Outstanding Arts & Sciences graduates ready for future challenges

University of Houston-Victoria graduate student Elizabeth Rodriguez and undergraduate student Andrea De Buyl have no intention of sitting on the sidelines in life.

To the contrary, the two young women look forward to taking on the challenges of tomorrow and doing their part to make a positive difference in the world. The UHV School of Arts & Sciences named Rodriguez of Cuero its outstanding fall graduate student and De Buyl of Katy its outstanding fall undergraduate student. Rodriguez will graduate with a Master of Science in publishing while De Buyl will earn a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.

“UHV is proud to have students like Ms. Rodriguez and Ms. De Buyl, who are actively engaged with the world around them,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “Elizabeth’s love of books will fuel her success in publishing, and Andrea’s passion for psychology will be of great benefit to others.”

Elizabeth Rodriguez

Each semester, professors from the four UHV schools select an outstanding student from both their graduate and undergraduate programs to be honored during commencement. UHV will hold fall commencement at 11 a.m. Dec. 14 in the Leonard E. Merrell Center, 6301 Stadium Lane in Katy.

Rodriguez, born and raised in Cuero, works as the news director at the Cuero Record and the Yorktown News-View. Her job entails reporting, editing, taking pictures and laying out pages. After graduation, she aspires to work for a literary journal or work in production for a book publisher.

“What I like about working in the field is just helping people get their stories out there,” she said. “That’s what I do for the newspaper when I interview people from different walks of life who have different perspectives.”

Rodriguez entered UHV’s publishing program, one of the most highly regarded in the country, after earning her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“After I graduated from UTSA, I didn’t really have a focus and felt I had more learning to do for the kind of job I wanted,” Rodriguez said. “Usually if you want to study publishing, you have to travel out of state, so I’m just really grateful that such a good program in publishing is here at UHV so close to where I live. It’s a program that’s pretty unique to the area.”

Andrea De Buyl

Likewise, De Buyl appreciates another aspect of UHV that makes school attendance more feasible – online coursework. A wife and mother of two boys, she has been going to school part-time for several years while balancing school and family commitments.

“The amount of online courses that UHV offers and the quality of the classes is amazing,” De Buyl said. “I like that I don’t have to leave my family to attend those courses. They have been a blessing for me. Without them, I don’t know if I would have been able to finish as quickly as I did.”

Born in Colombia, South America, De Buyl moved to Houston with her family when she was 5 years old. With a passion for working with children, she is considering whether to pursue a master’s degree in developmental psychology or return to her prior profession of selling real estate.

While at UHV, she volunteered at a local women’s shelter and at her son’s elementary school.

“These experiences were definitely rewarding and made me feel like I can make a difference,” she said.

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.

Paula Cobler