A MAGAZINE FOR THE GRADUATES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON
HOUSTONIAN ALL EYES ON UH 2016
E F I L S U P M DS
N A A H C IS IN YOUR
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CLASS OF 2016 Today launches your next chapter and the opportunity to use your education as a catalyst for your career. As new alumni, you are engaged in life and are empowered to be fulfilled, responsible citizens who make a profound, positive impact on this world. Ultimately, success is realized when employers continue to hire talented Coogs. Whether youâ€™re just starting your job search or building upon your experience, the Powerhouse will always be connected to you, and I hope that you will stay connected to us. I look forward to seeing what each of you will accomplish in the years to come. Monica Thompson Executive Director, University Career Services
One word comes to mind: SUCCESS Graduation is a time to reflect on your journey. Think about where you started, and where you are headed. Your first day on campus seems like only yesterday. Your college memories feel complete now that you have reached this milestone. We are proud of who you have become, and we hope that we have prepared and inspired you to take what you have learned at UH out into the world. Class of 2016, we take this time to celebrate you. Congratulations...you are what success looks like.
Sonia Zuniga Hometown: Houston, Texas Major: Print Journalism Assistant News Editor for The Cougar
Magazine Staff Editor-in-Chief Kelly Schafler
Production Jennifer Garcia, Logan Smith
Managing Editor Misty Munoz
Cover Design Jennifer Garcia
Copy Editors Emily Burleson
Photo Editor Brittaney Penney
Writers Bryce Dodds, Franco Rosales, Kelly Schafler, Misty Munoz
About The Magazine This magazine was produced by students at the University of Houston in the Center for Student Media. To request a copy, call 713-743-5350 or email email@example.com
Photographers Brittaney Penney, Justin Tijerina, Justin Cross, Pablo Milanese, Catherine Lara, Kyrie Bouressa, Jessica Cruz, Sonia Zuniga Advertising Manager Callista Brown
Students Cover model
Kourtnei Gartman, senior, psychology
Kaiser Tin-u, junior, biomedical sciences
Sara Harmouch, freshman, marketing
Jordyn Chafford, sophomore, marketing
Azia Hartwell, sophomore, computer engineering
Matthew Francis, sophomore, geology
Tashi Nkululeko, senior, public relations
Cedric Mathis, sophomore, computer science
Vanessa Winakur, senior accounting
Jawan Givens, sophomore, pre-business
Jocques Mathis, senior, accounting
Yoa Yu Yang, freshman, language
Antonio Sustaita, senior, media production
Thi Nguyen, freshman, kinesiology
Rym Benchaabane, sophomore, electrical engineering Rony Ortiz, junior, philosophy Keana Madrinan, freshman, kinesiology Deepa Titus, graduate student, accounting Gumaro Cruz, junior, psychology
Ilse Hernandez, junior, journalism Trey Strange, junior journalism Gerald Smith, senior, creative writing Cory Rodriguez, junior, CIS Leighnard Marquez, junior, kinesiology Elijah Dean Ruma, sophomore, economics Leen Basharat, freshman, liberal studies
Campus Leaders The 31st annual
Congratulations Legacy Award
Celestina Billington Antoniette Vickio Sebastian Agudelo
Outstanding New Student Organization Award: Food Recovery Network The Energy Coalition Outstanding Student Organization Award: Adaptive Athletics at UH
Student Success Awards Community Impact Award: Yash Desai Inclusion Advocacy Award: Heena Momaya Inclusion Advocacy Award: Murietta Flores
Outstanding Fee-Funded Program Award: Metropolitan Volunteer Program Outstanding Program Award: Nigerian Students Association Outstanding Advisor Award: Maria Perez
Innovation and Creativity Award: Anastasiya Kopteva
Rising Star Award: Daniel Flores Herrera
Non-Traditional Student Leader: Monique Hall
Unsung Hero Award: Rosaura Martinez
Wellness and Wellbeing Award: Camille Corales
Michael and Lisa Sachs Scholarship Scarlet Seals of Excellence Leadership in Practice: Nicole Gomez Leadership in Practice: Joylee Chisato Leadership in Practice: Brett Conners
Christine Vo CoogCounts Alpha Rho Chi Cleisthenes Chapter National Association of Black Accountants, Inc.
SGA Cedric Bandoh Distinguished Leadership Award
Health Occupations Students of America
SGA Rani Ramchandani Distinguished Service Award Emily Johnson
Deanâ€™s Award Yash Desai
Individual Achievement Awards
Student Employee of the Year
Distinguished Freshman Student Leader: Jeeshan Rashid Distinguished Sophomore Student Leader: Zeel Vora Distinguished Junior Student Leader: Yash Desai Distinguished Senior Student Leader: Sofia Thai Distinguished Graduate/Professional Student Leader: Vrutant Shah
CENTER FOR STUDENT INVOLVEMENT
LGBTQ Pride Scholarship Christopher Wong LeadUH LeadWell: Bridget Sanchez Student Organization Leadership Development: Ron Allon CoogCareers: Bilal Majeed
uh.edu/csi (832) 842-6245
S N O I A T U L C ON GR AT ATES! U D A R G R U TO O
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CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2016 Our study rooms will truly miss you!
MOORES SCHOOL of MUSIC
Best Wishes SPRING 2016 GRADUATES
We have enjoyed watching you learn and grow.
DEAN OF STUDENTS OFFICE Room 256, Student Center South (832) 842-6183 www.uh.edu/dos
Best wishes for your continued success
SUMMER | FALL 2015 & SPRING 2016
Gwendolyn Alfred Sydney Anderson Janine Arostique Austin Beck Jessica Blau Matthew Bowman Gregory Brigham Kenneth Broberg Mark Buller Troy Burnett Caitlin Champiny Julissa Chapa Dylan Charrin Desmond Chau Yi-Kang Chen Michael Clark Wyatt Coleman Nathan Coronado Julie Croce Henry Darragh Jasper Davis Bryan DePan Ivan Dorantes Alexandra Doyle Timothy Duhr Tam Duong Joseph Flores Cesar Franquiz Flores Austin Frohmader Giovanni Fuentes Jasmine Fuller Grace Gallo Carly Galloway April Kelsey Garagnon Andrew Gilstrap Zachary Golden Gabriel Gomez-Sanchez Michael Hernandez Victoria Hitz Christopher Holman Ingrid Gerling Hunter Kaylie Kahlich Emily Kern Christopher Kimball John Kirk Kevin Klotz Zachery Lacy Eric Laine Brittany Leavitt Hojung Lee
Angela Leonard Gregory Lewis Laura Lisk Dancy Lukeman Georgianne Lundy Thomas Macias Natalie Mann Gloria Martinez Anne Marquis Yumemi Masui Bailey-Saimone Mason Tracy Morgan Andreea Mut Phuong Nguyen Benjamin Nobles Colin Peters Kody Pisney Lauren Poland Emily Premont Nicholas Puccia Patrick Robertson Jessicah Saldana Daniel Saenz Miriam Salinas Tyler Scarberry Ethan Schneider Kevin Shannon Amber Sheppard Austin Snowden Howard Solis-Garcia Yanira Soria Bridget Spiegel John St. Julian Mark Thomas Lindy Thompson Shelby Thompson Laura Trevino Tommie Trinh Roger Vasquez Daniel Rico Vidales Kenton Wallis Jonathan Washington Martin Wells Austin Whiteley Evan Withner Danielle Wojcik Xingni Xiao Amy Yanaway Patrick Zelezik
“Being a Cougar is having the means and passion to effect change — and not needing white skin or money to do it.” -Trey Strange, journalism junior (above)
“Being a Cougar means I am part of a community of determined, dynamic and accomplished individuals.” -Deepa Titus, accounting masters (above)
ALL EYES ON UH HOUSTONIAN 2016
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR This is the year of the Cougars. We’ve clawed, snarled and climbed our way to being a nationally recognized football team, an awardwinning research university and a University chomping at the bit. We’ve revamped our buildings and roads, confidently establishing roofs for our visions and ideas and the pathways to take us there.
As millennial college graduates, we’re stepping into our adult lives with something to prove. Some people may think we expect life handed to us; we’re attached to our cellphones and we don’t hustle as hard. From our younger days as a small community college to fighting to become a Tier One institution, we’re finally a university
that refuses to say “when.” We’ve earned our right to be heard. So why the hell don’t we embrace it? Let’s not shy away from the spotlight. Instead, stand right in the center because everyone is watching us. People are waiting for the next engineer, the next talent, the next bright mind. So let’s embrace this attention and go out into the world with a tablespoon of modesty and a whole lot of Cougar pride. >Kelly Schafler
> Photo courtesy of the LGBTQ Resource Center
ALL EYES ON OUR LGBTQ COMMUNITY O Despite Houston’s denial of the HERO bill, Coogs stand as allies with fellow students
n the morning of June 26, 2015, civilians flooded streets across the country, raising flags and shedding tears while celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. With this declaration, Americans were filled with hope of a changing nation, but celebrations were cut short for the LGBTQ community as this step toward equality suffered an undermining blow in the city of Houston. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, otherwise known as the HERO bill, was defeated by a 62.5 percent to 37.5 percent vote to repeal the bill in November 2015. When UH students heard the news, many were disappointed with the outcome. Business and finance sophomore Andrew Vo said the results were absurd and unfair. “Houston is a very diverse city, but the fact that we denied a bill like this is a little ridiculous,” Vo said. The ordinance was written to help bring equal opportunity in services such as housing, employment and public accommodations to all Houstonians regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. HERO would have also prohibited discriminatory practices based on gender, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion and military status. “We need to research these issues to forge our own opinions on the
matter before we buy into our fears and turn something down that might not be true,” said creative writing junior April Lim. “There were several students around that time who were outside actually informing people. I think a lot of us need to be more open and actually take the time to listen.” Hospitality management graduate student Jean Cheramie was directly involved with spreading word about the bill on campus. For Cheramie, the defeat of HERO hit closer to home. “I know people who are getting kicked out of their houses and losing their jobs because of trans issues, and this bill would have changed that,” Cheramie said. So, how did this happen? How did one of the most diverse and culturally rich cities in America vote against a bill that would take a step toward equality for our citizens? “I think it’s definitely impacted by the fact that such a low turn-out happened,” Cheramie said. “We’re supposed to be one of the most progressive cities, yet only about 20 percent of people actually voted.” Another aspect to HERO’s downfall was related to false information surrounding the purpose of the bill. Lorraine Schroeder, Program Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center, explained how the opposition used propaganda to frame the ordinance as the “Bathroom Bill,” which preyed
on people’s fears of men having the legal right to enter women’s restrooms. Schroeder said it was a scare tactic and was misleading to the public. She said she worries the denial of the bill may send a negative message to the rest of Houston’s citizens. “I don’t think the outcome was representative of Houston in general. I think Houston really is a very friendly city in support of diversity,” Schroeder said. “However, I can see how this might cause people to think otherwise.” Public relations junior Cathy Calles believes the denial of HERO will affect racial minorities in Houston just as prominently as LGBTQ persons, who were the main topic of criticism around the bill. “There is a huge population of Hispanics in Houston, and there are a lot of other minority groups as well,” Calles said. “This will really affect a lot of families that are struggling because they’re not given an equal chance.” Vo said he believes the chance to make a difference will come again and that the next time it does, Houston will be better for it. “In the future,” Vo said, “when given the opportunity, we will be more aware, informed and involved to help our city progress towards equality.” > Franco Rosales
EVENTS OF THE YEAR COMING OUT MONOLOGUES
As part of National Coming Out Week, the Coming Out Monologues made its debut on Oct. 11. Students shared their varied experiences of coming out with the audience. Some of the stories ellicited laughter, while other stories really highlighted the ways people must grow in their understanding and respect for the LGBTQ community. > Photo by Justin Cross
TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBRANCE
On Nov. 21, the University came together to honor transgender people who lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence. The ceremony was held at A.D. Bruce Religion Center and was sponsored by the Houston Transgender Unity Committee. > Photo by Pablo Milanese
On April 29, the LGBTQ Resource Center hosted Lavender Graduation, which is a graduation specially intended to celebrate the accomplishments LGBTQ Coogs. > Photos by Brittaney Penney
ALL EYES ON OUR ENTREPRENEURS RED Labs’ technology in Bauer School of Business is the definition of a “start up” with its focus on helping students develope their ideas into a reality
t starts with an idea, then shifts to leaders and teamwork to create high-powered technology that transforms the way we do things. RED Labs, part of the Cylvia and Melvyn Wolff Center of Entrepreneurship, is accelerating the process of creating tech start ups and giving students and recent alumni from all majors the chance to turn their dreams into reality. Each summer since 2013, the RED Labs accepts up to 10 companies to develop their ideas with an intensive, full time three-month program. In the summer program, companies learn and use the resources of the curriculum, mentorship and program to establish their companies. Kelly McCormick, Program Coordinator, explained that RED Labs is one of the first start up accelerators at the university level and helps fosters the ideas of all avenues. The resources provided at RED Labs are used for guidance, collaborating, brainstorming and forming their foundation, not to mention the unlimited ramen supply to help students develop their ideas. Since 2013, 46 founders have launched 17 companies with RED Labs. > Misty Munoz
From left to right: Darwish Alkuteifan, Gehad Olabi and Jawad Olabi
VICTORY CRATE: REVOLUTIONIZING THE BOARD GAME INDUSTRY We have all played board games with our friends and family, but we often only consider iconic games like Monopoly. Board game enthusiasts Gehad Olabi, an MBA student at the Bauer College of Business, brother Jawad Olabi and Darwish Alkuteifani, a graduate of Texas Tech University, found themselves looking for new games to play. After doing some research, they noticed a demand for unique board games. When a zombie-themed game garnered over 21,000 backers on a crowdsourcing site like kickstarter, they knew there was a market, but realized game developers needed large funding to manufacture these games. Alkuteifani and Gehad founded Victory Crate, a company that created a direct relationship between the developer and customer through a monthly subscription for new games. They cut out the
overhead for manufacturing and utilized their expertise in industrial engineering and fund management to enter a growing market. The team applied for the summer program at RED Labs, where they understood their customer validation, customer discovery and company distribution strategies. Through the program, they confirmed a demand for the board games industry. As they faced their challenges and met new people, the two set more goals for their future, mainly to provide the newest board games for enthusiasts to enjoy. After initially starting the program, they have added another team member and began leasing a shared space in Houston with a prototyping company. At their new location, they are able to manufacture short-run board games to provide to their more than 500 monthly subscribers. They have big plans to meet international demand for Victory Crate.
TOWBEE: BRINGING THE FASTEST ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE TO YOUR FINGERTIPS We don’t think about getting a tow or roadside assistance until we need it. Who should we call, and how much should it cost us? We rely on search engines to find the best result, but it doesn’t consider our time or budgets. At RED Labs, a team of gogetters have created an easy-touse mobile application – Towbee. This emerging app allows users to select their desired car service based on their personal preference of arrival time, price and customer rating. The team is comprised of four devoted students who bring their expertise to project. Co-founder Kyle Dixon had the initial idea for an app, but he needed to write code. He entertained the idea to Kenny Loveall, a computer science senior.
After they shared ideas, Loveall found himself in a situation needing a tow service. Even with insurance for roadside assistance, he had to wait for more than an hour. That’s when he knew this application would be necessary. They recruited two additional software developers, Ryan Hornik and Avi Kala, and applied to RED Labs. The team interviewed for the summer accelerator program in 2015. They were accepted and used the resources of RED labs to build their idea. Dixon and Lovell even quit their jobs in the summer to dedicate their time to the summer program. In February 2016, the team released Towbee to the world. The app is available to download from the App Store and Google Play.
From left to right: Avi Kala, Kenny Loveall, Kyle Dixon and Ryan Hornik
ALL EYES ON OUR FOOTBALL TEAM After a rough couple of years, the Cougar’s gained a new coach and new confidence as they fought their way to a nationally televised championship game
uring the 2015-16 football season, head coach Tom Herman captured lighting in a bottle. Despite being in the first year of his tenure, Herman came in to a well-established team that just needed a push in the right direction to turn the corner and go from a good football team to a great one. From having lived in Houston almost my entire life, I have an immense pride for everything about the city, but when it came to the Cougars, I could never be all in. One of my first and most poignant college football memories was watching ESPN’s College Gameday roll into Houston for the C-USA Conference Championship game between the Cougars and the University of Southern Mississippi in 2011. I watched the Cougars’ chance at an undefeated season, conference title and a BCS bowl bid slip away. Following that game, thenhead coach Kevin Sumlin jumped ship for the greener pastures of Texas A&M University, and Case Keenum finished his storied career at UH, leaving the future in doubt and myself a skeptical fan looking warily toward the future. Those feelings of skepticism carried over into the beginning of the Herman era. I knew the Cougars would be good, but I thought their ceiling was 10 wins, maybe 11 if they were lucky, and that they would fall just shy of a conference championship game, most likely
“ As each game came and went, I continued to wait for the magic to run out,” Dodds said. “But over the next few weeks, the Cougars steamrolled through their opponents ...” to either the University of Memphis Tigers or to the United States Naval Academy and their potent tripleoption running game. As each game came and went, I continued to wait for the magic to run out. But over the next few weeks, the Cougars steamrolled through their opponents. Even when the Cougars opened up a big lead against the University of Cincinnati, I wasn’t comfortable. Sure enough, the Bearcats came back, and as the Cincinnati offense took the field with time slipping away, down by just three and their offense on fire, I could feel the skeptic inside me knowing exactly how this would play out. I knew the Cougars would find a way to let this one slip away, which would start a slide of losses they wouldn’t be able to correct. But then the defense held. The Cougars forced four straight incompletions and ran the clock out, and suddenly the team was still undefeated. The next week, against Memphis, it again seemed like an undefeated season wasn’t in the cards. Against NFL-caliber quarterback Paxton Lynch and a Tigers team fresh off a defeat against Navy, it again looked like time was up for
the Cougars. With time slipping away in the first half, it looked like the Cougars would be lucky to go into halftime down 20-0 at home when Greg Ward was sidelined with an injury. Then the Cougars went on a 35-14 run, and after the Tigers missed a late field goal to seal the win, it started to appear as if this team had something else magical about them. Despite a bump in the road the next week against the University of Connecticut, I started to believe in this team, and that faith paid off over the next two weeks and into late December, with the season culminating in Herman hoisting a Peach Bowl trophy in a rain of confetti. This time, the season really did have the storybook ending. It seemed fitting for a group of seniors who had worked so hard to bring the program back from disarray to national prominence and a top-10 ranking. The record-setting year, arguably one of the best in program history, shattered the skeptic inside me. For once, I could revel in the fact that I was a student of this University, a fan of a top-tier program and so proud to be a Cougar. >Bryce Dodds
THE RISE AND CONQUER OF THE HOUSTON COUGARS 1. SEASON KICKS OFF WITH A BANG First-year head coach Tom Herman and the Cougars got
off on the right foot as they opened their season against Tennessee Tech, dominating the game en route to a 52-24 win over the Golden Eagles, earning Herman his very first win as a head coach.
2. HERMAN’S FIRST TRUE TEST With the second week of the season came a big test: the Cougars’ first road game against Louisville. After their last meeting in the 2013-14 season, the Cougars were looking for a measure of revenge and got it, coming away with a late win, 34-31. 3. COUGARS ROLL THROUGH THE OPPOSITION After escaping from Louisville with a win, the Cougars stomped through their next five games and into their conference season. During this period, the Cougars’ average margin of victory was almost 33 points per game. 4. UH LOOKS FOR REVENGE AGAINST VANDERBILT After back-to-back road games, the Cougars returned home again looking to exact some revenge against Vanderbilt, who they’d lost against two seasons earlier. The Cougars dominated, earning a 34-0 shutout win as the team continued to build momentum. 5. CINCINNATI OPENS TOUGH CONFERENCE STRETCH After outscoring the Cincinnati Bearcats 30-14 into the third quarter, strong plays in the Cougar defense quelled Cincinnati’s comeback attempt, forcing the Bearcats into a turnover on downs on the final drive. The Cougars escaped with a 33-30 win. 6. BACKUP QUARTERBACK LEADS COUGARS IN UNLIKELY COMEBACK UH trailed 20-0 against Memphis with just over a minute to go in the first half when Greg Ward Jr. was knocked out of the game. In came sophomore quarterback-turned-wide receiver Kyle Postma, helping the Cougars outscore the Tigers to keep the season perfect with a 35-34 win. 7. COUGARS GET THEIR FIRST TASTE OF DEFEAT With just one game to go before the regular
season finale, the Connecticut Huskies upended an injured UH team. A late interception sealed the loss for UH and gave Herman his first loss, 20-17, as the head coach of the Cougars.
8. UH BOUNCES BACK, EARNING BID TO CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP Just one week after a perfect season-ending loss on the road, the Cougars returned home to host Navy in a game that decided the winner of the AAC West. The Cougars’ defense came to play, and Ward’s return to the starting lineup helped fuel UH to the 52-31 win at home. 9. COUGARS EARN FIRST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP SINCE ’06 With an 11-1 record in hand, the Cougars prepared to host Temple University in the first-ever American Athletic Conference championship game. Key early turnovers forced by the defense set the tone for the game, and the Cougars earned their first conference title since 2006 with the 24-13 win over the Owls.
10. SEASON ENDS ON A SWEET NOTE AT THE PEACH BOWL The Cougars came out and shocked the FSU Seminoles in the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl, scoring early and often for a 21-3 lead heading into half before sealing the win with a couple of fourth-quarter touchdowns and a field goal. Herman capped off a dream first season with a New Year’s 6 bowl win, a Peach Bowl title and a 13-1 season. > Photos by Justin Tijerina
Students gather together to welcome
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL AUG
University of Houston began the Fall 2015 year breaking records and taking names. Beating the preceding fall semester by 2,000 enrolled student and topping the charts of the highest fall enrollment the University has seen with 42,738 new and returning students, UH started the new year with a growl. > Photos by Catherine Lara
CATâ€™S BACK This year, the Student Life area of the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services hosted Catâ€™s Back in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. The Rec was chock-full of a plethora of student organi> Photos on right by Catherine Lara zations, games, food and freebies. > Photos on top by Justin Tijerina
freshmen and returning students
WOW GLOW PARTY The WOW Glow Party was hosted by the Student Program Board and the Student Centers in Lynn Eusan Park. Brought to the University by Glow Rage: Paint U, the glow party was exactly what students needed to hype them up for the new semester. Students were surrounded by booming music, free food, wild neon paint colors and a screaming crowd. > Photos by Justin Tijerina
CAGE RAGE This year marked the second annual Cage Rage hosted by the Student Government Association and UH Athletics. The event pumped students up for the upcoming football season with the full marching band and the ever-spirited sea of red T-shirts. > Photos by Justin Tijerina
NEW BASEBALL FACILITY ANNOUNCED
Head coach Todd Whitting annnounced plans to construct a new baseball training facility and clubhouse. When the facility is finished, it will include a new clubhouse, indoor batting cages, recovery areas and more. > Photo courtesy of The Cougar
“YOUR BRAIN ON ART” DEBUT Blaffer Art Museum collaborated with UH’s Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems Laboratory to transfuse art and science. Viewers of Blaffer Art Gallery were asked to wear a headset that measured their brain waves. The findings of this project could potentially be used to help optimize art therapy and help design biomedical devices. > Photo courtesy of the College of Engineering
JESUS TREVINO AT UH
Award-winning filmmaker Jesús Treviño visited the Honors College Commons to discuss his recent PBS documentary “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History.” Following the presentation of the series’ fifth segment, Trevino shared his vision for this documentary. > Photo courtesy of the Honors College
OUT IN DRAG In celebration of National Coming Out Day, the first-ever OUT In Drag event took place in the Houston Room. Performers from Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi turned up for the event, leaving the crowd in stitches with their crass and comedic demeanor. > Photo by Kyrie Bouressa
TAKE BACK THE NIGHT
Students, special guest speaker Lady Caress and campus organizations hit the campusâ€™ sidewalks to show solidarity with those who have been sexually assaulted, raped or harassed on college campuses. > Photo by Pablo Milanese
JASON SILVA JOINS ROCKWELL LECTURE SERIES Television host and YouTube personality Jason Silva took the stage at Cullen Performance Hall to share this thoughts on humans, technology and the changing world. As the most recent guest speaker in the Rockwell Lecture Series, Silva encouraged students to be passionate, active and in-tune with the surrounding world. > Photo by Justin Cross
PHI BETA KAPPA ESTABLISHES UH CHAPTER
UH joined the nationâ€™s oldest and most prestigious honor society, making it one of three institutions scheduled to join the 283 existing Phi Beta Kappa chapters in the U.S. The introduction of this honor society to our campus followed a six-year evaluation process. > Photo courtesy of the Alumni Association
COUGAR 100 LUNCHEON For the second year, the Alumni Association hosted the Cougar 100 Luncheon, a banquet recognizing the 100 fastest growing alumni-owned or led businesses. This new tradition hopes to inspire current UH students, as well, to help motivate the next generation of UH business leaders. > Photo courtesy of the Alumni Association
HOMECOMING in COOGâ€™S HOUSE
Celebrating homecoming week at UH has been one of our oldest traditions, going all the way back to 1946. Each year, we adapt to make the festivities bigger and better than the year before, and with a strong football team and a heap of school pride, the University has outdone itself with the theme of Varsity Red. > Photos by Justin Tijerina
Students attend the Block Party during homecoming week to play games and win prizes. The party was hopping in the Student Center Plaza
Students lined up in the Student Center Legacy Lounge for the make-yourown homecoming mum tables.
Smiling Coogs were kind enough to allow other students to hurl pies at their faces.
The Spirit of Houston, UH cheerleaders and red-clad Cougars came out to Lynn Eusan Park for the annual pep rally.
Homecoming nominees from left to right: Chris Pinto, Taylor Rouleau, Gabriela Chen, Lisa Forger, Aya Elsaadi, Kryztal Vazquez, Melissa Jinks, Sam Stilley and Serjio Brereda. Not pictured: Felix Garza Jr., Ryan Lilly, Brett Edleman, Murietta Flores, Melanie Lindorfer and Kelsi Wiechkoske.
Left: Psychology senior Gabriela Chen and entrepreneurship and marketing senior Sam Stilley were crowned homecoming queen and king. Chen burst into happy tears when she was announced queen, and they both threw their Cougar paws up at the coronation ceremony.
UH OPPOSES UT EXPANSION
Presented by UH’s undergrad literary journal Glass Mountain, the annual Write-A-Thon returned to the Writing Center. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., emerging writers and poets were sponsored by fundraisers to contin. Throughout the day, participants could compete in different stylistic competitions. > Photo courtesy of BigStock
The Board of Regents met and approved a statement for the University of Texas. In this statement, the University declared its opposition to UT’s plans to build a large research center in Houston. UT’s plan of expansion was called an “invasion” and a “stampede.” > Photo by Justin Tijerina
Students had the chance to sled, have a snowball fight, play games and eat sweet treats at UH’s annual Winter Wonderland. Pounds of ice cascaded the hill outside Cougar Village, and students were able to get into the Christmas spirit. > Photo by Justin Cross
UH FALL RING BLESSING CEREMONY
Shasta VI blessed the class rings at the Houston Zoo before the ceremony at Cullen Performance Hall, which has been a tradition since 2011. Graduating seniors raised their class rings in celebration. > Photo courtesy of the Alumni Association
ARTOUR APP DEBUT
The first design by Data Analytics in Student Hands (DASH), the ARTour app highlights the various unique pieces of art woven across campus. App users can tap the piece of art on their phones to get a detailed description or can follow the campus map to discover the next piece. > Photo courtesy of DASH
Students took a hiatus from studying for finals to get some much needed rest and relaxation. Whether students sought the comfort of a furry friend, deep relaxation with gentle yoga or the warm, buttery goodness of pancakes, Finals Mania was the remedy for stressed students. > Photo by Dailey Hubbard (left) and Auxiliary Services (right)
Current industrial design students and graduated designers from the Hines College of Architecture came together with products displaying creative ability and innovative design process. Pixl (featured below) was created to go under materials placed below parks, streets and sidewalks.
FINALS 7-11 Dec MANIA
> Photo by Pablo Milanese
Students enjoyed a party full of activities with tons of giveaways, music, prizes and food. Customized license plates were trending at the the party and there was oversized chess and Jenga to get the party going. > Photos by Justin Cross
University of Houston promotes the diverse community of its students, faculty and staff. The #IAMUH campaign celebrates the cultures and values of the campus as students share their experiences and express their involvement in the UH community. > Photos courtesy of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion
20 STUDENT CENTERâ€™S Jan
MLK DAY OF SERVICE
Students came together on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend to volunteer in areas of Houston, strapping on their boots and preparing for a weekend of service. About 250 tudents made a difference by volunteering at the food bank to beautifying Hermann Park and McGovern Centennial Gardens. > Photo by Brittaney Penney
60 YEARS OF GREEK LIFE AT UH The Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life hosted the Night of Celebration, a banquet honoring the 60 years Greek life has been at UH. Individual awards, as well as chapter awards, were given to attendees. > Photo courtesy of the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life
TEAM “ENVIROW HOUSE” WINS $6000
Four students spent five months designing an 800-square-foot house to have a chance of winning the Energy Efficiency Innovation Challenge. But here’s the catch: it had to have two bedrooms, one bath, must cost less than $80,000 to build and have a utility bill of less than $25 a month. > Photo by Justin Cross
FOOTBALL PRACTICE FACILITY APPROVED The Board of Regents announced approval for an indoor practice facility to be built for the football team behind TDECU stadium. Construction is scheduled to begin Fall 2016. > Photo courtesy of The Cougar
ALL EYES ON THE REPUBLICAN P
residential debates are a mystery to most people, who only see the picturesque image of bright lights and a full audience. But on Feb. 25, the Houston community got to peek behind the curtain when UH was the venue host for a Republican Debate. From the outside, students, faculty and staff observed as CNN took over the Moores Opera House, video and audio cords draping the road between the Satellite and the Moores School of Music. The GOP Debate was in the works for months before it hit national television. In May 2015, the University submitted a proposal and was chosen to be the host-site for the debate. However, when the Republican Party announced that NBC News was no longer hosting the event, UH was thrown back into the waiting game as the RNC searched for a new broadcast partner. Finally, in January 2016, it was an-
nounced that CNN and Telemundo would be televising the event, and Moores Opera House was once again chosen as the venue. Vice President of Governmental and Community Relations Jason Smith said the build-up and execution of the event was a team effort for the entire University. Smith said the opportunity was “tremendous,” as all eyes were turned to our anxious and excited university. But there were some students were not excited about the University hosting the event. Their reasons ranged from disagreement with the Republican candidates’ political stances to unhappiness that press vehicles were infiltrating precious parking spaces and anger that the UH community was offered only 25 tickets to the debate. Director of Media Relations P’nina Topham said involving students in the debate at every opportunity was of “paramount importance.”
“Hosting such an important public discussion about our country’s future – one that impacts our community locally, nationally and abroad – is precisely in line with our steadfast commitment to leadership and our ongoing academic pursuit of scientific, political and social discourse,” Topham said. With the knowledge of the limited tickets in mind, the University ensured students were able to take part in the debate in any way possible. GOP Debate watch-parties were organized across campus, with the largest one taking place in the Student Center South’s Houston Room and unexpectedly overflowing onto the Arbor Monumental Stairs. Former Student Government Association Chief of Staff Adrian Castillo said SGA was asked to be on a sub-committee for student engagement, which helped plan the Houston Room watch party.
NOMINEES > Photo courtesy of the University of Houston
“We were a little worried, because students could just watch (the debate) at home,” Castillo said. “But we were surprised and so excited to see that we filled the Houston Room, which was seated for 880 people. It’s just a testament to how involved the student body wanted to be. They could have been apathetic to the whole process, but I think they had a sense of pride that this national discourse was happening on their campus.” Additionally, students were offered the chance to volunteer with CNN before the debate. Castillo said the application for volunteers was open for approximately 27 hours; in that time, the University received over 550 applications. From those applications, only 40 students were chosen by CNN to assist with the debate. To aid in student engagement during the debate, the Valenti School of Communication created
an active poll that students could vote in to voice their agreement or disagreement. Viewers would also vocally express their opinions, Castillo said, students in the Houston Room groaned and cheered throughout the debate.
“ It’s just a testament to how involved the student body wanted to be,” Castillo said. “But I think they had a sense of pride that this national discourse was happening on their campus.” Once the debate started, Smith said that Moore’s was, understandably, under lockdown. But leading up to the debate, Smith, Topham, as well as other involved university members, rushed about campus, making sure everything was as it
should be. Topham said she remembers wishing she had worn sneakers, as she must have walked 20 miles through campus that day. She described the energy of campus as “electric,” as CNN anchor Anderson Cooper’s arrival on campus also added extra excitement to the day. Looking to the future, while Topham said she cannot disclose any specifics, she ensured that the University is definitely looking for future opportunities of this magnitude. “The event shined an international spotlight on our campus, gave us the opportunity to highlight our student successes, research innovations and unmatched school spirit,” Topham said. “The University became a part of political history, further confirming our status as one of the country’s powerhouse institutions.” >Kelly Schafler
Members of the Houston and UH commnity gathered to protest the GOP Debate, many of whom were specifically protesting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. > Photo by Justin Cross Top: CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper came to campus the morning of the debate to share some wisdom. Bottom: UH student holds hand-made sign that reads, “Rubio wants to deport me! Can’t trust Rubio.” > Photo by Pablo Milanese
WHEN POLITICIANS ENTER COOG TERRITORY Beginning days prior, CNN began lining the streets alongside Moore’s School of Music. Equipment was hussled into the building, extention cords draped the concrete. > Photo by Justin Cross Two female students protest Trump, holding a sign saying they’re not using their money to pay for taxes to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to stop illegal immigrants. > Photo by Sonia Zuniga
The Student Govenment Association and the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services hosted a GOP Debate Watch party in the Houston Room. All 800 seats in the theater were quickly filled. > Photo by Sonia Zuniga
Students overflowed from the full theater onto the Arbor Monumental Stairs, directing their attention to the flat-screen television broadcasting the live debate. > Photo by Sonia Zuniga
HOUSTONIAN 2016 Culture34Connect Week is in celebration of the community and everyone who embodies the University. This week was full of exciting and educational events including multicultural performances, guest speakers and a variety of activities for everyone to learn and expand their views.
CULTURE 29-4 Feb-March CONNECT WEEK INFRARED - COMIC CON InfraRED and various student organizations shared their favorite comic characters and celebrated the week of culture. There was even a free showing of Ant-Man. > Photo by Jessica Cruz
AN EXCHANGE OF LANGUAGE
Students, faculty and staff came together to practice speaking difference languages with each other. President Khator even made an appearance. > Photo courtesy of the Center for Student Media
UH DAY OF REMEMBRANCE
On Tuesday, March 8th the A.D Bruce Relgion Center hosted their annual day of Remembrance to honor those who have passed in 2015
University of Houstonâ€™s annual Day of Remembrance dedicates a day for the community to celebrate the lives of students, faculty and staff members who have passed in 2015. This ceremony is hosted by the Campus Ministries Association. > Photo courtesy of the Alumni Association
The community and the Alumni Association gathered together to dedicate a day to celebrate the lives of those who passed in 2015. > Photo courtesy of the Alumni Association
Before the ceremony attendees gather together and honor those who have passed. (Left to right) Mike Pede, Natalie Primeaux, Michelle Lazarus, Jackie Ford-Collins, and Trey Wilkinson > Photo courtesy of the Alumni Association
Coach Guy V. Lewis
Guy Vernon Lewis is still remembered as the most influential coaches at the University of Houston. His career as head coach began in 1956 as he led the Cougars to monumental victories with a career record of 592-279. Each game he brought his passion and red-and-white polka dot towel. He will be remembered for his impact for the Department of intercollegiate Athletics. On Dec. 3, 2015, the University hosted a memorial to celebrate his life. His memory will live through the University and will be remembered across the nation and missed on campus. > Photo courtesy of the UH Athletics
n March 9, university community members gathered in the Student Center Theater to discuss the newly proposed policy draft 2016 with the S.B. 11 bill (also known as campus carry) that was approved in the 2015 Texas Legislative session. 36meantHOUSTONIAN to comply In the months following, a UH Campus Carry Work Group invited the general public to “discuss and deliberate,” as they further their developments with open forums and campus-wide surveys. Some worry of the possible changing of dynamic in the classroom. In February, UH professors were shown a presentation that walked them through the process of having guns in the classroom, such as advising teachers not to ask those carrying guns to declare themselves or to “go there” on sensitive topics. As the impending effective date of the bill moves forward, there will be more forums where people of the UH community can come, express their opinions or worries, and try get to a place of mental peace. > Franco Rosales
CAMPUS CARRY HOW TO GET A LICENSE THOSE WHO WISH TO OBTAIN A TEXAS CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSE...
Must go through a protocol with the Texas Department of Public Safety that includes filling out paperwork
Take a certified educational course on the handling and usage of a handgun
Pay processing fees
ONE IS INELIGIBLE FOR A LICENSE IF -THEY HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF A FELONY -HAVE IMPENDING COURT CASES -ARE DIAGNOSED WITH A PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDER
“The main thing I’m concerned about is the safety and security of everyone here on campus. As a resident advisor, it’s important to have training programs for our staff.” >Monique Hall, hotel and restaurant management senior
“I have a great deal of faith in our police department, and I’m sorry that our legislature doesn’t.” >Herschel Levin, political science senior
“With Campus Carry, I feel much safer knowing that if anyone were to come into my classroom, I can defend myself.” >Jonpaul Clayton, corporate communication senior
S.B. 11 GOES INTO EFFECT ON AUGUST 1, 2016.
@asitrshah: I love starting the day with a morning run ...
@joannatheodoropoulou: Fiesta, you never disappoint!
@lexi_davisss: Little Sebastian is ba ck from the dead.
ALL EYES ON OUR TRADITIONS
UH’s oldest tradition, Frontier Fiesta, returned with big shows and tons of fun. Let’s take a look at the event through the eyes of our student body
@bynum83: Day 3 with some day 1’s.
@theriotsmith: Such a great opportun supporting Frontier F ity iesta this weekend ...
@daniakx: Mr. Fiesta 2016.
NEW SGA PRESIDENT TAKES OFFICE
Economics junior Shane Smith took over the role of SGA President from former-president Shawn TheriotSmith. Smith hopes to reduce parking woes, fix Wi-Fi glitches and offer better food options over the new year. > Photo by Justin Tijerina
Torrential flooding reminisce of Memorial Day Weekend shook the Houston community. UH students braved the weather, taking advantage of the campus closure by catching up on much-needed studying and sleep. > Photos by Justin Tijerina
GRAD AND PROFESSIONAL APPRECIATION
A day of thanks as graduate and professional students were appreciated for their contributions to the University of Houston community. The celebration included free food and giveaways. > Photo courtesy of UH Barnes & Noble Bookstores
18-19 HOUSTON April
BUZZFEED STAR VISITS CAMPUS Quinta Brunson of Buzzfeed headlined the Student Program Board’s Coog Comedy Showcase. She shared her experience the airport and her Uber driver. Following Brunson was UH comedians Justin Massengale, Chris Pinto, Grace Amaku and Victor Tran. > Photo by Justin Tijerina
WALK DOWN SUSTAINABILITY LANE Unfortunately, due to Houston’s flood, Earth Week was cut short. But that didn’t stop Student Housing and Residential Life from hosting a Walk Down Sustainability Lane in Cougar Place. Coogs participates in a guacamole contest, DIY projects and much more. > Photo courtesy of the Office of Sustainability
UH PUBLIC ART DAY
UH shared its love for art with the community as the campus celebrated its first annual Public Art Day. Student organizations got involved to show off their forms of art, like dance. This was a day to express and enjoy the beauty of the campus, community and all mediums of art expressions. > Photo by Justin Cross
GRADUATION FOR SENIORS
These are last year’s seniors. But now, as you’re reading this, this is you. Right now. Ready to take on the world. > Photo courtesy of The Cougar
ALL EYES ON SENIOR SPOTLIGHT The Spring 2016 graduating class is full of Coogs destined to do big things, but here are a few who we should keep an eye on
COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
“The best advice I received in college was actually from my mom. She told me to think of what is was in the world that I loved more than anything else and figure out how to turn that into a career. My one true love has always been the environment, and it was her advice that really helped me to shape who I am and how I wanted to live my life.”
NATURAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS
“I came to UH with no crystal-clear plan in mind other than my passions for biology and chemistry. I have so many good memories during my time here, (especially when we) learned to differentiate the male from female flies. This part was fun and difficult at the same time. I want to be a physician-scientist who will practice medicine and conduct research simultaneously. I will continue to conduct research until this fall when I will start my M.D. program at UT Health – Houston.”
“It is our choices, Harry, that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.” - Albus Dumbledore
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” - Confucius Sophia Ewens
NATURAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS
“I never really had a set plan. The University of Houston provided the perfect environment to cultivate that interest and elucidate how to pursue it. Now that I am graduating, I will be attending the University of California, Berkeley in order to pursue a Ph.D in Microbiology with an emphasis in environmental sustainability ... (My advice is to) have as much fun as possible while pouncing on every opportunity that comes your way.”
“(My freshman year in 1999), I had the plan of going to college, earning a degree, getting married and having kids. But alas, that didn’t turn out that way ... I went to school on and off, worked and eventually joined the military. It wasn’t until the military that I realized what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be: a writer, a journalist.”
“My plans for after graduation are to teach 8th Grade ELA at YESPrep North Forest. From there, I am hoping to eventually return to school, pursuing some type of graduate degree ... I plan to travel, as well, and have a growing list of places to visit. Aside from that, I am looking forward to relaxing and taking what I believe is a well-deserved break.”
ALL EYES ON OUR ALUMNI
It’s easy to become discouraged post-graduation if plans for the future don’t come to fruition. But with determination and passion, you may happily find yourself somewhere unexpected
ife hasn’t quite turned out the way TXFit co-founder James Lynn expected. As a 2012 supply chain management graduate in the C.T. Bauer College of Business, Lynn’s plan was similar to other hopeful seniors in the same major: get a job in oil and gas. Instead, Lynn found himself completely outside his major working as a costing coordinator at Sysco Foods. Lynn’s experience is similar to that of many other graduates who have found themselves struggling to get a job in their intended field. According to a 2013 article in the Washington Post, only 27 percent of college graduates have a job related to their major. While the job at Sysco Foods was a great stepping stone, Lynn said it was stressful and not that exciting. “Just day in and day out, I was like, ‘This cannot be my life right now,’” he said. “I was already mad that I didn’t get into the industry I wanted to, then I had to work this job. I learned a lot at this job, I loved that job, but I just couldn’t do it anymore.” It was time for a life change, so Lynn decided to pursue his fitness passion fulltime.
IT ALL STARTED AT THE REC Lynn credits the start of his fitness journey to his senior year at UH. He was an active resident assistant, part of a supply chain management organization and involved in the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Lynn was tired of the yo-yo effect, so he decided to become fit. Every summer, his fraternity hosted a pool party, and Lynn would begrudgingly make himself go to the gym just to get in shape. Immediately after the party was over, he would go back to his old routine of minimal workouts. Since he had a light class-load and free time on his hands, he finally decided to commit his senior year. At the same time, his friend and fellow Cougar Atarhe Clarke was beginning the same journey. They began working out together and
“In life, it’s all about you,” Lynn said. “It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks ... it’s about what you think of yourself and the confidence that you show. Fitness is all about you.”
> Photos by Pablo Milanese
pushing each other to work harder, be better. This chemistry led them to the discovery of their partnering potential. With the help of four other friends they created their own Houston-based fitness company. It started with free fitness boot camps in Hermann Park, where word-of-mouth brought in their small group of clientele. Over time, more and more people were talking about TXFit, eventually leading up to a consistent group of about 25 people getting together every Saturday at 9 a.m. to get in shape. TXFit’s social media presence grew, with cities like Austin, Dallas and even Los Angeles asking TXFit to come and do bootcamps in their area. Lynn said the team wondered: “Why not go to these different cities?” These events in different cities coined the name Rise and Runs, and Lynn said they’ll usually get 10-20 people show up to workout with them. “Dallas shows mad love,” Lynn said, referencing the time TXFit traveled to Dallas and 40 people came to work out with them. “They come out in numbers and it’s really a great, energetic crowd.” As TXFit’s popularity grew, Lynn continued living a double life. One side of him tethered to his steadypaycheck job at Sysco Foods, the other loving the energy and happi-
ness personal training brought him. So when Clarke asked Lynn to travel back to his home of Nigeria to bring TXFit to his community, Lynn couldn’t say no. “I just felt this was something I had to do,” Lynn said. “I’d been personally going steady with health and fitness for four years, and had been helping others with their fitness journeys for three years.” On Nov. 15, 2015, Lynn made his big move. For the first time, Lynn left his corporate job and the country to go to Nigeria. Lynn and Clarke introduced the brand to the community, going door-to-door, passing out flyers and once again relying on word-ofmouth. During the four months TXFit was in Nigeria, Lynn and Clarke effectively held bootcamps, hosted a 5K run and was even featured on Silverbird Television.
FITNESS AND LIFE Lynn recognizes that there are a lot of great boot camps in Houston, but he’s still proud to say TXFit holds its own among its competitors. He said he’s “humbled” by the attention they’ve received so far. “Workouts have been around for ages, so there’s really nothing new, you just have to be good at it,” Lynn said. “Myself and Atarhe work well together, we have upbeat music, we
get dirty with the clients. We’re not barking at you, we’re showing you, we’re struggling with you.” Unlike a lot of other fitness programs, TXFit doesn’t recommend using supplements. Instead, Lynn and Clarke build meal plans for clients, insisting that the recipe to a healthy lifestyle is in the ingredients. “It’s all about what you eat, that is the main thing people should understand,” Lynn said. “Working out is just icing on the cake, but the batter is the foundation.” Lynn admits that he’s still young in the fitness world, and he admires those who have 30 years or more under their belt. He looks to the future to get better, not allowing himself to settle. “There is no fitness person, I don’t care how fit they are now, who hasn’t fallen off at some point of the year,” he said. “Just like in life, there are obstacles. Your tire may burst on the road; it wasn’t planned, but you have to overcome it and get through the day. Don’t let this stop you… It’s okay to take losses. Because at the end of the day, every negative has a positive.” And while his paycheck isn’t as consistent as it was in the corporate setting, now, as co-founder of TXFit, Lynn says it’s the happiest he’s been since college. >Kelly Schafler
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