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UHV announces holiday card contest winner


The University of Houston-Victoria President’s Holiday Card Contest winning graphic design was created by Melissa Torres, UHV senior from San Antonio who received a $1,000 UHV scholarship. Jalen Hadnot, a psychology major from Chicago, placed second and received a $500 UHV scholarship, and the third-place winner of some UHV swag was Crystal Barrios-Salas, a Del Rio junior studying communication design. The design will be used as UHV President Bob Glenn’s holiday card.

The results are in from a new University of Houston-Victoria President’s Holiday Card Contest that gave students the opportunity to submit their artwork and win a UHV scholarship.

Bob Glenn

“I’m thrilled to have started this new contest and get the students and campus community in the holiday spirit,” UHV President Bob Glenn said. “It’s a fun and rewarding way to give students the opportunity to show off their talent and win a UHV scholarship.”

Melissa Torres, a UHV senior from San Antonio, was the first-place winner of a $1,000 UHV scholarship, and her artwork will appear on the president’s holiday card. Jalen Hadnot, a psychology major from Chicago, placed second and received a $500 UHV scholarship, and the third-place winner of some UHV swag was Crystal Barrios-Salas, a Del Rio junior studying communication design.

Melissa Torres

“I was really excited when I found out that I won first place because the first thing that went through my mind was how many talented students there are at UHV,” Torres said. “I was blown away.”

The President’s Holiday Card Contest was announced in mid-October, and UHV students were asked to submit their artwork for the card by Oct. 31. Some examples of acceptable artwork included general illustrations, winter scenes and campus photography. All 22 artwork submissions were reviewed by a panel of judges selected by Glenn. Entries were evaluated based on the artwork’s creativity and artistic merit.

Torres, whose artwork featured a graphic design of the UHV jaguar mascot’s paw print with Santa’s hat on it, was especially grateful to receive the top scholarship.

“This scholarship from winning the contest is wonderful because it will help with college expenses,” Torres said. “Once I started attending college, I realized the cost of everything and how much I depend on my family for it all.”

Torres, an early childhood education major, is a student worker and has paid her own tuition for the past several years, she said. During the upcoming spring semester, she is required to do student teaching and will not be able to work. She also does not have a meal plan because she is a vegetarian, so the scholarship will help her during that time. She plans to continue using her skills after she graduates.

“After graduation, I hope to teach and incorporate graphic design into the position,” Torres said. “As future educators, we’re taught to consider students’ different learning styles, and I know many may be visual, so graphic design could help them retain what they learn in class.”

Second-place winner Hadnot painted UHV’s jaguar mascot, jaX, happily playing in the snow. Hadnot picked up painting as a child but hadn’t had an opportunity to paint since he arrived on campus in August, he said.

Jalen Hadnot

“When I saw the email announcing the contest, I thought it would be great to pick up painting again,” Hadnot said. “The contest was a way for students to show how they would symbolize the university in one design and show how proud they are of it.”

When asked about his future plans, Hadnot said he’d like to earn a doctorate and continue painting to earn some extra cash.

“I’m working on building my own website to do freelance artwork on the side,” Hadnot said. “When I graduate, I hope to continue my education and open up my own psychology practice back at home in Chicago.”

Crystal Barrios-Salas

Barrios-Salas decided to submit her snowflake holiday design with a red candy cane background as an opportunity to practice skills she’s learning at UHV.

“I was surprised to have placed in the contest,” Barrios-Salas said. “I hope to become a graphic designer when I graduate, so I’m always looking for ways to practice using my design skills.”

This holiday card contest is similar to contests Glenn initiated in his previous roles at other universities. He has continued to be impressed with the creativity of students, he said.

“We had some wonderful entries, and it was difficult to choose from among them,” Glenn said. “The ingenuity of our students gives me great faith in the future.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region, offers courses leading to more than 65 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Education & Human Development, and Nursing. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus as well as teaching sites in Fort Bend and Harris counties, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. Since its founding in 1973, UHV has provided students with a quality university education from excellent faculty at an affordable price.

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