Previous Recipients


Cougar Cudos was first launched in 2016 to recognize the staff across campus who demonstrated outstanding work and dedication to the University of Houston.


Cougar Cudos Awardees