Dean of Students Leadership Award

UTSA boast many students who lead, serve and inspire. Nominate students deserving of this recognition. Nominees must meet these criteria to be considered for the award: 

  • Be currently enrolled at UTSA 
  • Have a UTSA GPA of 2.5 or higher 
  • Be in good academic, financial and disciplinary standing with the university 
  • Be nominated by either another UTSA student or a UTSA faculty/staff member  

The Dean of Student Leardership Award nominations can be submitted through the Leadership and Volunteer Services Rowdylink page. Nominations are due at midnight on the 15th of every month with winners being announced the first day of the following month 

Submissions will start being accepted September 1, 2022. 

April 2022 Winner - Katherine Rico


Katherine is currently a Graduate Student striving towards a Master of Science in Business boasting a 3.95 GPA. She is highly involved across the university, from creating, implementing, and leading a new mental health program for the Peer Health facilitators to planning an Art Gallery specifically for women artists during Women’s History Month, Katherine has gone above and beyond with being there for students as well as giving back to her community. Nominator Brandon says ” Katherine has committed her education, service, leadership, and work to serving people inside UTSA and the San Antonio community… She has devoted herself to being inclusive and advocating for equity among students and providing communities for all students.”

When asked what makes Katherine stand out from her peers, nominator Vincent stated, “I believe one of Katherine's best qualities that make her stand out from her peers is her reliability, trust, competence, and decision making… Katherine leads with integrity, is an active bystander, and a seeker of truth and knowledge.”

March 2022 Winner - Tristan Pepper

Tristan is currently a Junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering boasting a 3.99 GPA. He is a very devoted student and is involved around campus being the President of the Biomedical Engineering Society, member of RISE-2, and a Big Rowdy idea business competition participant. Tristan and other fellow peers have founded a nonprofit called STEMulate that provides education to underprivileged students in Title I San Antonio schools on STEM education. Tristan has also devoted his time to the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of South Texas program where he provides underprivileged youth with guidance as a positive role model in their lives. Nominator Ikram says “Tristan demonstrates a fierce work ethic in everything he does, focusing nearly every moment he has on pursuing his goals, and yet he still finds the time to lift up others and help build them as professionals as well.” 

February 2022 Winner - Vanessa Sanchez


Vanessa Sanchez is currently a Senior majoring in History. She has emerged herself in and around the UTSA community by being a Rowdy Corps Program Scholar that focuses on connecting students with San Antonio’s non-profit and government agencies.  Vanessa also serves as a program coordinator for the Volunteer Organization Involving Community, Education, and Service (V.O.I.C.E.S.) at UTSA that helps engage students with the local community. Aside from her coursework, she is also the Vice President of the History club and a student leader for the Spring ‘22 Alternative Break Program where students explore current social issues in the community and have a better sense of global awareness. Lukas Valdes, who oversees the Rowdy Corps Program, said, “Vanessa exemplifies leadership on campus and in the surrounding community by always being motivated to work with a group of people that act for the common good”.

November 2021 Winner - Mackenzie Hogan


Mackenzie is currently a Senior majoring in Computer Engineering. She has been heavily involved on the UTSA campus, including Roadrunner Productions, Honors Alliance, Spirit of the Roadrunner, Business Honors Program, and many more. Nominator Ashley Marquis stated Her campus involvement and investment to UTSA role models the sense of belonging and pride that we educators strive for our students to embody. Mackenzie is a prime example of how she has taken her involvement to the next level and applied it to her future and her career ambitions.” 

When asked what makes Mackenzie stand out from her peers, nominator Ashley stated, “I am deeply proud of her initiative to reach for her ambitions and maximize her involvement and community to accomplish them. I believe her UTSA pride and impact on fellow roadrunners exemplifies the values and creed we strive to foster.”

October 2021 Winner - Fernando Cordova



Fernando Cordova is currently a Senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies boasting a 4.0 GPA. He has been involved tremendously in the UTSA community including Bilingual Student Organization, Honors Alliance, Tau Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Fernando is also currently the President of the Terry Scholar Student Organization at UTSA and has made remarkable progress in the organization to ensure student success. Nominator Kristi stated “It would take one meeting with Fernando to understand his passion for his community and campus. Although shy, he has a lot of passion. With his organization, he has made it a focus to develop more service events for the community. From all staff members and staff from the Terry Foundation, they have either been delighted, impressed, or amazed after they have had a deep conversation with Fernando.”

September 2021 Winner - Zina Helal


Zina is currently a Senior majoring in Biomedical Engineering, boasting a 3.8 GPA. Zina is very involved in the UTSA community, she is an undergraduate assistant for the Rising Researchers Pre-Research Program and dedicates time to the prestigious Research Experience (REU) around the county. Nominator Dr. Taylor stated “She is always seeking ways to help others and promote STEM accomplishment of others, particularly women and other underrepresented people. At the same time, she is humble, kind, and compassionate towards those she assists”. Zina is also an Honors College student and allocates her time to be a peer mentor for the First Year Experience to help students with resources and support in their first year at UTSA. 

Dr. Taylor stated, “Zina is always willing to step up and help others in the campus community to succeed in their academics and educate them about opportunities as a biomedical researcher”. Way to go Zina! We love how you Lead, Serve and Inspire those around you! 

August 2021 Winner - Ikram Ahmad


Ikram is currently a Junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Ikram is heavily involved in UTSA, having served as the co-founder and Historian for UTSA Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society as well as the Vice President for the UTSA Power and Energy Society. He is also an undergraduate research assistant for the Chemical Engineering organization. Nominator Kabir stated “Ikram is a great helping hand when another student may be falling behind and is always willing to look out for his peers.” Outside of campus, he has served as the Co-Founder and Director for STEMulate, a non-profit organization in San Antonio. 

When asked what makes Ikram stand out from his peers, nominator Sherry stated, “Ikram should be recognized as the winner for this prestigious award as he is an excellent representative of what it means to be a leader in the Roadrunner Community. He does not hesitate to serve others, and step up to lead those who are in need of help!” Way to go Ikram!