Success Stories

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Students on the Academic MallUniversity of St. Thomas students and alumni are successful in their fields of study and careers. Highlighting their great work, both academic and professional shows how the University is educating leaders of faith and characters. Read our Success Stories below.


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Oct 20, 2016  Back in College Again: A Degree 30 Years in the Making
Lori Ginsburg

Every day for more than 30 years, Lori Ginsburg thought about returning to college to finish her degree. She left college in 1984 because she lacked direction and did not know what she wanted to be when she grew up. Now, through the University of St. Thomas Adult Degree Completion program, Ginsburg is on her way to completing a bachelor’s in liberal arts.

Aug 26, 2016  UST Students, Alumni Aim High with Incubator Accelerator Startup
Cody Patel created Indus River Ventures, an incubator and accelerator aiming to revolutionize the healthcare industry.

When Cody Patel, BBA Finance, BS Economics ’99 graduated from the University of St. Thomas, he knew he wanted to revolutionize the healthcare industry. This led Patel to create Indus River Ventures, an incubator and accelerator for digital healthcare platforms. 

Jun 03, 2016  Nursing Student Receives 'Salute to Nurses' Scholarship
Anna Rabadan

Anna Rabadan, a junior in the Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing at the University of St. Thomas, was among those awarded a prestigious scholarship by the Houston Chronicle’s Salute to Nurses program. 

Jun 02, 2016  Nursing Students Heal Wounds with Art
Jessica Ungermann with art

For nursing students, observing and treating traumas can be overwhelming. Dr. Kristina Leyden, assistant professor of nursing, asked her nursing students to create an art piece as part of a self-reflection assignment. Through art therapy, the students and their patients can make sense of traumatic events and release them.

Jun 02, 2016  Students Advise Local Business on European Expansion
CSB Case Competition winners with check

In a board room in the Cameron School of Business on May 2, seniors in the University of St. Thomas undergraduate business capstone class presented recommendations to leaders of CSAT Solutions for the annual Case Competition. CSAT Solutions repairs laptops, tablets and smart phones for companies like Apple and Dell, and its executive team asked students to help them decide where the company should setup the next repair facility in Europe.

May 24, 2016  Texas Medical Center CFO Credits Skills to UST MBA
Denise Castillo-Rhodes

Texas Medical Center’s EVP and CFO Denise Castillo-Rhodes said critical thinking skills were essential skills fostered in the MBA degree program at University of St. Thomas, where she graduated in 1992. She was the first in her family to go to college.

May 19, 2016  Pre-Dental Grad Smiles on UST Research Experiences
Jennifer Hoang Chemistry Research

“I didn’t brush my teeth for an entire year,” senior Jennifer Hoang wrote in her dental school application. The biochemistry major and pre-dental student described her own previous fear of dentists and how she wanted to bring smiles to others through her work in the profession. Following graduation, Hoang will attend her first-choice dental school, the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston.

May 16, 2016  Nursing Grad, Cancer Survivor Wants to Heal Others
Samantha Loos-Polk in UST Nursing Lab

Samantha Loos-Polk, a soon-to-be nursing graduate, was inspired to pursue a nursing career because of her own life-changing journey with cancer at the age of 14. After taking her licensure exam in June, she will report to Texas Children’s Hospital Oncology Department, to work on the very floor where she was treated.


May 12, 2016  Veteran Pursues Biology, Business to Research Cure for Son’s Disease
Chris Guardado

U.S Army veteran Chris Guardado loved science since he was a child, but he wasn’t sure he would ever have the opportunity to study it.

May 10, 2016  Nursing Graduate Overcomes Challenges to Become a Nurse
Elizabeth Chavez Rodriguez

Elizabeth Chavez Rodriguez’s path to the UST nursing degree she’ll complete this May started with her birth in Mexico to a teenage single parent with a second-grade education. Now she's a first-generation college graduate.


May 09, 2016  Visually Impaired Grad Sees Bright Future in Clinical Psychology
Alexandria Parrish

Alexandria “Allie” Parrish, a senior transfer student and soon-to-be graduate of University of St. Thomas, finds the human person absolutely fascinating. Parrish, herself, is fascinating. She has been blind since birth and moved to Houston alone at only 18 years old. She is a self-reliant, compassionate person who strives to dissolve stigmas about being visually impaired and fight for those who struggle with mental illness.


May 05, 2016  Governor Abbott to Speak at UST Commencement
UST Graduation Cap and Tassle

The University of St. Thomas will celebrate 1,041 graduates during the Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m. on May 21, 2016 at NRG Arena, located at 1 NRG Park. Commencement speaker Greg Abbott, governor of Texas, will speak on the topic “Our lives are not defined by the challenges we face, but how we respond to those challenges.”

May 05, 2016  Success Not Foreign to Veteran, International Studies Major
Durrell Green

International studies major Durrell Green aspires to be a Foreign Service Officer, or FSO, a federal diplomat whose duties include promoting international peace and democracy. Green was selected for the prestigious and highly competitive U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program, a two-summer experience in which interns get a firsthand look at the affairs in foreign policy construction and implementation.

Apr 29, 2016  From Migrant Worker to Banking Senior VP via MBA
Mari Salazar, University of St. Thomas MBA alumna

Marisol Salazar’s father had big dreams for his young daughter.  One day, if she worked hard, she might have a chance to escape the sweltering Texas and Florida farmlands where the family toiled as migrant workers and land a job in a luxuriously air-conditioned office. Today, Salazar ’95, MBA ’99, is a senior vice president and the manager of Houston Energy Group at Bank of Texas

Apr 28, 2016  Student Graduation Speaker Finds Success 2nd Time Around
Vladimir Davidiuk

After getting laid off in 2010, Vladimir Davidiuk decided it was time he return to school to earn a college degree. Now, nearly six years later, he is preparing to walk across the stage with more than a college degree—he is graduating with a wealth of experience and a new outlook on life.

Apr 14, 2016  Master in Liberal Arts Degree Offers 18 Concentrations
Lauren Shelley, MLA Alumna

Lauren Shelley, MLA ’15 – a high school English teacher in Spring Branch ISD – earned her Master in Liberal Arts degree from UST in December, with a concentration in English. 

“I entered UST’s MLA program with the goal of teaching dual-credit English classes to my students,” said Shelley. “Now, I’m employed with both Spring Branch ISD and Houston Community College.”

Apr 05, 2016  A CEO Turns to UST Business Students for Answers
Richard Van Deventer

CEO Richard Van Deventer is looking to make a big business decision. His company C-SAT Solutions, which repairs laptops, tablets and smart phones for companies like Apple and Dell, wants to expand to Europe. The question is: Where should it setup the next repair facility? To help determine the answer, he’s asked the students in the University of St. Thomas undergraduate business capstone class to do the legwork and ultimately recommend the new site in Europe.

Apr 04, 2016  Research Symposium Gives Tools to Build Knowledge
Student researchers in UST Research Symposium: Building Knowledge

As an upshot of the ongoing campus construction projects at the University of St. Thomas, the 2016 Research Symposium will feature “Building Knowledge” as its main theme. 

Mar 01, 2016  Accounting Students, Alumni Give Free Tax Assistance
VITA volunteer Anush Hayrapetyan helps a client with his taxes

UST students and alumni volunteer with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Organized by Ramon Fernandez, assistant professor of accounting, and maintained by student volunteers, VITA provides free tax preparation services to qualifying low-income individuals.   

Feb 26, 2016  Ed.D. Program, The Edge that Moves Careers Forward

Today’s teachers are forming young minds, preparing them for jobs and industries that do not exist yet. Yet, the American education system has not shifted much to accommodate the new needs of students.

Feb 22, 2016  Culture, Family Direct Performer's Purpose in Life
Iris Lacsamana on campus

Sophomore Iris Lacsamana teaches kids dance and explores her own Filipino heritage through dance. She leads a club dedicated to fighting human trafficking, and she chorographs and acts in drama performances. Following her dream to become a professional actress, she has an agent in L.A. But for now, she's doing all of that while working on a communication and drama degree from St. Thomas. 


Feb 11, 2016  Mardi Gras Gala Raises $900K, Center Named for Fr. Nesti
Mardi Gras King and Queen Robert Ramirez and Samantha Loos-Polk

During the annual Mardi Gras Gala on Feb. 9, two big things happened. First, the University of St. Thomas 66th Mardi Gras Gala raised nearly $930,000 in support of student scholarships. Second, UST’s Center for Faith and Culture got a new name, in recognition of its founder—and gala honoree, Fr. Donald S. Nesti, CSSp.

Feb 10, 2016  Alumna: ‘I Always Wanted to be a Pro-Life Physician.’
Jamie Gautreau Hernandez

There’s a consultation room in alumna Jamie Gautreau Hernandez’s OB-GYN clinic that she calls her “room of tears.” The tears belong to her patients, who come to the clinic with reproductive health concerns, and find themselves overwhelmed by unexpected relief, gratitude or hope.

Feb 05, 2016  Service-Oriented Students Named Mardi Gras King, Queen
Mardi Gras Queen Samantha Loos-Polk

Robert Ramirez, senior theology major, and Samantha Loos-Polk, senior nursing major, will be bestowed crowns as 2016 Mardi Gras King and Queen, and each were surprised with the news from their nominators—Ramirez during his theology class, and Loos-Polk prior to a Residence Life meeting.

Jan 27, 2016  UST Students Fight for Life on Two Fronts
UST Students march for life in Austin

Despite stormy conditions and international threats, 27 students and three faculty members from the University of St. Thomas rallied to represent the UST community in two pro-life events the weekend of Jan. 22-24—in Austin and Washington, D.C.

Jan 25, 2016  Students Observe Taiwan Election, Meet President on Study Abroad
Students eat lunch with chopstix on study abroad to Taiwan

Fifteen students from the University of St. Thomas met with Taiwanese government officials during the country's presidential election, on a two-week delegation exercise to Taiwan during their winter study abroad trip.

Jan 21, 2016  Father Nesti Honored at 66th Mardi Gras Gala

The University of St. Thomas will celebrate one final hoorah before beginning a period of penance and reflection in Lent as it hosts the 66th Annual Mardi Gras Gala on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at Hilton Americas - Houston.

Jan 13, 2016  Essay Contest Reveals Key to Christ
Sophia Suico - UST Essay Contest Winner in front of her essay

Students from Catholic schools took part in the 12th annual University of St. Thomas/Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Essay Contest Mass and Awards Ceremony on Jan. 11. There were 6,116 students—third-graders through high school seniors—who wrote essays for the contest, sponsored by the UST Office of Catholic Outreach.

Jan 06, 2016  Ivany Co-Teaches Course on Leadership

For Dr. Robert Ivany, president of the University of St. Thomas, sharing leadership skills he has learned throughout his time in the military and leading universities is close to his heart. In the spring 2016 semester, Ivany will have the opportunity to indulge that passion as he co-teaches a course on leadership in the Master of Public Policy and Administration program with Dr. Jon Taylor, professor and chair of political science.