Every year, UTSA recognizes excellence in service from students, faculty and staff. The following honorees were recipients of the 2016 University Life Awards for their community involvement.
Omar Akram is a UTSA biology major planning to attend UT Health San Antonio this Fall 2017. In the 2016-2017 academic year, Akram completed 275 hours of community service with student organizations such as For the Kids, Muslim Student Association, UTSA Ambassadors and the Pre-med society. Akram also devoted his time to the local Center for Refugees, El Bari Community Health Center, the Ella Austin Community Center and the Institute of Health Promotion Research.
I believe I have an obligation to serve and bring equity to my community. It's easy to ignore issues when they don't directly affect you, but if you take a step back, you'll see that all of our problems are interconnected, and focusing solely on your own issues won't actually solve anything. It's essential to remember that service is a never-ending process."
For the past decade, Mehdi Shadaram, director of the Center for Excellence in Engineering Education (CEEE) and Briscoe distinguished professor, has led engineering camps for Texas high school students at UTSA. More than 700 students have benefited from these residential camps, where they learn about the different engineering disciplines and the college admission process. Shadaram conducted STEM workshops that taught engineering curricula to more than 120 professors. Through the outreach and recruiting work of the CEEE, more than 5,000 high school students have come in contact with UTSA's College of Engineering and other STEM programs. From 2006 to 2012, Shadaram conducted research with 60 undergraduate students, and as a result, 22 percent of the students pursued a graduate degree.
"I say to my colleagues- get involved in the area you enjoy the most. I get to inspire students about engineering. I get to share innovative teaching techniques with math and science high school teachers. I enjoy every piece of what I do!"
Throughout her thirty-plus year teaching career, Sue Ann Pemberton has encouraged students to go beyond the exercise of learning and become civically active in their community. As Director of the Center for Architectural Engagement, she is frequently called upon to be a part of community engagement efforts in various settings and serving as the liaison between the University, the college, City Council, city departments, nonprofits, and the community at large.
She has led projects with the Tarahumara Indians in the Sierra of Chihuahua, Mexico, provided vision for organizations attempting to address underage human trafficking, provided direction for youth aging out of foster care, and engaged in the planning for local community centers. A key project is S.T.A.R. -Students Together Achieving Revitalization, which has involved more than 800 students providing minor repairs to nearly 100 historic homes.
"I believe that life is richer and more meaningful when you get involved in it. I encourage anyone and everyone to actively participate in life. Get involved. You might learn something. I know I do."
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Every year, UTSA recognizes excellence in service from students, faculty and staff.
Community Connect magazine is an annual publication produced by the Office of the Vice President for Community Services (VPCS). The mission of Community Services is to extend UTSA beyond its campuses into San Antonio and South Texas through public service, extension, outreach and community education. This mission is accomplished through a variety of programs and initiatives, some of which are showcased on this website.Make a Gift