UHV students win scholarships for strong work ethic

University of Houston-Victoria students Katie Vianes and Cindy Ngoc Pham know that working while going to school is an important part of preparing them for future careers.

They recently were recognized for their work ethic by getting nominated by their employers for a UHV Student Worker of the Year award. They then were selected for the award and each won a $500 scholarship.

The scholarships were awarded by UHV Career Services for the third year as a way to emphasize the importance of a good work ethic and how work experience contributes to the overall education process. Career Services helps connect area employers with UHV students looking for work.

Eunice Mesa

A UHV selection committee reviewed the nominations to select one student recipient with a job in the community and one student recipient who works on campus. The committee evaluated whether the nominees were self-motivated, honest, punctual, disciplined, ethical and possessed a positive and proactive attitude.

“Both students show what it truly means to be self-motivated,” said Eunice Mesa, UHV Career Services manager. “They have found a way to balance their school and work – a trait that is important in the workforce. We are happy to award them these scholarships, so they can continue to be successful as they finish their UHV degrees.”

Katie Vianes

Vianes, a junior communications major, knows that her job as a Best Buy Mobile representative will help her in her future career as a sales or pharmaceutical representative.

“I enjoy meeting different people and getting to talk to them,” she said. “I think my sales experience with Best Buy will be a big asset to my career once I graduate from UHV.”

The Victoria native has worked for almost six years for Best Buy, where she is active in company leadership programs. In March, Vianes helped open the new stand-alone Best Buy Mobile store inside the Victoria Mall. The store sells cell phones from different providers and gives impartial advice to customers. Vianes said she learned a lot while setting up the store.

“Anything new in Victoria brings a lot of attraction,” she said. “The grand opening kept me busy and gave me real-world experience in everything from merchandise to marketing.”

This is the first scholarship Vianes has received, and she said she is appreciative because she doesn’t receive financial assistance. Vianes works to pay for college with limited help from her parents.

Vianes said she looks forward to focusing on her last years in school.

Cindy Ngoc Pham

“I know the importance of making good grades even while juggling my busy schedule,” she said. “Whether it’s school or work, I have something going on every day. But I think I have a good work/life balance that is preparing me for my future career.”

Pham also found a way to balance her school work as a Master of Business Administration student with her job as a graduate assistant for the UHV School of Business Administration.

It wasn’t until Pham, a Houston resident, enrolled in the UHV MBA program that she realized her dream of one day becoming a professor. She will take more marketing classes in the fall to strengthen her knowledge in the field. Pham plans on graduating in December and is applying to different marketing doctoral programs.

This past school year, Pham helped Jun Yang, an assistant professor of marketing, with various research projects. She also was a teaching assistant who graded papers and answered student emails for Olga Chapa, an assistant professor of management. Pham said she liked working with Yang and Chapa because she got to see the two sides of being a professor – research and teaching.

“Working with different UHV professors motivated me to want to continue my education and get my doctorate,” she said. “I admire the UHV business professors because their careers are not just for themselves but also for helping their students. I want to do something in my life that is meaningful like they do for students.”

In addition to her job duties and school work, Pham volunteers at various UHV events, and offers tutoring and mentoring to other students. She also was instrumental in getting the UHV MBA Student Association started in 2011 and helps organize social events that bring together students, faculty and alumni.

“The work I do for the business school, I do from my heart,” Pham said. “I enjoy what I do and have learned a lot from working here. I was not looking for this award, but I appreciate the acknowledgment. Ms. Mesa taught me that if you work hard, you will be successful.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Katy Walterscheidt 361-570-4342