Work study students at The University of Texas-Pan American were honored April 28 at the 2005 Work Study of the Year Awards Luncheon sponsored by the Office of Student Financial Services. Also honored were Work Study Supervisor of the Year and the 2005 Success Profile of the Year.
Named as 2005 Work Study Student of the Year was Maribel Medrano, Clinical Laboratory Science, who was awarded a $300 scholarship. First runner up and awarded a $200 scholarship was Brenda Garcia, Student Financial Services Scholarship Office. Second runner up was Rodrigo Castillo, Talent Search, who won a $75 scholarship. There were 23 nominees out of approximately 950 work study students for the 2005 Work Study of the Year Award.
"You probably understand how warmly we feel toward our work study students at this University because very frankly without your work, without the work of the work study population our offices wouldn't function very well," he said.
Edwards also noted the importance of the staff and faculty who support the work study students through mentoring and advisement. "You (faculty and staff) are very important in this enterprise because the work study students are also the students that we retain and that are successful toward obtaining a degree much more so than the general population of students," Edwards said.
Honored as Work Study Supervisor of the Year was Melissa Benavides, coordinator of scheduling and retail at the UTPA Student Union.
Celebrated annually, the awards event recognizes the hard work, commitment and contributions to the University by work study students who are nominated by work study supervisors and also the exemplary work of a work study supervisor who is chosen by the Student Financial Services staff.
Also, each year at the awards luncheon a former work study student who has gone on to a successful career at the University is also identified and recognized as the Success Profile of the Year. The 2005 recipient was Sonia del Angel, director of Educational Talent Search, a Department of Education grant program designed to help middle and high school students be prepared for college.
Del Angel, who started as a work study student in the Office of Student Activities and has worked at UTPA for 23 years, said the work study program opened doors for her and she had encouraged her brothers and sisters to participate in it as well. Photos of del Angel with her family and colleagues during her many years at UTPA were presented overhead as del Angel expressed her appreciation of the work study program.
"Without work study I wouldn't be where I am today. Because of work study I am able to touch lives and to touch the future," she said, referring to her job responsibilities with Talent Search. Del Angel said she often tells parents on school visits about the value of the work study program.
"It gives you excellent job experiences. If you are lucky enough to be placed in an area within your major it gives you a taste of what you can expect in the future. And it does connect you; you become part of the family. You belong; you have people who watch out for you and care for you. These people will help make you successful," she said.
Prior to the conclusion of the luncheon, door prizes consisting of four $25 movie gift certificates donated by Chase Bank were also given to the work study nominees.