Ellen Vallejo, a University of Houston-Victoria senior, takes pride in her job because she knows her actions can have a lasting impact on at-risk high school students.
“I think I’ve become someone who these students can talk with and someone they can trust,” she said.
Because they demonstrated the qualities of good employees, Vallejo and fellow UHV senior Natasha Kellis recently were awarded $500 scholarships from UHV Career Services.
Career Services helps connect area employers with university students looking for work. The scholarships were awarded for the second straight year as a way for Career Services to emphasize the importance of a good work ethic and how work experience contributes to the overall education process.
“We are very excited that we were able to offer this to the students,” Career Services Manager Eunice Mesa said. “We recognize that students are employed while enrolled at UHV, so we are happy to reward these students for their efforts. Hopefully, the scholarships will help them further their education.”
In July, employers on and off campus submitted letters nominating students and describing why they deserved the scholarships.
A selection committee reviewed the nominations and picked one recipient with a job on campus and one recipient with a job in the community. The committee evaluated whether the nominees were self-motivated, honest, punctual, disciplined, ethical and possessed a positive and proactive attitude.
Edna native Vallejo works for Communities in Schools of the Golden Crescent, a service offered by Workforce Solutions Golden Crescent. She was nominated by her supervisor, Carmen Herrera-Lara.
Vallejo, who is studying psychology in the UHV School of Arts & Sciences, said she was really excited to receive the scholarship. This is her second year working with students at Victoria East High School. She previously worked at Edna High School.
“I work with anyone who struggles in academics, behavior and attendance, or has social service needs,” she said. “I’m an extra resource for them on campus so they can get the extra help they need.”
Vallejo said she loves interacting with high school students. She is planning to pursue a master’s degree in counseling psychology.
Kellis worked last school year for UHV Student Life & Services. She is studying early childhood education in the UHV School of Education & Human Development. She was nominated for the award by Janet Foerster, UHV student life coordinator.
Foerster said Kellis stood out by demonstrating her ability to be self disciplined and punctual.
“She was always there to fill in for others when her schedule allowed it and often volunteered for extra hours,” Foerster said. “She was a great help during Jaguar Days, commencement and Passport Days, as well as giving individual tours of the campus.”
Foerster said Kellis contributed to the overall success of Student Life & Services.
“Natasha would also lend her input for improvements on our website and for office procedures,” Foerster said. “She helped with training new student workers, and I was confident in the information she gave them as well as the students she assisted on the phone.”