International born outstanding students excel in biology, computer science

Lydia Palmer didn’t hesitate one bit when asked what makes her outstanding.

The University of Houston-Victoria senior said it’s just a matter of hard work. Even with the complexity of holding down a job and raising four children, Palmer’s work ethic was evident in her classes.

Jeffrey Di Leo

Palmer, a Victoria resident and native of Indonesia, was named the Spring 2016 outstanding undergraduate student in the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. Mule Te, a Victoria resident and native of China, was chosen as the school’s outstanding graduate student.

“Lydia and Mule are extremely dedicated students who displayed a great thirst for learning during their time at UHV,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “I wish them the best as they take the knowledge they have gained here to the outside world.”

Each semester, professors from the three UHV schools select outstanding students to be honored during commencement. UHV will hold two spring graduation ceremonies on May 14 at Faith Family Church, 2002 E. Mockingbird Lane. The 9 a.m. ceremony will be for graduates of the schools of Arts & Sciences and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. The 1 p.m. ceremony will be for graduates of the School of Business Administration.

Lydia Palmer

Palmer, 30, will earn a bachelor’s degree in biology. She intends to go to medical school to study to become an oncologist.

“I was a communications major back home,” she said. “I took a biology class in the U.S., and it was love at first sight. There are always challenges in classes, but those challenges make you improve.”

One of Palmer’s favorite aspects of going to school at UHV is the connections she made with faculty and staff members.

“They truly care about you and your future,” she said. “That’s something I will miss after graduation.”

Palmer works as an organic chemistry tutor and teaching assistant at Victoria College. She has four children between the ages of six to 11.

“I’m blessed my family has been supportive of my decision to continue with my education,” Palmer said.

Palmer said she was ecstatic and surprised when she learned she was named an outstanding student.

“I tell myself to do the best that I can,” she said. “If I fall back or experience failure, I bring myself back again and keep fighting. When I got the letter, I was jumping up and down. It’s one of the best feelings I ever had.”

Mule Te

Te will graduate on Saturday with a Master of Science in Computer Science. He earned his undergraduate degree in China and then followed a friend’s footsteps to UHV.

“I’ve been at UHV for the past 1.5 years and enjoy living here,” Te said. “I plan to stay in the U.S. for a long time.”

Li Chao, a UHV computer science professor, said he is extremely impressed with Te.

“Mule is very enthusiastic and diligent in his learning and work,” Chao said. “I am particularly pleased with his maturity and intelligence. His hard work has paid off. That has laid a solid foundation for him to handle his future study and research.”

Te, 27, works for UHV’s Technology Services as a special projects assistant. He has worked with Chao to develop cloud-based IT infrastructure to support teaching and learning. Te also volunteers to help students and faculty members in the lab after his shift is over.

“At night, he helps online students solve problems on Blackboard,” Chao said. “He cares about others and does his best to assist students, faculty and staff.”

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.

Jeremy Shapiro