New UHV biology honor society inducts first members

Phi Zeta, an honor society for biology students, recently inducted its first members into a new University of Houston-Victoria chapter.

Elisia Wilson
Elisia Wilson

After the organization was approved by UHV earlier in the spring, officers were elected, and Phi Zeta members jumped into community service projects. Phi Zeta founder and President Elisia Wilson, a senior biology major, said the society will continue being active with its 24 new members and faculty sponsor Siva Somasundaram, UHV director of undergraduate biology studies.

“We’re looking to form bonds with our community, each other and the university,” Wilson said. “With an eye toward medical or veterinary school or an education career, it will help biology majors to have this membership on their resume.”

Siva Somasundaram
Siva Somasundaram

Somasundaram said UHV started looking into getting a Phi Zeta chapter two years ago. Since its formation, the UHV chapter of the society has sponsored a blood drive with the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the UH System at Sugar Land, where UHV offers many programs. The UHV chapter plans to invite speakers to talk to the group, and organize events that educate students and the community about social work, environmental sciences, health awareness and other areas.

“These students are interested in learning leadership skills,” Somasundaram said. “The national office will come to visit us once we set a date, and we will get more ideas for activities from them.”

Other new officers are Rebecca Morgan of Missouri City, vice president; Brenda Escobedo of Bernard, treasurer; Blessy Oommen of Sugar Land, secretary; and Mary Adkins of Katy, historian and parliamentarian.

The new class of inductees and their hometowns are:

Renee Ackley, Beasley
Sarah Adham, Rosenberg
Christina Aguirre, Victoria
Whitney Backhaus, Richmond
Shakeel Bhatti, Houston
Oliver Carroll, Katy
Jason Chandler, Katy
Ahmad Diop, Katy
Lynsie Fyke, Richmond
Misty Ganze, Katy
Lillian Garcia, Rosenberg
Javier Gonzalez, Rosenberg
Sowmya Kalaga, Sugar Land
Andrea Kumar, Richmond
Thomas Martinez, Victoria
Morgan Mitchell, Houston
Jean Moscinski, Katy
Kathleen Schulze, Sugar Land
Tracy Stammann, Richmond
Michael Uko, Richmond
Allison Valenzuela, Houston
Erica Willis, Richmond
Raymond Yeung, Sugar Land
Melany Zellers, Richmond

Phi Zeta activities are designed to stimulate interest and support scholarly endeavors and investigation into the biological sciences.

For more information about the group, go to

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