UHV degree a goal for volunteer, clinic worker, full-time mother

Elaine Pina

For University of Houston-Victoria student Elaine Pina, giving up her time for others is all in a day’s work.

The Rosenberg native is president of the UHV chapter of Gamma Beta Phi, national honor society and service organization that works to give back to the community.

“We do various fundraising events, host blood drives and make Easter baskets,” Pina said. “And we have fun.”

In Victoria, the group often volunteers with the Dorothy H. O’Connor Pet Adoption Center, while the Sugar Land branch spends time at the Fort Bend County Women’s Center.

Pina got her start with the group about two and a half years ago, after receiving notice that she was eligible. It seemed a good fit, so she decided to give it a try.

“It’s great,” she said. “It’s twofold. It’s a benefit to me because I’m recognized for the service projects we do, and, at the same time, I’m helping others in the community.”

That flair for giving back doesn’t end there. Pina, 42, also works full time as a radiology supervisor for the Houston-area Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, where she enjoys working with patients.

“It’s just a wonderful field to be in,” she said. “It’s just like with the organization. I love helping people and giving back whenever I can.”

Pina is working toward her Bachelor's of Applied Arts and Sciences with a concentration in general business at the University of Houston System at Sugar Land, where UHV offers many of the programs. But she has even more on her plate than studies, work and Gamma Beta Phi. With three children, she also holds down what she deems her most important role: full-time mother.

“It keeps me busy,” she said with a laugh. “But I love it. I really love it.”

Looking forward, Pina plans to continue doing exactly what she’s doing now – remain active with Gamma Beta Phi and finish up her bachelor’s degree. She’s scheduled to graduate in December 2011.

Afterward, she hopes to stay on at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, where she said she has advancement opportunities.

Although graduation means change is coming, Pina looks forward to whatever the future holds.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “Yes, I’ll be closing one chapter of my life, but I’m sure more doors of opportunity will open.”

The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact UHV Communications Manager Paula Cobler or call 361-570-4350.

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.

Allison Miles 361-570-4342