Cougar Cudos - University of Houston
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Cougar Cudos


Cougar Cudos is a Staff Council program that allows staff to recognize other staff members for exceptional service to the University of Houston.

You can nominate a fellow staff member each month by using the form below. Winners will be awarded a certificate and listed on the Staff Council website!

Nominate a fellow Coog

  • Cougar Cudos Nomination Form

    Nominate a fellow staff member to receive a Cougar Cudos by submitting the online form below.

    Make sure you are logged into your University of Houston Microsoft Office 365 account using your cougarnet credentials.

    Cougar Cudos Nomination Form (link)

  • How does it work?

    How many staff members can I nominate?

    As many colleagues that you feel need recognition for their contributions the the University of Houston.

    How many times can a single individual be awarded a Cougar Cudos?

    Winners can be recognized multiple times a year for different contributions to the university. If multiple people nominate the same staff member for the same work, the person will only receive one Cougar Cudos recognition. 

    Can I nominate a person without letting them know?

    Yes, you can submit a nomination for a colleague and choose to keep your nomination anonymous.

    How can I access the Cougar Cudos Nomination Form?

    You have to be logged into your University of Houston Microsoft Office 365 account using your cougarnet credentials. 

2022 Cougar Cudos


  • July

    Academic Affairs

    Pamela Simpson
    Asst, Administrative, Senior Vice Chancellor

    "Pam Simpson is one of the most loyal and detail-oriented people I have ever met. She has a heart that is as big as Texas and strives to always be at her best. She has worked for Provost Short for many years, and many other Provost's before her! She has taken care of the Provost's office so well that everyone on campus knows her. She is very respected throughout the UH campus and her peers will tell you that she is always kind, helpful, and takes care of things in a timely manner. Her demeanor to all the guests that walk in, as well as those who call in, is always on par. You can just hear her smile through the telephone line! She greets everyone she meets with a smile and a helpful attitude. When I first started as the Provost's Executive Administrative Assistant, Pam was instrumental in training me in the ways of the office and I have benefited so very much from her great wealth of wisdom. I nominate Pam Simpson for Cougar Cudos based on this and so much more! There are so many things that I could tell you about Pam but there just isn't that much room here... suffice it to say, without her in the Provost office, it would not run as smoothly as it does now. She is very deserving of this recognition!"


    Administration and Finance (A&F)

    Vivian LoDuca
    Sr Talent Development Spec, Human Resources

    "Every time I walk into a a training and see Vivian, I KNOW it is going to be a great training! She is passionate about the subject matter being taught and it shows in her delivery. She brings energy to the room by her authentic explanations and real world visuals. She is animated and adds humor to the subject matter. She makes everyone feel comfortable and WANT to participate. She is extremely engaging and knowledgeable. She definitely deserves a Cougar Cudos!"

    Maricela Rodriguez
    Coord 2, IT Documentation, Technology Services and Support

    "Maricela took it upon herself to document/test and assist with making videos, FAQ's and updated web pages etc ( for the soon to come new Telephony Microsoft Teams which will replace Skype for Business. In addition with she also assists the IT Support Center with calls and chats."


    College of Medicine

    Lupita Curiel
    Mgr, Program 2, Medical Education

    "Lupita organized the first ever event for the Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine participation in Take Your Child to Work Day. She enthusiastically persevered through uncertain times while the college transitioned to a new name and prepared to move into a new building. At the last minute of planning, the goodie bags and give-away items had to be quickly re-ordered with new name and logo. When plans for participants to tour the college were impacted by move preparations, Lupita found a location in which COM could host games, show informational videos, and serve pizza. Others may have given up when faced with multiple road blocks, but Lupita rallied fellow COM Staff Council members and other college volunteers, and hosted a most successful event. "


    College of Optometry

    Colleen Laborde
    Research Liaison Officer, Optometry

    "Colleen always knows what to do and how to handle financial things. She knows how to get things done. She is especially useful at navigating the UH bureaucracy."


    Division of Research 

    Byron Guevara
    Accountant 1, Research (OCG), Office of Contracts and Grants

    "Mr. Guevara is a warm greeter and does a good job tackling problems. He's kind and eager to assist. He's a real go getter when something peaks his interest. He asks good questions and reassures you that a reply is coming soon. I've never met Mr. Guevara, we've communicated via phone and email. I look forward to his fun and positive salutations. Mr. Guevara, kudos to you for going beyond the call of duty!"

    Chanelle Mack
    Prgm Dir, Contracts Mgmt, Office of Tech Transfer and Innovation

    "In the absence of two team members that have left the University and work in different areas of the Commercialization team she has volunteered or basically, just jump in and have helped and is helping keeping us afloat as we go through the hiring process of backfilling those two positions."

    Nancy Nguyen
    Analyst, Functional 3, Office of Contracts and Grants

    "Nancy has been such a wonderful support for the many eRAFs submitted by Chemical Engineering. She always goes above and beyond and provides flexibility to the department making our job just a little easier."


  • June 2022

    Academic Affairs

    Angela Green
    Academic Advisor II, College of Nursing

    “Angela Green is an excellent advisor. She is conscientious, extremely polite, and helpful for her students in the College of Nursing. She is thorough in her review of student academic needs, is approachable, and connects personally with students either on the phone, in person, or through an on-line portal. She makes sure the student is complete and ready from day of admission to day of graduation. Thank you Angela!”

    Shanequea White
    Department Business Administrator, Natural Sciences & Mathematics              

    “I would like to give a big shout-out to Shanequea White who has worked above and beyond to get her department caught up on outstanding items. She has been dedicated and determined as well as a thoughtful and effective manager, building a strong team in her department who can get the job done. This is a well-deserved recognition of a job well done. Kudos!!”



    Administration and Finance (A&F)

    Rafael Arroyo, User Services Spec II, Technology Services & Support, UIT
    Ivey Davis, Lead, User Services Specialist, Information Technology, UIT
    Matthew Harvey, Help Desk Coordinator, Technology Services & Support, UIT
    Kevin Vu, Systems Analyst II, Technology Services & Support, UIT

    “This group of IT professionals are amazing to work with and receive help from.  They are collectively an amazing team to get support from. Rafael started from a student worker and has now become a trainer to the incoming student workers and present at NHO.  Matthew was a student worker, the shipping and receiving coordinator and now a FT staff member.  Ivey has spent 1/2 her University career with the help desk and over 4 decades of providing excellent customer service and support with UIT, overall.  Kevin has spent his countless hours, days and nights dedicated to supporting staff, faculty and senior management.  He was once a young student pursuing his degrees and working part-time, and then was hired on as soon as he graduated and never left.  They all provide support with compassion and patience and deserve to be recognized.”



    Division of Research 

    Vanessa Stepney
    Research Administrator II, Contracts and Grants

    “Vanessa is deserving of a Cougar Cudos because she has demonstrated her tireless efforts in supporting departments with grant expenditures even in the wake of staff shortages and turnover in her department. She has maintained her position with grace and perseverance. We are truly thankful to have her at the University of Houston.”

    Cory Thaxton
    Communications Coordinator, Strategic Research Communications

    “I have worked with Cory on several projects and wanted him and DOR to know how great he is doing. His insightful support, attentive nature, and professionalism are appreciated and don't go unnoticed!”

  • May 2022

    Administration and Finance (A&F)

    Henry Pham
    Microsystems Analyst II, Financial Computing Systems, Administration & Finance

    “Henry goes beyond to assist with any technical issue and any other computer issue. Not only is he super reliable and very knowledgeable, he is also very kind. He has helped with solving issues on his off days on more than one occasion for me, so I know he does the same for the finance division.”

    George Rea
    Director, Plant Accounting, Controller, Administration & Finance

    “George is over Plant Accounting, and recently developed and conducted a training for our team in A&F and Facilities Business Services. He is an excellent resource for information, so I will call him for background on many things related to the business of plant funding. He has such clarity of mind and ease of communication that he hears your question, can filter through the noise and confusion, and share with you the specific information that you need to know to move forward. It is a skill that too few have and many appreciate. Thank you, George!”


    College of Medicine

    David Garcia
    Director, College IT Infrastructure & Data Analytics, College of Medicine

    "I wanted to give a big shout-out to David for his tireless efforts on our UH COM data server,, and the SAS application. It has been a challenging process but David has been on top of these joining meetings with Keith Martin, Dr. Claudia Neuhauser, and other major players at the University. Sometimes we have not seen eye to eye but knowing his heart and passion for the work, I could not ask a better colleague to work with on this. There are many more hurdles to cross but I wanted to acknowledge his hard work and dedication.”


    University Advancement

    Leslee Hackett
    Digital Content Specialist, Donor Engagement, University Advancement

    “Leslee is new to the University Advancement team and has been a vital asset to the overall department and Development Communications team! She has hit the ground running by ramping up the overall social media content, owning the department photography, and taking on upcoming video projects. She has increased overall viewership and engagement across Facebook, Twitter, and the newly created departmental Instagram. I know that Leslee will continue to be an amazing asset to the team and look forward to her success within the University of Houston System.”


    Student Affairs

    Aleena Iqbal
    User Services Specialist II, DSAES IT Services

    “I had just gotten my new laptop set up when I began to have trouble logging in with Cougarnet. I put in a ticket with DSAES IT, and Aleena was quick to assist me! The issue ended up being more complex than we expected and took a few days to resolve, but Aleena was so kind and patient and kept in communication with me every step of the way. I wanted to nominate her for Cougar Kudos because her kindness and confidence in what she was doing ensured me that the problem will be fixed. Thank you for your help in getting me back in business and helping our students succeed!”

    Rachel Honora
    Associate Registrar, Office of the University Registrar, Enrollment Services

    “Rachel is consistently diligent and attentive to the needs of all staff. Every interaction I have had with her has been pleasant and the issue is resolved in a timely fashion, if not immediately. She is an individual whom I know I can rely on and receive the most accurate and current information from. The University of Houston should be thankful to employ such a magnificent team leader. Thank you, Rachel.”

  • April 2022

    Academic Affairs

    JoAnn Medina
    Program Coordinator II, College of Nursing

    “JoAnn Medina is who prospective nursing students go to when they are interested in becoming a nurse, or when a nurse wants to continue in the graduate program in the College of Nursing. She is well known in our partner hospitals as she helps guide nurses into the CON program that best fits their needs. She conducts the weekly Zoom Information sessions and she is likely the person you will talk to when you call the College's main phone number or email the College of Nursing. Whether in person, on Zoom, through email, or on the phone she always has a smile on her face and delights in helping students find the career path for their education journey in nursing at UH.”

    Ryan Nguyen
    Research Stores Manager, College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics (NSM)

    “Ryan tremendously helped me find the right tools that I needed in my lab, he followed up by phone and email (reached out to company and myself) and made sure my orders are correct.”


    Administration and Finance (A&F)

    Daniel “Dan” Corcoran
    Assistant Treasurer, Treasurer, Assoc. VC/VP of Finance

    "Dan has come to our rescue more than once. A couple of years ago, Dan was instrumental in assisting us set up the UH Research Store billing system. Dan spent many hours explaining the ins and outs of the system and working with us to get the module up and running. Today, we were in a bind because another State of Texas agency was wanting to send us checks for an upcoming forum and needed us to fill out authorization forms. We could not make heads or tails of the forms. When we emailed Dan with the details, Dan called back in less than 10 minutes. With a cheerful demeanor, Dan not only signed the form but also filled out all the relevant information for us. Dan is an asset to UH and to all of us who have asked for his help on various occasions."

    Monica Davila 
    Financial Manager, General Accounting, Assoc. VC/VP of Finance

    “Monica was extremely helpful and patient with me. I was not sure of the process, but she guided me through the process with profound professionalism. She did not make me feel less than her because I was unsure. I appreciate her kindness. I am grateful.”

    Elicia Davis
    Assistant Business Administrator, Business Services, VC/VP of Admin & Finance

    “We've recently changed our invoicing process, and as a result, the volume of emails I send has increased, as have my inquiries on invoice processing. In the past, I may have inquired about outstanding invoices a few times a year, whereas I'm now asking for updates on a weekly basis. After only two weeks of this new process, Elicia anticipated my needs and started sending regular updates on paid and outstanding invoices before I even ask. This has made the new aspects of my role SO much easier. I am so appreciative of Elicia for taking this extra step!”

    Neil Hart
    Executive Director, Parking and Transportation Services, Office of Administration

    “Neil Hart helped our department by doing a Parking permit presentation at our Facilities Town Hall along with coming in at 10pm at night to do a presentation to our 2nd & 3rd shifts. We greatly appreciate the time that was given to help educate our staff on this process.”

    Abraham Thomas
    Journey HVAC Mechanic, Facilities and Construction Management, Facilities Operation and Maintenance

    "I am writing this letter to nominate Mr. Abraham M. Thomas for Cougar Kudos. Abraham is a Journey HVAC technician with the University of Houston Facilities Services HVAC team. The Hilton College is one of the many buildings he supports on our campus. In the past year, Abraham has been instrumental in supporting support to our building HVAC systems for both major and minor repairs. The systems he works on not only affect our classrooms and faculty offices, but also the hotel guest experience. Abraham understands the sensitivity of our operation and acts with that sense of urgency. In my years of experience in facilities, Abraham’s knowledge of HVAC systems is unparalleled. He seems to be a walking encyclopedia of knowledge, and he loves to share his knowledge with anyone who will listen. At Hilton, our vision is to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality by delivering exceptional experiences to every guest, every time. Abraham truly understands this vision and lives it each time he steps into our building. His customer service skills are exemplary. He is one of the friendliest people I know, and he always arrives with a smile on his face and a happy greeting for his co-workers. It is truly a pleasure working with Abraham and I appreciate all his support. It is with great pleasure that I respectfully submit this nomination for Abraham to be recognized with Cougar Kudos.”

    Richard Zagrzecki
    Department Outreach Manager, Parking & Transport Operations

    “Richard did a parking permit presentation at our Facilities Town Hall to explain the new procedure that will begin in August. We greatly appreciate the time and coordination to help our employees understand this new process. He also helped prepare for a late-night presentation that Neil Hart conducted for our 2nd & 3rd Shift employees. They have gone above and beyond to help everyone understand this new initiative.”

  • March 2022

    Academic Affairs

    Amy Tran
    Administrative Coordinator, Student Services, C. T. Bauer College of Business

    “Amy has been instrumental in helping me get things done, especially last semester when I was short-staffed. She is diligent and communicative. She is deserving of all the kudos!”


    Administration and Finance (A&F)

    Katherine Fieldcam
    Digital Prepress Tech., Printing Operations, Office of Administration
    Seleste Bautista
    Digital Prepress Tech., VC/VP, Printing Operations, Office of Administration

    “Kathy and Seleste are great to work with. Both are phenomenal graphics designers and their work speaks for itself. However, their personalities are equally great. They are very responsive and it has been a true pleasure working alongside them on various projects!”

    June Lawrence

    Administrative Coordinator, Real Estate Services

    “While working in the Office of Real Estate, June assisted me with accomplishing many projects.  Although she did not come into her role with real estate experience, she was eager to learn.  No matter the task, June takes pride in making sure the job is done right. She is not afraid to ask questions, and values feedback in order to be successful in her role.  She is truly an asset to the University and is so deserving of this recognition.”



    Ashley Merwin
    Executive Assistant to the Vice Chancellor/Vice President for Research

    "Ashley continues to get kudos from people around the Division of Research for her hard work, dedication, and passion for keeping the internal engagement among staff a focus for the division leadership. Here's an example of a recent division kudo received from a colleague: Ashley is absolutely wonderful. No matter what my concern, big or small, she is always there to help and make my concern feel valid. She is extremely patient and always kind. She represents the Division of Research so well.

    Ashley represents the very best of what DOR has to offer and she is a great ambassador for UH. She is so deserving of institution-level recognition for her tireless dedication to the University."             

    Leavonda Robinson

    Research Administrator I, Office of Contracts & Grants

    “Ms. Robinson has been an amazing addition to UH and is committed to helping the departments she works within anything they need. She asks questions when she does not know the answer and goes above and beyond.”

  • February 2022

    Academic Affairs

    Agnes Ruby Corpus
    Clinical Facilitator, College of Nursing

    "Agnes is an organizer, and she loves it! Whenever an assignment is given to her, she tackles the task head-on, creates how she will organize, is very detailed and neat in her work. She always has a finished product that is excellent. Moreover, Agnes is very polite and is customer-friendly. She always has everyone's best interest at heart. We are fortunate to have her in the College of Nursing."

    Kimberly Phillips

    Secretary II, College of Nursing

    “Kimberly consistently goes above and beyond her responsibilities to make sure that faculty and staff are happy. The breakroom is everyone's responsibility but she makes sure it's always clean. She is the first person any student or visitor sees and she ALWAYS has a bright smile and a strong desire to help. Kim takes her responsibility seriously and ensures it is completed in a speedy and thorough manner. She is consistently prompt and fast in her response to faculty requests for course books and clarifies requests before processing. Kimberly is definitely a big asset to UH College of Nursing and we are extremely fortunate to have her! Therefore, I strongly recommend that she is recognized and offer her many, many Cougar Cudos!!”


    Administration and Finance (A&F)

    Bret Mitchell Collier
    Police Captain, University of Houston Police Department

    “UHPD offers a variety of training for its employees. Captain Collier recently created and personally narrated training regarding the UHGo app. The training was clear, concise, and very professional. Great job Bret!”

    Brittaney Cooks Harvey
    Police Corporal, University of Houston Police Department

    “Corporal Harvey has recently received a new assignment critical to UHPD departmental operations. Her attitude and aptitude have been very beneficial to the difficult transition that she has undertaken. I am most thankful for her professionalism and effort.”

    Chandra Kaye Johnson
    Assistant Chief of Police, University of Houston Police Department

    “2021 was a very difficult year with a host of challenges. Assistant Chief Johnson willingly and professionally handled many of these issues for UHPD with minimal guidance and excellent results. One example of her excellence was the revision of all security post orders for all UHPD security offices. Great job! Great effort!”

    Pamela Muscarello
    Director, Accounts Payable, Controller

    “I would like to nominate Pam for a Cougar Cudos because she has done tremendous work since she moved to the  A/P office as the new Director. She has streamlined the AP website so that everything is now cohesive and in one location where things are easy to find. Additionally, one of the best tools that have now been created since she transferred to AP is the AP newsletters that go out to campus. These newsletters are extremely informative and provide really great tools, resources, and reminders for processes, which comes in really handy when I need to pull a reference for a process I don't use all of the time. It is very useful to our administrative team! Thanks Pam!!”

    Ronald Sampson
    Lead Plumber, Facilities/Construction Mgmt.

    “I had a ceiling leak in my room for a while with multiple attempts to fix it without success.  When Ron finally got assigned to the work request he was able to come up with a solution that fixed the leak permanently.  Not only was Ron able to fix the problem, he was also very courteous and went out of his way to prevent any damage to equipment in the room.   Ron is a valuable asset to UH, in my opinion, and deserves much more than a Cougar Cudo.”

    Maria Vega
    Financial Coordinator I, Business Services

    “Maria's tenacity is incredible.  She quickly learns new skills and makes them her own with improvements.  Always a team player, Maria gets a problem resolved immediately.  I am so grateful to work by her side and watch her flourish into an incredible leader while remaining humble and grateful each step of the way.  Congratulations, Maria you deserve it.”



    Lisa Roberts
    Research Administrator I, DOR Central

    "Lisa Roberts is highly commendable for both the form and content of her communication. She is competent and an effective and dedicated professional. Very positive and much appreciated- a great way to start the New Year."

    Danielle Griffin

    Assoc Director of Research Integrity & Oversight, DOR Central

    “Dr. Danielle Griffin has been hugely helpful to me getting the appropriate IRB documentation completed for NSF-funded projects I am working on. She has been extremely responsive, professional, and helpful in supporting me in navigating the ICON system, appropriate documentation, and reliance agreements. Without her support, I would not be able to do the research I need to do to make tenure."

Previous Recipients

  • Cougar Cudos

    Cougar Cudos was first launched in 2016 to recognize the staff across campus who demonstrated outstanding work and dedication to the University of Houston.

    Cougar Cudos Awardees

  • 2020 - 2021 Cougar Cudos

    Academic Affairs

    • Azucena “Suzy” Banuelas, Custodian III, Optometry Clinic
    • Willard Brewster, Manager, Facilities Management Zone
    • Anthony "Tony" Cantu, Skilled Trades Tech I, College of Optometry
    • Christine Cortez, Financial Coordinator I, Mexican-American Studies
    • Dr. Rikki Bettinger, Associate Director, Mellon Research Scholars Program and Program Manager, Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards
    • Kara Ellis, M.S., Academic Advisor I, College of Technology
    • Whitney Johnson, Program Manager II, Student Services, C.T. Bauer College of Business
    • Kevin Le, Engineering Technology
    • Judy Mata, Department Business Administrator, College of Natural Science and Mathematics
    • Jemal Moore, Academic Records Coordinator, Engineering Undergraduate Programs
    • Moumita Mukherjee, Senior Research Analyst, Institutional Research
    • David Nguyen, IT Support Manager, Graduate College of Social Work
    • Quentin Stewart, Assistant Business Services I, College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
    • Joana Tan, Assistant Business Administrator, Mechanical Engineering
    • Courtney K. Wilson, Instructional Designer II, Graduate College of Social Work
    • Harriet Yim, Web Project Manager, Office of Communications, Cullen College of Engineering


    • Cory Tristan, Financial Assistant II

    Student Affairs

    • Shenae Champ, Office Supervisor, UH Children's Learning Centers
    • Kim Clark, Executive Director, Campus Recreation
    • Sabrina Grant, Administrative/WC Building Coordinator
    • Cecilia "Cece" Hernandez, Assistant Director, UH Children's Learning Centers
    • Rachel O'Mara, Associate Director, Operations, Campus Recreation
    • Jennifer Skopal, Director, UH Children's Learning Centers

    University Advancement

    • Kendra Hakanson, Program Director, Alumni Relations

    University Marketing and Communications 

    • Dineta Fraizer, Administrative Assistant, Media Relations
    • Dianah Hobbs, Assistant to VC/VP for Marketing and Communications

    Administration and Finance

    • Zachary Lounder, Financial Coordinator 2, Business Services, Department of Public Safety
    • Mariela G. Raudales, Financial Coordinator II, Business Services, Administration and Finance
    • Debbie Samuels, Department Business Administrator
    • Diane Sylvester, Assistant Business Administrator, Business Services, Administration & Finance
      Tiffany Taylor-Denson, Department Business Administrator
    • Jatarra Mayhue, Accountant II
    • Jesus Santos, Office Assistant I, University of Houston Police Department
    • Hector Bonilla, Contracts Reporting Manager
    • Allen DeForde, Assistant Director, Parking & Transport Services
    • Cristian Garcia, Recruiter, Human Resources
    • Vivian LoDuca, Senior Talent Development Specialist, Human Resources
    • Krista McElroy, Compensation Analyst, Human Resources
    • Joseph Carter, Building Management Systems Lead, Facilities Operation and Maintenance
    • Jesse Gonzalez, Building Management Systems Technician II, Facilities Operation and Maintenance
    • John Robinson, Journey HVAC Mechanic, Facilities Operation and Maintenance
    • Willy Vazquez, Insulation Mechanic, Facilities Operation and Maintenance/ Journey HVAC Mechanic, Facilities Operation and Maintenance
    • Rafael Arroyo, ACA, Technology Services & Support
    • Ivey Davis, User Services Specialist Lead, Technology Services & Support
    • Rene Gonzalez, ACA, Technology Services & Support
    • Matthew Harvey, Help Desk Coordinator, Technology Services & Support
    • Amy Ma, User Services Specialist Lead
    • Leroy Mays, Director of IT Customer Services, Technology Services & Support
    • Mark Norgan, Apple/Mac Desktop Specialist II
    • Llesenia Rodriguez, University Information Technology
    • Maricela Rodriguez, IT Documentation Coordinator II, Technology Services & Support
    • Mark Rosanes, Web Technology Manager
    • Michael Rapp, Enterprise IT Security Analyst III, UIT Security
    • Genille Rodriguez, Real Estate Specialist II, Real Estate Services
    • Paula Lockett, Custodian II