UHV student sparks art, children’s creativity from recycled items

Stephanie Garza

There is a saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. University of Houston-Victoria sophomore Stephanie Garza thinks trash can be repurposed to create brand new treasures.

The 19-year-old works as an art assistant with the Manhattan Art Program in Sugar Land, teaching elementary school children to create artwork out of water bottles, paper, soda cans and more.

“We basically use anything you can recycle,” she said. “The kids use their imaginations and come up with some amazing things. It’s fun to see where their creativity takes them.”

The Houston native discovered her own artistic abilities in high school, when she began doodling pictures during math classes. From there, her talent took off.

“I draw everywhere. If you have a piece of paper, I’ll draw on it,” Garza said with a laugh. “Mostly, what I draw is abstract – lines everywhere that contort to make pictures. It’s really out there, but people like it.”

Away from the drawing board, she enjoys running, writing, music and hanging out with friends.

Garza graduated Austin High School in 2010 and decided to attend UHV because the school was a nice fit.

“It’s a good school, and it’s close to my family in Sugar Land,” she said. “It’s a good balance of being away from home but still having home close by. I think I made the right choice.”

College life was an adjustment from high school, but it was manageable, she said. It just took a little extra organization.

“I think my advice to other people would just be to plan their time well,” said Garza, explaining that people can be indecisive at times. “Look for what you want to do. Figure yourself out. Now is the time to really find your interests.”

As for Garza, she knows where her interests lie. After graduation, she plans to continue working with children as an elementary school teacher.

“I love working with kids,” she said. “They’re hyper and fun. It’s a job that will never get boring.”

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