Outstanding business students move up to bigger things

When Mary Kate Biggers first enrolled in college in the 1980s, she left because she decided she would rather work and earn money than get a degree. Her mother told her she eventually would go back.

Now, Biggers has been named the Spring 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the University of Houston-Victoria School of Business Administration. Sugar Land resident Zaure Russell was named the school’s Outstanding Graduate Student.

Jifu Wang

Each semester, professors from UHV’s three schools select outstanding graduates to be honored during commencement. UHV will hold two spring graduation ceremonies on May 18 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. A live-streaming broadcast of the ceremonies will be available at

“Mary Kate and Zaure truly have embodied what it means to be an outstanding student,” said Jifu Wang, associate dean of the school. “Their hard work and dedication is inspiring, and I look forward to seeing how they will move forward in the future.”

Biggers decided to go back to school in 2014 and enrolled in UHV’s Bachelor of Business Administration in finance program that fall. The Katy resident works for an Asian food manufacturing company in south Houston.

Mary Kate Biggers

“There were some indications at the time that the owner was thinking about selling the company,” Biggers said. “I wanted to make sure I was prepared if that did happen, and not long ago, the company was acquired by a Japanese frozen food company. I’ve already been offered a position with the new company thanks in part to my degree from UHV.”

Biggers took three online courses every fall and spring semester and one course each summer while also working full time. Now that she will receive her degree, she’s hoping to eventually step into a management position at her current company and maybe even run the Houston branch one day.

“It’s been a long journey to reach this point, but I finally accomplished the mission,” she said. “I am so excited to finish my degree, and receiving this award on top of that is totally unexpected. I am extremely honored.”

When Russell first came to UHV, she was planning to pursue a Global Master of Business Administration in general business, but she chose to switch to finance after she realized she enjoyed working with numbers. While she earned her degree, she worked as a graduate assistant in the business school’s management department. That’s when she discovered she also enjoyed helping students.

Zaure Russell

“One of my professors mentioned that I might enjoy a career as a professor,” she said. “I gave it some thought, and now I plan to get my doctorate and eventually teach in a university.”

In addition to her studies at UHV, Russell also gained finance experience working as an intern for a company in Houston. After she graduates, Russell will prepare to take the Graduate Management Admission Test and apply to doctoral programs. Receiving the outstanding student award was a big surprise for Russell.

“A friend of mine was a previous outstanding student for the business school, and she explained it to me,” Russell said. “I never expected to receive such an honor. I always stayed busy and tried to do my best, and I’m grateful for the nomination that helped me get this recognition.”

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.