Student receives UHV Harvey Relief Funds to pay off college fees

During a time of need, 36-year-old Alisha Stearman of Victoria discovered she couldn’t pay the additional student fees for a class at the University of Houston-Victoria. Then she received a phone call regarding the UHV Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Alisha Stearman

“When I got my bill that I had a great deal of money still owed, I was not prepared for that,” Stearman said. “I just kind of gave up on the idea of furthering my education during this time in my life, until I got an email from UHV about the relief fund that was available to people who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. It was great, and it did cover those fees.”

With the funds, Stearman was able to take a U.S. history course with Laura Mammina, a UHV assistant professor of history. Stearman wrote a thank you note to the UHV president and the committee that approved the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund applications.

“It was an honor to have my expression of gratitude shared with prospective donors in a UHV Donor Letter,” she said.

Stearman was living in a Victoria apartment, and every resident living there had to move out for renovations after their leases were terminated about five days after Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017. She said at least 200 people were living there at the time.

“After the mandatory evacuation was lifted, we returned to Caney Run Estates, just to be evicted due to the natural disaster,” she said. “All the hotels were booked solid because of other people having to leave their apartment buildings. The closest hotel we could find was in Yoakum, where we stayed for a few days until we were able to find a more stable, temporary place.”

Stearman said the renovation lasted about six months. Many families had to find another place to live during those times.

This semester, Stearman is taking two classes at UHV, working full time as an administrative assistant for Victoria College, raising two autistic toddlers and participating in the VC Catholic Student Association.

Stearman earned her associate degree in applied science at VC and is pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences in general studies at UHV.

“What I like most about UHV is the faculty,” Stearman said. “They’re very energetic and compassionate. I can see that they are trying their best to create an educational spark that will ignite critical thinking with their students. It’s been a wonderful treat to meet the faculty there and to work with them. I see how hard they work.”

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.

Lisa Shapiro, Special to UHV