Skip to main content

Meet the 2022 Elizabeth D. Rockwell Scholars

cubillosAndrea Cubillos is a first-generation college student majoring in political science and minoring in law, value and policy. Her goal is to pursue public interest law where she can demonstrate her passion for social justice. Cubillos’ University of Houston campus affiliations include the Pre-law Society, Effective Altruism UH and the Student Government Association. A former Civic Houston Intern and Leland Fellow, Cubillos also serves as a member of the Youth Advisory Council for the Office of Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia.


millerAspiring financial planner Derick Miller devotes his campus activity to academic and leadership organizations related to his personal finance and sales concentration. He has been recognized for training, coaching and mentoring activity in the Stephen Stagner Sales Excellence Institute, a rigorous professional development and management program in the Bauer College of Business. Miller was selected to the college’s selective Ambassador and Ethics Advocate Program for undergraduates trusted with promoting the college’s code of ethics, standards and values. In the community, he contributes time and effort to help Houstonians experiencing food and housing insecurity. This summer, Miller gained intern experience at a Houston financial advising office.


phamKala Pham is a UH Honors College rising junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology in the Houston Premedical Academy with provisional acceptance into Baylor College of Medicine. As part of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, she organized informative sessions on women’s healthcare and wellness for affordable housing residents. Pham is active on the Health Center Policy Board and Women Gender Resource Board of the Student Government Association and works as a research assistant for the M.D. Anderson Ovarian Cancer Moon Shots Program and the Baylor College of Medicine School of Tropical Medicine.


rancesVictoria Rances is a rising senior pursuing an undergraduate degree in philosophy with a minor in medicine and society. As a UH Mellon Research Scholar she is conducting research pertaining to the ethical dilemmas of the usage of repetitive DNA sequences called Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR), sometimes referred to as genetic editing, and various other biotechnologies. She believes the field of bioethics is a vital step to the advancement of modern medicine. Rances hopes to pursue a doctorate in applied ethics to further her study of biomedical ethics.


regassaSaron Regassa is an undergraduate public policy student in the UH Honors College. Her early service responsibilities in nonprofit organizations included data management, case-building, research and outreach. The experiential learning helped her earn an internship at the Citizen’s Environmental Coalition, a Houston-area environmental awareness organization. Regassa’s life experiences motivated her to work with local school districts to eliminate educational discrimination based on race. As the co-founder and lead education stakeholder she directed research and community engagement events to promote institutional equity and inclusion across generations. Regassa also volunteers part-time at a local congressional campaign. Following graduation, she plans to enroll in law school.


sampigeRitu Sampige is a rising senior pursuing a degree in biomedical sciences and a minor in medicine and society at the UH Honors College. Experiencing her family’s first-hand experience with the stresses of insurance and income on health care, she incorporated mental health care into her journey to becoming a medical doctor. She has volunteered more than 700 hours at Texas Children’s Hospital cancer unit, connecting with patients and their families. During the pandemic, she started research on COVID-19 policies which suspended fertility treatments and the emotional well-being and stress on those affected. Sampige currently works as a lab coordinator at the UH Parent-Child Interaction Lab where she is studying the pandemic’s effect on children’s health.


syedWhile her primary interest is in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Saamiya Syed incorporated phronêsis politics and ethics into her studies to augment her bioengineering and medical research career goals. She gained training in critical analysis as a UH Arete Fellow in the Effective Altruism program. Syed also participated in the FrameWorks Program to conduct humanities-based research. She is the winner of the UH Honors College 2022 Faculty Award for Outstanding Performance in phronesis and serves as student editor for the National Collegiate Honors Council Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity.


waselEsraa Wasel is a graduating senior studying philosophy with a minor in political science. Her interest in leadership and ethics stems from her immersive internships at a city parks program where she practiced self-direction, team leadership and project management. Her study of cultural heritage was sparked by the Human Situation program in the UH Honors College. Her pursuit of academic philosophy has driven her early research projects in epistemology and ethics. As a Mellon Research scholar in the UH Honors College, Wasel works with mentors to develop a formal proposal and early research with a focus on bias in relationships. This summer she participated in a graduate school preparatory summer program for women in philosophy.