Texas Tech University

Human Sciences Students of the Month

Lorena Posadas  - Undergraduate Student of the Month

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Lorena Posadas

by Ashley Ryan

Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences (CFAS) major Lorena Posadas has been selected as the Undergraduate Student of the Month for June. Lorena is a Lubbock native and plans to graduate in December of 2017.

Lorena describes her reaction to the news of being selected as Student of the Month.

"I was extremely excited, honored, and humbled my efforts as a student are recognized and awarded. As cheesy as it may sound, I recall looking up at the pictures of 'Students of the Month' displayed in my elementary and middle schools and wondered how I could one-day become Student of the Month."

Her family was also elated for her recognition.

"They were all happy and excited for me and expressed how proud they are of me. I was congratulated and reminded that I must continue to work hard and always do my best."

Lorena says she chose CFAS as a major because she has a deep interest in counseling and a passion for helping others.

"Studies in CFAS directly align with my passions and interests. The program offers classes to enhance my understanding and allow me to obtain a job working to help others."

Outside of her studies within the CFAS department, Lorena is active in many roles centered around her desire to serve the community.

Lorena currently serves as the Chair of the Women's Leadership Institute under the President's Office Gender Equity Council. She also serves as the President of Raiders for Service under the Center for Active Learning and Undergraduate Engagement, was elected Secretary of the Phi Upsilon Omicron Honor Society in the College of Human Sciences, and is an undergraduate research assistant in the SMITTEN Lab for Human Development and Family Studies.

In addition, Lorena is a member of the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society and participates in first-generation student programs such as Student Support Services and Mentor Tech.

When asked about mentors who have helped her in her academic journey, Lorena described a few who stand out.

"Through Mentor Tech, I have been privileged to have Dr. Sara Smock-Jordan as my mentor for the past few years. She is a wonderful woman who has aided my growth as a student and as an individual. Dr. Niehuis and Rebecca Oldham have also served as mentors who have greatly sharpened my skills as a researcher."

Lorena says she has learned we are all role models at one point or another in our lifetimes.

"There is always someone looking up to you for something you did, whether you achieve something that results in great outcomes, or not."

In turn, Lorena offers her peers advice.

"Get involved. Get out of your comfort zone. I find that most of the growing I have done and the meaningful relationships I have formed during my years as an undergraduate are due to the experiences in which I took the leap outside my bubble and learned from people with different backgrounds and opinions than my own."

Congratulations, Lorena.

Chanaka Kahathuduwa  - Graduate Student of the Month

Graduate Student of the Month

Chanaka Kahathuduwa

by Ashley Ryan

Nutritional Sciences doctoral candidate Chanaka Kahathuduwa has been selected as the Graduate Student of the Month for June. Chanaka is from the island nation of Sri Lanka, just south of India. Chanaka spent many years in Sri Lanka pursuing his passion for clinical neurophysiology before choosing to attend Texas Tech University for his doctorate degree in Nutritional Sciences.

Chanaka studied in Sri Lanka at the University of Peradeniya for his Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Philosophy degrees. Chanaka says he has found several applications of interest in clinical neurophysiology through his Nutritional Sciences studies, particularly in the field of obesity research.

Outside of his own studies and research, Chanaka is a member and former vice president of the Graduate Nutrition Organization, member and former secretary of the Sri Lankan Student's Association at Texas Tech, and a vital member of Dr. Michael Binks' Behavioral Medicine and Translational Research (BMTR) research lab.

Dr. Binks says that he can think of no better candidate than Chanaka to be named Graduate Student of the Month.

"Chanaka has had a truly exceptional year. His hard work and leadership in the BMTR lab has led to multiple abstracts being presented at The Obesity Society Annual Scientific Sessions held during Obesity Week 2016 in New Orleans."

Dr. Binks says Chanaka recently conducted two major Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies under the supervision of Dr. Binks, performed a meta-analysis with Dr. John Dawson and Dr. Binks, has published three review papers, and also published two original research manuscripts and one editorial with several other manuscripts submitted.

Chanaka was one of four finalists for the 2016 Early Career Grant Challenge and was and one of five finalists in the Ethan Sims Early Career Investigator competition. Chanaka also had a top ten research poster chosen for the Biobehavioral Research Section of The Obesity Society.

Dr. Binks says Chanaka shows no signs of slowing down in 2017, with many upcoming competitions and award nominations in his active role in the Nutritional Sciences program.

"Chanaka is among the most selfless and productive students I have ever met. He continuously stays involved in peer mentoring. He willingly gives his time to others both in and outside of the lab. This level of collegiality and devotion to 'all ships rising' is an incredible asset to the Nutritional Sciences Department and the College of Human Sciences."

After obtaining his doctorate degree, Chanaka says he plans to continue to pursue his work in clinical neurophysiology and neuroimaging within the field of nutritional sciences.

When asked how he reacted to the news of Graduate Student of the Month, Chanaka says that both he and his family were excited and honored by the recognition.

Chanaka says he hopes all would strive to become a role model to others, not only in life but in their academic pursuits as well.

"I think every individual in academia is and should become a role model for their peers. I am grateful to all role models who inspired me to become successful in academia."

Chanaka would like to thank Dr. Binks for serving as a mentor who has helped shape him into the graduate student he is today. Chanaka offers some well-earned advice to his peers.

"Try your best to choose your passion as your field of study, especially in graduate school and remember to choose good mentors."

Congratulations, Chanaka.

Madison Dale  - Undergraduate Student of the Month

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Madison Dale

by Katie Main

Congratulations to the Undergraduate Student of the Month Madison Dale.

Madison is a Communication Studies major with a minor in Apparel Design and Manufacturing. She is from Rockwall, Texas.

Madison chose Apparel Design and Manufacturing as her minor because she was interested in it in high school and enjoys drawing, design, and clothing.

Outside of the classroom, Madison is active in Alpha Phi Sorority and Student Mobilization.

Madison is shocked, honored, and amazed to have been chosen as Student of the Month. She said her parents are very proud of her and are happy to see her hard work recognized.

Madison is in the process of learning how to be a role model by becoming the best version of herself she can be. She said this includes persevering after any failure.

Madison's advises her peers to hold onto their dreams.

"There is no unattainable goal. If you think your goals are too unrealistic, you will end up settling for something that is mediocre."

Madison said Dr. Su Shin has been a mentor to her, a great help, and an encouraging leader in her journey at Texas Tech University.

Madison will graduate in the spring of 2019.

Congratulations, Madison, we are happy to have you as a part of our college.

Nizar Haddad  - Graduate Student of the Month

Graduate Student of the Month

Nizar Haddad

by Ashley Ryan

Environmental Design major Nizar Haddad has been selected as the Graduate Student of the Month for May 2017. Nizar is minoring in Hospitality Management to add to his list of accomplishments as he finishes his Ph.D. this month.

Nizar is from Amman, the capital of Jordan. Before coming to the United States for graduate school, Nizar graduated with his undergraduate degree in Applied Art and Design from Yarmouk University.

Nizar says that the encouragement he received as a young man helped motivate him to seek new opportunities and to further explore his passion for art.

"Art and design have always been an integral part of who I am. I knew my art was worthy of being shared with the world and I could succeed at my calling."

Kristi Gaines, Ph.D., Director of the College of Human Sciences Graduate Programs and Associate Interior Design Professor says that she has been privileged to teach and mentor Nizar over the past few years in his studies, during which she hired Nizar as a Graduate and Teaching Assistant.

"He has proven to be a student who strives for excellence in all of his endeavors. He was unquestionably one of the most capable students in the class. His work consistently reflected a unique level of insightfulness and attention."

Dr. Gaines adds she recommended Nizar for Student of the Month without any reservations because of his superb design skills, pleasant personality, and unwavering drive to succeed.

When asked how it feels to be the Graduate Student of the Month, Nizar says it is a great feeling to be recognized for his hard work.

"Hard work will always be rewarded, so I would like to pass this advice that I received from a mentor; motivate yourself to deliver more than what is expected from you, even if you don't feel like it."

Nizar would like to credit Debajyoti Pati, Ph.D., for serving as a great mentor during his journey to get his Ph.D.

"His energy and passion is a continuous source of inspiration in my personal and academic life."

After graduation, Nizar says that he will always have the desire to further his education. Nizar's strong aspiration to learn and develop his skills will help him advance his career.

"My passion for art and design always comes from the same place: the deep desire to go beyond the untouched. That's where I start with every new project. I am inspired by and attuned with the vision of what the creativity of others brings to our beautiful world."

Congratulations, Nizar!

Grace Bartlett  - Undergraduate Student of the Month

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Grace Bartlett

by Katie Main

Grace Bartlett has been named the College of Human Sciences Undergraduate Student of the Month of April, 2017.

Grace is a senior from San Antonio, Texas. She is majoring in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) and minoring in Human Resource Development.

Grace said she chose to pursue a degree in HDFS because she is fascinated with how the world impacts us, beginning at infancy.

"I have a strong desire to empower young people to improve and enrich their lives."

Outside of the classroom, Grace interns for the United Future Leaders (UFL), a program on campus that focuses on developing young leaders in the Lubbock area.

In her nomination of Grace, UFL's unit coordinator, CiCi Nunez, said her work ethic, positive attitude, and intelligence have made her a wonderful asset to UFL. CiCi said the dedication Grace shows in UFL is the same dedication she shows in the classroom.

"She is constantly finding ways to better herself academically and personally," CiCi said. "She is very deserving and we are thrilled to have students like her working with our organization."

Grace said she would consider CiCi someone she looks up to, as well as UFL's director, Gloria Gonzalez, who she would consider to also be a mentor.

Grace said she has faced many struggles on her journey to earn her Bachelor's degree. She would like to encourage her peers to never give up on what they want for themselves in life. Grace said without hard work and the ability to push herself, she would not be graduating this May.

Grace said she is profoundly humbled and honored to be recognized as Student of the Month. She hopes to continue to be an example to her peers.

Congratulations, Grace!

Martha Rush  - Graduate Student of the Month

Graduate Student of the Month

Martha Rush

by Ashley Ryan

Hospitality and Retail Management (HRM) major Martha Rush has been selected as the Graduate Student of the Month for April. The New Braunsfels, Texas, native hopes to enter the work force after graduation in December of 2017.

Martha obtained her Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas Christian University before she chose to purse her graduate degree in HRM at Texas Tech University. Martha says that although she is passionate about reading and writing, she felt a pull towards the hospitality industry.

"My experiences working for H-E-B since I graduated high school really encouraged me to go back to school and switch my focus more towards hospitality-based industries."

Outside of her studies, Martha is dedicated to her roles as an Office Assistant and Teaching Assistant for the HRM department. Martha also serves as the main bookkeeper for the Skyviews restaurant.

When asked how it feels to have been selected as Student of the Month, Martha says that it is such an honor to have been chosen.

"I felt very surprised to be selected as student of the month! I didn't even know I had been nominated. It was a very pleasant kind of surprise, and I was very glad at the positive reactions I received from faculty in the department. I'm very proud that my hard work both in our office and in my classes has been noticed, and I'm confident I can continue to shine in the department."

Martha says that her family was as proud as can be when they heard the news.

"My parents are extremely proud because they know how hard I've worked over the years to further my career goals. I'm very happy they could see the reward to all their very patient support."

Martha mentions that during her time in the College of Human Sciences she has had the opportunity to build great relationships. Martha credits Dr. David Rivera Jr. with much of her success thus far in the department.

"Since I arrived at Tech, he has been very patient with me and helped me stay on track. He is supportive of both my personal and professional goals, and I can say with great confidence that my experience at Texas Tech would be very different without his guidance."

Martha offers her peers a little advice when it comes to navigating their dreams and future careers.

"Follow your gut and work hard. I trusted my intuition to come to Texas Tech and pursue this degree, and I know it will pay off in the future."

Abigail Jackson - Undergraduate Student of the Month

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Abigail Jackson

by Katie Main

Congratulations to Abigail Jackson, the College of Human Sciences Undergraduate Student of the Month.

Abigail is a Nutrition major from Houston, Texas. Abigail said she decided to study nutrition because of its direct impact on human health.

"I want to go to medical school, and nutrition is often overlooked," Abigail said. " I want to use a more holistic approach with diet change and pharmaceuticals if necessary."

Abigail said the fewer foreign chemicals introduced to the body, the better.

Outside of class, Abigail participates in Red Raider Orientation, President's Select, and Kappa Alpha Theta. She also volunteers at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

When asked how it feels to be Student of the Month, Abigail said it is nice to have someone appreciate all of the work she does.

"I expect this of myself, so I often forget to pat myself on the back."

When she got the email telling her she was being recognized, Abigail thought it was a mass email telling her who the Student of the Month was.

"I read it a few times and then forwarded it to my mom to see if I was just dreaming the whole situation."

Abigail said her mom was very excited for her. She said her mom is her encourager, sounding board, and role model, so this recognition is a testament to how important she is in "this whole college game."

"Thanks, Mom!"

Abigail said she does not consider herself a role model, as she is just trying to make it like everyone else.

"One of my friends jokes that she hears my voice in her head telling her to study and eat vegetables. I say it's just her conscience!"

However, Abigail said she loves to be a resource for others.

Abigail said she would not be where she is today without the encouragement of her professors and supervisors.

"Dr. Casadonte is a wealth of knowledge about what seems to be everything, and he is incredibly respected in his field."

Abigail said she dreams to one day be as accomplished and as involved in her community as he is.

One of Abigail's funniest memories from her time in the College of Human Sciences is when a student asked her why he should attend.

"My answer? Endorphins!" Abigail said. "I then proceeded to give him a full scientific explanation while one of our supervisors stood with what I imagine to be his jaw on the floor."

Abigail will be graduating in May of 2019. Until then, she will be working on medical school prerequisites and nutrition courses.

Congratulations, Abigail. Thank you for representing the College of Human Sciences so well.

Jacob Tenney - Graduate Student of the Month

Graduate Student of the Month

Jacob Tenney

by Ashley Ryan

Congratulations to Jacob Tenney for being selected as the Graduate Student of the Month for March 2017. Jacob is a Personal Financial Planning (PFP) doctoral student from Provo, Utah. Before selecting Texas Tech for his Ph.D. coursework, Jacob attended Brigham Young University for both his undergraduate and MBA degrees.

Jacob says that he chose the field of financial planning because of his love of helping others make sound financial decisions. Currently, Jacob serves as an instructor in the PFP department.

"I teach Introduction to Personal Finance both online and face-to-face. I love teaching this class because it applies to everyone. We all have to make financial decisions throughout our lives and I get to help students become prepared to effectively make those decisions."

Jacob says that he intends to graduate in August of 2018 before pursuing a career in the classroom, teaching others about his love for finance.

"I am grateful for this recognition and the opportunity to represent the Personal Financial Planning Department and the Personal Finance Program. I will continue to work hard as a way to give back to the college."

Jacob credits his success in part to Dr. Sandra Huston, Dr. Charlene Kalenkoski, and Dr. Chris Browning for all the support they have provided him in his time thus far with the College of Human Sciences

"I really appreciate all the support they have given me. I am blessed with amazing mentors. I strive to be a role model for my children and my students. More importantly, I see so many role models around me that I try to learn from."

Jacob offers his peers a piece of advice when moving forward in their own academic careers.

"If you make a mistake, pick yourself up and try again. Don't give up! Listen carefully to others and then find what is right for you."

Madison Wallace

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Madison Wallace

by Katie Main

Congratulations to Madison Wallace, our Undergraduate Student of the Month!

Madison is Personal Financial Planning (PFP) major from Bowie, Texas. Madison said she chose this field of study because she has been passionate about managing finances since she got her first piggy bank.

"This major provides me with the techniques and tools I will be able to utilize in order to help people reach their financial goals throughout their lives."

Outside of the classroom, Madison is extremely active. She serves as a PFP Ambassador, a PFP Alumni Advisory Board Undergraduate Representative, and a Red-to-Black Peer Financial Coaching Student Assistant. In addition, Madison is the Chi Omega Sorority Treasurer, and is involved with the Personal Financial Planning Association, Lubbock Rotaract, and Phi Upsilon Omicron Honor Society.

Madison found being selected student of the month to be a wonderful surprise. She said it is an honor to represent such an exceptional program and be recognized by the outstanding students, faculty, and staff.

"With a college filled with wonderful, amazing students, it is beyond a blessing and honor to be recognized as student of the month."

Madison said her family has always been very supportive. Her family was extremely proud and excited when she told them she was being recognized as they know how important the PFP program is to her.

When asked if she would consider herself a role model, Madison said the financial planning program is full of bright leaders who bring a diverse range of talents.

"I strive to be a role model every day, but there is always room for improvement. I learn so much daily from my peers."

Madison said one of her favorite things about the PFP program is that the faculty members are willing to go above and beyond to help each student obtain their academic and professional goals. The faculty and staff members who have made the biggest impact on Madison's personal experience are Dr. Mitzi Lauderdale, Dr. Chris Browning, Dr. Vickie Hampton, and Amy Jones.

"Without these mentors, the program would not be the caliber it is. By sharing their love and passion of financial planning, they have helped shape me into who I am today."

Madison said one of her funniest memories from her time in the College of Human Sciences was when she was on her way to interview to be a PFP Ambassador. She was wearing professional attire and was very nervous. The heel of her shoe broke, but she didn't have time to fix it without the risk of being late for the interview.

"Instead, I walked into the interview room with a smile on my face and crossed my fingers that nobody noticed I was walking funny."

Madison will graduate in December of 2017. Then she will work to obtain the Certified Financial Planner® designation and begin working at a financial planning firm.

Congratulations on all of your achievements, Madison!

Rachel Dansby

Graduate Student of the Month

Rachael Dansby

by Ashley Ryan

Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) doctoral student Rachael Dansby has been selected as the 2017 February Graduate Student of the Month. Rachael received her undergraduate degree from Lubbock Christian University in Psychology before attending Texas Tech University. The Lubbock native plans to graduate in the spring of 2018.

Associate MFT Professor Doug Smith, Ph. D., says he nominated Rachael for her leadership position in the classroom, her ability to actively contribute to class discussions, and her remarkable dedication to the program.

Rachael describes why she chose the MFT program for her graduate studies.

"I discovered I have a deep passion for helping couples in trouble to repair their relationships. I got into this field after working closely with my church youth group in a lower-income neighborhood in Lubbock. I wanted to do more, so I found a discipline that would prepare me to work with entire families, not just individuals."

Rachael credits her success in part to her advisor Dr. Jason Whiting for his mentorship in her journey thus far.

"Dr. Whiting has mentored me in research and helped me navigate the sometimes tumultuous waters of pursuing a Ph.D. He's been a great ally, and I owe much of my development as a researcher to his steady guidance and standards of excellence."

Outside of her studies, Rachael is active in her role with the Faith Christian Family Church's children ministry and is a long time CrossFit athlete in the Flatland CrossFit program.

Rachael says that she was blown away by the news that she had been selected as the Graduate Student of the Month. Rachael details her family's reaction to the news.

"We have a family group text that we use to keep everyone updated on family news, and they gave several confetti-strewn 'hoorays!' My boyfriend was actually very animated and expressed great joy for me in being recognized with such a big honor after all my hard work! It was a fun, celebratory moment for sure."

Rachael offers her peers some warmhearted advice.

"Do your best to live a balanced life and know who you are and what you stand for. Make sure you take time for the important things and don't get caught up in surface-level drama. Hold a compassionate stance with people who see the world differently and be relentless in your efforts to show empathy."

Kelsey Linnartz

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Kelsey Linnartz

by Ashley Ryan

Apparel Design and Manufacturing (ADM) major Kelsey Linnartz has been selected as the 2017 January Undergraduate Student of the Month. The Forth Worth, Texas, native says that she chose her major because of her love for design and her aptitude for creativity.

"I am so honored and humbled. Being chosen to be the Student of the Month makes me feel like I am exactly where I need to be. It encourages me to have my hard work acknowledged."

Kelsey is active in her roles with the High Tech Fashion Club, multiple honor societies, Cru and Redeemer college ministries, and her job as a Community Advisor in Horn Knapp Hall. Kelsey says she plans to graduate in August of 2019 before she will consider going to graduate school to further her studies.

Kelsey would like to credit ADM professor Rachel Anderson for being a great support in her college career. Professor Anderson aided Kelsey in her efforts to compete in the NOIR Fashion Show, where Kelsey was selected to be one of the featured designers on display.

"She encouraged me to try out as a designer for the fashion show and told me, 'If you don't try, you have a zero percent chance of getting it.' She has been an excellent teacher and mentor."

Kelsey says that she was overjoyed to get the news that she had been selected as the Student of the Month.

"I love being apart of the College of Human Sciences, it is truly the sweetest college. I pray that my hard work in class and creativity reflects my Creator."

When reflecting on her experiences thus far in her college career, Kelsey details a course project where she and her group members were tasked with composing a sketchbook full of design elements they had learned over the course of the semester.

"We had tons of magazines scattered and cut up all over the table, lots of snacks, and so many laughs. After wrapping it up at 4 a.m., I didn't want to stop. The project was finished, my sketchbook was full; but I wanted to keep going. That's when I knew this is what I wanted to pursue."

Kelsey offers her peers some goodhearted advice.

"Give yourself time to make mistakes and ask lots of questions. We are in this together. We need to continue to be supportive of each other's accomplishments and help each other in the stress of it all. This is the time of our lives, soak it up, even the most unglamorous moments can become the sweetest memories."

Nancy Trevino

Graduate Student of the Month

Nancy Trevino-Schafer

by Ashley Ryan

We are excited to announce our Graduate Student of the Month, Nancy Trevino-Schafer, a Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) Ph.D. student from Lamesa, Texas.

After graduating from high school in 2000, Nancy passionately pursued her education by obtaining her Associate of Arts degree in English from South Plains College in 2008. Nancy found her way to Texas Tech to work toward her B.S. degree in HDFS in 2009, and her HDFS M.S. degree in 2011 before pursuing her Ph.D in HDFS with a minor in Cross-Cultural Studies.

Nancy describes why she chose this area of study.

"I come from a small community where there are very limited resources. I have always wanted to help people somehow. Through my classes and training in HDFS, I have learned there are many ways I can help people."

Nancy says that her experience in the College of Human Sciences (COHS) taught her a valuable lesson about serving as a role model.

"When I was an undergraduate, I took a class that was taught by Dr. Rhonda Eade. In class she told us we are always role models and it is up to us if we are a good one or a bad one. I have two teenagers and I know they are watching and listening to everything. I have to do my best and be a good example for them. I'm not perfect, but I do try my best."

Nancy details her reaction to learning that she had been chosen as the Graduate Student of the Month.

"I have to admit, at first I thought someone was playing a joke on me because I had just talked to my kids about being selected as Student of the Month in the 4th grade and how proud I was to have my photo up in the hall by the office. I guess we never outgrow appreciation for recognition because I feel the same sense of pride."

Nancy was nominated for Student of the Month by Senior Business Assistant Faith Kirwan for her dedication to her studies and steadfastness while teaching and passing all certification exams along the way. Faith says that Nancy is a light in the department, whom is always a joy to be around.

Nancy credits much of her success to the guidance of Dr. Elizabeth Trejos, who has served as her mentor during her time in COHS. Nancy says that she feels very fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Trejos both in the classroom and in the Positive Youth Development Lab.

Outside of the classroom, Nancy is active in her roles with the Texas Council on Family Relations, National Council on Family Relations, and Society for Prevention Research (SPR). In addition, Nancy heads up the leadership for the Tech Graduate Council on Family Relations as President and the SPR Early Career Preventionist Network Award Committee Chair.

Nancy describes her family's prideful reaction to her news.

"My family is proud of me. My kids were very excited. They have Student of the Month recognition at their middle school. They now can work toward achieving recognition like I have earned at Texas Tech."

Congratulations on your achievements, Nancy!

Emily Espinoza

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Emily Espinoza

by Katie Main, photo by Micheal Hernandez

We are pleased to announce the December Undergraduate Student of the Month, Emily Espinoza, a Human Sciences major from Lubbock, Texas.

Emily decided to choose her field of study after becoming interested in a variety of majors and minors within the College of Human Sciences. Her major consists of Human Development and Family Studies, Addiction Disorders and Recovery Studies, and Spanish.

"The Human Sciences major allows me to pursue different areas of concentration within the College of Human Sciences as well as other colleges."

Outside of the classroom, Emily is involved with the West Texas Running Club and eLife Prayer Ministry. She is also a member of the Goin' Band, the Texas Tech Drumline, and Phi Upsilon Omicron. In addition, Emily facilitates an afterschool program known as United Future Leaders, and is a volunteer for Kid's Beach Club.

Emily was surprised and filled with joy when she learned of her nomination.

"It is an honor to be the Undergraduate Student of the Month for the College of Human Sciences."

Emily said she is fortunate to have been lead and encouraged by many members of the faculty at Texas Tech.

"Dr. George Comiskey, Mitzi Ziegner, Gloria Gonzales, CiCi Nunez, and Kayla Sherman have and continue to positively impact my development as a student, employee, and youth mentor."

Kayla Sherman said Emily is an amazing, dedicated student and leader in the College of Human Sciences.

"Emily balances her time throughout the week between her studies, work, and many volunteer actives and therefore is a shining example of the College of Human Sciences Student of the Month."

Emily said she has the pleasure of spending much of her time with young adolescents, whom she is passionate about guiding and encouraging to strive for their absolute best.

The best advice Emily would give to her peers is to pursue a field of study that encourages you to grow and empowers you. She said, "Many times we hold onto preconceived ideas and plans which don't fuel our passion."

A memorable moment from Emily's time in the College of Human Sciences is when she missed a class final freshman year due to scheduling confusion. Her professor allowed her to retake the exam, but now Emily is sure to set multiple reminders for each final.

"At the time of this experience, it wasn't comical. However, as I look back I would say it was a "learning" experience, and also quite funny."

Emily plans to graduate in May of 2017. She is in the process of applying for a Graduate program in Interdisciplinary Studies at Texas Tech.

Congratulations on all of your achievements, Emily!

Manju Chawla

Graduate Student of the Month

Manju Chawla

by Katie Main, photo by Micheal Hernandez

We are pleased to present Manju Chawla, The College of Human Science's Graduate Student of the Month.

Manju is a Human Development and Family Studies doctoral student from Ludhiana, India. She earned an undergraduate and graduate degree in Human Development from Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana.

Manju said she chose this field of study because understanding the complexity of human behavior as well as the aspects of individual development has always been an interest of hers.

"The desire to work with and for the community by overcoming critical issues such as drug and substance abuse in young people motivated me to choose this field of study. I believe it is important to focus on the context that may enhance or undermine the normative development of an individual."

Manju was excited to learn of her nomination, as were her friends and family who were all very happy for her. Manju said her family, who she is very close with, played a big role in where she stands in life today.

"It is very motivating to have your work recognized by others. I am very grateful that my mentor Dr. Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo considered my name for this honor."

Dr. Trejos-Castillo said Manju is very committed to professional and community service as demonstrated by her engagement in multiple academic, community, volunteer, and professional service activities.

"Her courses have been received very positively by the students all these years, and she has received exceptionally high student evaluations, which is a clear testimony of her dedication to teaching. Equally impressive are her research accomplishments."

Manju said Dr. Trejos-Castillo is an amazing teacher, boss, guide, and friend. After working with her closely for more than two years, Manju has been inspired by Dr. Trejos-Castillo's dedication to research and community outreach.

Outside of class, Manju is involved with the Graduate Student Association, serving as the Human Development and Family Studies Video President since 2015. She is also a member of the Indian Student Association.

Manju would consider herself a role model to her seven-year-old niece who often talks about how she wants to be like Manju and go overseas for higher education. While she wants her niece to make her own choices in life, Manju is happy that she has inspired her to work harder.

Manju would like to leave her peers with the advice to believe in yourself and keep working toward your goals. She said, "Sometimes our plan doesn't work. Change the plan, but not the goal."

Some of Manju's favorite memories from her time in the College of Human Sciences come from experiencing American holidays that are not celebrated in India. Her friends in the college helped her celebrate her first Halloween and Thanksgiving, and even honored an Indian tradition to uplift her when she was feeling homesick.

Manju hopes to graduate in the fall of 2017. Upon graduating, she plans to work toward a goal of hers, becoming a researcher.

Congratulations, Manju!

Alyssa Wilson

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Alyssa Wilson

by Katie Main, photo by Micheal Hernandez

We are excited to announce our Undergraduate Student of the Month, Alyssa Wilson, an Early Childhood Education major from Midland, Texas.

Alyssa decided to pursue a career in education after teaching dance classes in high school. Alyssa has always loved spending time with children, but it wasn't until she had the opportunity to teach them that she truly fell in love with the profession.

"I like the idea of getting to spend my whole day surrounded by children and getting the opportunity to love on them."

Alyssa said she is truly honored that she was chosen to be Student of the Month out of all of the undergraduate students in the College of Human Sciences. She feels very blessed to have been given this opportunity.

When asked her reaction, Alyssa said she was surprised because she had no idea being Student of the Month was possible. The first thing she did was tell her family.

"I'm pretty sure my dad told more people than I did, if we're being honest. My mom, being who she is, cried. She said she was touched that someone else saw what she sees in me."

This semester, Alyssa is in Mitzi Ziegner's Human Development and Family Studies class. Alyssa said it is a blessing to have her as a professor, and would consider her a role model.

"It is evident in everything she does that she loves her job and her students. She radiates love, and truly makes you feel cherished every time you walk through the door. If I can be half of the teacher she is, I know for a fact I'll be the best teacher in the school."

Alyssa said Ms. Ziegner made her fall in love with her major all over again, and for that she is thankful.

Outside of class, Alyssa participates in many organizations and activities. She is the chaplain of Delta Delta Delta and a member of A.C.E. the Association of Childhood Education. Alyssa is also involved with Cru, Greekwide, Redeemer Church, as well as various volunteer organizations.

In her nomination of Alyssa, Mitzi Ziegner detailed her demonstration of excellence as a student both in and outside of the classroom.

"After hearing in class about the children in need in our community, Alyssa asked for Pop Tart donations at her next sorority chapter meeting. I met her at the distribution warehouse for Food2Kids where she dropped off 260 boxes of Pop Tarts that she was able to collect, which will provide enough for the weekend food bags for the next 6 weeks."

Ms. Ziegner said she is so excited about Alyssa's efforts, leadership, willingness to take action, and her care and concern for the children of our community.

Alyssa strives to set an example and be an inspiration for others. With that, she would like to leave her peers with some advice.

"If you ever have the opportunity to help people in need, take it. There is nothing more rewarding than helping out the less fortunate or going out of your way to put a smile on someone's face."

Alyssa's funniest memory from her time in the College of Human Sciences is from the first day of her freshman year. She was supposed to be going to a Prenatal and Infant Development class, but walked into the wrong room on accident. She ended up sitting through an entire junior level accounting class, and has the notes to show for it!

"I was too scared to leave, so I did my best to blend in. It was a total nightmare, but I laugh about it now."

Alyssa will be graduating in May of 2018. While she has considered pursuing graduate school in the future, Alyssa said she is ready to begin teaching.

Congratulations on all of your outstanding achievements, Alyssa!

Ashlee Taylor

Graduate Student of the Month

Ashlee Taylor

by Katie Main, photo by Micheal Hernandez

We are pleased to honor Ashlee Taylor, a Nutritional Sciences Ph.D. Candidate from Callisburg, Texas, as the Human Sciences Graduate Student of the Month.

Ashlee received both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Nutritional Sciences from Texas Tech College of Human Sciences. She said she decided on this relatively new field of scientific study because it can have a large impact on improving people's lives.

Outside of the classroom, Ashlee participates in multiple organizations and activities. She is the Food Pantry Coordinator for the Wreck Hunger Food Pantry, and the Communications and Outreach Liaison for Graduate Nutrition Organization. In addition, Ashlee is on the Graduate Student Advisory Council and has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer for six years.

Upon learning of her recognition, Ashlee was happily surprised. She said, "It is an honor to be considered and selected Student of the Month." Her partner and family were very proud.

However, Ashlee said she would not consider herself a role model.

"Everyone has a different path and passions they wish to pursue in this world. How they get there is usually a unique journey of self-discovery."

Some advice Ashlee would like to leave her peers with is to always keep things in perspective.

"Can you remember a year ago what was causing you concern or worry? Usually, the answer to that is going to be a no. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume what is causing the concern and worry today will be fleeting, so do not let it prevent you from doing the things you want to do or enjoying yourself while doing so."

Ashlee would also like to encourage her peers to understand that because everyone has a unique story, it is important to veer on the side of compassion and understanding rather than judgement.

A faculty member Ashlee considers a mentor is Dr. Debra Reed in the Nutritional Sciences department.

"Dr. Reed is one of the main reasons why I pursued more than a bachelor's degree. Since that time, every aspect of my graduate studies has been directly impacted by her guidance as my mentor."

Some of Ashlee's funniest memories from her time in the College of Human Sciences come from a class she teaches to undergraduate students who are learning how to educate young children about nutrition.

"You can imagine how silly things can get when 20-year-olds are running around pretending to be dragons, running through an obstacle course, or busting out their best dance moves. At least we get smiles and laughs from people passing by our organized chaos."

Ashlee is hoping to graduate in the summer of 2017. Regarding furthering her education, Ashlee said her family thinks three degrees is probably enough for now. However, she said, "You never know, learning never really truly ends."

Congratulations, Ashlee. We commend you on your continued success!

Ryland Stevens

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Alicia Rosas

by Katie Main, photo by Micheal Hernandez

Congratulations to Alicia Rosas, a senior Community, Family, and Addiction Services major from Snyder, Texas, on being selected as the Undergraduate Student of the Month!

Growing up, Alicia was impacted by addiction in her family. She came to Texas Tech to study Interior Design, but discovered Addictive Disorders and Recovery Studies through an elective course and decided to switch her major.

"My goal is to work in substance prevention and resiliency-building in youth, so Community, Family, and Addiction Services is the perfect major for me."

Alicia said it is a humbling experience to be chosen as Student of the Month. She was in class when she received the news, and was immediately overwhelmed with happiness and excitement.

"I was not expecting to be nominated, or be selected for that matter, so receiving the news that I was chosen as Student of the Month really reminds me that someone appreciates and notices the hard work I do."

There have been many faculty that have mentored Alicia during her time as an undergraduate student. Drs. Sterling Shumway, George Comiskey, and Nichole Morelock have encouraged Alicia to pursue a career in prevention despite challenging odds, guided her through practicum experience, and offered her valuable advice that will help her grow as a leader.

Alicia said she would consider herself a role model, first to herself, and then to others.

"I was told recently that everyone is a role model. Someone is always watching what we do. The goal is to understand the influence we have, and to make ourselves someone we would want to see as our own personal role model."

One of Alicia's favorite memories from her time in the College of Human Sciences is from when she was serving as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant.

"That semester, we had many problems with the projector. This usually wasn't an issue because the professor knew the information, but this particular day he was going to be gone from class and I was supposed to make sure that a video played on the screen. However, when I hit play, the projector lamp went out and I had to call Information Technology Services and get help from students in the class. Although it was an embarrassing experience in the moment, I think that when I look back on it now, it was kind of hilarious."

Alicia will be graduating in December of 2016. Although she is considering pursuing a Master's in Social Work or Psychology, Alicia would like to start working toward a certification to become a Certified Prevention Specialist and begin working in the field of prevention.

One thing Alicia has learned while working with people is to listen to their perspective and ask to hear their story.

"Who are they? Where are they from? Why and how did they get here? These unique perspectives have opened my mind vastly since I have been in the college. I would encourage my peers to keep sharing their story, keep sharing their passion and reminding people that it is not about the destination- it is about the journey, because what brought you here has made you who you are today."

Congratulations, Alicia! 

Apoorva Rane, Human Sciences Graduate Student of the Month

Graduate Student of the Month

Rebecca Oldham

by Katie Main, photo by Micheal Hernandez

We are pleased to honor Rebecca Oldham as our October Graduate Student of the Month!

Rebecca is originally from Starkville, Mississippi, but moved to Henderson, Tennessee, to study psychology at Freed-Hardeman University. After completing her undergraduate degree, Rebecca entered the Human Development and Family Studies graduate program at Texas Tech in the fall of 2012. Upon completion of her Master's thesis in the summer of 2014, Rebecca then entered the doctoral program.

When asked why she chose her field of study, Rebecca said, "I like to say that other disciplines study what we need to live, and I like to study our reason for living- relationships and family."

Rebecca said she and her spouse have always had an enjoyable friendship, so she has always liked reading and doing research about what made relationships work. Now, Rebecca has a son, and she is so glad to be in a department that truly appreciates and supports the parent-child relationship and family.

"All kinds of relationships enrich our lives and provide us purpose. I like to be in a field of study that seeks to understand more about them in order to provide better support."

Rebecca said she was flattered and grateful when she heard of her nomination as graduate Student of the Month.

"It is an honor to be nominated by my superlative mentors, Drs. Sylvia Niehuis and Alan Reifman. Their support means everything to me. Graduate school is really difficult. Nominations and awards help to boost your confidence that you're doing just fine."

Rebecca is especially grateful for her mentor, Dr. Niehuis, who is devoted to producing quality research and being an excellent mentor for her students.

"She goes above and beyond to build relationships, mentor, support, and seek feedback from her mentees. She is looking out for the personal and professional wellbeing of her students and she knows how to balance her guidance. I could not have designed a better mentor. I'm so grateful to work with her."

In her recommendation of Rebecca, Dr. Niehuis mentioned, "She has made superb contributions as an instructor of record, teaching assistant, and research assistant. She is well-liked by both other students and faculty because of her kind, helpful, and always positive personality."

One of Rebecca's fondest memories from her time in the College of Human Sciences is when she and her colleagues attended a conference and accidentally got placed in one of the nicest rooms in the hotel. With a special floor key, an excellent view, and an assortment of complimentary food and beverages, Rebecca said they were "living the high life."

For her undergraduate research mentees, newer graduate students, her younger brothers, and brothers- and sisters-in-law, and especially for her four-month-old son, Rebecca considers herself a role model.

"I want these people to see a person who is motivated by a sense of purpose and care for people. I want this to be reflected in the quality of my work and the relationships I have with people in the workplace."

Rebecca's advice to her peers is, "Look for purpose in what you do. This will motivate you to produce quality work."

Congratulations on all of your achievements, Rebecca. We are so proud of you!

Ryland Stevens

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Ryland Stevens

by Katie Main, photo by Micheal Hernandez

We are proud to announce Ryland Stevens, a Personal Financial Planning major from Georgetown, Texas, as our Undergraduate Student of the Month.

Ryland participates in many student organizations that represent Texas Tech, as well as the College of Human Sciences. He is a Red to Black Peer to Peer Financial Coach and a Personal Financial Planning Ambassador. He is also a member of Mortar Board and Toastmasters.

Ryland chose to pursue a degree in Personal Financial Planning because it provides him the opportunity to help others reach their financial goals.

A member of faculty who has helped Ryland along the way is Dr. Chris Browning. Ryland said Dr. Browning has taught him what it means to work hard, be professional, and serve others.

"In and outside the class, Dr. Browning brings so much passion everywhere he goes."

When asked his reaction to being nominated student of the month, Ryland said he was incredibly honored to be recognized by such outstanding students, faculty, and staff.

"The students of Personal Financial Planning are the hardest workers I have met and push me to give my best. The faculty and staff of the Personal Financial Planning Department are so dedicated to educating and improving the program, yet always make time available to mentor students. I am honored to be recognized by my peers and mentors."

Ryland said because his family and friends know how important the Personal Financial Planning program is to him, they were incredibly proud to hear of his recognition from the Department.

"There are certain qualities I have that I consider role model material, however there are other aspects of myself that merit room for improvement."

Ryland said his funniest memory from his time at the College of Human Sciences is the time he walked up to a professional at his first career fair and was so nervous that he started talking fast and without making sense.

"I don't remember what I said, but the professional interrupted my nonsensical talking to ask me to take a deep breath and tell him my name. Looking back, I was a nervous wreck, but I've come a long way and am able to laugh about the whole mishap."

Ryland would like to leave his peers with the advice, "The smartest person in the room is the one who admits he or she knows the least."

Ryland is graduating in December of 2016, and will begin working fulltime at a financial advising firm. He plans to further his education through an executive or evening MBA program.

Congratulations, Ryland!

Apoorva Rane, Human Sciences Graduate Student of the Month

Graduate Student of the Month

Apoorva Rane

by Katie Main, photo by Micheal Hernandez

We are excited to announce Apoorva Rane, an Environmental Design doctoral student, as the College of Human Sciences Graduate Student of the Month!

Apoorva began her schooling in a small suburb of Mumbai, India. She later finished her undergraduate degree at S.K. Somaiya College of Arts Sciences and Commerce, her master's degree from R.A. Podar College of Commerce and Economics and her associates degree in interior design from Rachana Sansad School of Interior Design in Mumbai.

Apoorva decided to pursue Interior and Environmental Design to develop a skill set to identify and solve real-life problems and bring her a great sense of satisfaction.

"From the beginning, I was attracted to interior design and was looking forward to the right course to do research. When I came across the Ph.D. of Interior and Environmental Design at Texas Tech, it was fascinating to understand how simple elements of physical design can be used as a tool to tailor to the environment to people's needs."

Apoorva's earlier education in Management Studies and Interior Design helped her to understand and address the gaps in existing healthcare literature.

"The Interior and Environmental Design Ph.D. program widens the scope of interior design by incorporating knowledge from other various fields such as psychology, neuroscience, and nutrition. This provides freedom to the researcher to validate interior design solutions with appropriate evidence and to avoid bias."

Apoorva said it is an honor to be recognized as Student of the Month.

"It is really generous of the College of Human Sciences to offer recognition to existing students. This recognition is a huge, motivating factor to keep going and make students do better in their academics as they move further."

Apoorva spent her first academic year getting acquainted with the education system and her research assistant position. This year, she is assisting with three classes and teaching every day.

Apoorva is hoping to get involved with the Graduate Student Advisory Council as well as Toastmasters.

Apoorva said this recognition would not have been possible without the guidance of her educators at Texas Tech and the constant support from her family.

"In my first crucial year of academia, my department chair Dr. Sharran Parkinson provided me thorough guidance and understanding. Her problem solving skills are impeccable and I am still learning from her. In addition, counseling sessions with Dr. Debajyoti Pati provided me with direction for my research, along with guidance when I was stuck. Without timely advice from Dr. Pati, Dr. Parkinson, and the department as a whole, I would not have achieved this level of merit."

Apoorva said she has had an interesting time in the College of Human Sciences. She said although her colleagues and she all come from different ethnicities and countries, at Texas Tech, they all speak the same language of design.

Apoorva is looking forward to successfully completing her Ph.D. dissertation. She is hoping to have completed her Master's in Environmental Design by May of 2017, and her Ph.D. by May of 2019.

We commend you on your continued success, Apoorva!


Marisa Chavarria-Huerta

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Marisa Chavarria-Huerta

by Ashley Ryan, photo by Micheal Hernandez

Congratulations to Marisa Chavarria-Huerta for being selected as the August Undergraduate Student of the Month! Marisa is a Human Sciences major with three concentrations: Community, Families, & Addiction Sciences, Addictive Disorders & Recovery Studies, and Human Resources Development. The Lubbock native intends to graduate in December of 2017.

Marisa says she chose the College of Human Sciences (COHS) for her field of study because she enjoys helping and encouraging people to live an intentional life. Marisa hopes to pursue graduate school after graduation to further her passions.

"I am looking at graduate programs to pursue counseling in Marriage and Family Therapy with biblical principles. I love the profession and I am passionate about families and helping them discover truth and love in the most sincere way."

Marisa comments of how it felt to learn that she had been selected.

"I am honored that the College of Human Sciences has recognized my hard work and the hard work of countless other students. We have countless opportunities and resources here to guarantee success for every student."

Marisa extends her capacity for helping others with her ample service at Texas Tech University. Marisa actively participates with the Mentor Tech program, First Year Success (formerly known as PEGASUS), and TRIO Student Support Services.

"It can be challenging and scary for most students moving away and making decisions on their own. I have enjoyed being able to listen and provide guidance and knowledge as an experienced college student."

Marisa says she is very thankful for the support of her family, friends, church family, and many of the COHS faculty and staff. As a first generation student, Marisa says she is setting the stage for future graduates that will come from her lineage.

"I am a nontraditional student and coming to this university was scary because I thought that I would feel intimidated by the young students. It was the complete opposite since the first time I set foot on this campus. I can honestly say that the College of Human Sciences has helped me tremendously with this transition."

Marisa comments on the support she has received from the COHS.

"The College of Human Sciences goes above and beyond to recognize the hard work of students. I love this college and all it stands for. The people really are passionate about what they do and it shows through the students."

Amanda Holland

Graduate Student of the Month

Amanda Holland

by Ashley Ryan, photo by Micheal Hernandez

Amanda Holland has been selected as the August Graduate Student of the Month! Amanda is currently working toward her Ph.D. in Family and Consumer Sciences Education with a concentration in the Evaluation and Management of Youth Programs.

Amanda obtained her undergraduate degree in Family and Consumer Sciences Education from Appalachian State University in 2007 and her M.A. in Family and Consumer Sciences Education from East Carolina University in 2012.

For the North Carolina native, Lubbock was quite the change.

"I moved to Texas from North Carolina with some trepidation. Had I not taken the chances that I did, I wouldn't have been able to grow as much as I have both personally and professionally. I have been afforded many opportunities that I would not have been able to take advantage of if I hadn't moved here to complete my degree."

Amanda participates in the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences organization at the local, state, and national levels. Amanda also aids the college in its recruiting efforts and in her teaching.

In addition, Amanda has extended her efforts to include her written contributions toward a textbook for the Family and Consumer Sciences Methods classes alongside Karen Alexander, Ph.D., and Patti Rambo, M.S., Director of the Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences.

Amanda comments on her reaction to receiving the news that she had been selected.

"I feel honored to have been nominated. I know that our college has many accomplished students, and to be selected by my colleagues is a wonderful feeling."

Rachel Brown

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Rachel Brown

by Ashley Ryan, photo by Micheal Hernandez

Congratulations to Rachel Brown for being selected as the July 2016 Undergraduate Student of the Month! The Grapevine, TX native is working towards completing two degrees by May 2017: a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences and a B.A. in Music.

Rachel says she feels very honored and grateful to receive this distinction.

“I have so much respect for the past recipients of this award, and it’s exciting to be counted among them now!”

Rachel is extraordinarily active in her activities both in and out of the classroom. Rachel serves as the Treasurer for Texas Tech’s Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, an active member of Phi Upsilon Omicron, and is a program facilitator with the College of Human Science’s (COHS) United Future Leaders.

In the school of music, Rachel plays the clarinet. With what free time she has left in her busy schedule, Rachel says she loves to take the time to teach healthy cooking classes and diabetes management in East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood’s Let’s Cook, Eat, and Talk community nutrition program.

“I wanted to be able to lead and mentor others in an area that I’m passionate about. Becoming a Registered Dietitian will put me in a position where I can help others take control of their health for a better quality of life. This was the same reason I originally started out in the Music Education program at Texas Tech – to be a small part of others’ success and personal growth as an educator.”

Rachel credits COHS’ Oak-Hee Park, Ph.D. for encouraging her to always aim higher than she thought possible.

“I am proud of how I’ve persevered through so many personal difficulties in order to remain in college and always work towards the best version of myself.”

Rachel offers her peers some sincere advice.

“This saying is clique, but I truly believe that ‘whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.’ If you do not think you measure up to or are as valuable as other students within your program, fake it until you make it by getting involved and invested in everything around you.”

We commend you for your continued accomplishments, Rachel!


Graduate Student of the Month

Mara Driscoll

by Ashley Ryan, photo by Micheal Hernandez

We applaud Mara Driscoll for being selected as the July 2016 Graduate Student of the Month! The Idalou native is pursuing her M.S. in Hospitality Administration and will graduate in August. Before her pursuits lead her to Texas Tech, Mara received her degree in English with a teaching certificate from Lubbock Christian University in 2005.

"I was teaching my 8th year of English at a small middle school, when a chance conversation with Mr. John Edwards introduced me to the prospect of getting my Masters in Hospitality Administration. I had never considered using my freaky love for grammar in an area other than an English department. The next thing I knew, I was enrolled in classes and working on homework!"

Mara is active in her roles with the College of Human Sciences (COHS). Mara is a proud member of the Texas Tech Graduate Hospitality Restaurant Management Association. Mara says that by being a part of the COHS, she is able to honorably promote Texas Tech.

Mara recently won in the Hospitality in Different Contexts division at the 15th Annual Graduate Student Research Poster Competition for her research poster, "Be Our Guest...The Doctor Will See You Now: Defining Customer Service Factors for Medical Clinic Patients."

In addition to her merits in research, Mara teaches online courses in the COHS while she works towards creating an academic template for all Hospitality and Retail Management online courses. Mara has made exponential progress in building rubrics for the Writing Intensive courses for the College to ensure that competencies are effectively measured.

"The people at the COHS are the reason I chose Texas Tech! Any roadblocks I encountered were knocked down by the college, the Hospitality and Retail Management department, or both. I believe there is not another college at Texas Tech that can match the care that the COHS has for their students."

Mara suggests that future students should try and make as many different kinds of friends as possible. She credits her own friend circle for getting her through graduate school.

When asked how it feels to be selected as the Graduate Student of the Month, Mara says she was surprised and honored to be receiving the distinction.

"I got the notice right after defending my thesis – so it was the cherry on top!"

Mara details her husband's humorous reaction to the news. "My husband is worried my head is going to be too big to fit into the car!"

"With hospitality and restaurant programs growing so rapidly, I hope to teach future industry leaders. Even junior colleges are developing hospitality programs. Wouldn't that be great - to have taught the next Thomas Keller or Conrad Hilton?"

Congratulations, Mara! We are so proud of your achievements!

Sarah Diaz

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Sarah Diaz

by Ashley Ryan, photo by Micheal Hernandez

We are honored to announce that Sarah Diaz has been selected as the June 2016 Undergraduate Student of the Month! Sarah is a Retail Management major from Lubbock with a minor in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management. Sarah will further her education by pursuing a Master's degree in Hospitality and Retail Management.

Sarah is very active in her roles outside of the classroom. She currently serves as the president for the College of Human Sciences (COHS) Tech Retail Association, a professional organization that provides an opportunity for students to gain valuable leadership skills in the retailing industry. In addition, Sarah has been involved with the Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity at Texas Tech.

Striving to serve as a hardworking individual who leads in a positive way, Sarah says that she always encourages her fellow students to not worry about the little stresses in life, but to work hard and to always look at the bright side of things.

"Everything you do has your name on it, so take pride in your work. You never know when you could use a project for an interview in the future."

Sarah credits the COHS for pushing her to grow as an individual who will never settle for less than her best.

"One of the best parts about being involved with the College of Human Sciences is that it is more of a community rather than a school. My professors have set me up for success and have helped me build who I am as a student and have better prepared me to be a business professional after college."

Sarah describes her feelings about receiving this honorable distinction.

"After the shock set in, I was extremely honored that the students and faculty of the Human Sciences College would nominate me for Student of the Month."

One important figure who has positively impacted Sarah along her academic journey is her mother. Sarah explains that her mom has never given up on her and has constantly been by her side.

Sarah details her family's reaction to the news of receiving this award.

"My mom started crying. I'm not too sure why, must be a mom thing! My sister told me that I am everything that she wants to be one day and that she is extremely proud of the person I have grown to be."

We congratulate you, Sarah!

John Purcell

Graduate Student of the Month

John Purcell

by Ashley Ryan, photo by Micheal Hernandez

Congratulations to John Purcell for being selected as the Graduate Student of the Month! John is currently working towards two graduate degrees, M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), both of which will be completed in May of 2017.

John is a Lubbock native who received his Bachelor of Science degree in HDFS from Texas Tech in 2014.

When considering the path that he wanted to take in regards to his education, John says that he wanted to decipher how the socio-cultural forces influence individuals, couples, and even families through a variety of social systems.

Pursuing two graduate degrees in Human Sciences allows him to actively explore the various ways in which numerous influences and cultural mythologies infiltrate the lives of many.

"I feel very honored to have been nominated by peers for graduate student of the month. Graduate school is arduous. Having long hours and hard work recognized by others is extremely validating. I am deeply appreciative."

John is currently the president of the Human Development and Family Studies Graduate Student Association (HDFS-GSA) and is also an officer for the Student Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (SAMFT). In addition, John serves as a student-faculty liaison for both the HDFS and M.S. level Marriage and Family Therapy students.

John credits Elizabeth Sharp, Ph.D., for being an influential figure in his education. John notes that Dr. Sharp has been a powerful role model for him in her commitment to social justice. He explains that Dr. Sharp has provided him with a great example of how individuals in academics can use their positions of authority to advocate for those who are marginalized.

John offers his peers some sincere advice.

"Be vocal, genuine, and vulnerable. We have more agency and influence than I think we often realize. We, as Human Sciences students, can encourage intellectual discourse about complex social issues in a way that is respectful and kind."

Congratulations, John! We are very proud of your accomplishments.

Devonte Oree

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Devonte Oree

Congratulations to our May 2016 Undergraduate Student of the Month Devonte Oree. Devonte is a Restuarant, Hotel, and Institutional Management (RHIM) student who grew up in Arlington, Texas. He plans to graduate in May of 2017.

Devonte is very active outside of the classroom as a member of the Terry Scholarship Foundation, RHIM Association and Eta Sigma Delta International Honor Society.

Devonte credits Dr. Charlie Adams as being one of the biggest influences in his education. He explains Dr. Adams is dedicated and passionate about the success of the RHIM program and students.

"He helps you get prepared and is always there to give you opportunities that you’ve worked for. I am lucky to have had him as such an influential person in my educational career."

Devonte was excited and filled with joy to have received this honor and to share the news with his family.

"I couldn’t be any more thankful to have received this honor. My family and friends were just as excited as I was. Everyone is proud of me and the things that I have done up to this point."

Devonte encourages his peers to pursue their goals no matter their circumsnatces or situation. Devonte does consider himself a role model to his younger siblings.

"I just want to lead them down the right path in their own lives. Hopefully, I can inspire them to not only find out what they want in life but to chase it with all they’ve got. Kyleigh, my little sister said 'can’t wait until I am in your shoes' and that is why I do the things that I do."

We are proud of you Devonte!

Dylan Bailey

Graduate Student of the Month

Dylan Bailey

Our May 2016 Graduate Student of the Month Dylan Bailey is from Milburn, New Jersey, about 20 miles away from New York City. Dylan plans to graduate in the Fall of 2016 and return to New Jersey for a dietetic internship. He explains why he chose to study Nutritional Sciences.

"Nutrition is a field that is always evolving. It offers an opportunity to consistently discover, study, and put into practice new ideas or developments that will better the health of mankind. Proper nutrition is critical for human existence. I would like to be the bridge connecting the general consumer to scientists and experts in the field."

Dylan attended Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, and studied Nutrition and Food Science with a concentration in Dietetics as an undergraduate student. He completed the Didactic Program in Dietetics and also has a minor in Psychology.

Outside of the classroom, Dylan is extremely active in nutrition education.

"I am currently President of the Graduate Nutrition Organization. We provide nutrition education to Texas Tech University and greater Lubbock area, inspiring healthy behaviors and building stronger communities. Also, I am the Outreach Coordinator for the Wreck Hunger Graduate and International Food Pantry. We exist to serve graduate and international students in need on the Texas Tech campus and to bring awareness to the issues of food and nutrition insecurity on campuses across the nation."

Dylan credits Chairperson of the Nutritional Sciences Department Dr. Nikhil Dhurandhar for his decision to study at Texas Tech.

"I would not be at Texas Tech pursuing my Masters and learning a copious, invaluable amount of information that will follow me for a lifetime if it were not for Dr. Dhurandhar. He has been gracious and full of support during this experience. He has fostered a learning opportunity that I believe is unparalleled."

Dylan was surprised, but also invigorated and motivated to work even harder as a student by receiving this award. He has received well wishes from family, friends, professors and colleagues. He hopes his hard work inspires others.

"I enjoy making the daily choice to work hard and to be the best that I can be that day. If others around me choose to follow in my footsteps, I am honored, but I would not want credit as a spark or model for their actions or accomplishments."

Dylan encourages his peers to be tenacious in achieving their goals by sharing a quote from Louie Pasteur.

"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goals: my strength lies solely in my tenacity."

Congratulations, Dylan!

Haley Marcus

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Haley Marcus

Congratulations to Haley Marcus for being selected as the April 2016 Undergraduate Student of the Month. Haley has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember and fell in love with the Family and Consumer Sciences Education program. The welcoming faculty and peers in the program only reinforced her education and career pathway decision. One faculty member in particular influences Haley.

"Barbara Allison is a professor I have become close to during my time at Texas Tech. She is a very welcoming and someone I can talk to about anything. She works with each student closely and has shown me what it takes to be a good teacher. I am thankful for her support."

Haley is from Santa Fe, N.M. and will graduate in May 2018. She plans to continue studying to earn her master’s degree in Education Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in either curriculum studies, bilingual education, or English as a second language.

Haley explains how it feels to be selected as student of the month. "I am very honored and it makes me want to keep working harder. I love being a part of the College of Human Sciences and I am so thankful for everything this college has done for me. If you study something that you really care about, college is so much more enjoyable.”

Haley’s parents are very proud of her. Her mom specifically said, “Your hard work is paying off. Never stop trying."

Outside of class and studying, Haley serves as the secretary of College of Human Sciences Ambassadors and as the Vice President of American Association of Family Consumer Sciences. Haley tries to serve as a role model.

"I try to do the best I can on everything, making sure that I am proud to put my name on it. I have a younger sister and I want to make sure I am doing everything I can to make sure she has someone to look up to.”

Haley’s best advice for her peers is simple. “Get involved with the college. This school is amazing and the more you put into your experience, the more you will get out of it."


Adam Bertoch

Graduate Student of the Month

Adam Bertoch

Adam Bertoch shared the news of being selected as Graduate Student of the Month with his family after his initial response of, "Gee willikers!" His wife beamed with joy exclaiming, "Finally! Someone notices all the good that you do!" His daughter, who will be a big sister in about a week, continued to play with her alphabet blocks as they celebrated the award.

Adam earned his undergraduate degree in Psychology and Philosophy at Brigham Young University in Idaho. He earns his M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy in May. After graduation, he will work toward full licensure as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He explains his reason for choosing this field of study.

"I felt I had a natural talent for psychotherapy and am passionate about individual, relational, and familial modalities and impress upon all people the vital role of families as the basic unit of societal functioning."

While Adam does not plan on further formal education, he plans to make learning a constant in life. "I will always be learning. Symposiums, trainings, reading from the best books available, and other mediums of education will continue throughout my life. I believe that knowledge is one of the only things we can take with us after we die, so it is very important for me."

Outside of class, Adam is a young men's leader in his church. He plays the guitar, piano, ukulele, and he sings. As a student therapist at Texas Tech University, he has had the pleasure of providing individual, group, family and multi-family therapy services for youth at the Lubbock County Juvenile Justice Center.

Adam explains why he considers himself a role model and the responsibility of the influence it creates.

"People see what you do and hear what you say. You are always modeling. It is good to be aware of that influence, because it means you always matter. If life were about me, you wouldn't be in it. If life were about you, I wouldn't be in it. Life must be about us."

Adam thanks Dr. David Ivey for his role as a mentor.

"Dr. Ivey has done more for me than he will ever know, I bet. He showed me a kind of love and acceptance that I don't think I have found in anyone else."

Adam advises his peers, "Love yourself and others. Be forgiving and focus on helping someone every day."

Congratulations, Adam! We are pleased to honor you as Graduate Student of the Month for April 2016.

Human Sciences Undergraduate Student of the Month

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Katie Miller

March 2016 Undergraduate Student of the Month Katie Miller majors in Nutrition and minors in American Sign Language. Katie is from Garland, Texas, and plans to graduate in May. She has been accepted to the Texas Tech School of Medicine and will begin in Fall 2016.

Katie is very active outside of the classroom. She serves as a medic in the Army Reserves. She is the president of the Texas Tech Gay-Straight Alliance. Katie also participates in the Student Government Association as the Director of Diversity. She is a member of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in Lubbock. In addition, she was once on the Tech triathlon Team and continues to run races and marathons.

Katie's girlfriend was not surprised to hear she had received this honor and her best friend screamed so loudly in excitement, Katie dropped her phone. Katie felt complimented and inspired by the recognition.

"It is heartwarming to know that someone thinks so highly of me to have nominated me for such a high recognition, and it makes me feel inspired to continue to work hard in my classes and student organizations. I want to end my final semester as the best semester of my undergraduate years!"

Katie is proud of the person she has become and encourages her peers to use their privilege to "increase equality and inclusivity for others in the world."

Human Sciences Undergraduate Student of the Month

Graduate Student of the Month

John Long

Congratulations to March 2016 Graduate Student of the Month John Long. John is studying Hospitality and Retail Management and plans to graduate in May of 2017. John moved to Lubbock after earning his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. He plans to continue his education and earn his doctoral degree and eventually teach at the university level.

Outside of the classroom, John serves as president of the Graduate Hospitality and Retail Management Association. In this role, he plans and hosts events to encourage graduate student interaction. He also serves as a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Charlie Adams in the College of Human Sciences Career Services office.

John felt humbled and pleased by his nomination as graduate student of the month. He felt a boost in his motivation as the middle of the semester approaches. John does consider himself a role model to his nieces and nephews and in offering advice for his peers, he encouraged them to work hard.

"Don't mind putting in a few extra hours of work a week. It will help you stand out amongst others, and I guarantee the higher ups will take notice."

Human Sciences Undergraduate Student of the Month

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Brianna Bellamy

Nutrition major Brianna Bellamy is the College of Human Sciences undergraduate student of the month for February 2016. Brianna will graduate in May of 2018. Her focus on pre-professional health careers is preparing her to attend medical school.

Brianna is from Crosby, Texas, near the Houston area. She is quite active outside of class and hopes her peers view her as a role model.

"I am a College of Human Sciences Ambassador. I'm in Gamma Beta Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Phi Eta Sigma, which are all three honor societies. I'm in Mentor Tech. I'm apart of Cru. I also volunteer at University Medical Center and I am working as a tutor."

Brianna described the experience as being chosen as student of the month as being surreal. "I'm truly blessed that I have received this amazing and special honor. When I called my parents to tell them, my mom shrieked in excitement, and my parents told me how proud they are. My friends are just so thrilled for me. The advice that I would give to my peers would be to enjoy and cherish every day of your life, whether it is a good or bad day!"

Brianna credits her mom for being the biggest influence on her education, "She told me at a very young age that I could achieve anything I set mind and heart on."

Human Sciences Undergraduate Student of the Month

Graduate Student of the Month

Kelli Pittcock

Masters of Science in Hospitality and Retail Management student Kelli Pittcock graduated with her bachelor's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences Education in the Texas Tech College of Human Sciences in August of 2015. She is now selected as the graduate student of the month in the college. Kelly is from Aspermont, Texas.

Kelli is very active in student organizations and with employment. She is a committed member of the Graduate Hospitality and Retail Management Association, American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, and the West Texas Church at the Barn Collegiate Youth Group. She also works hard as the college's 2016 Fashion and Chef Camp Event Director and as a teaching assistant to Dr. Natalia Velikova.

Kelli describes her future plans. "When I graduate, I plan to work in Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service as a Family and Consumer Sciences County Extension Agent. I will work with adults, children, and families to help them learn to become more savvy consumers, manage their finances, and apply nutrition to their daily lives."

Kelli credits leading by example as her way of being a role model. "My whole life I've been told to lead by example. Knowing actions are more powerful than words, I strive to be an example of Christ. He, too, led by example in a number of ways to show His love for us. I want to live like that; I want others to know Him because they know me."

Kelli described the honor of being graduate student of the month as rewarding, honoring, and astonishing. " I had no idea that I was nominated. My peers are all hard working and highly involved students; they are just as easily recognizable. I was also excited, and I could not wait to tell my family! They weren't necessarily surprised, but they were very proud and excited for me."

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Reilly L. McKinnis

Human Sciences Undergraduate Student of the MonthWe are proud to announce senior Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics major Reilly L. McKinnis as our January undergraduate student of the month. Reilly is from Slaton, Texas, and explained her parents and friends were not surprised by this honor.

"My family and friends were not as surprised as I was when I told them. They were all very proud of me and told me I should not be surprised because I work so hard all the time. It was rewarding to see how much they believe in me."

Reilly is highly involved in internships and student organizations and encourages her peers to do the same.

"I am a Nutrition Intern for Texas Tech Athletics and also work at University Medical Center as a Health Unit Coordinator. I serve as the the President of the Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and am the Fundraising Coordinator for the honor and service society Gamma Beta Phi. I am a member of Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, Phi Epsilon Omicron honor society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Get involved! It makes your experience as a student much more positive. You will make great connections in your career field. Plus, no matter where you go after college, employers and graduate schools want to see that you have teamwork and leadership experience."

Reilly explains her feelings about this award.

"It is very rewarding to be named student of the month. I am honored to be chosen for this recognition. I am grateful all my dedication has been acknowledged by my peers and instructors. I found out about the award during finals. It was a great way to acknowledge all the hard work, long study sessions, and extremely busy days I had during the semester."

Reilly will graduate in May and plans to continue her studies in graduate school and to complete a dietetic internship in preparation for the registered dietitian national exam. Congratulations!

Graduate Student of the Month

Noe Lopez

Human Sciences Graduate Student of the MonthCongratulations to Noe Lopez! He is selected as the College of Human Sciences January 2016 Graduate Student of the Month. Noe is a master's student in Personal Financial Planning from Edinburg, Texas. He plans to graduate in May of 2016. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas Pan American.

Noe was surprised at receiving this recognition, "It feels unreal knowing there are many great students that deserve this award."

He also shared the importance of being involved as a student. "I consider myself to be very involved the department and the graduate school. I try to encourage other students to do the same." Noe is active in the Personal Financial Planning Association, Entrepreneurs in Risk Management, Toastmasters, and The Graduate Student Advisory Council. He also serves as a Personal Financial Planning Ambassador. He plans to become a Certified Financial Planner and eventually a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Noe offers his peers some very succinct advice, "Never underestimate what you are capable of."

Undergraduate Student of the Month

Kelsey Orsak

Human Sciences Undergraduate Student of the MonthWe are proud to recognize Kelsey Orsak as our undergraduate student for December 2015. Kelsey graduated this month majoring in Human Development and Family Studies and minoring in Spanish. She is from Needville, Texas, and plans to seek her master's degree in occupational therapy.

Kelsey explained how active she remained in student organizations.

"I was an Ambassador for the College of Human Sciences, where I served as Vice President. I was a member of the Goin' Band from Raiderland, Court Jesters, and Tau Beta Sigma. As a member of the Goin' Band, I served as Librarian and was a Visual Instructor."

Kelsey was surprised and honored to learn she was selected as student of the month. She shared, "I am so honored to even be considered for this award. There are so many other students who work extremely hard . To be thought of out of everyone in the College of Human Sciences is humbling." Her parents and friends are very proud of her receiving this award just a few days before her graduation.

Kelsey encourages her peers to choose a major they are passionate about, to study abroad, and to immerse themselves in their time as a Red Raider, "Appreciate your time as a Red Raider. You only get to be a student for so long. Make the most of your time here in Lubbock—join a fun organization, go to football games, and eat all the free pizza you can find!"

Undergraduate Student of the Month

JulieAnne Pender

Human Sciences Undergraduate Student of the MonthCongratulations to JulieAnne Pender on being selected as the first undergraduate student of the month in the College of Human Sciences. She majors in Human Development and Family Studies and is from Lubbock.

JulieAnne actively participates in student organizations. She serves as the secretary and treasurer for the College of Human Sciences Ambassadors and in Phi Upsilon Omicron. She is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Phi Eta Sigma. After graduation, JulieAnne hopes to begin graduate school in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Upon receiving this recognition, JulieAnne shared, "To even be considered for the position is such an honor and very humbling, but it is also nice to be recognized for the hard work and dedication I put toward my education."

JulieAnne suggests to her peers, "If you are in a major that love and pursuing an education you are truly interested in, the material and work will come naturally to you. Yes, there will still be long nights and tough times, but it will all be worth it!"

JulieAnne was surprised and proud to receive this award. Her family and friends share in her pride.

"They were glad to see my hard work recognized."

Graduate Student of the Month

Sven Saaretalu

Human Sciences Graduate Student of the MonthPersonal Financial Planning doctoral student Sven Saaretalu is selected as the graduate student of the month in the College of Human Sciences. Sven is originally from Estonia, Europe. He came to Lubbock after completing his undergraduate degree at California State University, Northridge. He will graduate by 2019, but explains he will "definitely continue to grow my body of knowledge for the rest of my life."

When explaining how it felt to receive this award, Sven exclaimed, "with so many great and intelligent people in our college it feels unbelievable!" Sven encourages his peers to persevere.

"Do not give up. No matter what happens or how many obstacles you will have to overcome in your life, just keep going and pushing through. And eventually all of those dreams will turn into reality."

Sven enjoyed the support and happiness of his family when he shared the news of his award. He looks forward to surprising his friends with this recognition.

In addition to teaching Personal Finance (PFI 3301) and being a full-time student, Sven currently serves as the president of the Robert Barnhill PFP Toastmasters International.


College of Human Sciences