Honoring Excellence: Highlights from the 2024 DSA Awards - University of Houston
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DSA News
June 12, 2024

The Division of Student Affairs (DSA) recently held its annual awards ceremony, recognizing outstanding contributions and achievements within the division. The event celebrated the dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment demonstrated by DSA staff members.

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Photograph Courtesy of the Dean of Students.

As the ceremony commenced, the Tri-Chairs of the 2023-2024 Professional Development and Engagement Committee—Laura Zavala-Membreno, Kevin Nguyen, and Beverly Thom—expertly curated, hosted, and presented the awards. Laura Zavala-Membreno kicked off the DSA Awards by expressing gratitude to the DSA reviewer committee team. She then invited all nominees to stand and be acknowledged for their contributions, "I would also like to ask all individuals who were nominated this year to be recognized. Please stand and let us thank you for making a difference.”

Dr. Paul Kittle, Vice Chancellor/Vice President for Student Affairs, presented The Friend of the Division Award, The Platinum Paw Award, and The Diamond Paw Award. The recipients of these three awards, respectively are: Christopher Knight, program director for African American Studies, and Alyssa Veteto, assistant dean of students, counseling and psychological services, The Friend of the Division Award recognizes a faculty member or lecturer who has participated in co-curricular activities or a staff member from any division outside Student Affairs. Nominees should have contributed to the overall advancement of our division. The Platinum Paw Award represents the pinnacle of excellence, honoring an individual who has consistently gone above and beyond in their duties. This award is bestowed to on a staff member who received a Golden Paw Award during the academic school year. The Diamond Paw recognizes a staff member or team that has demonstrated exceptional performance and resilience under extreme or unusual circumstances.

Over 115 nominees were considered for recognition, each representing a vital contribution to the university community. The ceremony honored exceptional individuals who exemplified the core values of the Division of Student Affairs – excellence, integrity, innovation, and collaboration. Dr. Maxwell, associate vice president for student affairs, commended the dedication and passion demonstrated by the nominees, highlighting their role in shaping the lives of students and contributing to a vibrant campus community. Dr. Maxwell extended his congratulations to each award recipient, acknowledging their commitment to raising the bar of excellence within the division.

The 2024 DSA Awards ceremony concluded with a sense of pride and accomplishment, celebrating the collective efforts and achievements of the division's dedicated staff. As the division looks towards the future, the spirit of excellence and commitment demonstrated at the awards ceremony will continue to shape the student experience and foster a culture of success and inclusivity.

Congratulations to all nominees and award recipients and may the Division of Student Affairs continue to work to inspire and empower students. To view all the previous DSA Award winners click here.

Written by Jose Esquivel, Marketing and Communications Intern (Student Worker)