UHV announces winners of President’s Holiday Card Contest

A graduate business student at the University of Houston-Victoria won first place in the fourth annual UHV President’s Holiday Card Contest
The University of Houston-Victoria President’s Holiday Card Contest winning design was created by Karen Soni, a UHV graduate business student from Dallas. She is the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship, and her artwork will be featured on the front of the president’s holiday card.

A graduate business student at the University of Houston-Victoria won first place in the fourth annual UHV President’s Holiday Card Contest and will receive a $1,000 university scholarship for her artwork.

Karen Soni

Karen Soni of Dallas was awarded first place out of 27 art submissions. Her design will be featured on the front of the university president’s holiday card. Ilana Ahmed of Houston won second place and will receive a $500 scholarship, and Melenie Niemeyer of Sweeney placed third and will receive a UHV swag bag.

“It’s always a pleasure to see the many creative designs put together by UHV’s students,” UHV President Bob Glenn said. “We had some wonderful submissions this year, and I am proud of each of the students who submitted their work. I look forward to sending out this year’s card.”

Bob Glenn

The submissions were reviewed by a panel of judges selected by Glenn. Entries were evaluated based on the artwork’s creativity and artistic merit. Art submitted included digital illustrations and designs, photos, drawings and paintings.

Soni is pursuing a Global Master of Business Administration in marketing. Her winning entry is a digital design that features a table covered with evergreen branches, Christmas ornaments, a present and cookies. The cookies are holiday-themed, and some spell out UHV and another resembles jaX, the university’s mascot.

When she was considering her design, Soni looked at the previous winners, which were more like paintings, and she decided to do something that looked more real. About 10 years ago, she had started using and playing around with the Adobe Creative Suite, including Photoshop and InDesign. Now, she uses those skills regularly in her career, and those abilities helped her put together her card design.

Ilana Ahmed

“I wanted to create something with that iconic, traditional Christmas vibe,” she said. “When I heard about the contest, my mind immediately started thinking of designs. I am so honored to receive this award and to see my design on the president’s holiday card this year.”

Ahmed is working toward a Master of Arts in forensic psychology. Her digital artwork features a photo of a jaguar in a snowy setting wearing a scarf and a Santa hat with its nose lit up red like Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer. She said she likes to draw and do artwork as a way to relax and reduce stress.

“I liked the idea of using jaX in my design, and I thought it would be cute to make him look like Rudolf,” she said. “The contest sounded like a fun opportunity to be creative, and I’m glad that I put myself out there and gave it a shot.”

Melenie Niemeyer

Niemeyer is a junior who is majoring in communication design. Her card design is a close-up drawing of a jaguar’s face. The jaguar is wearing a Santa hat, and a green branch with red berries is next to the jaguar. Niemeyer was inspired by the jaguar statue that is located behind UHV University Center.

“I liked the idea of doing a close-up of the jaguar’s face with a little bit of holiday flare,” she said. “I’ve been learning a lot in my design classes, and I thought, ‘why not?’ I’m very excited to win third place in this contest.”

To view all of the winners’ artwork, go to

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.