UHV gets chapter for biological sciences honor society

Mary Adkins

A national honor society for biological sciences has added a chapter at the University of Houston-Victoria.

Phi Zeta is open to qualifying UHV students. The new honor society is for biology majors with a 3.0 grade-point average who have completed at least one semester and are in good academic standing.

“I’m excited about it,” said Mary Adkins of Katy, a biology undergraduate who will serve as the group’s historian and parliamentarian. “It’s great to finally have an honor society in the biological sciences, and being a member will show the students’ hard work in that field of study.”

Adkins said the group already is starting to organize community service projects, including an adopt-a-highway cleanup effort near the UH System at Sugar Land, where UHV offers many of the programs. The organization hopes to eventually fund scholarships for its members.

“We also are setting up tutoring programs for biology students, and we envision that for the Victoria campus, the UH System at Sugar Land and the UH System at Cinco Ranch,” she said.  

Other officers recently named for the organization are:

  • Elisia Wilson of Sugar Land, president;
  • Rebecca Morgan of Missouri City, vice president;
  • Blessy Oommen of Sugar Land, secretary; and
  • Brenda Escobedo of East Bernard, treasurer.

In addition to honoring high-achieving biology students, the society’s activities seek to stimulate interest, scholarly attainment and investigation into the biological sciences and to give topical information to students. Invitations for membership will be sent out soon to eligible students, Adkins said.

Siva Somasundaram

Siva Somasundaram, UHV director of biology studies, is faculty adviser for the new club.

“We began looking into getting a Phi Zeta chapter two years ago,” Somasundaram said. “UHV’s new freshmen and sophomore classes will be able to carry on with the society as they pursue their studies.”

Many biology majors are eyeing medical or veterinary school upon graduation, so being a member of the honor society will only help their chances of getting into these competitive programs, Somasundaram said.

“The society will help carry them toward their goal,” he said. “The faculty in medical schools expects these students to have leadership skills. This society will provide the opportunity to practice leadership.”

He added that the society will provide practice in environmental sciences, social work, fundraising, health awareness and other areas being studied in classes.

“We also want to encourage the student to attend seminars, and we want to bring in professionals to address students in biotechnology or other areas pertinent to their studies,” Somasundaram said.

For more information about the society, e-mail, or see its Facebook page.

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.

Ken Cooke 361-570-4342